Saturday 21 April 2018

Kenny 'glad' to get US invite despite Trump terror tactics

Mr Kenny is to accept the traditional St Patrick’s Day invitation to the White House, where he promised to raise the issue of the undocumented Irish. Photo: Damien Eagers
Mr Kenny is to accept the traditional St Patrick’s Day invitation to the White House, where he promised to raise the issue of the undocumented Irish. Photo: Damien Eagers
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has condemned proposals by the new US president to use torture on terrorist suspects.

Mr Kenny said he would not "condone the breach of human rights or regimes of torture in any country around the globe".

Donald Trump said in his first interview since becoming president that the US must "fight fire with fire" when dealing with terrorists and that torture "absolutely works".

However, the Taoiseach said the Government would work with the Trump administration "in the best interest of our two countries".

Mr Kenny is to accept the traditional St Patrick's Day invitation to the White House, where he promised to raise the issue of the undocumented Irish.

Mr Trump is preparing to deport illegal immigrants who have a criminal record.

Read more: Taoiseach must tell Trump on St Patrick’s Day that 'Ireland stands for equality' – Dáil told

The Taoiseach said he wanted to see what Mr Trump would define as a crime worthy of deportation. "If you have a parking ticket 10 years ago in the United States, are you likely to be deported because of that? These are the issues of concern to Irish people who are undocumented and I can confirm that having spoken to people working in the emigrant facilities across America, there has been an increased deal of contact from Irish people who are quite concerned about this and rightly so," Mr Kenny said.

"I do hope that given the extraordinary contribution people make in terms of social security, employment opportunities, contributing to American society, that the clarification is about serious indiscretions."

Asked about St Patrick's Day, Mr Kenny said he was "very glad" that the invitation had been issued by Mr Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence.

"I think that is a big signal about the relationship that we have had with the United States over the past two and a half centuries, economically, socially, politically and in so many other ways," he said.

However, Mr Kenny declined to say whether he would issue a reciprocal invitation for Mr Trump to visit Ireland.

Read more: Trump considering reinstating waterboarding 'and a hell of a lot worse' for interrogations

"I am not going to get ahead of myself here. I am looking forward to meeting with the president and vice-president, I think we have lots of things to talk about, and obviously I will continue the whole detail between here and I thank him for his invitation," he said.

Mr Kenny was among the first world leaders to receive a phonecall from the US president after his election in November. "When I spoke to him on the telephone, he said he owned a nice piece of real estate in Ireland but he wasn't sure when he would be able to see it again, at least for the foreseeable future," he said.

Irish Independent

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