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Irish Taoiseach in US for St Patrick's Day

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Irish Taoiseach in US for St Patrick's Day

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The Irish Taoiseach's traditional St Patrick's Day visit to Washington has attracted more controversy than usual.

Before gifting President Trump with a ceremonial shamrock bowl to celebrate the relationship between America and Ireland, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar mentioned Irish people living in the US illegally.

Mr Trump has in the past vowed to clamp down on illegal immigration in America.

"I know that the Irish people who've made their lives here, including those who are undocumented and living in the shadows, love this country dearly," he said. "They had the same dream as the men and women who inspired Washington, who fought for Lincoln, and work aside you today."

And there was more controversy over Varadkar's meeting with Vice-President Mike Pence.

In a break with protocol, Pence’s officials barred media from the traditional St Patrick’s event

The move came after Varadkar, Ireland’s first openly gay leader, stated he was going to raise the issue of LGBT rights with the socially conservative vice president who has faced criticism on the issue.