Tuesday 25 June 2019

Coveney insists there's 'no row' between Trump and Varadkar over Irish visit

Donald Trump is expected to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during his visit
Donald Trump is expected to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during his visit
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

TÁNAISTE Simon Coveney has insisted there’s “no row” over the location of a meeting between Donald Trump and Leo Varadkar during an expected visit by the US President to Ireland next month.

Mr Coveney also said he expects that the Irish government will get clarity on the details of a visit by Mr Trump on the next couple of days.

US officials have been involved in planning for Mr Trump and his wife Melania to stay at his hotel and golf resort at Doonbeg, Co Clare.

The White House is considering using it as a base for Mr Trump to attend D-Day commemorations in France in early June after a State visit to Britain.

However, there have been reports that uncertainty over whether of not the visit will go ahead is due to a dispute between the Irish government and the Trump Administration over where the President would meet the Taoiseach.

The government here is said to favour a meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Varadkar at a neutral venue away from Doonbeg.

Dromoland Castle is one location that has been mooted.

This afternoon Mr Coveney said he couldn’t confirm that Mr Trump is coming to Ireland.

But he insisted: “There’s no row and there’s certainly no row over Doonbeg versus other locations.”

Mr Coveney said the reason why there has been delay and uncertainty is that “the US are essentially working out the President’s visit to the EU, what’s going to be a private element of that visit and what will be very public.”

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney in the Dail (PA)
Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney in the Dail (PA)

“In that context they’re looking at Ireland.

“We have been talking to them about that to make sure that if they do decide to come to Ireland that it works.”

He added: “It’s certainly not appropriate for me to announce details of that until the US announces it themselves.

“That’s what protocol determines and I expect we’ll get clarity on that in the next couple of days.”

Asked on RTÉ Radio if he would like to see Mr Trump visit Mr Coveney said the US president “should always be welcomed in Ireland if he wants to come here”.

He said it’s a very significant office,  there are almost 40m Irish-Americans and a close relationship between the two countries.

Mr Coveney added that the Taoiseach is always welcome in Washington regardless of who they are or their policies.

“We need to return that courtesy”.

He added: “it would be no secret that many of the foreign policy initiatives that the US have taken under this president are decisions that I would be uncomfortable with and the government would be uncomfortable with .

“That being said the relationship between [The US] and Ireland is one that certainly demands the facilitation of the visit of a US president if he decides to come.”

Online Editors

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