Merkel brought gifts of solidarity and irony

The German chancellor vowed to stand by Ireland. But her unusual visit was prompted in part by concerns for her legacy and the Republic’s role as a frontier EU state should Britain crash out, writes Susan O’Keeffe

7th April, 2019
German chancellor Angela Merkel and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar hold a press conference at Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park last week during her one-day visit to Ireland Pic: Getty

Through the dark years of the recent financial crash, Angela Merkel never set foot in this country, arriving only after Ireland had officially exited the infamous bailout package and for a congress of the European People’s Party, not an official visit hosted by the Irish state. Her sense of power and influence in Europe was crystallised by her staying put. Back then, the mountain always had to go to Mohammed to seek some reassurance that...

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