150 guests attend dinner for prime minister of Canada Justin Trudeau

Ireland and Canada 'strong and lasting friends', guests told

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau's visit to Dublin ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg included meetings with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and President Michael D Higgins and tours of the Epic Irish Emigration Museum and Famine Memorial.

It is the connections between people that have made Ireland and Canada such strong and lasting friends, prime minister Justin Trudeau told a dinner in his honour in Dublin Castle on Tuesday night.

Mr Trudeau told guests that Irish citizens like Canadians, “know we are strong, not in spite of our differences but because of them”.

“And more than that, Canadians and Irish alike embrace those differences,” he said.

Speaking about the trade agreement between Canada and the EU, he said “all of us were looking forward to the good jobs and the great opportunities it will afford both our countries”.


“We all want to leave to our children and grandchildren a better world than the one we inherited from our parents and we are willing to work hard to build a cleaner more prosperous world,” he said.

More than 150 guests attended the dinner, hosted by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Mr Varadkar greeted Mr Trudeau and his wife Sophie in the castle courtyard before bringing them both inside to St Patrick’s Hall where the dinner was held.

Members of the cabinet were in attendance, including Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and ministers Simon Harris, Eoghan Murphy, Paschal Donohoe, Richard Bruton and Heather Humphries. Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin was present as well as secretary general to the Government, Martin Fraser. There were also guests from the tourism, business and sports sector.

Rowan Gillespie, sculptor of the Famine Memorial, which Mr Trudeau visited on Tuesday, was also present.

Guests were served organic cured salmon and Liscannor crab to start, followed by seared Tipperary beef fillet with garlic and lemon prawns, buttermilk champ and roast vegetables.

For dessert, guests ate Irish strawberries with vanilla cream and lemon shortbread biscuits.

Mr Varadkar gave the evening’s opening speech and spoke in English and French.

He told them the Irish and Canadians were like-minded people and 14 per cent of Canadians claimed Irish heritage.

He said he was delighted Mr Trudeau has Irish links to Bandon, Co Cork.

The Taoiseach referred to the millions who emigrated to Canada from Ireland during the famine in the 1840s.

“Today of course millions of people around the world face the threat of famine and must leave their countries to seek refuge elsewhere,” he said.

“People flee famine in South Sudan while people in Yemen, Somalia and Syria also live in the shadow of hunger.”

He said we must learn from our past and play our part internationally in fighting famine and promoting democracy, human rights and freedom in the developing world.

“I am glad that at a time when other countries are taking back control of their borders, and turning inward, both our countries have decided to accept large numbers of refugees from Syria, 25,000 in yours and 4,000 in ours.”

He also said he was determined that Ireland would play its part in climate change and work with others to make a success of the Paris Accord.

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland is a crime writer and former Irish Times journalist