Sunday 21 January 2018

To Trump or not to Trump? The ministers who will - and will not - be meeting US presidential hopeful on Irish visit

Donald Trump, inset Enda Kenny
Donald Trump, inset Enda Kenny
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

SOCIAL Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has said he is willing to meet US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump - despite describing his remarks as “racist” and “misogynistic” last week.

Businessman Donald Trump, the presumptive US Republican presidential nominee, is to visit Ireland later this month.

He announced his trip as part of a whistle-stop tour of his golf resorts, which will take place after he has been to Scotland.

Mr Trump owns the renowned golf links at Doonbeg in Co Clare and is battling to get planning permission for a huge wall to act as a sea defence.

Mr Varadkar told today that that he would repeat his criticisms of Mr Trump during a face to face meeting.

“I meet people I disagree with all the time. I’d also say what I said to his face,” Mr Varadkar added.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar Photo: Caroline Quinn
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar Photo: Caroline Quinn

At an event in Dublin CIty during the week, Mr Varadkar hit out at some of Mr Trump’s previous remarks as "sexist" and "misogynistic".

"I think any reasonable person would agree some of the comments he's made are racist, particularly in relation to latinos and also many of the things he has said are sexist," Mr Varadkar said.

He was speaking after Taoiseach Enda Kenny labelled some of the US businessman's speeches as "racist" and dangerous".

But his claim that he would be willing to meet with Mr Trump will put pressure on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to clarify his position.

Mr Trump’s visit will cause a major headache for the Government after Mr Kenny described the US businessman as a “racist” earlier this week.

Speaking this morning, junior minister and Clare TD Pat Breen said it is up to Mr Kenny whether he personally meets Mr Trump during his visit.

Mr Breen said that Mr Trump has made “substantial investment” in Doonbeg but that the visit is taking place in a private capacity.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett launched a stinging attack on Mr Trump today, who he described as a “dangerous and vile racist”, a “warmonger” and “sexist”.

Mr Boyd Barrett told RTÉ’s ‘Today with Seán O’Rourke’ that he and his colleagues will be holding a protest during the visit.

Speaking on the same programme, Fianna Fáil TD Darragh O’Brien said the visit should be shunned.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the minister has nothing to say about Mr Trump's travel plans. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan will not commit to meeting Donald Trump. He said: "As is the case with all visitors to this country, we wish him a pleasant stay."

A spokesman for Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said today: "I have no comment to make on Mr Trump's travel plans at this point".

New York tycoon Trump told his 8.6 million followers on Twitter last night that his trip starts on June 22 and he will be calling to Doonbeg after his Scottish resorts in Turnberry and Aberdeen.

The visit will coincide with US Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Ireland and the result of the Brexit referendum.

Online Editors

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