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Taoiseach has no recollection of 'walking away' from LCD Soundsystem guitarist

Leo Varadkar told reporters today that he had “no difficulty” talking politics on social occasions.
Oct 2nd 2017, 5:26 PM 30,538 78

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that he doesn’t remember walking away from a band member who’d raised his views on abortion and said he has no difficulty with people raising political issues with him on social occasions.

The Fine Gael leader also said that if he happened to see someone walking towards him wearing a Repeal tote bag, he “might not consider walking over”.

American band LCD Soundsystem played three sold-out gigs in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre last week, the last of which took place on Friday.

The Taoiseach attended the Friday gig, alongside cabinet colleagues Paschal Donohoe and Helen McEntee.

After the concert, guitarist Al Doyle tweeted that Varadkar had walked away from him because he was wearing a Repeal tote bag around his neck, and called him a “tosser”.

In subsequent tweets, Doyle said that the band should have done “due diligence” on who was getting let backstage and said he didn’t want the interaction to detract from the “real debate” around the Eighth Amendment.

Doyle’s bandmate Nancy Whang also took aim at Varadkar, after the Irish Daily Mail ran a front page story about the incident, calling him a “liar” and said that she hoped he enjoyed his “free concert and taco”.

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Speaking to reporters in Dublin today, Varadkar said that he had been invited backstage after the conclusion of the concert.

He said: “I was invited backstage to meet the band. From my recollection, it was an ordinary, relatively pleasant engagement [and] one or two members of the band wanted to raise their views on abortion.

I certainly had no difficulty with that. Nobody with me had any difficulty with that. I didn’t realise there was a problem until the next day. There you go.

The Taoiseach added that one person in particular had raised the issue of abortion with him but said he had “no difficulty with people raising political issues with [him] on social occasions”.

“It happens all the time, I guarantee you,” Varadkar said.

When asked if he had walked away from Doyle, he said that he didn’t “have a recollection of that” – but added:

I can imagine if you saw someone walking towards you with a ‘Repeal’ tote bag around their neck it might not be the first thing you consider doing is walking over so… I’m not sure I walked away.

Read: LCD Soundsystem’s guitarist Al Doyle may have pissed off Leo Varadkar with a ‘Repeal’ tote bag last night

Read: How Dublin’s March for Choice was reported around the world

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Sean Murray

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