Monday 21 May 2018

Councillors back proposal to invite Donald Trump to Co Kerry

US President Donald Trump takes the oath of office during his inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
US President Donald Trump takes the oath of office during his inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Majella O’Sullivan

County councillors have backed a proposal to invite US president, Donald Trump to Co Kerry.

But the councillors have added an amendment calling for correct protocol to be adhered to and to meet first with the new US ambassador to Ireland.

This is tipped to be businessman, Brian Burns, a close associate of Mr Trump, whose grandfather came from Sneem.

The amendment also asked that the council first ascertained the new administration’s positive policy towards the undocumented Irish and other issues pertaining to this country.

The motion by former Fianna Fáil TD, Tom McEllistrim, had called for Kerry County Council to send a letter of congratulations to Mr Trump and invite him to visit Co Kerry.

Mr McEllistrim said he believed such a visit would do for Kerry what John F. Kennedy’s visit did for New Ross, what Ronald Regan did for Ballyporeen and what Barrack Obama’s visit to Moneygall did for the Co Offaly town.

Mr McEllistrim had previously tried to introduce his controversial proposal as an emergency motion at the local authority’s Christmas meeting in December, provoking an angry response from some members. On that occasion it was deferred “in the interest of peace”.

He said it was "incumbent" on councillors to support his motion in the interest of Kerry and insisted he tabled the motion “in the best interests of Kerry”.

“Obviously, I think there would be huge economic benefits in the visit of the president and he wouldn’t be the first. President Bill Clinton previously played golf in Ballybunion,” he said.

“The publicity it would get would put Kerry on the map and also from a tourism point of view, it would enhance our tourist numbers.

“The priority is Kerry and it’s from a Kerry perspective I’m putting down the motion and I think it would be good for business, jobs and tourism and it would also be good for the undocumented Irish in America.”

The motion was opposed by Independent councillor Donal Grady.

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