Saturday 21 April 2018

Trump invitation to Ireland stands despite far-right furore - Taoiseach

Donald Trump’s invitation to visit Ireland remains in place. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Donald Trump’s invitation to visit Ireland remains in place. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Donald Trump's invitation to visit Ireland remains despite his controversial remarks following the Charlottesville protests.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says that he does not intend to cancel Mr Trump's proposed State visit, adding that Ireland's relationship with the US is "much greater" than any one president.

Mr Trump sparked outrage last week after drawing parallels between far-right racist groups and those who campaigned against their staging of the rally in Virginia.

Opposition politicians, including Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin, have expressed their opposition to a Trump visit, a date for which has yet to be announced.

But speaking during the first day of his state visit to Canada, Mr Varadkar said the invitation remained in place.

"No, the invitation stands and he has invited me to visit Washington DC in March for the traditional St Patrick's Day meeting and I intend that to go ahead as well," he said.

"Ireland and America are countries in a long-standing bilateral relationship much greater than any president, any Taoiseach or any government at any particular time and it is important to we maintain that friendship. Also, true friends, whether countries or individuals, must be able to speak truths to each other and you can only do that by speaking to each other, not ignoring each other, so the invitation stands."

However, Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty yesterday said people must "stand up" against Mr Trump if they truly value diversity. "When you don't stand up for inclusiveness and diversity then you have to bear some of the responsibility for the views expressed.

"If you don't outright say that isn't acceptable to have some of the views that the nationalists or white supremacists have, then it is not surprising you have some of the outcomes," Ms Doherty said.

Separately, Ms Doherty was asked about reports that the attorney general has been asked to review the legality of a €16,000 payment made to her when she was chief whip.

She said if she was asked to repay the money, she would promptly do so.

Irish Independent

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