‘Varadkar defends visit to monastery’


Sir, – Leo Varadkar’s spokesman justified his visit to a male-only Orthodox church in Ethiopia on the reasonable basis that: “It is appropriate to respect the rules and customs of different cultures and religions especially when you are in their countries, holy places and homes” (“Varadkar defends visit to monastery which refuses entry to women”, News, January 13th).

However, our Taoiseach should also represent the values of Irish society, including gender equality, when on official trips abroad. Surely, a discreet, polite refusal to visit the monastery would have been possible without causing any unnecessary offence to the hosts? – Yours, etc,


Arbour Hill,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – Regarding the Taoiseach’s controversial visit to St Mary’s Monastery in Axum in Ethiopia, contrary to your news report , the Ark of the Covenant is not “the Old Testament stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments given to Moses”. It is the box that contains the tablets. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.