Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says he expects to see a united Ireland in his lifetime

Mr Varadkar said on RTÉ news today that there would be a million Britons in a united Ireland. He said a country’s success is measured by how it treats its minorities.

“I believe we are on the path to unification. I believe there will be a united Ireland in my lifetime,” he told listeners.

The Fine Gael politician also referred to the singing of certain songs and how this is perceived over time.

“And in this united Ireland there will be a minority. About a million people are British,” he said.

RTE news today

“And the success and quality of a country is judged by how it treats its minorities, and we need to think about that.”

“Because a Republican has a nice song to sing? For some people, words are easy to learn. Can be deeply offensive to other people.”

Mr Varadkar used an example from across the water to emphasize his point.

“Remember that in the South, for example, when people sing about the Confederacy and Robert E. Lee, they think it’s an expression of their culture and so on, that’s what they’re saying.”

“But this is deeply offensive to the minority, the black community in America.

“If we want to unite this country and the people of this country – a bit as Patrick Kielty says, we just need to think about our words and how the songs we sing might be heard by other people,” the Taoiseach said.

Referring to the recent Wolfe Tones drama at Electric Picnic, Varadkar said: “I’m probably more optimistic about it than maybe other people.”

“People like ballads and they like songs they can sing along to. I think some people might be reading too much into the politics behind it.”

Mr Varadkar also expressed confidence in the RTÉ board following the recent controversy.

“I have great confidence in the new general manager. I think he has made a very good start in very difficult circumstances over the last few months,” the Taoiseach added.

Mr Varadkar defended his government’s record on housing and pushed back against claims that “thousands” of families were pushed into homelessness by the lifting of the ban on evictions earlier this year.

“Thousands? No, I don’t think so,” he said, adding that homelessness “did not go down” when the eviction ban was in effect and that “deferred homelessness” was realized when it was lifted.

He called homelessness a “terrible thing” and “a real blight on our society” and attributed one of the main factors – “as big a factor as eviction notices” – to family failure in Ireland.

Mr Varadkar said it was “impossible to say” when the number of homeless people in the country would decline.

The Taoiseach also addressed the use of tents in Stradbally – the site of Electric Picnic – to temporarily house refugees.

Mr Varadkar said he had the “pleasant experience” of welcoming a Ukrainian refugee into his home earlier this year and encouraged other members of the public to do the same.

He said they stayed at his house for “nine months” and it was “a very positive experience.”

Mr Varadkar said it was an “enormous challenge” to manage the influx of refugees into Ireland and said tents would have to be used “from time to time”.

“However, we are confident that those in Stradbally will certainly only need to use them for a period of a few weeks,” he said.

https://www.sundayworld.com/news/irish-news/taoiseach-leo-varadkar-says-he-expects-to-see-a-united-ireland-in-his-lifetime/a753894225.html Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says he expects to see a united Ireland in his lifetime


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