Crisis in Gaza top of agenda as Taoiseach begins St Patrick’s trip to US

Crisis in Gaza top of agenda as Taoiseach begins St Patrick’s trip to US

THE Taoiseach will plead the case for the US to call a ceasefire in Gaza while meeting with President Joe Biden this week.

Leo Varadkar flew to the US yesterday, where he will remain until St Patrick’s Day on March 17.

He will attend a series of political, economic and Irish community engagements in Boston first, before travelling to Washington DC for the traditional St Patrick’s Day celebrations this weekend.

Last night he gave his first major speech of his visit in Massachusetts, where he said the world could not turn a blind eye to the fact that the thousands of children were being killed as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict wages on.

"The cries of the innocent will haunt us forever if we stay silent," he said at the event held in the John F Kennedy Library.

"The cries will engender more retaliation and beget more violence and revenge," he added.

"No child ever gave their consent for terrorist acts. No child should ever be punished for them."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is in the US this week

Mr Varadkar will meet with US President Joe Biden later this week where he will press that message further.

“My visit to the US comes at a crucial time in global affairs and US leadership is needed more now than ever,” he said.

“I look forward to discussing with President Biden, and leaders on Capitol Hill, our shared commitment to continued support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression,” he added.

“I will also raise the concerns of the Irish people on the shocking crisis in Gaza, reiterating our call for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire to facilitate a massive increase in the humanitarian aid that can reach desperate people and the immediate and unconditional release of the remaining hostages.”

He explained: “I will be emphasising that a peaceful and secure future for all people in the region can come only from a two state solution, with Israel living side-by-side in peace with a fully-fledged State of Palestine.”

Mr Varadkar is one of 38 Irish Government representatives who will be attending over 1,000 official events in 84 cities in 47 countries across the globe this week.

The focus for the government’s St Patrick’s Day 2024 programme is ‘the future of our country in the world’.

While in the US, the Taoiseach will take time to connect with members of the diaspora living there, and celebrate the achievements of some of the younger members of that community.

“St Patrick’s Day is a moment to reconnect with the 70 million people worldwide of Irish background, and not least the over 30 million in the US of Irish heritage,” the Taoiseach explained.

“The Government’s theme for St. Patrick’s Day 2024 is ‘Ireland’s future in the world’ so this year I wish to celebrate the achievements of our young diaspora leaders in the US across the fields of innovation, creativity, community development, business, and academia,” he added.

“Many of the events in both Boston and Washington DC will enable me to recognise their invaluable contribution to sustaining and deepening the close bonds between Ireland and the US, now and into the future.

“My visit is also an opportunity to highlight our strong and growing trade and investment relationship, a relationship that is increasingly balanced and two-way.

“I look forward to engaging with Irish and US companies working to grow this mutually beneficial relationship.”