Tuesday 20 August 2019

Taoiseach's White House visit a chance to build new relations

Enda Kenny: challenges. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Enda Kenny: challenges. Photo: Steve Humphreys
John Downing

John Downing

Ireland will use all its powers of persuasion to defend its interests with the new US President, Donald Trump, and his key officials, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Mr Kenny has welcomed the President-elect's early confirmation that the now traditional St Patrick's Day visit by the Taoiseach to the White House will go ahead next March.

The personal invitation extended by Mr Trump, just hours after his election victory was confirmed, is seen as a sign that Dublin can develop positive relations with the new Washington administration.

The Taoiseach has stressed that lobbying on behalf of the 50,000 undocumented Irish immigrants in the US will remain a key priority. At the same time, Finance Minister Michael Noonan played down reports that one of Mr Trump's advisers predicted "a flood of companies" will leave Ireland to take advantage of the new US corporate tax regime.

Read more: Revealed: Details of Taoiseach's ten minute phone call with Donald Trump

A spokesman for Mr Kenny reiterated this view, he told the Irish Independent: "We are alive to all the challenges we face. The president's early reinforcement of the links with the St Patrick's Day invitation will allow us to defend Ireland's interests in the front line."

During the 10-minute phone call between Mr Trump and the Taoiseach, Mr Kenny congratulated him on his victory and officials said both men committed to working together to the mutual benefit of Ireland and the United States.

Mr Trump said "in the spirit of the strong ties between the two countries", he would continue the tradition of inviting the Taoiseach to the White House for St Patrick's Day. Mr Kenny said he specifically raised the annual St Patrick's Day visits with Mr Trump.

The Taoiseach said: "I had a very good conversation with the President-elect. He understands Ireland very well, he was complimentary about the decisions made about the economy here."

Mr Kenny said Mr Trump was looking forward to doing business with Ireland. The Taoiseach said he cited Irish undocumented migrants and the Northern Ireland peace process among concerns.

"I look forward to continuing that conversation again fairly soon," he said.

Senior economic adviser to Mr Trump, Stephen Moore, told BBC Radio 4 that wooing back multinationals with big business tax cuts was central to job creation plans.

He said business taxes would drop from 35pc to 15-20pc meaning a flood of companies leaving Ireland, Canada, Germany and France and returning to the USA.

Irish Independent

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