Taoiseach criticised over Mike Pence phone call

Enda Kenny held a "warm conversation" over the phone with the incoming US vice president last night

Taoiseach criticised over Mike Pence phone call

Taoiseach Enda Kenny after a meeting in Government Buildings in Dublin | Image: Rollingnews.ie

The Taoiseach has come in for criticism for his failure to question the values put forward by the US Vice President-during his election campaign. 

The incoming American vice president, Mike Pence has been widely criticised for his views on abortion and gay rights.

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny spoke to Mr Pence over the phone last night with the economic ties between Ireland and America among the issues discussed “during a warm conversation that lasted 15 minutes."

Mr Kenny said he had used the opportunity to express his intention to engage positively with the new US administration “on a number of issues to the mutual benefit of Ireland and the US.”

However, the co-leader of the Social Democrats, Catherine Murphy has criticised Mr Kenny for his “undue haste” in embracing the values that drove the Trump / Pence campaign.

During their phone conversation, Mr Kenny raised the issue of the undocumented Irish in the US and expressed his determination to work with the new US administration to find a solution to the issue.

Mr Pence has strong familial ties to Ireland and the Taoiseach invited him to visit the country again “sometime in the future.”

Independent TD Ruth Coppinger has also come out to criticise the Taoiseach for staying silent on Pence’s “homophobic” views on the LGBTQ community.

“The Taoiseach was happy to take credit for the marriage referendum, to be photographed in Panti-Bar and take the international plaudits,” she said.

“You would think this champion of equality would criticise Pence for his bigoted views and attacks on LGBTQ people."

Deputy Coppinger said she was “disgusted” the Taoiseach had failed to criticise Mr Pence over his views on conversion therapy - a highly controversial practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation from gay to straight.

During his run for congress in 2000, a statement on Pence’s campaign website appeared to back the practice by arguing that "resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour."

“How could the Taoiseach claim homophobic Pence knows the issues that matter to Irish people when only last year, Irish people turned up in droves for same sex marriage and to validate LGBTQ relationships?” said Ms Coppinger.

“Just because Pence holidayed in Ireland as a child, the Taoiseach shouldn’t think that this bigot will get an open armed welcome from the majority of people. He will more likely be met with huge protests."