Ireland will have to work with Trump if he wins the White House - Taoiseach
Published 19/05/2016 | 07:00
Ireland will have to work with Donald Trump if he is elected President of the United States, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.
Mr Kenny said that while the choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton is "a matter for the American electorate", the debate has been "very provocative and divisive".
"It remains to be seen who will emerge as the new president of the United States. The world will have to work with whatever president that is, including Ireland. And given our traditional association with the United States, we will manage to do that," he added.
"So it is not for me to comment on who the president is going to be. Yes there have been very provocative remarks made, some of which have been rowed back on now, but it is a matter for the American people. Ireland and the world will have to work with the decision that they make."
The Taoiseach was speaking during a 48-hour visit to Washington, where he attended a series of events to commemorate the 1916 Rising. His main purpose in the US was to plant an Irish oak tree on Capitol Hill to mark the centenary.
Only about five such trees are planted every 100 years and for a foreign dignitary to do so is even more rare.
The last similar event was a memorial tree planted in 2014 to honour Anne Frank.
Mr Kenny's presence in Washington was largely brought about by Fianna Fáil senator Mark Daly, who has been working with congressmen Mick Mulvaney and Brendan Boyle to get permission for the ceremony.
The Taoiseach also visited an exhibition of documents related to 1916 in the US National Library. It included items such as a letter from Roger Casement's sister to President Woodrow Wilson asking him to help in her brother's case.
In a speech at the venue Mr Kenny noted how the Rising made front-page news in the 'New York Times' for 14 days.
"There was no doubt that the sounds of the shots fired on those bright May mornings in Kilmainham Gaol defied the prevailing south-westerlies to be carried first across the Atlantic Ocean and then across the American nation," he said.
On the fringes of his formal engagements, Mr Kenny reiterated his intention to serve a full term as Taoiseach, but not lead Fine Gael into the next election.
Asked if he had the full support of the party to stay on for that period, he replied: "Well, ours, as they say, is a broad party. I have very strong support in the party. We've seen big changes in Fine Gael in government. Ministers have been appointed, they have their budgets, we have an agreement with Fianna Fáil until 2018 and we will get on with the job."
Mr Kenny returns to Dublin this morning, when it is expected that he will appoint his junior ministers.
Ahead of that he would not be drawn on the likely promotion of Independent Alliance TD John Halligan, who has refused to pay his water charges.
"My discussions are with the Alliance for Change group and I've discussed that with Minister [Shane] Ross and we'll make the announcement in due course."