Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has reiterated his and Ireland’s call for a ceasefire in Gaza this week during his St. Patrick's Day visit to the US.

Varadkar had several high-level engagements in Washington, DC on Friday, March 15, beginning with the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Breakfast, hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff at the Naval Observatory.

"Regarding the conflict in the Middle East — triggered, of course, by Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack — Ireland has been a leader in providing food, water, and medicine to the people of Gaza," Harris said during her remarks on Friday morning.

During his remarks, the Taoiseach said: "And I believe you, Madam Vice President, showed great courage and leadership in recent weeks, when you spoke publicly in favor of a ceasefire in Gaza.

"I’m sure it can’t have been easy, but it was the right thing to do, and your words echoed all over the world.

"Like you, we call for the unconditional and immediate release of all of the hostages, a very significant increase in humanitarian aid — food, medicine, sanitation, electricity — and an end to the fighting by both sides, Israel and Hamas. And we support the work of the United States in trying to bring that about. 

"There is a terrible humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza — a very human tragedy, which I think will haunt us all for years to come. 

"In Ireland, we know how quickly atrocities can lead to calls for vengeance, creating new cycles of hatred and bitterness. But we also know that the cycle can be broken, and that new hope can replace old hatreds. 

"The United States helped us to find peace. And now, let us work together to build a just and lasting peace in the Middle East for Israel, Palestine, and its Arab neighbors."

Later, in The White House, Biden, donning a green shamrock tie, agreed with Varadkar when the Taoiseach called for a ceasefire, a moment that made headlines on Friday afternoon.

Varadkar told Biden: "You'll know, my view [is] that we need to have a ceasefire as soon as possible to get food and medicine in ..."

Biden interjected: "I agree."

Varadkar continued: "...and to get hostages out.

"We need to talk about how we can make that happen and move toward a two-state solution, which I think is the only way we will have lasting peace and security."

Later, Varadkar discussed his bilateral meeting with reporters: "Obviously aspects of the conversation were confidential, but I think it's fair to say that the US is working very hard, particularly with other countries and Arab countries in the region, to try to put in place a ceasefire for a number of weeks over the Ramadan period.

"That would be linked, obviously, to hostages being released and also some prisoner exchanges.

"But a strong hope and belief that if that could be achieved that there is the possibility then of something more permanent.

"And I know the US is using its influence on Israel to push that forward."

Varadkar added that he believes Ireland wants "this to happen immediately because the humanitarian situation in Gaza really is catastrophic."

He continued: "The President was very clear that the US would continue to support Israel and continue to assist Israel to defend itself.

"I don't think that's going to change.

"I think none of us like to see American weapons being used in the way they are. The way they're being used at the moment is not self defense."

He added: "There's a difference between self-defense and what's happening now and that's why we need to move towards a ceasefire."

He further added: "When I mean ceasefire, I mean yesterday. The ceasefire is well overdue. The level of suffering, the level of lives that have been lost, it's just too much.

"But a ceasefire has to be on both sides; has to be Hamas as well as Israel."

The Taoiseach, however, was not as explicit during the Friends of Ireland luncheon where President Biden also spoke.

Varadkar said during his remarks: "I’m also thinking of St. Patrick’s prayer today when he prayed for the wisdom to guide us, when I reflect on the catastrophe that’s unfolding in the Middle East — the savage attacks of October 7th in Israel, and the terrible violence and loss of human life in Gaza which has followed and continues.

"And we very much want that to end."

The St. Patrick's Day engagements in Washington, DC will continue on Sunday, March 17 with the annual Shamrock Bowl ceremony.