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Wednesday 26 June 2019

Trump flies in and little Doonbeg goes into lockdown


Donald Trump's sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr. visit a local pub in Doonbeg, Co Clare. Picture: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Donald Trump's sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr. visit a local pub in Doonbeg, Co Clare. Picture: REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

When Donald Trump was elected US President in 2016, the Farmer's Journal very wittily headlined their story, "Clare landowner lands big job in America". Trump, as everyone knew, has a hotel in Doonbeg, West Clare - and this week, he came to visit.

He's been already, of course, but not as the most powerful man on the planet. That changes everything. Before he was an oft-derided businessman and TV star, now he's an incredibly divisive politician.

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No surprise, then, that Clare Division Chief Superintendent Michael Gubbins told Morning Focus (Clare FM, Mon-Fri 9am) this was "probably one of the biggest security situations we're ever going to see in Co Clare". There are, he went on, "over 1,400 uniformed members on the ground… supported by specialist units: mounted unit, dog unit, air support, armed support, water unit."

On Newstalk Breakfast (Mon-Fri 7am), shop-owner Rita McInerney explained how Gardaí had divided Doonbeg into an orange zone and red zone. Shane Coleman joked that the former was "presumably no reference" to Mr Trump. On a more serious note, Coleman has been his usual reasonable and grown-up self over all this.

On Michael D Higgins' tirade about Trump's environmental record, for instance, Coleman said, "Yet again, (Higgins) has strayed beyond the confines of his office. He didn't do any favours to our national interest. It's shooting fish in a barrel and playing to the gallery… He's right (in what he said), of course - but it's not his place to point that out, particularly on the day the US President flies in."

It's a truism that a lot of people hate Trump, and not just here. Fiona Mitchell reported on News at One (Radio 1, Mon-Fri) about large protests in London, as the Prez met Theresa May, and his ongoing row with London mayor Sadiq Kahn.

Then again, lots of people don't hate him. Or maybe, more to the point, they can see past the black-and-white simplicity; they recognise the world, and politics, as a complicated place. Maybe the public is smarter than media experts give them credit for.

On a Hard Shoulder (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 4pm) vox-pop, one American said, "I like him, even though he's a bull in a china shop (because) he doesn't give a crap about political aspirations - it's all about getting things done. Unfortunately he steps on a lot of toes."

A compatriot of his also had some time for Trump, but could understand why Irish people would protest the visit: "He's got a big mouth and he doesn't edit anything… he's socially inept." More pertinently, she added that "the majority of America is moderate - some liberal views, some conservative views - but there is no moderate choice (for voters)."

Something for all to bear in mind, wherever they stand on Trump.

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