The White House has officially designated March as "Irish-American Heritage Month".

In a statement today, the US President Donald Trump said that during the month, "we celebrate the indispensable contributions Irish Americans have made to every chapter of our nation's history."

"Generations of Irish immigrants have carried to our shores character, culture, and values that continue to play pivotal roles in the strength and success of America," he said.

March is traditionally recognised as "Irish-American Heritage Month" in the US and it comes ahead of a visit to Washington by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Later this month, Mr Varadkar is due to meet with President Trump at the White House for the traditional St Patrick's Day celebrations.

In his statement today, President Trump noted that more than 31 million Americans look back with pride on their Irish heritage and the legacy of their ancestors.

"As we spend this month honouring the incredible history of Irish Americans, especially on St Patrick's Day, we look forward to a bright future of continued friendship and cooperation between the United States and Ireland", he said.