Varadkar is coming to Washington

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar conferring with President Trump at the White House. Irish Embassy photo


By Irish Echo Staff

Leo Varadkar, in his capacity as caretaker taoiseach, will be traveling to Washington next month for St. Patrick’s celebrations.

And this will mean a meeting in the White House with President Trump, presentation of the traditional bowl of shamrock, and attendance at a White House reception hosted by the president and first lady.

But the overall number of Irish ministers traveling around the globe will be reduced this year and will probably number less than a dozen.

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Coronovirus is one reason for this, but so too are the ongoing talks between the political parties in Ireland aimed at forming a new government in the wake of the indecisive February 8 general election.

The prevailing view is that those talks will likely not reach a conclusion this side of St. Patrick’s Day so travel decisions have to be made based on the continuance of the Varadkar-led government in its caretaker capacity.

A decision is due to made next week on the exact itinerary for different ministers but priority will be given to the trips that are the most “politically and economically advantageous,” the Irish Times was reporting today.

Varadkar’s visit to Washington was confirmed to the Echo, but the length of time that he will remain in the nation’s capital will be shortened.

The Irish Times report added: “After a meeting of the Oireachtas business committee on Wednesday, it was decided that there will be no second vote to elect a Taoiseach when the Dáil returns next week.”

In light of this decision, the Department of Foreign Affairs will now move to finalize the slimmed down program of events and will inform embassies in the coming days, the report stated.