*From:* "Gillman, Todd" <xxx@dallasnews.com>
*Date:* March 15, 2018 at 1:02:43 PM EDT *Subject:* *pool report #5/more luncheon*

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar spoke after President Trump at the Friends of Ireland luncheon.

He recalled that in 2000 he worked as an intern for Rep. Jack Quinn of Buffalo. I used to give tours of this building, he said, adding that it must have surprised visitors to find an Irish intern with an Indian name, though at one time he had all the statues memorized. I gave a pretty mean tour I reckon. Its a place that I hold dear.

He keeps a cherished memento, a star spangled banner that flew over the Cannon House Office Building, in his office. And he said that I learned the art of politics here.

He said that he and Trump had had a good discussion about a number of issues, including a desire to never again see a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

He recounted his first encounter with Trump, three or four years ago when I was minister of tourism and Trump had just purchased a golf resort. A proposed wind farm threatened the view. Trump called out of the blue. He was surprised. A typical businessman would have made an appointment but, he quipped, Trump doesnt do things the way other people do. I rang the county council and the wind far was never built. The president has very kindly given me credit for that, he said, although he emphasized that hes pretty sure the permit would have been denied without his input.

Varadkar noted the representation of Irish Americans in high places in the United States and said it is a really great source of pride to all of us.

The United States has been our most steadfast partner through the years, he said.

Other notables at the luncheon (courtesy Irish colleagues): Ian Paisley Jr., a member of the British Parliament and son of the late DUP leader; Edwin Poots, a member of the legislative assembly in Northern Ireland. Also here: Mary Lou McDonald, the Sinn Fin leader and a member of the Irish Parliament. She was seated with a hard line unionist, Nigel Dodds, the deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.

Todd J. Gillman
Washington Bureau Chief
The Dallas Morning News
529 14th Street NW, suite 930
Washington, DC 20045
202/-xxx-xxxx cell

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