Belfast Telegraph

Chaos and uncertainty over Trump’s Ireland visit

Donald Trump’s visit to the Irish Republic descended into chaos yesterday as senior officials on opposite sides of the Atlantic clashed.

The US President was scheduled to arrive in the second week of November for a controversial two-day visit.

However, yesterday afternoon it was revealed he had cancelled his visit.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s spokesperson was initially unable to confirm that the US President was no longer coming to

Ireland.

An hour later, the spokesman said the planned visit had been postponed.

However, shortly after the Irish Government said the trip was off, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders suggested it  may still go ahead.

“The President will travel to Paris in November, as previously announced,” she said.

“We are still finalising whether Ireland will be a stop on that trip.

“As details are confirmed, we will let you know.

Last night, the Taoiseach’s spokesman said the government’s statement “reflects” what they were told by the Irish Ambassador to the US, Dan Mulhall, who was informed by “US authorities” the trip was being postponed.

“We note the statement from Sarah Sanders. If there are further developments, we will let you know,” the spokesman added.

The White House did not respond to requests for clarity on Ms Sander’s comments.

A senior Irish government source said they were confident Mr Trump would not be visiting Ireland in November as planned. They said the White House was “all over the place” on its preparation for Mr Trump’s visit to Europe.

“They don’t seem to know what each other are doing or saying over there,” the source added.

Mr Trump was due to stop over in Ireland on his way home from Armistice Day commemorations in France on November 11.

The visit included the US President spending one day in Dublin before travelling to Doonbeg, Co Clare, where he owns a hotel and golf course.

The Irish Government had begun preparations for the visit after it was announced by the White House two weeks ago.

Mr Varadkar admitted at the time the President’s decision to come to Ireland had come “a little bit out of the blue”.

The decision to welcome Mr Trump to Ireland was met with widespread criticism across the political spectrum.

Preparations for street protests over the visit were already under way when the confusion over the trip emerged.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said the expected cancellation of Mr Trump’s visit reflected a relationship between the two countries that is “not functioning”.

Mr Martin said the whole episode has been “a very unedifying experience”.

He pointed to the lack of a US ambassador to Ireland for two years when he said: “I think it’s time to try and get this relationship sorted.”

He said the way Mr Trump’s visit and expected cancellation played out has been “extraordinary”, adding that Dublin “hadn’t been alerted that the visit was on in the first instance”.

“It was a bolt out of the blue, then suddenly, in a similar manner, it emerged that the visit is off,” he said.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph