Arlene Foster Criticises Taoiseach's Decision To Launch Belfast Festival
The Taoiseach is facing criticism as he prepares to open a Belfast festival which some link to the republican movement.
Leo Varadkar is in the North for a visit today, where he'll launch the programme for Féile an Phobail in west Belfast.
The festival programme includes a talk by the leaders of 'The Great Escape', when IRA prisoners broke out of Long Kesh.
Austin Stack, whose father was murdered by the IRA, has criticised the move - while DUP leader Arlene Foster says she's "very concerned" at the message the Taoiseach is sending by attending.
Very concerned at the message Leo Varadkar is sending with his apparent endorsement of all events at West Belfast festival. My thoughts are with the families of Brian Stack, David Black, Adrian Ismay & the families of prison officers who face daily threats #standwithwhatsright https://t.co/7mcrcG221E— Arlene Foster (@DUPleader) June 7, 2018
Leo Varadkar says it's a community festival which he is happy to attend, and that the event is being headlined by Olly Murs who isn’t 'a die-hard republican'.
Mary Lou McDonald has also defended Mr Varadkar's decision to attend a "very fine festival", saying she thinks "people need to be a bit more thoughtful when they react to initiatives like this".
As part of the trip to Belfast, the Taoiseach will also visit the Museum of Orange Heritage.