Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that same-sex marriage should be allowed in Northern Ireland.
The event featured a panel including Gerry Adams, Peter King and George Mitchell to make the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
Varadkar went off script during his speech commenting that Ireland is a changed place and that he was happy to have taken part in the Pride events at last years festival in Belfast.
Varadkar said the largest parade in Belfast was neither “orange or green – but rainbow coloured” where Protestants and Catholics marched together.
“That is why, it seems so strange to me that in Northern Ireland … marriage equality is not a reality, it is not allowed,” he said.
“For me any rights of freedom that the British have in Britain, that the Irish have in Ireland, the people in Northern Ireland should have as well,” said Varadkar, with the comments resulting in a rapturous applause.
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald was in attendance at the event said people in Northern Ireland should have freedom of equality – and this should include marriage equality.
Earlier this month, Sinn Féin held an open LGBT meeting at Belfast’s Kremlin Bar. This was a packed event at which the current political impasse was discussed.
Deputy leader of Sinn Fein Michelle O’Neil said “The core of being a Republican is equality. We don’t just say it we practice it.
“We are not trying to point score it is about us transforming society. We want to work with all parties to bring about rights for all citizens.”
Equality spokesperson Megan Fearon aid Sinn Féin would continue to campaign for equal rights in the country regardless of the collapse of the talks by the DUP.
“Sinn Féin will continue to campaign and demand that those rights are implemented,” she said.
“While the talks process has been collapsed, standing still is not an option. We made it clear to Theresa May that the collapse of the talks by the DUP cannot be an excuse for the continued denial rights to citizens in the north.
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