Monday 22 October 2018

Talking points: Five things you need to know after an eventful day in Washington

U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (L) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY), (R), departs after attending a Friends of Ireland event at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 15, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (L) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY), (R), departs after attending a Friends of Ireland event at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 15, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
US President Donald Trump during the Speaker's Lunch at Capitol Hill in Washington DC, USA. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo Niall Carson/PA Wire
US President Donald Trump during the Speaker's Lunch at Capitol Hill in Washington DC, USA. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 15, 2018. See PA story IRISH Taoiseach. Niall Carson/PA Wire
US President Donald Trump and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during the Speaker's Lunch at Capitol Hill in Washington DC, USA Niall Carson/PA Wire
( Niall Carson/PA)
( Niall Carson/PA)

Jason O'Brien and Philip Ryan in Washington

LEO Varadkar's tour of the US continues and today marked the centrepiece of the visit with a number of engagements with US President Donald Trump. Here is everything you need to know about the key talking points that emerged:

Varadkar made an intervention over proposals for a wind farm near Mr Trump's Doonbeg golf course

A number of talking points have emerged from the official visit to date but at home it was Mr Varadkar's story about a phone call he received from the former reality star four years ago that has drawn criticism at home.

Mr Varadkar revealed he made an intervention on behalf of Donald Trump to a local authority over a proposal to build a wind farm near the businessman's golf course in Doonbeg, Co Clare.

Taoiseach is confident of support in maintaining soft border post-Brexit

The issue of Northern Ireland and the border was raised a number of times.

Speaking after the meeting the Taoiseach said he thinks Mr Trump will be "very much on our side" in relation to seeking the retention of a soft border.

"We also had an opportunity to talk about the Border and the President is very aware of the issues that could affect Northern Ireland if there was a return to a hard border.

"I think he'll be very much on our side in working for a solution to make sure that does not happen," Mr Varadkar said.

US President wants to visit Ireland ahead of his re-election campaign

The US President said he would like to visit Ireland ahead of his campaign for re-election.

"I will, I love it, I have property there and I may never get to see it again," Mr Trump said about a possible trip to Ireland.

"It might happen, I look forward to being there," he said, adding that it might help with his re-election campaign.

Mr Trump also said he hoped to see Mr Varadkar "often".

Ireland's corporate tax rate was raised - but not in the way you might think

Mr Trump has often flagged Ireland's corporate tax rate as an example of countries drawing US business abroad and unsurprisingly it arose during Wednesday's events.

But it was during a somewhat more light-hearted setting as Mr Trump addressed the Speaker's Lunch on Capitol Hill.

"Whenever there's a problem you call - we'll solve it," Mr Trump told the Taoiseach, before adding: "except trade".

"They've got those taxes so low... you're a tough one to compete with with the taxes," the US President said to laughter from the packed room.

There was a 'degree of enthusiasm' detected over the undocumented Irish

"The President brought up the issue of the undocumented Irish and I think we've got a measure of support and a degree of enthusiasm from the administration to work on behalf of thousands of Irish here undocumented."

"I know that the Irish people who have made their lives here, including those who are undocumented and living in the shadows, love this country dearly.

"I want to assure you, Mr. President, that the Irish Government will continue to work with your Administration to find a solution to this important issue. And we are willing to match any move with the same or better for Americans in Ireland."

Online Editors

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