The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office
The US President Donald Trump has said that "loves Ireland" adding that he plans to visit soon.
The Taoiseach Enda Kenny met with President Trump at the White House this afternoon.
Posing for photograph’s to mark St Patrick’s Day, President Trump said, “I really love Ireland. I’ll be there, absolutely.”
Mr Kenny said the visit will happen “during the course of his presidency” adding, “he will be there.”
The comments came at the start of their bilateral meeting in the Oval Office.
Neither state leader responded when a reporter asked whether the president had raised Mr Kenny’s previous comments calling his policies “racist and dangerous.”
The two men held a half-hour meeting in the Oval Office where they discussed issues including immigration and Northern Ireland.
President Trump described the Taoiseach as his “new friend” and accepted his invitation to come to Ireland.
Afterwards Mr Kenny said he had issued the invitation to the president in exchange for his own welcome to the White House:
“I said to him in Ireland invitations are always returned in kind so during the course of his presidency here in the United States I have asked him to come to Ireland and he hopes to do that some time during the course of his presidency.”
At a lunch thrown by House Speaker Paul Ryan, President Trump was full of praise for the Taoiseach - and his wife Fionnuala who was also present:
“Taoiseach, that’s my new friend [...], he is great guy, and Fionnuala you know, you are something very special, we sat, we talked and I think we are friends now too,” he said.
On America's friendship with Ireland, President Trump said St Patrick's Day is "now celebrated by Americans of all faiths and backgrounds all across our very beautiful and very special land."
"As we stand together with our Irish friends I am reminded of that proverb - and this is a good one, this is one I like, I have heard it for many, many years and I love it," he said.
"Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue but never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.
"We know that, politically speaking, a lot of us know that, we know it well; it is a great phrase."
Mr Kenny used the opportunity to raise the issue of the illegal Irish living in America, urging the president to work with the Democrats to "sort this out once and for all and for future years determine what it is you want to do."
He said Irish immigrants have fought in and died in all of America’s wars – including the War of independence and Civil War - adding “all they want is the opportunity to be free.”
“For the people who are here, who should be here, might be here; that is an issue that I am sure your administration will reflect on and we in Ireland will give you every assistance in that regard,” he said.
“There are millions out there who want to play their part for America; If you like, who want to make America great.”
Solidarity TDs have responded to Trump’s declaration that he intends to visit Ireland, saying that he won’t be welcomed but will be met with protests of opposition.
Paul Murphy TD said: "Donald Trump won’t be welcomed in Ireland by the vast majority of people who oppose his racist, sexist agenda.
"He has already had to ‘reschedule’ a trip to the United Kingdom because of the force of opposition to his visit and the huge protests he was going to be met with."
Mick Barry TD said: "We want to send a clear message to Donald Trump that he will be met with huge protests of young people, women and migrants who oppose his policies. He should reconsider his travel plans."