herald

Sunday 19 January 2020

Leo and Matt have to decline offer to be 'ferry godparents'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured with his partner Dr Matt Barrett
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured with his partner Dr Matt Barrett

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett have passed up on a chance to be 'godparents' to a new ferry.

The offer was made in a letter to the Taoiseach ahead of the launch of Stena Line's new vessel the Estrid, which will begin serving the Dublin-Holyhead route this month.

Others who have held the honorary role for previous vessels include TV presenter Kathryn Thomas.

However, Stena Line has confirmed the offer was not accepted. A spokesman said it "wasn't possible" to arrange for the couple to be godparents of the ferry but added Stena Line are still hopeful it could happen with a future vessel. The Department of the Taoiseach did not respond to queries.

The offer came in a letter from senior executive Ian Hampton. He said he was writing on behalf of Stena Line owner Dan Sten Olsson and chief executive Niclas Martensson and they wanted to meet to discuss "overall Brexit readiness".

Sincerity

"We would like to formally ask yourself and your partner to be the godparents of the vessel that will operate [the] Holyhead and Dublin route," he wrote.

"We ask out of sincerity for our important relationship with the Republic of Ireland whilst ensuring we live our values."

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