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Leo Varadkar to attend Belfast Pride event, but he won't attend the parade

The Taoiseach says he wants to express his support for equality for all in Northern Ireland.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the Pride Parade 2017 in Dublin.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the Pride Parade 2017 in Dublin.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has confirmed he will attend the Pride breakfast event in Belfast on Saturday morning.

Leo Varadkar is travelling to Belfast on Friday to meet with leaders of the Northern Ireland parties about re-establishing the Northern Executive.

He confirmed to reporters today that he would be attending the Pride breakfast event, but said he would not be attending the Pride parade due to be held in Belfast on Saturday afternoon.

“The reason I am going on Friday, it is not Pride, it is to meet the leaders of the Northern parties, it is to make a speech at Queens [University] and also meet business, union and civil society leaders in Belfast. I won’t be able to attend the parade because I want to get back to Croke Park for the [Dublin versus Monaghan GAA] match,” said Varadkar.

No compromises 

The Taoiseach was also asked about being conscious about the sensitivities with the DUP, which is opposed to same-sex marriage. Varadkar said he would not be making any compromises on the issue.

“I will attend the Pride breakfast on Saturday morning in Belfast to express my support for equality before the law for Catholics, Protestants, non-religious people, men, women, gay people and straight people. And I won’t be making any compromises about that for anyone really.”

In June, Varadkar promised to use his position to campaign for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Addressing the annual Pride festival in Dublin, he said he would be “pressing for marriage equality in Northern Ireland where currently our citizens do not have the same rights as we do”.

Two years ago, Ireland became the first country in the world to bring in same-sex marriage by popular vote. However, the right does not extend to those in Northern Ireland.

Re-establishing the institutions 

Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK which is yet to introduce same-sex marriage legislation.

The issue of same-sex marriage has become a sticking point between Sinn Féin and the DUP in re-establishing the Northern Ireland Executive.

Sinn Féin has accused the DUP of misappropriating the use of the Stormont Veto, known as a petition of concern, to block same-sex marriage becoming law in Northern Ireland.

Read: Taoiseach says politicians should settle their Dáil bar tab or have it taken from their salaries>

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