Varadkar to visit Orange Order headquarters in Belfast

Ireland's premier is to pay an historic visit to the headquarters of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland.

The Press Association understands Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will tour Schomberg House in Belfast on Friday.

It is believed the symbolic visit will mark the first time the head of the Irish government has visited the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland's headquarters.

An anti-Brexit sign on the Irish border near Newry, Co Down
An anti-Brexit sign on the Irish border near Newry, Co Down

It is understood Mr Varadkar will be meeting Orange lodge members from the Irish Republic as part of his visit.

The tour will form part of a day-long trip across the Irish border for Mr Varadkar.

The move comes at a time of tense relations between the Taoiseach and unionist politicians in the region over Brexit, with the latter accusing Mr Varadkar's government of aggressive tactics in negotiations over the shape of the border when the UK leaves the EU.

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland declined to comment on the anticipated visit when contacted by PA.