The Taoiseach is to meet members of the Choctaw native American community in Oklahoma next week.

Leo Varadkar will thank the Choctaw nation whose ancestors provided relief to Ireland during the Great Famine.

In 1847, they collected around $170, the equivalent of several thousand dollars today, for famine relief in Ireland.

The donation was made just 16 years after the infamous ‘Trail of Tears’, when tribes were relocated from their lands, at a time when the Choctaw people were themselves living in relative poverty.

Last year, a sculpture was unveiled in Midleton in Co Cork to commemorate their generousity and, on Monday, Mr Varadkar will meet Choctaw Chief Gary Batton in Oklahoma to thank him.

He will also make a presentation to Chief Batton and to the entire Choctaw nation.

The Taoiseach will be in the US ahead of the traditional St Patrick’s Day festivities.

Several ministers are also travelling to the US this year including Heather Humphries and Michael Ring.

–Credit: RTÉ News – News Headlines