We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Alamy Stock Photo

Varadkar on Biden-White House visit: 'I'm not here to tell him off or tick him off'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says he believes the US president would get the same welcome in Ireland as he did last year.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said the St Patrick’s Day visit to the White House is an opportunity to put forward the Irish people’s perspective on the conflict in Gaza.

However, speaking to reporters in Boston this evening, he said “we’re certainly not going to start with uncomfortable truths”, adding:

I’m not here to tell him off or tick him off.

“I’m here to talk to him to understand the American position and see if we can influence it in a positive way.”

Varadkar will travel to Washington DC tomorrow, with a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office in the White House to take place with the US president on Friday.

“We’ve already good relationship with the US and we have a really good relationship with President Biden. I don’t think I’ve ever felt a president to be on our side so much as President Biden,” he said.

“He’s a real supporter of Ireland, always wants to know what he can do to help,” said Varadkar.

When asked by The Journal if he believed the US president understood that his support for him has changed in Ireland since he visited the country last year, Varadkar said: 

“He’s a politician. I think he understands what people think. I’m sure he’s seeing the opinion polls here in the US that are showing that younger people in particular, in America, are concerned about what’s happening in Gaza.

“And there’s a shift in American opinion, particularly among younger people that is evident and I’m sure he’s aware of that. And of course, you he would have seen what happened in relation to the the uncommitted ballots in the primaries.”

An Irish welcome?

The Journal followed up by asking if he believes Biden would receive the same welcome if he returned to Ireland for a visit. 

“I actually do, believe it or not. I think the President Biden will always be welcome in Ireland.

“And let’s never forget that he’s been a very good friend to Ireland. I’ve had the opportunity to work with different presidents down the years, both as Taoiseach and before, and he’s the most pro-Irish presidents that I’ve ever worked with. He only ever wants to know what’s happening and how he can help,” Varadkar said.

The Taoiseach said he has been enthused about what Biden has been saying in recent weeks about the conflict in Palestine.  

“I have to say, what he said, in relation to Gaza, in the last couple of weeks has been very encouraging. I believe he’s somebody who wants to see the violence stop, somebody who wants to see us develop on a pathway to peace,” the Taoiseach said.

“I think he’s working towards a ceasefire. In fact, I know it. The US administration has been involved and trying to put together the conditions for a ceasefire and bear in mind for a ceasefire to happen, it has to be Israel and Hamas.

“And I have been clear on that too -  I haven’t called for unilateral ceasefire. I’ve called for Israel and Hamas to bring about a ceasefire.”

He said while Ireland is a small country, we can use our voice to call for a ceasefire. The US, being a powerful country, has a different role, said Varadkar.

The Taoiseach said Ireland wants to see a new peace process, one that does not involve a  military solution in the Middle East.

He said it has been 100 years now that Jews and Arabs have been fighting over land.

“I think America, as the most important political military power in the world, can take the lead on that and I hope they will. And of course in any small way that we can help from Europe, from Ireland, we will as well,” concluded Varadkar.

Earlier today, the Taoiseach said he wanted America to get involved once again in the “drive for peace”.

“It happened before with President Carter. It happened before with President Clinton, I think, hopefully, President Biden can take the lead on this.”


Last night, Varadkar used his first speech in the US to call for an immediate ceasefire in Palestine.

Speaking at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, he said: 

The cries of the innocent will haunt us forever if we stay silent.

“The cries will engender more retaliation and beget more violence and revenge. No child ever gave their consent for terrorist acts. No child should ever be punished for them.

“It is unconscionable that they are dying not just as a result of relentless bombing and destruction, but of hunger and thirst and from an absence of medical treatment and care.” 

Political Editor Christina Finn will be in the US throughout the week for the Taoiseach’s visit. Follow @thejournal_ie and @christinafinn8 for all the latest.