Thursday 22 August 2019

Kevin Doyle: 'If the US President loves Britain more than us, we are happy to let it slide'


Hand of friendship: Mr Trump meets Prince Charles ahead of tea at Clarence House. Photo: REUTERS
Hand of friendship: Mr Trump meets Prince Charles ahead of tea at Clarence House. Photo: REUTERS
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Here's a thought: The US President loves Britain more than us.

In years gone by that would have upset people here but when Donald Trump is the incumbent we seem happy to let it slide. The pomp and ceremony that has greeted Trump in the UK has largely been through gritted teeth.

Ireland has always placed a hyperbolic emphasis on the need to welcome American presidents.

For some like John F Kennedy, the affection was very real. But in more recent times as the "link to the homeland" became more tenuous both sides agreed to engage acts of mutual benefit.

Barack Obama milked the idea that his third great-grandfather, Fulmoth Kearney, was from Moneygall. In turn the small village on the Offaly/Tipperary border milked the publicity.

We made Obama listen to Jedward. He made us ignore the fact he used the joke about having an apostrophe in his name one too many times.

For Obama and others who went before him, there was a significant Irish-American vote to be gathered. The influence of that vote has waned in recent years but it still exists.

Trump clearly doesn't feel the need to pander to it but he still does want to give it a nod ahead of 2020.

There's also the small matter of promoting his luxury resort in Doonbeg. No doubt the photographs will show the west of Ireland in its full splendour. That's the trade-off. We make Trump look well and he'll make Ireland look great.

For our part, taxpayers will stump up €10m to allow him to wind down from the exuberance of hanging out with the royal family in London.

The only chance of Trump seeing any of the protests will be if he looks out the window of Air Force One.

But the organisers say they are still important. Green Party leader Eamon Ryan says if people see what Trump is saying about climate change and migration then they have to come out. "We'll be a backdrop for his re-election otherwise," he said.

A coalition of more than 30 organisations, including human rights and LGBTQ groups, will turn out for a protest at the Garden of Remembrance on Thursday opposing the visit of the US President.

Memet Uludag, convener of the 'Stop Trump Ireland' group, said: "He's also a misogynist, a racist. Now he's escalating tensions around the globe." And before we know it, Trump will be on his way, hopefully without calling any of our political leaders a "stone cold loser".

Irish Independent

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