Sunday 20 August 2017

'I'll consider an invite to Trump,' reveals Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta, Malta, during an informal summit. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the Grandmaster’s Palace in Valletta, Malta, during an informal summit. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Niall O'Connor in Valletta, Malta

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has insisted he is not concerned about a potential backlash that could result from a decision to invite Donald Trump to Ireland.

Describing the US president as a "different personality", Mr Kenny said he will consider whether to extend an invite ahead of his own visit to the White House next month.

The Fine Gael leader told reporters that the Trump presidency was discussed in detail at an informal summit of the European heads of state in Malta yesterday.

He insisted that the majority of the contributions were not "anti-American" or personalised towards the billionaire businessman. However, other EU leaders who attended the summit were not as conciliatory.

French President François Hollande said there can be no future for EU-US relations if "this future isn't defined in common".

And the Austrian chancellor Christian Kern described Mr Trump's ban on Muslims from some countries travelling to the US as "highly problematic".

After describing Mr Trump's Twitter activity as "unusual to put it mildly", Mr Kenny said he is looking forward to some "direct speaking" with him during his visit to the White House to mark St Patrick's Day.

"I've already made my peace in not agreeing with the policy of the Trump administration.

"I actually look forward to having direct engagement with the president and indeed the vice president and the speaker of the House, we have lots of things to talk about," the Taoiseach said.

But pressed on the prospect of a return visit, Mr Kenny said it will something he will consider.

"Well I'll consider that when I go to Washington.

Read more:

"As I said, I wouldn't be afraid of any outfall from it. I'll consider the question when I get there," he added.

Mr Kenny described yesterday's meeting in the capital Valletta as "optimistic".

In discussions with the other heads of state, the Taoiseach cited 'The Second Coming' by William Butler Yeats and the line: "The falcon cannot hear, the centre cannot hold."

The first session was attended by British Prime Minister Theresa May.

However, Mrs May was not permitted to attend a further meeting, which discussed Europe's response to Brexit.

At a press conference with Irish reporters, Mr Kenny said that there is an acceptance among most EU leaders that Ireland is a "special" case.

He made strong remarks once again on the Border, insisting that the issue is top priority.

Mr Kenny, however, ruled out the prospect of a referendum being held following the agreement of a final deal between the EU and the UK.

Mr Kenny indicated that there is significant interest among global companies in relocating to Ireland in light of Brexit. "We have had quite a deal of interests and people have been meeting with the Central Bank, the department of finance and ourselves. What we have said is that we will compete hard and fair," the Taoiseach said.

Irish Independent

Also in this section