herald

Thursday 21 November 2019

Leo will 'treat Trump with respect' as visit to Doonbeg due in weeks

Leo Varadkar has visited Trump. Photo: PA
Leo Varadkar has visited Trump. Photo: PA

US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania are set to visit Ireland within weeks.

While the Government will roll out the red carpet for Mr Trump, the visit has sparked criticism from the Opposition amid warnings of protests.

According to US-based sources, Mr Trump is expected to use his Co Clare hotel and golf resort at Doonbeg as a base for his attendance at D-Day commemorations in France.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last night said that the Government doesn't have any confirmation for Mr Trump's visit as of yet.

"Protocol dictates that the announcement will be made by the White House rather than by the Irish Government," he added. "But if President Trump comes to Ireland he'll be treated with the respect and given the welcome his office deserves."

Flying

The Herald understands that while plans are still being finalised, Mr Trump will travel to Britain for a state visit between June 3 and 5. He is to come to Ireland on June 5 before flying to France for the World War II memorial the following day.

Mr Trump will then return to Ireland and will be in Co Clare on June 7 and 8.

The First Lady, Melania Trump, who is due to attend events in Britain and France, is also expected to accompany him to Ireland.

Mr Trump is to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during his visit, with Dromoland Castle in Co Clare being touted as a possible location. The former business tycoon is likely to play a round of golf at Doonbeg but Mr Varadkar said he has "no plans" to play himself.

The White House is expected to confirm details of the visit over the next week.

The president was due to come last November but cancelled the trip without an explanation.

An advance team of White House officials and Secret Service agents is due in Clare in the coming days to scope out logistics and security arrangements, following a previous visit by US officials in recent weeks.

But opposition politicians were highly critical of the expected visit.

Labour Party senator Aodhan O Riordain said: "The Irish people do not want Trump to visit here.

"The only reason he wants to come here is to exploit the visit for electoral purposes with the large Irish-American electorate."

The senator claimed Mr Trump is "the face of hate, racism and division".

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said there will be mass protests against any visit by Mr Trump.

"On every imaginable issue Trump's agenda represents a dangerous threat to the world we live in," he said.

Mr Varadkar said: "The president of America is always welcome in Ireland just as the Taoiseach and the Irish President are welcome in the United States.

"We've a really strong relationship. It's economic, it's cultural, it's historic.

"It's about our family connections as well."

He said that rather than the individuals that hold office, the priority has to be "the really important relationship that exists between Ireland and America".

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