Aug. 4, 2017, 6:32 a.m.
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dup’s arlene foster taoiseach leo varadkar leo varadkar northern ireland queen’s university

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TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has travelled north of the border, where he will hold meetings with the leaders of the main political parties, including the DUP’s Arlene Foster.This is the first time that Varadkar will hold talks in Northern Ireland since he became Taoiseach.Brexit is set to be high on the agenda, after comments from Varadkar last week on the issue of the border drew the ire of unionists.Varadkar will also give a speech at Queen’s University in Belfast this morning, and attend a Belfast Pride event tomorrow.Last week, Varadkar spoke strongly on Ireland’s position on Brexit, saying that ”we’re not going to help the UK come up with a border solution”.Varadkar went on to say that the government’s position is that there should be no border, so it will not help in designing one.“We do not think it is in the interests of our country,” he said. The Fine Gael leader said it was up to the British government to propose solutions to the border issue, as it was “Britain who decided to leave” the EU.The DUP lined up to criticise this position, however, with Foster calling the comments “unhelpful”.Deputy leader Nigel Dodds accused the Taoiseach of “sending mixed messages” and “going backwards” and DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr said that Varadkar was “cutting off his nose to spite his face”.Yesterday, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams welcomed Varadkar’s statements, and accused the DUP of “disrespecting the will of the people in the North who voted to remain within the EU in last year’s referendum”.At Queen’s University today, the Taoiseach will deliver an address on “the future of relationships North and South”, and take part in a moderated session on the same topic.He will then attend a Pride event tomorrow morning, but not the actual Pride parade, before heading back to watch Dublin play Monaghan in Croke Park.