Varadkar hoping to 'resolve the situation facing the undocumented Irish' in US

The Taoiseach will travel to Washington DC today for a series of engagements as part of the annual St Patrick’s Day programme.

Varadkar hoping to 'resolve the situation facing the undocumented Irish' in US

The Taoiseach will travel to Washington DC today for a series of engagements as part of the annual St Patrick’s Day programme.

Questions had arisen over whether the trip would go ahead as both America and Ireland grapple with the coronavirus outbreak.

American media have reported that Mr Trump had been considering asking foreign dignitaries not to attend the White House in an effort to limit the potential spread.

Mr Trump has already been in direct contact with one man who has tested positive for the virus, and reportedly shook his hand at an event.

Meanwhile, the annual St Patrick's reception on Thursday, hosted by the Irish Ambassador to the US, Daniel Mulhall, was cancelled.

Leo Varadkar had also planned to attend the United Nations in New York on Tuesday but cancelled the trip on Monday to concentrate on the “evolving situation” at home.

However, his trip to the US capital is set to go ahead with the Taoiseach flying directly to Washington on Wednesday.

On Wednesday night, Mr Varadkar will give a keynote speech at an event hosted by the Ireland Funds, before, taking part in the traditional St Patrick’s Day events in Washington DC on Thursday.

He will be hosted for breakfast by Vice President Mike Pence, followed by a bilateral meeting with President Trump at the White House.

He will then join senior members of Congress, for the annual St Patrick’s Day Lunch hosted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

On Thursday afternoon, he will join the President and Mrs Trump for the traditional Shamrock Ceremony at the White House, and will attend the Ambassador’s St Patrick’s Day Reception that evening.

Mr Varadkar, speaking on Tuesday said the annual trip is a valuable opportunity for Ireland.

“I will use my meetings with President Trump and other senior US politicians to emphasise the strength and importance of Irish-US bilateral relations, particularly our economic ties,” he said.

I intend to discuss issues including EU-UK relations, Northern Ireland and the US role in protecting the Good Friday Agreement.

“There was positive news this week in relation to the legislation to expand the E3 Visa programme, and I look forward to getting an update on how we can resolve the situation facing the undocumented Irish in America.

“This is a relationship that cannot be taken for granted and I intend to use my visit to Washington DC to deepen these ties, while also promoting EU-US relations.”

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