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Leo Varadkar marches with his partner in the St Patrick's Day parade in New York

The Taoiseach lead the parade through the streets of New York today.

Taoiseach visits United States of America Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) and his partner Matt Barrett walk in the St Patrick's Day parade on 5th Avenue in New York City. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

With reporting by Christina Finn in New York City

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR marched with his partner, Matt, in the St Patrick’s Day parade in New York.

Crowds of Irish-Americans shouted messages of support at the Taoiseach as he walked down Fifth Avenue.

Marching in the parade through the high-rise streets, his presence at the parade is thought to be particularly significant given that it was only two years ago that the ban restricting gay rights groups marching in the annual parade was lifted.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the parade, the Taoiseach said:

“On a personal level it’s a real privilege to be here in New York, in a city that is so close to Ireland in so many different ways,” he said.

“I’d a chance to meet the Mayor and the Ambassador this morning and I’m going to be able to march in the parade now with my partner which is something that is a sign of change and a sign of great diversity, not just in Ireland but among the great community here as well.”

The move by the Taoiseach to march in the parade with his partner comes days after he raised the issue of LGBT rights with Vice-President Mike Pence.

Not surprisingly, plenty of Irish-Americans stopped the Taoiseach for chats and selfies today.

The New York City parade is one of the largest St Patrick’s Day parades in the world.

Read: From Dublin to New York: How we’re celebrating St Patrick’s Day

Read: Mayor of New York declares today as Gerry Adams Day

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