Fresh hopes for Trump's visit to Ireland following day of confusion
The Mayor of Clare has said there is renewed hope that US Presidential candidate Donald Trump will fulfil his pledge to visit his resort in Doonbeg later this month.
There was widespread confusion yesterday after a US news website reported that Mr Trump had cancelled his trip, which was scheduled to take place on June 24.
US website IrishCentral.com quoted a member of the Trump campaign team as saying the US businessman will instead only visit Britain.
But Mr Trump's official spokeswoman told the Irish Independent last night that she is hopeful the visit to Doonbeg will take place as planned.
"Mr Trump's schedule has not yet been finalised," the spokeswoman said in response to an email query.
Pressed on whether the Irish leg of the European tour would happen, the spokeswoman replied: "We hope so".
The Mayor of Clare, Independent councillor James Breen, welcomed the news that Mr Trump may yet fulfil his commitment to visit Doonbeg, where he has employs over 200 people.
"I certainly welcome the fact the trip is back on track.
"Donald Trump is certainly welcome as a businessman who is investing in this county, particularly in west Clare where employment is badly needed," he told the Irish Independent.
Mr Trump's scheduled visit to Doonbeg on June 24 has been shrouded in controversy given his previous remarks about women, Muslims and Mexicans.
Among his most outrageous proposals is the construction of a wall between America and Mexico.
Mr Trump's announcement that he intends to visit Ireland has caused concern within Government circles.
During a Dáil debate last month, Taoiseach Enda Kenny lashed out at Mr Trump over his views.
"If Trump's comments are racist and dangerous, which they are, there is an alternative to vote for," he said.
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said he believed Mr Trump's attitude towards women is "misogynistic".
Having initially indicated that there would be no meeting with Mr Trump, Mr Kenny said on Friday that he would be willing to meet the presumptive Republican nominee.
A number of Cabinet members have also said they would be willing to meet the tycoon.
These include Mr Varadkar, Denis Naughten, Michael Creed and Finian McGrath.
Last night, Government sources said they are in the dark as to Mr Trump's plans.
But the same sources said that it would make "life much easier" for Mr Kenny if Mr Trump does not arrive in Ireland this month.
Earlier yesterday, Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the Government has played no role in Mr Trump's visit arrangements.
Ms Fitzgerald added that Mr Trump has not been invited by the Government.
"It was always a private trip. He had no official invitation," she said.
A number of Opposition TDs have called on Mr Kenny to snub Mr Trump during his trip, which coincides with the official visit to Ireland by outgoing US Vice-President Joe Biden.
A number of groups have also discussed holding a series of protests if Mr Trump does visit Ireland.
The groups include the People Before Profit/Anti-Austerity Alliance (PBP/AAA), the Green Party and the anti-war movement.
It was unclear last night whether a press conference due to take place today will go ahead due to the confusion over Mr Trump's itinerary.
PBP/AAA TD Richard Boyd Barrett said he hopes Mr Trump does backtrack on his plans to visit Doonbeg - but that demonstrations will take place there and in Dublin if he arrives.
"Let's not forget, Trump is an obnoxious, dangerous character and we would see it as a victory if he did not arrive," Mr Boyd Barrett told the Irish Independent.
"However, if he does come ,we will of course protest. We are currently finalising our arrangements," he added.