Belfast Telegraph

White House confirms President Trump St Patrick's Day invitation to Taoiseach Enda Kenny

The White House has confirmed that President Donald Trump has invited Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the White House for the annual St Patrick's Day celebrations.

It is tradition for the Taoiseach to travel to Washington on March 17 to present the US president with a bunch of shamrock, to symbolise the close ties between the two countries.

Ahead of his inauguration as president, Donald Trump did say he intended to invite the Irish premier to the White House as was tradition. And now his administration has confirmed a formal invitation has been made.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who has Irish American heritage, said the St Patrick's Day reception was "an issue that's near and dear to me".

He told the press: "I was asked about the status of the invitation of Prime Minister Kenny, from Ireland, to visit the United States on St Patrick's Day and I'm pleased to announce that the president has extended that invitation.

"It happened, actually, during the transition period [from the Obama to Trump administrations] and we look forward to the prime minister attending."

Last year and ahead of his election win, Mr Kenny criticised Mr Trump saying that if he met the then presidential hopeful he would tell him why he believes some of his views are racist and dangerous.

Later he told the Irish parliament that "racist and dangerous" remarks by the Republican candidate during his campaign were made in the "heat of battle".

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