Belfast Telegraph

Ian Paisley invites US President Donald Trump to visit Northern Ireland

Mr Paisley's revelation comes after weekend speculation Trump would visit NI

DUP North Antrim MP Ian Paisley has confirmed that he has invited American President Donald Trump to visit Northern Ireland.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's 'Evening Extra' programme Mr Paisley claimed he issued the invitation 10 days ago.

"I'm confident that he will be here very soon," Mr Paisley told the programme

He said that Mr Trump "has indicated to me personally that it is his intention to visit.

"I look forward to welcoming him and to seeing him, hopefully in County Antrim," Mr Paisley said.

Mr Paisley's revelation comes after The Sun newspaper claimed a "major figure in the Northern Irish community" handed the president an invitation to come to the country and he "absolutely loved it," a source said.

The report goes on to suggest the president is on his travels in June and he could land in Belfast, or cross the border, during that time.

During the St Patrick's Day celebrations Mr Trump told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar he intended to visit Ireland "soon" and before the end of his first term in office. He owns a golf course at Doonberg in Co Claire and told the press he "loves it" in Ireland and was determined to visit soon.

"I have property there and I might not get to see it again, but I will," he said during the St Patrick's Day events.

Alluding to the US situation, he described the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic as "very interesting".

The Taoiseach said a firm date for a visit to Ireland had not been set - but the President had a "standing invitation".

It's claimed Mr Trump has told his aides to prepare a visit that will take in both sides of the border and could see him weigh into the debate over how the Irish border will operate after Brexit.

"Discreet inquiries," it's reported have been made to establish if senior figures in Northern Ireland would be available for any potential visit.

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