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Enda calls into Panti Bar for LGBT Christmas drinks

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Children's Minister Dr James Reilly and TD Jerry Buttimer at Panti Bar

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Children's Minister Dr James Reilly and TD Jerry Buttimer at Panti Bar

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Children's Minister Dr James Reilly and TD Jerry Buttimer at Panti Bar

Taoiseach Enda Kenny got into the festive spirit by dropping into one of the country's best known gay bars.

Mr Kenny attended the social event of the Fine Gael Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) group in Panti Bar last night.

The move was welcomed as a show of support ahead of the gay marriage referendum.

Panti Bar is run by Miss Panti, the drag queen alter ego of Rory O'Neill.

Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer said the Mr Kenny dropped in to show his support for the group.

Mr Buttimer said the Taoiseach was recognising their work on the gender recognition bill, the family relationship legislation and the gay marriage referendum.

"It wasn't a party per se," he said. "It was his way of acknowledging the work of the group."

The Taoiseach was accompanied by Children's Minister Dr James Reilly to attend the LGBT group's drinks.

The group first met in Leinster House before going on to Panti Bar on Capel Street in Dublin city centre.

The bar's owner Mr O'Neill is originally from Ballinrobe in Mr Kenny's home county of Mayo.

Panti rose to fame when his 'noble call' speech at The Abbey drew worldwide attention.

The Taoiseach previously drew criticism two years ago when he failed to outline his position on same-sex marriage, but has since said that he is in full support.

A referendum on same-sex marriage is due to be held in spring of next year.

hnews@herald.ie