Tuesday 24 October 2017

Enda Kenny will travel to Washington for St Patrick's Day - even if new government isn't formed

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Cormac McQuinn Political Correspondent

It has been confirmed that Taoiseach Enda Kenny will travel to Washington DC for St Patrick's Day, even if a new government isn't formed by then.

While Mr Kenny will travel to US capital, the number of ministers going abroad as part of the annual promotion of Irish business, culture and tourism will be "curtailed".

A government spokesman confirmed that ministers that lost their seats will not travel but could not say how many other Cabinet members will go abroad.

It has been confirmed this evening that Mr Kenny's visit will include a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Tánaiste Joan Burton is expected to travel but the destination has yet to be confirmed.

Earlier Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said he believed that that Mr Kenny should still travel for St Patrick's Day but that there is a "question mark" over whether other ministers should go abroad.

Mr Adams said there was "an option for them not to go around the world. In the past we've been represented very well by ambassadors and consulates.

"I think there is an argument for the Taoiseach, even though he might not have the mandate, to represent the State."

"We [Sinn Féin] haven't discussed this in any detail but I'm sure people will be a bit offended if they see somebody traipsing off as a minister when indeed they were rejected at the polls. Now I'm not personalising that. That's just the reality of that."

"So the short answer to that is, yes certainly the Taoiseach but a question mark over the rest of them."

Mr Adams is travelling to Washington and New York himself.

"We always do that and the diaspora expects that," he said but added that it will not be at the taxpayer's expense.

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