Wednesday 23 May 2018

'A warm welcome' - Donald Trump invited to Northern Ireland by Foster and McGuinness

New Sinn Féin leader Michelle O'Neill now insists visit would no longer be appropriate

U.S. President Donald Trump. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

US President Donald Trump has been told he would receive “a warm welcome” in Northern Ireland by Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness.

The DUP leader and ex-Sinn Féin leader in the North wrote a congratulatory letter to Mr Trump before the Stormont Executive was dissolved.

The Impartial Reporter says the two leaders offered their "personal congratulations and those of all the people we represent on your election as the 45th President of the United States of America".

“We are a small region but we are fortunate to have strong historical, economic and political ties to the United States. Some of those links predate the War of Independence and we can boast that no fewer than seventeen of your predecessors had Scots-Irish heritage.”

The letter, which was co-signed, went on to say: "In more recent times we have become a magnet for American companies looking for a European based and we continue to attract American tourists in ever increasing numbers."

Ms Foster and Mr McGuinness informed the President that the US is the largest inward investor into Northern Ireland and say the relationship has “proved mutually beneficial for both your great country and our small but dynamic region”.

They concluded by wishing Trump "every success in your new role".

"And we extend an invitation to visit Northern Ireland. You can be assured of a warm welcome."

Sinn Féin has been one of Mr Trump’s heaviest critics in the Dáil with party leader Gerry Adams revealing earlier this week that he has written to the White House to protest against his policies.

“The words of Donald Trump and now the decisions by President Trump have caused huge anger across the US and around the world, including in Ireland,” Mr Adams said this week.

He said people are “appalled” by “the racist, anti-women and anti-immigration policies of President Trump”.

This evening new Sinn Féin leader in Stormont Michelle O'Neill insisted that the Mrs O'Neill said she would not extend a similar invitation in the current circumstances.

"The invitation from the Executive Office was issued immediately after Donald Trump was elected and before he took office.

"Since taking office, President Trump has pursued policies on immigration and the banning of refugees that runs counter to international standards and decency. I believe these are wrong and should not be imposed at Irish airports.

"The actions of President Trump since taking office mean that an invitation to visit would not now be appropriate.

"If I was in the Executive Office at this time I wouldn't issue an invitation and I'm confident that Martin McGuinness wouldn't either."

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