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Varadkar says it's 'only a matter of time' before North legalises same-sex marriage

The Taoiseach made the comments at a gay pride event in Belfast today.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Image: Peter Morrison/PA Wire/PA Images

LEO VARADKAR HAS said it is “only a matter of time” before Northern Ireland legalises same-sex marriage.

The Taoiseach made the comments at a gay pride event in Belfast today.

“It is of course a decision for the Northern Ireland Assembly, but I am confident that, like other western European countries, they will make that decision in due course,” Varadkar said.

Northern Ireland is the only part of Britain where same-sex marriage remains illegal. The largest political party in the province, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), is deeply opposed to changing the law and has consistently blocked this from happening.

DUP leader and the North’s First Minister Arlene Foster said Varadkar’s participation in the Pride event was “his own business”.

The Republic voted to allow same-sex marriage in a historic referendum in 2015.

Varadkar, the country’s first openly-gay leader, attended a Pride breakfast in Belfast this morning but did not attend the Pride parade as he’s going to the Dublin vs Monaghan GAA match in Croke Park this evening.

Brexit

Yesterday, Varadkar and Foster met to discuss Brexit, wth Varadkar saying he wants to build “bridges not borders” with the North.

“Brexit seriously risks driving a wedge between Northern Ireland and Ireland, between Britain and Ireland. And I cannot imagine who benefits from that,” he added.

While Varadkar was speaking at Queen’s University in Belfast yesterday morning, a number of students wore Repeal jumpers.

The Taoiseach was asked about the timing of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment – which effectively bans abortion here, except in limited circumstances – after his speech, to which he said it will likely take place in May or June 2018.

© AFP 2017, with reporting by Órla Ryan

Read: ‘Brexit seriously risks driving a wedge between the North and Ireland’

Read: Varadkar defends setting up separate office to look after his own PR

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