Saturday 24 June 2017

Cabinet split as Taoiseach mulls Trump invitation

Mary Mitchell O'Connor Photo: Steve Humphreys
Mary Mitchell O'Connor Photo: Steve Humphreys
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A cabinet split has emerged over whether to invite US President Donald Trump to Ireland, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny remaining non-committal.

Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor and Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar expressed alternative views on the prospect of a presidential visit.

Ms Mitchell O'Connor said she is in favour of an invitation being issued as a way of bolstering "a good collaborative relationship between Ireland and the US".

"There are over 150,000 Irish people employed in US companies here in Ireland and I would like to make sure that there is US investment into the country," the Dún Laoghaire TD said.

However, Mr Varadkar said he "wouldn't be keen on it", adding he's "not sure what purpose it would serve".

Already there has been divided views in the Cabinet over Mr Kenny's decision to travel to the White House for the traditional St Patrick's Day shamrock ceremony.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar. Photo: Tom Burke
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar. Photo: Tom Burke

Independent Alliance Minister Shane Ross opposed the move, arguing that the Government should distance itself from a man who believes in torture.

Asked yesterday whether he would invite President Trump to Ireland when he visits Washington, Mr Kenny replied: "I have got a lot of things I want to talk to the president about and that's what I am focused on and I will make that decision when I have the opportunity to talk to the president."

Ms Mitchell O'Connor said that she "certainly" backed the Taoiseach's trip, adding "and I'm sure the Taoiseach will, with his officials, decide whether President Trump will be invited to Ireland".

Irish Independent

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