Sunday 11 December 2016

Ministers and advisers warned to 'make no public comment' on Trump victory

Published 09/11/2016 | 12:33

Government officials were scrambling this morning to decide how best to respond to the Trump victory.
Government officials were scrambling this morning to decide how best to respond to the Trump victory.

Government officials were scrambling this morning to decide how best to respond to the Trump victory.

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Ministers and their advisers received a text message before 8am, which warned them to refrain from public comment on the outcome.

“Advice at this point is to make no public comment in relation to the outcome of the US presidential election. Language will be circulated ASAP in the course of the morning,” says the text, seen by Independent.ie.

Some sources said they believed the Government was “blindsided” by the result, which they believed would go in the favour of Hillary Clinton.

The first public pronouncement on Trump victory was made by Taoiseach Enda Kenny at 10.17am.

Mr Kenny congratulated the President-elect, while describing Hillary Clinton as a “friend to Ireland who fought such a tough campaign.” In a statement, Mr Kenny said Ireland and the US have enjoyed a “very close and warm relationship for many generations” and that he is confident these relations will prosper under Mr Trump’s presidency.

“We are all acutely conscious of the particular responsibility of the United States for leadership and engagement across the globe in our endeavours to address shared challenges.  I look forward to working with the new administration in the time ahead in the cause of international peace and security,” Mr Kenny said.

Mr Kenny made no reference to the fact that he previously described comments made by Mr Trump as “racist” and “dangerous”.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said he “can’t estimate the fallout” from the Trump election victory but insists Ireland’s relationship with US remains strong. Mr Noonan said: “It’s very early to be making any conclusions about what a new administration in the United States might do. There is a change of presidency. There’s a change of presidency every four or eight years in the United States.”

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (left) described the result as a “shock” but said Ireland now needs to have a “love in” with Mr Trump’s team.

“We don’t have any connections with his team and when he was going to come here some months ago … as far as I could read between the lines it was made clear he would get a hostile reception here, so that was dropped off the itinerary,” Mr Ahern told RTE radio.

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