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Inviting US President here for Paddy's Day 'a fabulous idea'

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US Envoy Mick Mulvaney meets the Taoiseach

US Envoy Mick Mulvaney meets the Taoiseach

US Envoy Mick Mulvaney meets the Taoiseach

Ireland would be "pushing against an open door" if a re-elected Donald Trump was to be invited here for St Patrick's Day.

The remarks were made by Mr Trump's Northern Ireland envoy Mick Mulvaney as he visited Ireland for meetings with politicians on both sides of the Border on Brexit and protecting the Good Friday Agreement.

It comes after a suggestion earlier this month by Fine Gael TD Joe Carey that the next US president be invited to Ireland as part of a bid to boost tourism in 2022.

With an election in November, either incumbent Mr Trump or challenger and former vice president Joe Biden will be in the White House in 2022.

Mr Mulvaney, Mr Trump's former White House chief of staff,described the proposal as "a fabulous idea".

"If I'm in a position to have any sway over whatever administration is in power in 2022 I will absolutely raise that," he said.

Asked if Mr Trump would be interested in such a visit he said: "Getting the president to come here is pushing against an open door."

During his visit, Mr Mulvaney met Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and he has further engagements in the North.

He said that controversial British legislation that the EU and Irish Government believes undermines the Brexit deal is a "safety net" and only comes into effect if there's no trade deal between the UK and EU.

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Mr Mulvaney said both sides have a "mutual interest" in securing an agreement and that politicians on both sides still believe there can be a deal.

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Trump and Leo Varadkar on St Patrick’s Day in 2019

Trump and Leo Varadkar on St Patrick’s Day in 2019

PA

Trump and Leo Varadkar on St Patrick’s Day in 2019

The UK government has admitted that the Internal Market Bill breaks international law and the EU and Ireland have called for measures in the legislation to be withdrawn.

During his meeting with Mr Mulvaney, Mr Coveney emphasised Ireland's "real concern" at the current approach of the UK government and the importance of implementing the Withdrawal Agreement.

Amid the controversy over the Bill have been warnings from senior Democratic Party politicians about the prospect of the US doing a trade deal with the UK if the Good Friday Agreement isn't protected.

"Some American lawmakers would be well served to sort of take a half a step back and look at it with cool heads and realise that it is not an immediate threat to the Good Friday Agreement," Mr Mulvaney said.