Taoiseach presents traditional bowl of shamrock to US President

President Trump says Leo Varadkar is "doing a great job"

Taoiseach presents traditional bowl of shamrock to US President

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar presents US President Donald Trump with a bowl of shamrock as Melania Trump looks on, 15-03-2018. Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

The Taoiseach has presented US President Donald Trump with the traditional bowl of shamrock at a ceremony at the White House.

Leo Varadkar was greeted outside the ceremony by the US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania.

President Trump told reporters that the believes the Taoiseach is “doing a great job.”

Inside he noted that he had become “fast friends” with the Taoiseach during the St Patrick’s Day tour.

Earlier, the US President said he was looking forward to visiting Ireland, noting that the relationship between the two countries is "outstanding and only getting better."

"A tremendous number of Irish are living in New York where I grew up and they are living in the United States and these are truly wonderful people, we love them," he said.

The meeting marked Leo Varadkar’s first official state engagement with President Trump.

The Taoiseach used the opportunity to emphasise the strength of Irish-US relations and highlight the issues facing the undocumented Irish.

ahead of the conversation he said trade and the potential for a trade war between the EU and the US would top the agenda.

Controversy

His trip has not been without controversy however, with Mr Varadkar coming in for heavy criticism at home revealed he intervened in plans to build a wind farm in County Clare on Mr Trump's request. 

He said Mr Trump called him to tell him he had purchased the Doonbeg Golf Resort in County Clare but "there was a problem nearby, somebody was trying to build a wind farm and that of course could have a real impact on tourism and the beauty of the landscape."

"So I endeavoured to do what I could about it," he said.

"I rang the county council and inquired about the planning permission - and subsequently the planning permission was declined - thus the landscape being preserved.

He has faced cross-party calls to explain his actions in the hours since - however his spokesperson has insisted there was nothing unusual in his decisions.