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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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The Taoiseach and his partner have welcomed Mike Pence to Farmleigh ahead of a family lunch

The US Vice President stopped by the Áras earlier this morning.

US VICE PRESIDENT Mike Pence and his wife Karen have arrived in Dublin, after being welcomed into Shannon by Tánaiste Simon Coveney yesterday afternoon.

us-vice-president-visits-ireland Source: Jacob King

The couple are being accompanied on the trip by Pence’s mother Nancy Pence-Fritsch and his sister Ann Poynter. Retired lieutenant general Keith Kellogg, Pence’s top national security aide, is also joining the Vice President on his Irish visit.

He began his engagements this morning with a courtesy call to President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina at Áras an Uachtaráin.

The visiting delegation were greeted outside the Áras by the President’s Secretary General Art O’Leary and escorted to the State Drawing Room where the Vice President and Second Lady signed the Visitors’ Book.

In his message, Pence wrote that he was signing the book in honour of “a great Irishman Richard Michael Cawley” – his maternal grandfather, who moved to the US in 1923 after serving with the Free State Army.

The president’s spokesman said afterwards that Higgins “acknowledged long-standing US support for the peace process in Northern Ireland” in his talks with Pence, and “highlighted the importance of human rights and equality legislation in resolving the conflict and promoting social change on the island of Ireland”.

The spokesperson’s statement added:

“The President spoke of the two nations’ shared concerns about the challenges posed by Brexit and stressed the important role of multilateral cooperation in addressing complex global issues such as conflict, poverty, food insecurity and climate change.”

Brexit will also be top of the agenda for talks between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Pence.

The Vice President said yesterday at Shannon that the US wanted to support a Brexit plan that encourages stability and keeps the “strong foundation forged by the Good Friday Agreement”.

The Taoiseach has said he will use today’s meeting to further outline and explain Ireland’s position on Brexit.

Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett welcomed Pence and his family to Farmleigh shortly before noon.

The Taoiseach’s parents are joining them for a family lunch at the Phoenix Park mansion, which serves as the state’s official guest house.

After their arrival at Farmleigh, the Vice President and his mother were also shown the military service record of his grandfather. The Taoiseach tweeted that Cawley “served with distinction” during the Civil War. 

The two leaders are due to make statements to the press later this afternoon.

About 50 protesters, carrying rainbow flags and playing music, held a ‘Disco at the Dáil’ on Kildare Street this afternoon to mark Pence’s presence in the country. 

The Vice President, a former governor of Indiana, has long been criticised for his views on LGBT rights and abortion. 

The demonstration was organised by Amnesty Ireland. 

- With reporting by Andrew Roberts 

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Daragh Brophy

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