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'Does anyone really believe Enda Kenny is going to stick it to Donald Trump?' - Taoiseach faces growing calls to abandon White House visit

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny will meet US President Donald Trump for St Patrick’s Day. Photo: Photocall Ireland

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will meet US President Donald Trump for St Patrick’s Day. Photo: Photocall Ireland

US President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

US President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

Enda Kenny. Photo: Damien Eagers

Enda Kenny. Photo: Damien Eagers

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny will meet US President Donald Trump for St Patrick’s Day. Photo: Photocall Ireland

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is facing a growing clamour to call out his St Patrick’s Day visit to the White House amid claims he won’t “stick it” to Donald Trump.

A number of Opposition parties are pressing for Dáil time to debate the US President’s immigration policy and are seeking a clear statement from Mr Kenny on the Government’s attitude to the new administration.

The AAA-PBP group have tabled a Dáil motion asking the Taoiseach to snub Mr Trump’s invitation to the traditional shamrock ceremony, while the Labour Party have tabled a series of questions seeking clarification on pre-clearance arrangements at Dublin and Shannon airports.

Making the argument for why Mr Kenny should not attend the White House, AAA-PBP’s Paul Murphy said: “If it goes ahead it's part of a traditional green-washing of a right-wing American president. That’s the purpose of the visit, so that Trump can pretend he’s friends with the Irish and to get an image that he certainly doesn’t deserve.”

It was put to him that it’s better for Mr Kenny to be in Washington to speak on behalf of the 50,000 undocumented Irish, but Mr Murphy replied:

“Does anyone really believe that Enda Kenny is going to go and stick to Donald Trump and tell him what he really thinks?

"Is Enda Kenny going to go in and say what he said in the Dáil, that we think he’s a racist and dangerous man? He’s not.

“The reality is he’ll go in, he’ll be tame and craven.

“I have no confidence that Enda Kenny after a meeting with Donald Trump, that Enda Kenny will have any sort of hard-hitting statement.”

Richard Boyd Barret said Mr Trump was “basically putting two fingers up to human decency”

“The Taoiseach of this country cannot in any way legitimise or endorse this dangerous, racist agenda by handing a bowl of shamrock to Donald Trump on St Patrick’s Day,” he said.

The Dun Laoghaire TD argued that millions of people march in St Patrick’s Day parade’s across the US and for the Taoiseach to boycott the President on that day “would be an enormous political blow to Donald Trump”.

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Speaking on the Leinster House plinth, Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin also questioned Mr Kenny’s ability to articulate the views of the vast majority of Irish people.

“I suppose in a way I’m challenge the Taoiseach to set out in the clearest way, will he, even if it means that Donald Trump who is prone to doing these things cancels any formal visit. Let Ireland take a  stand on principle,” he said.

However, Mr Howlin warned: "I don’t think anybody can stick it to Donald Trump because he doesn’t listen. He’s made it clear for example that when he goes the United Kingdom he doesn’t want to meet Prince Charles because he doesn’t want to hear discordant voices.

“He wants to be surrounded by sycophants re-echoing his own prejudices to him. He doesn’t hear anybody.”

The former minster, who sat at the Cabinet table with Mr Kenny for five years, described the St Patrick’s Day event in the White House as “a happy, clappy, shamrockery event that has no political content but has enormous emotional content”.

“It would be perceived by many as formal endorsement of a policy position that would jar with the Irish people,” he said.


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