Zappone: Taoiseach's US visit should be kept 'under review'

She is also calling for an investigation into whether Trump's executive order can be implemented on Irish soil

Zappone: Taoiseach's US visit should be kept 'under review'

File photo, Katherine Zappone. Image:

The Children's Minister says we should keep under review whether or not the Taoiseach should go to the White House this St Patrick's Day.

Katherine Zappone wants an investigation into Donald Trump's immigration bans and whether it is illegal to implement them here.

It comes amid protests across the United States over his controversial 90 day ban on immigration to the US from seven Muslim majority countries.

The order also introduced an indefinite halt on the US accepting Syrian refugees.

The move has been heavily criticised internationally, and led to major protests across the US.

A UK petition calling for a planned state visit of Mr Trump to be cancelled has drawn more than one million signatures in only a day, and will be discussed by parliament. 

In Ireland, the Green Party and Labour leaders led calls for Enda Kenny to postpone or cancel the traditional trip to Washington this March unless the ban is lifted.

Several of the Taoiseach's Fine Gael colleagues have sharply criticised President Trump's order, including Health Minister Simon Harris.

Simon Conveney hit out at "political choices in US based on division, fear and populist nationalism".

However, he agreed with a response suggesting a refusal to meet President Trump would be 'unhelpful'.

Two separate petitions calling for Mr Kenny to call off the trip have received more than 30,000 signatures between them.

Yesterday evening, a spokesperson for the Taoiseach said Mr Kenny will outline the Government's views on a range of issues - including immigration - during the annual visit.

"In order to maintain the historically strong links between the Irish and American peoples it is important that the Taoiseach continues to engage with the US President and his administration in Washington around the events of St Patrick's Day," the spokesperson said.

Minister Zappone, meanwhile, says action is needed.

"I'm calling into question whether or not the Irish Government is required to implement policies of discrimination that are coming from the United States on Irish soil," she argued.

"I think there is a case to be made that that may be illegal, and so I'd like to have that investigated."

She added that she believes the issue of the St Patrick's Day trip should be kept "under review".