Wednesday 16 October 2019

'Irish people will be horrified by this visit' - Opposition parties urge protests over Trump visit

  • Opposition parties call for protests after US President Donald Trump announced he will visit Ireland
  • Donald Trump is likely to be given the red-carpet treatment by the Government
  • He will spend one day in the capital before heading to Doonbeg
  • Independent.ie readers have also had their say on the visit, with the majority opposing Mr Trump's visit
President Donald Trump (Timothy D. Easley/AP/PA)
President Donald Trump (Timothy D. Easley/AP/PA)

Kevin Doyle, Catherine Devine and Payu Tiwari

Opposition parties have called for protests after US President Donald Trump announced he will visit Ireland for two days in November.

In what will be a major diplomatic headache for the Government, Mr Trump will spend one day in Dublin and one day in Co Clare, where he owns a golf course.

Leo Varadkar with US President Donald Trump at the White House. Picture: Getty
Leo Varadkar with US President Donald Trump at the White House. Picture: Getty

In a statement the Irish Government said: "The Taoiseach understands that President Trump will stop in Ireland for a brief visit on his way to or from the Armistice commemorations in Paris.

"It will be an opportunity to follow up on the issues discussed in the White House in March, including migration, trade, climate change and human rights issues."

The White House said: "President Donald J. Trump will travel to Paris, France, to participate in a November 11 commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the fighting in World War I.

"The President’s participation in this event will highlight the sacrifices that Americans have made, not only during World War I but also in the century since, in the name of liberty.

"While in Europe, the President also will visit Ireland to renew the deep and historic ties between our two nations."

While Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney welcomed the news saying that the US President "is always welcome", opposition parties have called for protests.

A blimp resembling U.S. President Donald Trump floats above demonstrators marching to protest against the visit of Trump, in Edinburgh, Scotland: Reuters/Andrew Yates
A blimp resembling U.S. President Donald Trump floats above demonstrators marching to protest against the visit of Trump, in Edinburgh, Scotland: Reuters/Andrew Yates

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan called for Irish people to show their disgust and rejection of the Trump administration's policies by turning out for mass protests around the country.

"Donald Trump's administration champions policies that are destroying our planet, destabilising international order, and reaching new political depths by appealing to racism, misogyny, xenophobia and hatred," Mr Ryan said.

"These policies do not reflect the Irish people's values - we need to show him and the world that this is not normal.

"Decency, integrity and fact-based politics still exist and are worth defending. We're calling on Irish people to tell our Government to cancel this visit; and for them to demonstrate in never-before-seen numbers should they fail to do so."

Tweeting an image of a little girl pulling a rope away from a Trump statue, Mr Ryan said: “By turning up in large numbers, surely we can send a clear signal to the American people; we want a less divisive, peaceful and more sustainable world? Meet in College Green 10th November, to help hold that line.”

The Irish Council for civil Liberties has backed the calls for protest against Trump's message, saying it would "send a clear and powerful message."

Doonbeg Lodge, with Donald Trump (inset). Composite Image (Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Doonbeg Lodge, with Donald Trump (inset). Composite Image (Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

ICCL Executive Director Liam Herrick said: "This visit will present an opportunity for the Irish people to show the world our values.

"We can send out a powerful and clear message to our friends in the United States and all over the world that we reject the racism, misogyny and divisiveness of this President; and that we stand in solidarity with those who are being affected by his policies and with those in the US who are working to resist him, such as our colleagues at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who have been leading the fight to against Trump in the courts and on the streets.

"We are confident that the Irish people will respond to this visit with a powerful expression  of our values. It will be essential that the State authorities facilitate the protests and demonstrations that will take place."

He added: "This visit will take place at a moment when the foundations of civil liberties and human rights are under attack in the US, in Europe and around the world. That attack is being led by Trump and his far-right admirers.

"The Irish Government and the Irish people must stand up and be counted at this crucial historical moment."

Labour leader Brendan Howlin also called on people to protest the visit.

"Donald Trump has been no friend of democracy or human rights. We will always be firm friends of the American people, but Ireland will not welcome a man with Trump’s record of discrimination, sexism and lies. Labour will join with like-minded people to oppose this visit," Mr Howlin said on Twitter.

Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said that he is "horrified at the prospect" of Mr Trump’s visit.

"Mr Trump is a very dangerous and a divisive political figure. It is one thing to have relations with the US, but this invitation was unnecessary," Mr Ó Ríordáin told Independent.ie.

He added that he is "disappointed" with Fine Gael for putting "money before morals".

"Once again, Fine Gael have shown that they will put money before morals, money before standards, money before ethics. The money always gets them excited."

The senator said that he will do what he can to protest his visit, and believes that the Irish people will turn up in support of a protest should he organise one.

"I believe that the Irish people will be horrified by this visit, and quite happy to do without it. They will be ready to protest his visit.

Independent.ie readers have also had their say on the visit, with the majority opposing Mr Trump's visit.

More than 10,000 people voted in the poll which asked if Irish people were happy that Mr Trump is visiting in November.

Some 71pc of people said they were unhappy, while 24pc said they were happy. A further 4pc said they didn't know.

However, Doonbeg business man Tommy Comerford said that the US President would be given a warm welcome to the area.

“Here we have one of the biggest investors in the world who has decided to invest in an area and increase employment. It's a great boost for the general area that we have such a high profile person, recognising and mentioning this Doonbeg so often, Mr Comerford told Clare FM.

Mr Trump is likely to arrive into Dublin on Air Force One on November 12, which will be the first day in office for our new president.

In theory Mr Trump could be welcomed to Ireland by a reality TV star president.

Mr Trump is likely to be given the red-carpet treatment by the Government, including a civic reception at Dublin Castle.

But the City Council won't be preparing a stage or big screens. Instead, they'll be meeting with An Garda Síochána to discuss how best to deal with the likely protests.

He will spend one day in the capital before inspecting his Trump International Hotel & Golf Links in Doonbeg.

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