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Thursday 22 February 2018

'Not swanning around George' - Taoiseach Varadkar hits back at broadcaster George Hook on Twitter

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar joins in the Pride march through Montreal with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo: Reuters
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar joins in the Pride march through Montreal with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo: Reuters
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) walks with his Irish counterpart Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (C) and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett during the Montreal Pride parade in Montreal, Canada August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) walks with his Irish counterpart Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (L) during the Montreal Pride parade in Montreal, Canada August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Cormac McQuinn and Nicola Anderson

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has hit back at broadcaster George Hook's criticism on none other than the Twitter machine.

The Taoiseach, who is currently on a trip to Canada, used the social media network to respond to the Newstalk broadcaster's comments that he was "swanning around Canada."

Hook made the comments on his Newstalk programme, 'High Noon', this afternoon.

The tweet reads; "George. Not swanning around Canada. 4 meetings & 4 public events today. Business. Tourism. Media. Irish community. Jobs. Trade."

The tweet received much traction online, with one person replying to the Taoiseach, writing; "C'mon Leo, you're better than answering to that gombeen! If you held a blue pen in your hand he'd rage it wasn't red & vice versa!"

Mr Hook responded to the social media message, noting that what he described as his "rant" about the Taoiseach's trip at the start of his show would have been broadcast at 7am Canadian time.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) walks with his Irish counterpart Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (L) during the Montreal Pride parade in Montreal, Canada August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) walks with his Irish counterpart Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (L) during the Montreal Pride parade in Montreal, Canada August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

He added: "So we do know the Taoiseach - true to form - [who] represents the people that get up early in the morning - was indeed up early in the morning."

Mr Hook also read out a listener's text that said Mr Varadkar should wear the presenter's contempt like "a badge of honour".

And Mr Hook - tongue in cheek - said the Taoiseach has done his show's presence on the "old Twitter machine", a "great favour".

He said: "I think we will establish a new world, Olympic and national record for Tweets on @ghook thanks to all the people who are re-tweeting Leo Varadkar's comment that he's not swanning around Canada, that he's up every morning beavering away at events that relate to helping the Irish economy and the betterment of the Irish people and we're all indeed delighted to hear it." 

Varadkar and Trudeau pose with a bride and groom at the Montreal Pride parade in Montreal
Varadkar and Trudeau pose with a bride and groom at the Montreal Pride parade in Montreal
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) walks with his Irish counterpart Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (L) during the Montreal Pride parade in Montreal, Canada August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar joins in the Pride march through Montreal with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo: Reuters
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) walks with his Irish counterpart Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (C) and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett during the Montreal Pride parade in Montreal, Canada August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Leo Varadkar addresses an Enterprise Ireland event in Toronto
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) and his Irish counterpart Taoiseach Leo Varadkar participate in a welcoming ceremony at the Royal Highland Regiment Armoury in Montreal, Quebec Canada August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomes Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the Royal Highland Regiment Armoury in Montrea
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participate in a welcoming ceremony at the Royal Highland Regiment Armoury in Montreal
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) shakes hands with his Irish counterpart Taoiseach Leo Varadkar prior to a bilateral meeting in Montreal, Quebec Canada August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett were cheered from the rafters yesterday as they marched in the Montreal Pride Parade alsongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Tens of thousands of people lined the Pride route.

Varadkar and Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau had met earlier to discuss trade - but cut loose on the parade route, rolling up their sleeves and they chatted to the crowds.

In a serious moment as he addressed the crowd, Varadkar said more needed to be done for diversity.

"We need to stand up to homophobic bullying in workplaces an schools, we need to make more advances in the area of sexual health; that is a key priority for me at home and internationally," he declared.

"Countries that are progressive, open and diverse, like Canada and Ireland have a responsibility to other people in other parts of the world where equality and equal rights are under threat and the clock is being turned backwards.

"We need to use our voices to stand up to communities who face real threats and real dangers," he said.

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