Wednesday 22 May 2019

Top secret: Varadkar's letter to Melania Trump stays confidential

Note: First Lady Melania Trump at the White House Easter Egg Roll. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS
Note: First Lady Melania Trump at the White House Easter Egg Roll. Photo: Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has been in written communication with US First Lady Melania Trump - but is refusing to release his letter on the grounds it constitutes 'international relations'.

The note to Ms Trump is just one in a series of correspondence between Mr Varadkar and the White House that will remain confidential.

On foot of a Freedom of Information request, his department confirmed that he wrote to President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence five times last year.

In April 2018, he was in touch with the first lady and Mr Varadkar had an exchange of pleasantries with Mr Pence's mother Nancy early this year. Only the letter to Ms Pence has been released.

Officials cited an exemption under FOI laws that allows them to refuse communications involving international relations.

They did release the notes between Mr Varadkar and Ms Pence, whose father emigrated to the United States from Co Sligo.

Ms Pence wrote Mr Varadkar a note earlier in which she described his visit to the vice-president's home in 2018 as a "lovely time".

"Your pride in the vice-president was obvious and he spoke with great passion about his Irish roots," Mr Varadkar replied.

"I hope this finds you well and I want to wish you every happiness."

Irish Independent

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