Ireland's 1st Indian-origin PM meets Theresa May

Ivan Schwartz
June 20, 2017

"It's my first time in this building so it's a little thrill".

"We spoke on the way in and I was reminded of that final scene in Love Actually where Hugh Grant does his dance down the stairs".

"But apparently it wasn't actually filmed here", he added.

In his first official overseas visit since being elected Taoiseach last week, Mr Varadkar travels to London where Northern Ireland and Brexit will top the agenda.

May said the British Government was "steadfast in our support for the Belfast Agreement", but Varadkar said he was there to "relay concerns" about what could happen to the deal which brought peace to the island.

"We passed the Grenfell Tower on the way today and saw the destruction that occurred there and even this morning, as you know, there's been another atrocity up in Finsbury Park, on top of what's happened at London Bridge. We are talking about a confidence and supply agreement with them", she said.

"He must also tell the British Prime Minister that her government can not drag the North of Ireland out of the European Union against the democratically expressed wishes of the people".

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"Among other things, we will discuss Northern Ireland and the need to re-establish devolved government and Brexit, focusing on how we can avoid any adverse impact on the rights and freedoms of our citizens on trade and the economy", said Varadkar, an Indian-origin doctor and the Dublin-born son of Mumbai-born Ashok Varadkar and Irish mother Miriam.

"We are working away at them and will continue to work away at them".

The two leaders are also due to discuss the ongoing talks to try and restore power sharing in the North.

Talks are also likely to have included what Mrs May's planned deal with the DUP will look like - amid concerns that any agreement could jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement as it would henceforth be biased towards one party.

She said that, regardless of this process, the United Kingdom government "remains absolutely steadfast in our commitment to the Belfast Agreement and to the successor agreements".

Mr Varadkar confirmed he raised the issue at the meeting.

"I am very reassured by what the Prime Minister said to me today that that won't be the case".

Other reports by GizPress

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