Five things Donald Trump can expect on his Irish visit
US President Donald Trump arrives at Shannon Airport at around 5pm today, here are some of the things he should expect on his visit to Co. Clare.
1. Political politeness
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will greet the President as steps off Air Force One onto the tarmac at Shannon Airport around 5pm this evening. He’ll be accompanied by local minister Pat Breen, the mayor of Clare Michael Begley and head of the Shannon Group Rose Hynes. There’ll be no harpist or Irish dancers this time (although Melanie Trump will be treated to a cultural performance inside the airport). Mr Begley said today that he disagrees with much of Donald Trump’s policies – but he won’t starting a row on the runway. Likewise, Mr Varadkar is known to be wary about his 30-minute meeting. He will try to lobby Mr Trump with regard to US visa rights and explain the impact of Brexit on stability in Northern Ireland – but the Taoiseach will avoid the tricky topic of climate change.
2. Police everywhere
Around 1,000 gardaí are working around the clock to protect the President and his family. They are joined by members of the Army, Navy and Air Corp, as well as 400 US protection agents. The cost of the security operation is estimated by the Government at €10m. While Mr Trump will travel from Shannon to Doonbeg by helicopter, there are major road restrictions and checkpoints in the area.
A green area close to Shannon Airport has been assigned as the ‘protest pitch for this evening. Several thousand people, including some politicians, are expected to gather for what is being described as a family event. The protest site has been freshly mown and nine portaloos installed. Those taking part won’t come close to even getting a glimpse of the President – but they can try make their voices heard. Another protest is planned in Dublin tomorrow. The Trump baby blimp is also on its way to Ireland.
4. Party time in Doonbeg
While not everybody is happy about the President’s arrival, he will be made feel most welcome in Doonbeg. The locals are planning a big ceili in the village tonight. They hope Mr Trump will be tempted venture beyond the ‘secure zone’ that is his hotel. The property is the biggest employer in the area. “He’s fantastic – a breath of fresh air to the whole west of Ireland,” publican Tommy Tubridy said, adding: “It’s a pity there’s not more men like him bringing employment to rural Ireland.”
5. A lack of Leaving Cert weather
Exams started today but there’s no sign of the traditional ‘leaving cert’ sunshine. The country has endured torrential rain in recent days which will have made the going soft at Trump’s golf links. The situation on the west coast is a bit brighter today but temperatures are below average for June. The President is scheduled to play a fourball on Friday morning with Doonbeg club professional Brian Shaw, general manager Joe Russell and property sales director Brendan Murphy. Their group will be followed one that includes Waterford TD John Deasy and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvany. Met Eireann are predicting Sunny spells and heavy showers for Friday.
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