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'Trump trip chance to tell him he's wrong on number of issues' - Leo

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Donald Trump and Leo Varadkar

Donald Trump and Leo Varadkar

Donald Trump and Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the visit by Donald Trump will be an opportunity to raise Irish concerns over migration, human rights and the US President's support of Brexit.

He also said that if Mr Trump invites him for a round of golf at his Doonbeg resort in Co Clare he won't be able to accept as he doesn't play the game.

Mr Varadkar said he knows a lot of people dislike Mr Trump and disagree with his policies, but he is the elected US president and that office has to be treated "with the respect that it deserves".

While Mr Varadkar said he plans to meet Mr Trump during his November visit, some Independent Alliance minsters are planning to boycott events and join protests.

Wrecking

Dublin Bay North TD Finian McGrath, a super-junior minister with a seat in the Cabinet, claimed Mr Trump is "wrecking the planet" and criticised his policies on equality and immigration.

Junior Training and Skills Minister John Halligan has accused the president of being xenophobic and hit out at his "absolutely appalling" comments about women.

Labour, the Green Party and Solidarity-People Before Profit are all planning to protest against the visit, which will take place around November 11.

Mr Varadkar made his remarks when he was speaking to RTE's Marty Morrissey after he watched Dublin beat Tyrone in the All-Ireland football final.

The Taoiseach said he disagreed with some of Mr Trump's policies but stressed the importance of the relationship between Ireland and the US.

Mr Varadkar said the relationship between the two countries is "more important than any Irish government or any US administration and I think we have to treat his office with the respect that it deserves".

He said he expected he will meet Mr Trump and "that will be an opportunity to talk about the issues we're concerned about".

Mr Varadkar added: "He's very supportive of Brexit. I, once again, want to explain to him why that's not the right position either for America or for Europe."

He said news that Mr Trump wanted to visit "came a little bit out of the blue".

However, he also said there is an "open invitation to the US president to visit Ireland at any time", just as there is for Irish leaders to visit the White House for St Patrick's Day festivities.

The Taoiseach said the programme for Mr Trump's visit has still to be worked out.

It would have to take into account the fact that Ireland is inaugurating a president on November 11.

There will also have to be enough "time and space" to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War One.

"Hundreds of thousands of Irish people, including a lot of people from this city, fought in the First World War," said Mr Varadkar.

"We need to make sure that's appropriate and fits around that as well."

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin called last night for people from across the political spectrum to protest against Mr Trump.

Tolerant

He accused him of making "racist and sexist" remarks and presiding over the separation of immigrant families.

Mr Howlin said Ireland is an "open and tolerant nation", adding: "Trump's values are not our values and there should be no welcome for this man."

Speaking on RTE Radio, Mr Halligan said he is not organising a protest, but he would attend "on behalf of all the people across the world that Mr Trump has insulted".


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