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Taoiseach cancels New York leg of US St Patrick’s Day visit due to coronavirus pressures

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (centre) walks in the St Patrick's Day parade in New York City alongside his partner Matt Barrett (centre left), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (centre right) and Congressman Peter King (right) in 2018
Photo Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (centre) walks in the St Patrick's Day parade in New York City alongside his partner Matt Barrett (centre left), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (centre right) and Congressman Peter King (right) in 2018 Photo Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (centre) walks in the St Patrick's Day parade in New York City alongside his partner Matt Barrett (centre left), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (centre right) and Congressman Peter King (right) in 2018 Photo Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The Taoiseach has cancelled a visit to New York for St Patrick’s Day festivities to concentrate on coordinating the battle against coronavirus at home, officials have confirmed.

Mr Varadkar had been due to travel to New York tomorrow as part of his USA St Patrick’s Day round of visits. This part of the journey was also to include further canvassing at the United Nations to boost Ireland’s chances of taking a seat on the Security Council.

But officials today confirmed that Mr Varadkar is not travelling tomorrow and will instead go directly to Washington on Wednesday.

“The Taoiseach is detained by work on the campaign to manage coronavirus situation,” a source told Independent.ie.

At this point there is no expected change to other ministerial overseas trips to boost Ireland’s marketing efforts around St Patrick’s Day. These trips have already been curtailed compared with previous years and they are mainly focused on cities with Irish links in the USA.

News of Mr Varadkar’s changed travel plans came as the Cabinet subcommittee met for the first time to consider managing the potential crisis. After a full briefing on the current situation from public health experts the members will focus on other issues.

These are income supports for people obliged to stay off work due to the need to “self-isolate” to cut infection risks. Currently such people are not covered by sick pay and the Taoiseach has already signalled that he is prepared to change this.

The ministers will also get an update on the question of stopping next week’s St Patrick’s Day parades and other festivities. There is an increasingly likelihood that these will be curtailed if not entirely cancelled.

Online Editors


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