Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

09.49 16 May 2019


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The Taoiseach says he'd "never criticise" anyone who chooses to take part in protests next month during Donald Trump's visit to Ireland.

However, Leo Varadkar said he believes people should respect the office of the US President - even if they don't agree with the current office-holder.

President Trump will arrive here between the 5th and 8th of June, following his State visit to the UK.

Sources said the US President will visit his Doonbeg resort in County Clare on June 5th, before going to France on the 6th for D-Day commemorations and then returning to Ireland.

He is expected to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during the visit.

A Government spokesman yesterday said there has been no official confirmation from the US side of the visit.

According to US sources, however, the visit has been given the green light and will likely be confirmed in the next week.

Some politicians have already been voicing their opposition to his trip.

Members of Labour, the Green Party, Social Democrats and People Before Profit all reiterated their criticisms of the President in the wake of the news.

With demonstrations against President Trump expected during the Irish visit, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he'd "never criticise" anyone for taking part in a protest.

Speaking in Dublin this morning, he noted: "This is a democracy, and peaceful protest is part of democracy."

The Taoiseach reiterated that there's still no official confirmation about the visit.

He noted that there's protocol around such visits - and therefore the formal announcement has to come from the White House.

He said he has been critical of President Trump on issues such as climate, free trade and the EU.

Mr Varadkar stressed:

"The President of the United States is welcome in Ireland, and it's important - I believe at least - we should respect the office, even if people have particular views about the current incumbent."

'Hateful politics'

This morning, Solidarity TD Paul Murphy said he expects there will be a protest in Dublin on Thursday the 6th of June.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, he said: "I think he should be given the welcome that his politics deserve - and his politics are obviously extremely hateful.

"[Plans will] depend on what he's doing.

"The current plans are there will be a protest in Dublin on the Thursday evening... which I think could be substantial. Then I presume there would also be a protest in Doonbeg, if that is where he turns up."

Deputy Murphy said protests are justified as President Trump is the most powerful politician in the world, and his policies have a "major impact" on everybody.

He stressed: "I would be out on the front-line protesting against the Chinese government and the Chinese premiere as well."

Doonbeg reaction

Despite the opposition to the trip from many politicians, some locals in Co Clare told Newstalk's Barry Whyte said the visit could benefit the region.

Caroline Kennedy - who owns the Igoe Inn in Doonbeg - observed: "If he comes down to the village like Obama did in Moneygall, wouldn't it be fantastic for us?

"I think the local people will just take it in their stride - if he comes he comes, if he doesn't he doesn't.

"But I think every time he mentions us it's good advertising for our area."

Another local man said he thinks the US President will be very welcome in Doonbeg.

He observed: "He's done a lot for the local community.

"Certainly his presence and his investment in the local golf club has done a lot for local businesses - given a lot of direct employment, and obviously the knock-on effect."

Main image: File photo of Solidarity TD Paul Murphy. Picture by: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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