Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused the UK and the US of “turning inward” during his visit to Ireland.
At a joint press conference with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the 45-year-old said that there were opportunities for both Ireland and Canada to look ahead as their heavyweight neighbours try a different tack.
He suggested that they make a pitch as nations that are “exciting and open to the world in a positive, progressive way” as the world faces uncertain times.
“There are tremendous opportunities for countries like Canada and Ireland, at a time where perhaps our significant allies and trading partners in the case of both the US and the UK are turning inward or at least turning into a different direction,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Mr Varadkar, who emphasised his own country’s commitment to the European Union in spite of the UK’s “unfortunate” decision to leave the bloc.
“We each share a relationship with a very big neighbour, a neighbour that has to a certain extent decided to go in a different direction at least for the time being,” he said.
“Both countries, [Canada and Ireland], and both governments are committed to multilateralism as the best means by which we can solve the world’s problems.”
He added that he could only anticipate the UK making its own free-trade deals – like the one shared by Canada and the EU – once it has officially left the Union.
“I can’t see a scenario where Britain could remain a member of the EU, even in transitional period, and then negotiate other trade deals on their own,” Mr Varadkar explained.
During his three-day visit, aside from official talks with political figures, Mr Trudeau has been learning about his own Irish heritage.
Research by The Irish Family History Centre, led by genealogist Fiona Fitzsimons, showed that his lineage dates back to 17th Century Ireland.
Through his mother, Margaret Sinclair, he is a direct descendant of the Bernard family from Co. Cork.
The Canadian PM also tried his hand at hurling, visited the Famine Memorial at Dublin’s Quayside and received a number of gifts including what the Taoiseach described as “Celtic socks”.
Mr Trudeau has a penchant for bright, themed socks; he wore a pair of Star Wars ones on 4 May when he met with then-Taoiseach Enda Kenny and has sported special Eid and Pride editions in the past.
Take a look at our gallery of photos from Trudeau’s visit:+9
On this occasion, however, he was trumped by his Irish counterpart as Mr Varadkar donned bright red, Canadian-themed socks featuring Mounties and maple leaves.
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