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When Leo met Justin: Not all socks and bromance

Inside Politics: Taoiseach and Canadian PMdefend Ceta trade agreement between Canada and EU

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.

Pick up any newspaper this morning and you’ll see the same tanned, youthful, healthy face beaming out at you from the pages.

Actually, you’ll see two. One is the property of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the other is his international guest yesterday, the visiting Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau glided through Dublin yesterday with a series of engagements, beginning with a meeting at Farmleigh with the Taoiseach in the morning and concluding with an official dinner last night at Dublin Castle.

Himself and Leo seemed to get on famously, and conducted their press conference on first-name terms. They even went for a run together later in the Phoenix Park.


You can imagine how entertaining Miriam Lord is on all this.

Fiona Gartland, Fiach Kelly and Harry McGee's reports from the day are here and here, and the report on the official dinner in Dublin Castle is here.

But it’s not all just socks and bromance; at the press conference, both men strongly defended Ceta, the free trade agreement between Canada and the EU.

To come into force, the deal must be ratified by national parliaments (and even some regional ones); here, a coalition of groups promises to oppose ratification, and a vote against the deal was passed by the Seanad last year.

There is significant opposition to the deal from left-wing parties – Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy has been especially vocal in his opposition – but also from farmers’ groups, trade unions and environmentalists.

The agreement removes tariffs between countries and Canada, but opponents say it strengthens business rights at the expense of workers, public services and the environment. Its ratification will be a struggle in many countries, and a lively campaign is certain here too.

No doubt Justin was delighted to meet Leo and hear about his roots. But most likely Ceta was the most important part of his agenda. Certainly the Canadian press seemed to think so.

They didn’t give the socks much coverage, would you believe.