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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a visit to the home of the Boston Red Sox today Alamy
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'I'm not their mammy': Taoiseach addresses Fine Gael Senators who went to rugby instead of voting

The Taoiseach made the comments while visiting Fenway Park in Boston.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has signaled that he will not reprimand two Fine Gael Senators who chose to go to the Ireland v England rugby match at the weekend instead of voting in the referendums.

As reported by the Irish Independent earlier today, Fine Gael Senators John McGahon and Garret Ahearn did not vote in the Family and Care referendums on Friday because they were traveling to Twickenham in the UK for the Six Nations match on Saturday.

McGahon told the Irish Independent: “Regrettably I was out of country, with a flight that boarded at 8am, making voting in Dundalk impossible.”

Ahearn said: “Unfortunately I was out of the country and could not cast my vote in Tipperary.”

When asked if he would reprimand the pair today, the Taoiseach responded: 

“Ah look, they’re grown adults and I’m not their mammy”.

“I’m not going to be telling them what to do with their weekends and perhaps it was a trip that was organised long before the polling date was set – I don’t know,” Varadkar said. 

The Taoiseach added that personally, he would not be one to miss many votes, although he has missed “the odd one” for work reasons. 

“Decisions are made by those that turn up,” he added. 

Varadkar was speaking to reporters in Boston, where he has started the second day of his trip with a visit to Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox.

Message for Biden

When asked what message he would deliver to President Biden on Gaza and Ukraine when he visits the White House later this week, the Taoiseach said he would thank America for its support of Ukraine so far. 

“Please stick with us. We need to remember the lessons from the 1930s – You can’t appease a dictator. Putin will come back for more. And Europe and America must stand together on this,” he said. 

Varadkar added that he would be asking the US to put forward a funding package for Ukraine just like the EU has done. 

“It is in all our interests,” he said. 

On Gaza and Israel, the Taoiseach said he is very keen to push for a ceasefire. 

“And more importantly, to ask America to get involved once again in the drive for peace,” he said.

Agenda for the day

While in Boston today, the Taoiseach took a tour and met with Irish company, Output Sports, who specialise in sports data.

The option to pitch a ball on the mound was given to Varakar while visiting Fenway Park, but he chose not to, joking that he knew well how it would turn out. 

The Taoiseach was presented with a Red Sox jersey with ‘Varadkar’ stitched on the back, as a batting mit and baseball.

IMG_0071 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured earlier Christina Finn Christina Finn

Fenway Sports Group, who own the Red Sox as well as Liverpool Football club, recently launched PGA Tour Enterprises that will lead all commercial activities for the PGA Tour. 

Along with his new jersey, he was also presented with a signed gold cap by Rory McIlroy. 

IMG_0095 Varadkar with his new jersey Christina Finn Christina Finn

During photos being taken with the Irish ambassador to the US, Geraldine Byrne Nason and Sheila Fitzgerald, the Irish consulate in Boston, there was some repositioning of the Taoiseach for the photograph. 

With a smirk, the Taoiseach joked that we could just “edit the photos” and people in later – a nod to the ongoing controversy with Kate Middleton. 

The Taoiseach will speak at an Ireland Funds Young Leaders event where he will reflect on the Government’s theme for St. Patrick’s Day 2024 “Ireland’s future in the world”, celebrating the achievements of young diaspora leaders across the fields of innovation, creativity, community development, business, and academia around the world, including in the US. 

With reporting from Jane Matthews.

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.

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