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Donald Trump confirms Irish visit during Leo Varadkar meeting

The US President said the trip could happen next year.

US President Donald Trump has said he will visit Ireland and would go to the border.

He met Irish premier Leo Varadkar at the White House and said the trip could happen next year.

The Taoiseach met the President as part of a traditional programme of events ahead of St Patrick’s Day.

President Trump was asked by reporters if he would like to visit Ireland soon.

He said: “I will. I love it, I love it.

“I have property there and I might not get to see it again, but I will.”

President Trump owns a golf course at Doonbeg in Co Clare.

The Taoiseach admitted he did not play golf but said he was always ready to learn and the President could take him for a few rounds.

On the Irish border, Mr Trump said: “That is an interesting border also, we have two interesting borders”, an apparent allusion to the US/Mexico frontier where he wants to build a wall.

After the meeting with Mr Trump, the Taoiseach said a firm date for his visit to Ireland had not yet been set – but the President had a “standing invitation”.

He said during the discussions the president raised the issue of the Irish “undocumented” – those currently living in the US without legal permission to remain.

“It was something that was very much on his mind,” he said.

“We have a measure of support and degree of enthusiasm from the administration to work on a solution for thousands of Irish people who are here undocumented but who are hard-working, tax-paying people who are very loyal to America.”

Mr Varadkar said Brexit’s impact on the Irish border also featured in the talks, which also involved Vice President Mike Pence.

“The president was very aware of the issues that could affect Northern Ireland if there is a return to a hard border and I think will be very much on our side in working for a solution to make sure that doesn’t happen,” he said.

Trade was also discussed.

“The president has enormous concerns that the United States isn’t being treated fairly when it comes to trade by China and by Europe,” said the Taoiseach.

“I put across the view that maybe the best way to resolve that is for a new deal, a new trade deal between America and Europe, and the president seemed very open to that.”

Mr Varadkar was asked about Mr Pence’s decision not to allow the media to attend their scheduled meeting at his residence on Friday morning.

The Taoiseach has pledged to raise issues around the Vice President’s controversial stance on LGBT rights.

Mr Varadkar said he would have preferred if the cameras were allowed in to document their comments, but he added: “It allows us maybe to have a frank conversation that’s easier to have without the media present.”

PA Media