'He is a godsend!'– Local businesses are delighted with Trump’s investment in Doonbeg
US President Donald Trump's planned visit to Ireland in early June will have dismayed and disappointed many but not, it seems, the residents of one small Clare town.
But then, Doonbeg is something of a special case on this issue.
“It is great that he comes over. Everybody knows him and he has done great things for the village and the West Clare area. He is a godsend for the employment in that area,” Senan McCarthy, the owner of Danubio Guest Accomodation.
Local Councillor Gabriel Keating said: “There will be a big welcome for Donald Trump when he comes to Doonbeg. He is the President of the United States but he is also one of the biggest employers around here.”
He added that it was a wonderful occasion during which “the cameras of the world will be on Doonbeg and on West Clare.”
In an area that has been economically struggling in recent years, many people are depending on the roughly 300 jobs that the resort provides during the season.
Cathleen Whelan, of Whelan’s Foodstore and Deli, said that “he is one of the few major employers that is left around here at the moment.”
Not many in Ireland agree with Trump's politics. It's likely not many in Doonbeg agree with Trump's politics. But upsetting the big man probably isn't a clever move. And he is easily upset.
“He is a democratically elected leader. We don’t have to agree with his politics. He is simply a property owner and a big employer in the area,” said Rita McInerney, general election candidate for Fianna Fáil.
Regarding a potential protests from Trump opponents, the people of Doonbeg are hoping for a respectful treatment of their famous guest.
Mr McCarthy said: “People obviously have the right to voice their opinion. They might not agree with him but they have to respect the office. He should be treated with the same respect as any other president.”
While the preparations for the visit are taking off and security staff has been seen in town, the restrictions for the village will be kept to a minimum.
“There will be security during the visit but hopefully little to no restrictions for the people of Doonbeg. The resort is on the edge of the village so it shouldn’t be an issue for the locals,” said West Clare Councillor Bill Chambers.
Many people are hoping for a further boost from the upcoming visit. Cathleen Wheelan stated that it “will hopefully be busy for businesses in the village during his visit, because some people might come to see him.”
The residents of Doonbeg are having high hopes for the future. Rita McInerney said: “Future development would lead to even more employment chances and especially jobs that are available all year round.”
Cllr. Gabriel Keating added: “The whole area is steeped in tourism and we need investors like him. He is boosting the economy of the area and will hopefully continue to do so.”
However, confusion still remains as to whether the visit will take place, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stating that he won't know until there's an announcement from the White House.
Speaking in Galway today, Mr Varadkar said there was "no update as of yet".
But the Taoiseach said he'd be happy to meet Mr Trump in Doonbeg.
"Like I say, if the president visits Ireland, I'd be very happy to receive him on behalf o f the Irish people, but any details of the programme really aren't worked out at this stage, and as I say, the visit isn't even necessarily happening, and will only happen if there's an announcement from the White House," he said.