Varadkar tells Sikh congregation of his pride in Ireland’s diversity

Taoiseach attends ceremony marking Vaisakhi at Sandymount temple

If it was a coincidence that all the senior Fine Gael figures who visited the Sikh temple on Sandymount’s Serpentine Avenue on Sunday afternoon to mark the harvest festival of Vaisakhi were wearing blue headgear, it was a most happy one admitted the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy.

Sikh custom dictates that both men and women must wear either head scarves or turbans before entering temples and while there were multiple colours to choose from, Murphy, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the former minister for justice Frances Fitzgerald all opted for bright blue head scarves before the ceremony got under way.

“I am very glad they are blue because it’s a Fine Gael colour,” the Minister told the festively relaxed gathering...

...Ms Fitzgerald said the community and event it was celebrating illustrated why both integration and “the preservation of unique cultures was so important”.

She said the event was more filled with emotion this year because it fell on the day after the centenary of the Amritsar massacre which, she said, “particularly resonates here because of our shared colonial past”.

Most if not all of the practising Sikhs were gathered in the temple when the time came for the Taoiseach to address them. He expressed pride at the diversity of Ireland in the 21st century and noted that the Republic had managed to avoid “some of the ugliness that has been unleashed in the United States, the United Kingdom and in some parts of Europe” and he cautioned that ignorance and fear could “spread like a contagion”...

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