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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 16 December, 2018
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Leo: 'There are many of Donald Trump's policies with which I do not agree'

Varadkar said Ireland and the US have strong links that “will outlast any president or Taoiseach”.

Posted by on Sunday, 16 December 2018

THE TAOISEACH TOLD the Dáil today that he does not agree with many of the US president’s policies, and plans to tell him that when he visits Washington DC next week.

Leo Varadkar is leaving for the US on Sunday for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, and keeping with tradition, he will pay a visit to White House.

Like his predecessor before him, he has been criticised by some members of the opposition for accepting Trump’s invitation, with Solidarity-PBP TD Paul Murphy calling on the Taoiseach to boycott the visit.

“The best thing that the Taoiseach could do would be to refuse to meet him, to refuse to allow his racist, anti-immigrant policies to be greenwashed with a bowl of shamrock. The Taoiseach’s response will be predictable – he will not do it,” said Murphy.

Varadkar replied that Ireland and the US have “very strong links” – links that “will outlast any president or Taoiseach”.

However, he outlined to the Dáil that there are many issues that he disagrees with Trump on.

There are many of Donald Trump’s policies with which I do not agree. I do not agree with him on migration, climate change or trade. I am very much a supporter of free trade and the politics of Donald Trump are much closer to those of Deputy Paul Murphy on that particular issue. I also believe very strongly in individual freedom which encompasses women’s right and the rights of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

Varadkar said he intends to use the meetings he has with President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the US administration “to deal with and raise some of those issues”.

Highlighting trade specifically, Varadkar said he will point out to the president the extent to which the Irish-American relationship is “truly bilateral”.

“It is not well known but nearly 100,000 Americans across 50 states work for Irish companies. Trade goes in both directions and free trade and free enterprise benefit both countries immeasurably. I shall speak with the president about this in great detail,” said Varadkar.

Will the Taoiseach discuss President Trump’s anti-Muslim policies, LGBT issues and climate change specifically, asked Murphy.

“I will raise with President Trump the issues as listed by the deputy earlier, which I had said I would raise,” said Varadkar

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