TAOISEACH LEO Varadkar is in Washington DC today for the annual meeting between the Irish and American leaders in the run-up to St Patrick's Day.
This year's meeting is slightly different for a number of reasons-- the New York leg of the trip has been cancelled, there will be no shamrock ceremony and Mr Varadkar anounced to Irish media outside the American Embassy that Ireland would be going into an effective lockdown in an attempt to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
But one apparent difference which has not gone unnoticed by eagle-eyed viewers on social media is that the flag which greted the visiting Irish leader appears to be il Tricolore-- the Italian national flag.
What’s with the Italian flag 🇮🇹 at the door to welcome an Irish head of state ? 🤨 https://t.co/GtSxChDMZf
— Fiona Melrose (@FMelroseWriter) March 12, 2020
In a video which showed Mr Varadkar be greeted by Mr Trump upon his arrival, two flags are present in the background: the red, white and blue of the US, and the green, white and ... actually pretty red-looking 'Irish flag'.
Questions started arising during the live video, streamed by RTÉ News, with one commenter saying "a really red looking orange on that flag" and one simply stating "that's the Italian flag".
Suspicions continued to spread on social media following the video, with one person asking "Is that a really, really, really dark orange or did they accidentally put the Italian flag outside the White House?"
Irish musician Hozier asked his followers "Lads. Was Leo just greeted at the door with an Italian flag or was that just a shadow?" and the results were, as one person said, "not favorable".
Um. Is that the Italian flag? Like, that looks *really* red. https://t.co/VkrlzxDpmB
— dirtycitybird (@dirtycitybird) March 12, 2020
A fairly embarrassing oversight from the Trump administration if it is indeed the Italian flag (and let's face it lads, it is looking extremely red), but it's likely not to be high on the Taoiseach's list of priorities as the whole of Ireland goes into effective lockdown from 6pm tonight, with schools, colleges and créches set to shut their doors until 29 March.