The Taoiseach has used his meeting with the US Vice President to thank for her activism on behalf of the LGBT community.
Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett met with Kamala Harris at her Washington DC residence this morning.
The Taoiseach is meeting with President Joe Biden this afternoon.
In a speech at the Vice Presidents residence Mr Varadkar said he is not sure he would be where he now is if it wasn't for American activism on LGBT rights.
‘Ireland has a close and deep bond with these United States and we are always grateful for that.’
The Taoiseach praises the central role the US played in the peace process, “driving it forwards at critical points, when few others had the influence to do so”. #GFA25@SeanDefoe pic.twitter.com/rnBG12NGFx
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) March 17, 2023
“As doctors and as proud members of the LGBT community, please allow us to say how inspired we have been by your personal advocacy for marriage equality, particularly in relation to Proposition 8 and also your defence of the affordable healthcare act,” he said to Vice President Harris.
“From Stonewall to Sacramento to San Francisco, America has led the way when it comes to LGBT equality and I don’t think I would be here today were it not for what America did.
“I know you have been such a strong ally for our community in that regard and thank you for that.”
Mr Varadkar said the US Affordable Healthcare Act is similar to Ireland’s Sláintecare programme, suggesting both countries have “Much in common and much to do” when it comes to healthcare.
“Madame @VP, in particular, today, I want to acknowledge the central role which the United States has played in the peace process on our island, driving it forward at critical junctures, when few others could have.” pic.twitter.com/F7o00cmWVa
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) March 17, 2023
He also praised the role the US has played in the peace process down through the years.
“This year, as you know we are marking many anniversaries in Ireland,” he said.
“Twenty-five years since the Good Friday Agreement, 50 years since we joined the EU and 100 years since we joined the League of Nations.
“The international landscape has changed dramatically in this sweep of time. For Ireland, however, one relationship has endured throughout – our close and deep bond with these United States and we are always grateful for that.
“So, Madame Vice President, today, I want to acknowledge the central role the US played in the peace process on our island, driving it forwards at critical points, when few others had the influence to do so”.
The Taoiseach presented Kamala Harris with a silver peace bell pic.twitter.com/itLv47rEUQ
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) March 17, 2023
Mr Varadkar then presented Vice President Harris with an Irish silver bell as a ‘token of appreciation and emblem of peace and freedom’.
Main image shows, Left to Right, Matt Barrett, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, US Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, 17-03-2023. Image: Sean Defoe/Newstalk