Tuesday 20 November 2018

'We were looking forward to it' - Doonbeg locals disappointed after Trump visit cancelled

Doonbeg golf course and hotel in Co Clare (Niall Carson/PA)
Doonbeg golf course and hotel in Co Clare (Niall Carson/PA)

Rachel Farrell

Residents of the Doonbeg community in Co Clare have expressed disappointment at the news that US President Donald trump has cancelled his visit to Ireland.

The controversial trip planned for November 12, which would see Mr Trump make a stop in Ireland as part of his trip to Paris later this autumn, was reported to have been cancelled yesterday evening.

It was expected that Mr Trump would spend time during his visit in the town of Doonbeg, where he owns the 5-star hotel and golf club, Trump International Golf Links & Hotel.

While the White House has since said it has not yet made a final decision on whether the US President Donald Trump will visit Ireland, local business owners saying they were “looking forward” to the visit.

Mixed messages: Donald Trump was due to visit in November. Photo: REUTERS
Mixed messages: Donald Trump was due to visit in November. Photo: REUTERS

“We’re disappointed that it’s been postponed, we were looking forward to it,” Ita Comerford of Comerford’s Pub told Independent.ie.

“We were all prepared to welcome him as he’s one of the biggest employers down here. I’m sure he would have had quite a large entourage that would be in and out of the town.”

Tommy Tubridy of Tubridy’s Bar and Restaurant echoed the sentiments, adding that the visit would have been a “boost” for business during the winter season.

“It is disappointing, it would have been fantastic for this time of year, a real boost for businesses in November,” Mr Tubridy told Independent.ie.

“It would have been great for tourism in Doonbeg too but I’ve no doubt he’ll be down at some stage.” 

Earlier in the summer, the president’s son Eric Trump visited the town to spend time at the hotel and golf course. Mr Tubridy added that the town and the hotel have always “worked well” together.

“His son has been down here a few times, they’re a very nice family. The people of Doonbeg and the Trump resort have always worked well together,” he said.

The Mayor of Clare, Michael Begley, said that while residents may be disappointed by the announcement, he feels there was a lack of details surrounding the visit in the first place.

“From a Co Clare point of view his company are providing some 300 jobs and everyone would be happy to see him down there. The whole of west Clare would see it as a high profile visit,” the Independent councillor told Independent.ie. 

“On the other hand, we never had any details of what he was going to do or who he was going to see.”

Eric Trump, pictured at Doonbeg Photo: Arthur Ellis
Eric Trump, pictured at Doonbeg Photo: Arthur Ellis

Mr Begley added that not everyone in the community would have welcomed the American president, describing him as “unpredictable”.

“It’s a complete contradiction, on one hand he is their president and respected highly but there’s hardly anyone in the civilised world that would agree with everything he’s pronounced, he’s said things and taken them back, he’s unpredictable,” he said.

“If he does come to visit, the Taoiseach has said he would be respected as the leader of America and we should accept that.”

A Government spokesperson confirmed to Independent.ie that the trip wouldn’t go ahead for “scheduling reasons” but the White House said it has not yet made a final decision on whether US President Donald Trump will make a stop in Ireland as part of his trip to Paris later this autumn.

"The president will travel to Paris in November as previously announced. We are still finalizing whether Ireland will be a stop on that trip. As details are confirmed we will let you know,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

The Taoiseach’s Office said they were informed that US President Donald Trump was postponing his visit to Ireland by the Irish Ambassador to the US Dan Mulhall.

In a statement last night, the Taoiseach’s spokesperson said the Government “note” White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders suggestion that Trump administration are still “finalising” whether the President will travel to Ireland or not.

“Our Statement reflects what the Irish Ambassador to the US was informed by US authorities,” the Taoiseach’s spokesperson said.

“We note the statement from Sarah Sanders. If there are further developments we will let you know,” he added.

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