Friday 22 March 2019

Varadkar credits help from Trump with saving Irish jobs

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar presents US President Donald Trump with a bowl of Shamrock during a St Patrick's Day Celebration reception and Shamrock presentation ceremony at the White House. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar presents US President Donald Trump with a bowl of Shamrock during a St Patrick's Day Celebration reception and Shamrock presentation ceremony at the White House. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has credited help from US President Donald Trump with saving hundreds of jobs in the west of Ireland.

US sanctions against Russia affected the Aughinish Alumina refinery in Limerick as its parent company Rusa has links to oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

He’s an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been accused of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

The refinery in Limerick employs around 450 people and doubt was cast over its future due to the sanctions.

Donald and Melania Trump greeting Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett at the White House
Photo: Melania Trump/Twitter
Donald and Melania Trump greeting Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett at the White House Photo: Melania Trump/Twitter

Mr Varadkar discussed the issue with Mr Trump during his visit to Washington in 2018 and how jobs in the region were at risk and the President asked is officials to look into it.

The Trump administration is understood to have helped in finding a solution so ensure that the plant did not fall under the sanctions regime.

Mr Deripaska agreed a deal with the US Treasury Department whereby he would reduce his stake in Rusal to have the sanctions lifted.

Mr Varadkar thanked Mr Trump for his help with Aughinish where he said hundreds of jobs had been threatened, adding: "with the help of the administration, we were able to save those jobs."

Mr Trump quipped, with reference to the media present, "They don't know about what I do for other people".

Meanwhile, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, one of the most high profile LGBT figures in the US, picked up on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett’s visit to Vice President Mike Pence’s home.

She tweeted: “Mike Pence met with Ireland’s openly gay PM and his boyfriend. This makes me very happy.”

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