Taoiseach says it "seems so strange" that same-sex marriage isn't allowed in the North

The Taoiseach was speaking in Washington DC during his ongoing visit to the US

Taoiseach says it "seems so strange" that same-sex marriage isn't allowed in the North

Leo Varadkar. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

The Taoiseach has called for the introduction of same-sex marriage in the North.

Speaking on his visit to the US to mark St Patrick's Day, Leo Varadkar said it seems strange to him that people in the six counties don't have the same rights as those in the UK or the Republic.

He also used his address in Washington DC to call for official recognition of the Irish language in Northern Ireland, and said it is damaging for the North to continue without a power-sharing executive.

Speaking yesterday, the Taoiseach observed: "The biggest parade that happens in Northern Ireland every year is not a march of the Orange Order, or a march of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. It is, in fact, Belfast Pride.

"That's why it seems so strange for me that in Northern Ireland marriage equality is not allowed. To me, any rights or freedom that the British have in Britain, and the Irish have in Ireland... surely people in Northern Ireland should have as well."

Leo Varadkar attended Belfast Pride last August, during his first visit to Northern Ireland after his confirmation as Taoiseach.

The Taoiseach's US tour is continuing, and tomorrow he will visit the White House for his first meeting with Donald Trump.

Additional reporting by Stephen McNeice