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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 20 February, 2020

Varadkar tells all-male lunch that 'real change requires courage'

The Transport Minister said that Ireland should embody “justice, opportunity and equality”.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

THE MINISTER FOR Transport Leo Varadkar yesterday told an all-male lunch that Ireland should be “free and independent”.

Speaking at the Hibernian Society in Savannah, Georgia, Varadkar said that Irish people should aspire to a country that includes everyone.

“Catholic, Protestant, believer and non-believer, gay, straight, male, female,” Varadkar told the event, which caused headlines last year when Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore declined to attend.

Varadkar recalled images of Robert Emmett in his speech.

We must remember the spirit of Robert Emmet and recognise that real change requires that we find the courage within ourselves to make our future as it ought to be – free and independent, equal and just.

He added that on St Patrick’s Day, we “celebrate all that we have achieved, and rededicate ourselves to what we still must do”.

Varadkar said that places like Savannah, which has held a St Patrick’s Day parade for the last 200 years, helped make Ireland what it is.

“We share a vision of the kind of Ireland we hope to see in the future – free and independent, both economically and culturally, embodying a spirit of justice, opportunity and equality on the national and international stage. Ireland as she ought to be.”

Read: Fianna Fáil criticises Tánaiste for ‘snubbing’ men-only dinner in Georgia

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