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Thursday 14 December 2017

Trump's Ireland visit is on despite anger at far-right protest

Leo Varadkar with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau in Montreal
Leo Varadkar with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau in Montreal

Donald Trump's invitation to visit Ireland still stands despite his controversial remarks after the white supremacist protests in Charlottesville.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he did not intend to cancel the president's proposed state visit, adding that Ireland's relationship with the US is "much greater" than any one president.

Mr Trump sparked outrage last week after drawing parallels between far-right racist groups and those who campaigned against them in Charlottesville.

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin is among those who oppose a visit by Trump - a date for which has yet to be announced.

Speaking during his state visit to Canada, Mr Varadkar said the invitation remains in place.

"No, the invitation stands and he has invited me to visit Washington DC in March for the traditional St Patrick's Day meeting and I intend that to go ahead as well," he said.

"Ireland and America are in a long-standing relationship much greater than any president, any Taoiseach or any government at any time and it is important we maintain that friendship.

Truths

"True friends, whether countries or individuals, must be able to speak truths to each other and you can only do that by speaking to each other, not ignoring each other, so the invitation stands, as does Mr Trump's invitation to me to visit Washington."

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty said people must "stand up" to Trump if they value diversity.

"When you don't stand up for inclusivity and diversity, you have to bear some responsibility for the views expressed," she said.

"If you don't outright say that it isn't acceptable to have some of the views that the nationalists or white supremacists have, then it is not surprising you have some of the outcomes."

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