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Varadkar U.S. visit shortened, Ireland parades cancelled

Amid cancellations and shortened visits the White House sit down between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and President Trump is still on.


By Irish Echo Staff

Acting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has cancelled a visit to New York for St. Patrick’s Day though he is still on track to visit Washington, D.C. later this week.

The need to be on hand in Dublin amid the Coronavirus is the reason for the further curtailing of Mr. Varadkar’s already shortened U.S. visit.

New York being eliminated from the Varadkar itinerary comes as all St. Patrick’s Day parades in Ireland have been cancelled amid the Coronavirus outbreak. The Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and France set for Saturday, March 14, has also been cancelled.

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Mr. Varadkar had been due to travel to New York Tuesday in advance of his engagements in the nation’s capital. He will now travel directly to Washington on Wednesday.

Varadkar will be attending the Ireland Funds Gala Wednesday evening. This year’s theme for the gala is “Irish America’s Commitment to Peace and Reconciliation” and as part of the gala House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be presented with the Ireland Funds Distinguished Leadership Award.

On Thursday Mr. Varadkar will have breakfast with Vice President Mike Pence, attend the Speaker’s lunch on Capitol Hill, meet with President Trump in the Oval Office and present the traditional bowl of shamrock to the president and also attend a reception hosted by Irish Ambassador to the U.S., Dan Mulhall.

In a statement the White House confirmed that Mr. Varadkar would meet with President Trump on Thursday.

“The President and the Taoiseach will discuss how to strengthen relations between the United States and Ireland, including the robust economic and cultural ties and joint commitment to maintain the gains of the Good Friday Agreement. The President also looks forward to hosting the Taoiseach at the annual Shamrock Bowl presentation,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, other Irish government ministerial visits around the world had already been reduced in number due to the Coronavirus.

The visits included Tánaiste and Minister Simon Coveney leading a delegation to New York for St. Patrick’s Day.

Minister for Defense Paul Kehoe is travelling to Savannah, Georgia.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed will visit Chicago. Minister Heather Humphreys will travel to Sacramento, California. Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, will be in Boston.