Behind closed doors: Reporting ban placed on Varadkar and Pence meeting at request of US officials
The meeting between the Taoiseach and the US Vice President is traditionally open to the media
The much-anticipated meeting between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and US vice president Mike Pence will be held behind closed doors.
Traditionally the St Patrick’s Day breakfast meeting between the Taoiseach and the Vice President is open to the media and their comments can be reported to the public.
However, on Friday morning the media will be prohibited from reporting the remarks of both leaders.
Mr Varadkar is one of few openly gay world leaders and Mr Pence has been criticised for his views on LGBT rights.
It is understood the decision to bar the media was taken by the vice president’s Office.
Irish Government sources said they are “not happy” that the media are being prevented from reporting on the event.
“It’s the decision of the vice presidents Office,” the source added.
It is understood Department of Foreign Affairs staff are still consulting with Mr Pence’s Office about the situation.
Mr Pence has long been criticised for his opposition to gay rights and is a rumoured supporter of conversion therapy – a discredited practice that proponents claim can make gay people straight.
The Taoiseach was asked on Wednesday if he will raise the issue when they meet.
"I'm told Vice President Pence is not a supporter of conversion therapy even though some people have alleged he is," he said.
"But I imagine if I have the opportunity - I'm going to meet him over breakfast - so if I have the opportunity I'll certainly be mentioning the wider issue of equal rights and freedoms for LGBT."
Last year’s meeting between Mr Pence and former Taoiseach Enda Kenny was open to the media.