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Leo struggles to answer whether he'd wear Orange Order socks during his Belfast trip

“Um, I’d have to take a look at them first,” was his initial reply to the question put to him by Good Morning Ulster.

THE TAOISEACH HAS been praised previously for being quite straightforward, frank and clear in his media interviews.

But he was caught out during one this morning on BBC’s Good Morning Ulster. Of all the controversial topics relating to matters in Northern Ireland – the out-of-action Stormont Assembly, the Irish border problem, and paramilitary activities to name a few – the issue Leo Varadkar tripped up on was about socks.

When asked whether he’d wear Orange Order socks during his trip, he struggled to give an answer. Have a listen here, or read the transcript below:

Interviewer: “The Orange Order has its own brand of socks – will you be wearing a pair today?”

Leo Varadkar: Ehm, I don’t have a pair, but..

“If you did, would you wear them?”

Um, I’d have to take a look at them first.
It’s customary when I visit places that people often give me a pair of socks. So emh, eh, eh, I’ll look at that. That’s a hypothetical question, but certainly ehm, ehm, ehm…

*Laughing from the interviewer*

…If I receive such a gift, I would receive it with.. with ehm, with open arms but I certainly wouldn’t want to wear anything that might offend anyone else.

“They’re orange with purple diamonds on them.”

*Taoiseach laughs*

“Look, I can’t answer that I’m afraid.”

The Taoiseach is to go to the Orange Order Museum and launch the Féile an Phobail Belfast festival today as part of a Belfast trip. This is Leo Varadkar’s sixth visit to Northern Ireland since he became Taoiseach.

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During Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to Dublin, Varadkar wore red socks with maple leafs and mounties on them.

That’s a trend that started with Trudeau, who has worn everything from rainbow coloured socks in solidarity with the gay community to Muslim-themed socks during Ramadan.

Justin Trudeau Ireland visit Varadkar and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Farmleigh House in July 2017. Source: Niall carson

On the Queen’s Loyal Orange Lodge website, it showed that the orange socks referred to by the presenter of Good Morning Ulster are sold out, but more have been ordered.

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