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Leo Varadkar backs ordination of women priests

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he supports the ordination of women priests
Cate McCurry, Press Association

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has added his support to the ordination of women as Catholic priests but said he "strongly believes" in the separation of state and church.

Speaking at the fourth National Economic Dialogue at Dublin Castle on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar said he believes in equality in the workplace, and said that priests should be allowed to marry.

He made the comments after the Minister for Culture and Heritage Josepha Madigan clashed with Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

It emerged earlier this week that Ms Madigan stepped in to lead prayers at a church in Dublin after a priest failed to show up.

Archbishop Martin accused the TD of "pushing an agenda" after she said that the Church should ordain women.

Weighing in on the row, Mr Varadkar said that the Culture Minister "did a very nice thing".

"I've a very interesting and diverse cabinet," he said.

"According to the papers, Minister (Katherine) Zappone has practiced witchcraft in the past and now Minister Madigan is saying mass. I'm not sure either of those things are quite true.

"From what I understand, the priest wasn't able to attend for various reasons and a number of people from the congregation, including Jospeha led prayers, but certainly did not say mass.

"I think what she did was a very nice thing and I understand she received a round of applause.

"As regards for female priests, I believe in equality in all things and equality in the workplace and that would include allowing priests to marry and allowing women to become priests.

"But I also strongly believe in the separation in the church and the state so that is not something the Government is going to be legislating on."

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