Taoiseach apologises for ‘intern’ remark in Washington

Taoiseach apologises for ‘intern’ remark in Washington

US President Joe Biden welcomed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to the White House to celebrate St Patrick's Day.

Taoiseach Varadkar hailed the Irish-American relationship as one of "two proud democracies, close friends and economic partners" at a reception hosted at the residence of Ireland's ambassador to the US Geraldine Byrne Nason.

But a whiff of controversy hung about the even and the Taoiseach's office were forced to issue an apology for an off-the-cuff comment he made at an event for Irish interns in Washington, prior to the St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Speaking at the launch of the Washington Ireland Program Class of 2023, an event for a group of interns from Ireland on work placement in America, the Taoiseach told them about his own days as a Washington intern in 2000.

He remarked it was a time "when some parents would have had cause for concern about what would happen to interns in Washington".

That was taken to be a reference to then president Bill Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Later his office issued a statement saying: “At the Washington Ireland Program event today the Taoiseach was reminiscing about his time in Washington DC as an intern 23 years ago. He made an ill-judged off the cuff remark which he regrets. He apologises for any offence caused to anyone concerned.