The new Republic of Ireland Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, has admitted he is attempting to pressure the DUP into legalising same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
Varadkar, who is homosexual, met with DUP leader Arlene Foster last week in Dublin to discuss the effects of Brexit and power sharing at Stormont.
His pressure comes amid media coverage attacking the DUP’s stance on abortion and same-sex marriage.
MLAs have been asked to vote for the redefinition of marriage five times during the last five years. Each time, the proposal has been stopped.
Varadkar said: “I had the opportunity to meet with Arlene Foster and the DUP last week in Dublin and at that meeting I expressed my strong view that marriage equality should be permitted in Northern Ireland.”
He added: “The only question is when, not whether, it will come about in Northern Ireland”.
Varadkar also said the petition of concern mechanism should not be used on the issue of same-sex marriage. The mechanism requires a majority of MLAs from within both the unionist and nationalist communities to approve any change.
‘Well stated position’
Foster and the DUP made Varadkar aware of their opposing views on the matter, and the Irish Prime Minister conceded that he had failed to change their minds.
However, he pledged to continue to exert political pressure on the DUP to introduce same-sex marriage.
Senior DUP member Simon Hamilton responded to Varadkar’s comments, saying: “Leo has a well stated and clear position on that and the DUP equally has a clear and well stated position in respect of that issue.”