Belfast Telegraph

Donald Trump talks Brexit with Irish premier

The US president was holding a bilateral meeting with Leo Varadkar at Shannon Airport.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) greets US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania at Shannon Airport (Liam McBurney/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) greets US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania at Shannon Airport (Liam McBurney/PA)

US President Donald Trump drew a parallel with his planned wall between the United States and Mexico as he expressed confidence that the Brexit logjam over the Irish border would work out “very well”.

Mr Trump made the comments to Irish premier Leo Varadkar on his first official visit to Ireland since becoming president.

At the start of a bilateral meeting with the Taoiseach in Shannon Airport in Co Clare, Mr Trump said Brexit could be “very, very good for Ireland”.

“I think that will all work out, it will all work out very well and also for you, with your wall, your border,” he said.

“I mean we have a border situation in the United States. And you have one over here but I hear it’s going to work out very well. I think it’s both going to work out well, it’s going to work out very well here.”

Mr Varadkar told Mr Trump that Ireland wanted to avoid any wall or border with Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

The president agreed that the current free-flowing Irish border should be preserved.

US President Donald Trump (R) and First Lady Melania Trump (L) disembark Air Force One upon arrival at Shannon Airport in Shannon, County Clare, Ireland on June 5, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (R) and First Lady Melania Trump (L) disembark Air Force One upon arrival at Shannon Airport in Shannon, County Clare, Ireland on June 5, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters at the peace camp on the road to Shannon Airport (Brian Lawless/PA)
US President Donald Trump (R) and First Lady Melania Trump (L) disembark Air Force One upon arrival at Shannon Airport in Shannon, County Clare, Ireland on June 5, 2019 after attending an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings wrapping up a UK State Visit. - US President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth II joined 300 veterans in paying tribute to their fallen comrades at a poignant ceremony on Wednesday marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Wrapping up a three-day State Visit to the UK Trump flew to Ireland where he is expected to hold a meeting with prime minister Leo Varadkar and visit his golf course near the village of Doonbeg. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (L) meets with Irish Prime Minsiter Leo Varadkar (R) at Shannon Airport in Shannon, County Clare, Ireland on June 5, 2019 after attending an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings wrapping up a UK State Visit. - US President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth II joined 300 veterans in paying tribute to their fallen comrades at a poignant ceremony on Wednesday marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Wrapping up a three-day State Visit to the UK Trump flew to Ireland where he is expected to hold a meeting with prime minister Leo Varadkar and visit his golf course near the village of Doonbeg. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump is seen during his meeting with Irish Prime Minsiter Leo Varadkar (unseen) at Shannon Airport in Shannon, County Clare, Ireland on June 5, 2019 after attending an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings wrapping up a UK State Visit. - US President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth II joined 300 veterans in paying tribute to their fallen comrades at a poignant ceremony on Wednesday marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Wrapping up a three-day State Visit to the UK Trump flew to Ireland where he is expected to hold a meeting with prime minister Leo Varadkar and visit his golf course near the village of Doonbeg. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
SHANNON, IRELAND - JUNE 05: US President Donald Trump during a bilateral meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Shannon airport on June 5, 2019 in Shannon, Ireland. President Trump will use his Trump International golf resort in nearby Doonbeg as a base for his three day stay in Ireland. The resort employs over 300 local people in the area and the village will roll out a warm welcome for the 45th President of the United States. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Malania Trump arrive in Marine One at Doonbeg, County Clare, on the first day of their visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Malania Trump arrive in Marine One at Doonbeg, County Clare, on the first day of their visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
SHANNON, IRELAND - JUNE 05: The Presidential cavalcade carrying US President Donald Trump departs Airforce One at Shannon airport on June 5, 2019 in Shannon, Ireland. President Trump will use his Trump International golf resort in nearby Doonbeg as a base for his three day stay in Ireland. The resort employs over 300 local people in the area and the village will roll out a warm welcome for the 45th President of the United States. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Donald Trump Jr. (left), and Eric Trump (right), the sons of US President Donald Trump, pour drinks and meet locals in the village of Doonbeg in Co Clare. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Donald Trump Jr., the son of US President Donald Trump, pours drinks and meets locals in the village of Doonbeg in Co Clare, on the first day of US President Donald Trump's visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Donald Trump Jr. (left), the son of US President Donald Trump, pours drinks and meets locals in the village of Doonbeg in Co Clare, on the first day of US President Donald Trump's visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Eric Trump, the son of US President Donald Trump, pours drinks and meets locals in the village of Doonbeg in Co Clare, on the first day of US President Donald Trump's visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Eric Trump, the son of US President Donald Trump, pours drinks and meets locals in the village of Doonbeg in Co Clare, on the first day of US President Donald Trump's visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Donald Trump Jr. (left) and Eric Trump, the sons of US President Donald Trump, pour drinks and meet locals in the village of Doonbeg in Co Clare, on the first day of US President Donald Trump's visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Eric Trump, the son of US President Donald Trump, pours drinks and meets locals in the village of Doonbeg in County Clare, on the first day of US President Donald Trump's visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Eric Trump, the son of US President Donald Trump, pours drinks and meets locals in the village of Doonbeg in Co Clare, on the first day of US President Donald Trump's visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Eric Trump, the son of US President Donald Trump, meets locals in the village of Doonbeg in County Clare, on the first day of US President Donald Trump's visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Malania Trump arrive in Doonbeg, County Clare, on the first day of their visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
SHANNON, IRELAND - JUNE 05: US President Donald Trump arrives at Shannon Airport on June 5, 2019 in Shannon, Ireland. After visiting the UK for the D-Day 75th anniversary, US President Donald Trump will visit Ireland to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before travelling to the Trump International Golf Links resort in Doonbeg. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
IRELAND - JUNE 05: US First Lady, Melania Trump attends a welcome function on June 5, 2019 in Ireland. President Trump will use his Trump International golf resort in nearby Doonbeg as a base for his three day stay in Ireland. The resort employs over 300 local people in the area and the village will roll out a warm welcome for the 45th President of the United States. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
IRELAND - JUNE 05: US First Lady, Melania Trump attends a welcome function on June 5, 2019 in Ireland. President Trump will use his Trump International golf resort in nearby Doonbeg as a base for his three day stay in Ireland. The resort employs over 300 local people in the area and the village will roll out a warm welcome for the 45th President of the United States. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
IRELAND - JUNE 05: US First Lady, Melania Trump attends a welcome function on June 5, 2019 in Ireland. President Trump will use his Trump International golf resort in nearby Doonbeg as a base for his three day stay in Ireland. The resort employs over 300 local people in the area and the village will roll out a warm welcome for the 45th President of the United States. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
A supporter of US President Donald Trump near to Shannon Airport following his arrival for his visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Supporters of US President Donald Trump gather near to Shannon Airport following his arrival for his visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Supporters of US President Donald Trump gather near to Shannon Airport following his arrival for his visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Protestors stand at the peace camp on the road to Shannon Airport following the arrival of US President Donald Trump for his visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Climate change protestor Saoirse Exton, 13, from County Clare at the peace camp on the road to Shannon Airport following the arrival of US President Donald Trump for his visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Protestors stand at the peace camp on the road to Shannon Airport following the arrival of US President Donald Trump for his visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Protestors at the peace camp on the road to Shannon Airport following the arrival of US President Donald Trump for his visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Supporters of US President Donald Trump gather near to Shannon Airport following his arrival for his visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Supporters of US President Donald Trump gather near to Shannon Airport following his arrival for his visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Supporters of US President Donald Trump gather near to Shannon Airport following his arrival for his visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
SHANNON, IRELAND - JUNE 05: US President Donald Trump signs the visitors book as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (L) and First Lady Melania Trump (R) watch on at Shannon Airport on June 5, 2019 in Shannon, Ireland. After visiting the UK for the D-Day 75th anniversary, US President Donald Trump will visit Ireland to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before travelling to the Trump International Golf Links resort in Doonbeg.(Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
SHANNON, IRELAND - JUNE 05: US President Donald Trump signs the visitors book following his arrival at Shannon Airport on June 5, 2019 in Shannon, Ireland. After visiting the UK for the D-Day 75th anniversary, US President Donald Trump will visit Ireland to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before travelling to the Trump International Golf Links resort in Doonbeg. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) greets US President Donald Trump at Shannon Airport for his visit to Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
SHANNON, IRELAND - JUNE 05: US President Donald Trump during a bilateral meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Shannon airport on June 5, 2019 in Shannon, Ireland. President Trump will use his Trump International golf resort in nearby Doonbeg as a base for his three day stay in Ireland. The resort employs over 300 local people in the area and the village will roll out a warm welcome for the 45th President of the United States. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
US President Donald Tump waves as he arrives at Shannon Airport, on Air Force Two for a visit to the Republic of Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Supporters of US President Donald Trump gather near Shannon Airport (Brian Lawless/PA)
SHANNON, IRELAND - JUNE 05: US Marine Corps aircraft Marine One awaits the arrival of US President Donald Trump at Shannon Airport on June 5, 2019 in Shannon, Ireland. After visiting the UK for the D-Day 75th anniversary, US President Donald Trump will visit Ireland to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before travelling to the Trump International Golf Links resort in Doonbeg. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) meets with Irish Prime Minsiter Leo Varadkar (R) at Shannon Airport in Shannon, County Clare, Ireland on June 5, 2019 after attending an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings wrapping up a UK State Visit. - US President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth II joined 300 veterans in paying tribute to their fallen comrades at a poignant ceremony on Wednesday marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Wrapping up a three-day State Visit to the UK Trump flew to Ireland where he is expected to hold a meeting with prime minister Leo Varadkar and visit his golf course near the village of Doonbeg. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (R) and First Lady Melania Trump (L) disembark Air Force One upon arrival at Shannon Airport in Shannon, County Clare, Ireland on June 5, 2019 after attending an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings wrapping up a UK State Visit. - US President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth II joined 300 veterans in paying tribute to their fallen comrades at a poignant ceremony on Wednesday marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Wrapping up a three-day State Visit to the UK Trump flew to Ireland where he is expected to hold a meeting with prime minister Leo Varadkar and visit his golf course near the village of Doonbeg. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
US First Lady Melania Trump (R) is greeted by Irish Prime Minsiter Leo Varadkar (2L) upon disembarking Air Force One upon arrival at Shannon Airport in Shannon, County Clare, Ireland on June 5, 2019 after attending an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings wrapping up a UK State Visit. - US President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth II joined 300 veterans in paying tribute to their fallen comrades at a poignant ceremony on Wednesday marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Wrapping up a three-day State Visit to the UK Trump flew to Ireland where he is expected to hold a meeting with prime minister Leo Varadkar and visit his golf course near the village of Doonbeg. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
SHANNON, IRELAND - JUNE 05: US Marine Corps aircraft Marine One awaits the arrival of US President Donald Trump at Shannon Airport on June 5, 2019 in Shannon, Ireland. After visiting the UK for the D-Day 75th anniversary, US President Donald Trump will visit Ireland to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before travelling to the Trump International Golf Links resort in Doonbeg. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (R) is greeted by Irish Prime Minsiter Leo Varadkar (3L) upon disembarking Air Force One upon arrival at Shannon Airport in Shannon, County Clare, Ireland on June 5, 2019 after attending an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings wrapping up a UK State Visit. - US President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth II joined 300 veterans in paying tribute to their fallen comrades at a poignant ceremony on Wednesday marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Wrapping up a three-day State Visit to the UK Trump flew to Ireland where he is expected to hold a meeting with prime minister Leo Varadkar and visit his golf course near the village of Doonbeg. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (third right) awaits the arrival of US President Donald Trump at Shannon Airport for his state visit to Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 5, 2019. See PA story IRISH Trump. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
US First Lady Melania Trump pictured as she arrives at Shannon airport for the start of her visit to Ireland. Picture; Gerry Mooney
US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania arrives at Shannon airport for the start of their visit to Ireland. Picture; Gerry Mooney
President Donald Trump and First Lady melania touch down in Shannon Airport. Pictures by Gerry Mooney
President Donald Trump and First Lady melania touch down in Shannon Airport. Pictures by Gerry Mooney
President Donald Trump and First Lady melania touch down in Shannon Airport. Pictures by Gerry Mooney
US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania arrive at Shannon airport for the start of their visit to Ireland. Picture; Gerry Mooney
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Donald Trump (left) and Leo Varadkar hold a bilateral meeting (Liam McBurney/PA)

“The way it works now is good and I think you want to try to keep it that way and I know that’s a big point of contention with respect to Brexit is your border,” he said.

“And I’m sure it’s going to work out well. I know they are focused very heavily on it.”

Mr Trump rejected the suggestion Brexit would be bad for Ireland.

“I think it will be good, the big thing is going to be your border but hopefully that is going to work out and I think it will work out,” he said.

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Protesters at the peace camp on the road to Shannon Airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

“There are a lot of good minds thinking about how to do it and it’s going to be just fine and I think ultimately it could even be very, very good for Ireland, but the border will work out.”

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Mr Trump, Mr Varadkar said the president had told him he believed it was possible to keep the Irish border open.

“We didn’t go into any particular detail as to how he thinks it can be done but he understands that that has to be a shared objective – that if the UK is going to leave with a deal, that deal must involve legally-operable guarantees that we won’t see the emergence of a hard border between north and south,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said Mr Trump “didn’t elaborate on why he thinks Brexit would be good for Ireland”.

Asked if was concerned that Mr Trump appeared to compare the Irish border with the US/Mexico border, the Taoiseach said: “We very much discussed the different nature of the border and I explained that 20 or 30 years ago we did have a hard border between north and south, particularly when the Troubles were happening and there were customs posts and so on, and that everyone in Ireland – north and south, unionist and nationalist – want to avoid a return to a hard border, but that Brexit is a threat in that regard and an unintended consequence that we can’t allow.”

Around a hundred people turned out to protest at the entrance to Shannon Airport as Air Force One touched down just before 5pm.

The group were protesting against the president’s policies on climate change and the use of Shannon Airport by the American military.

A number of supporters of the president also gathered at the entrance.

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Supporters of US President Donald Trump gather near Shannon Airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will spend two nights at the president’s Doonbeg hotel and golf resort in Co Clare. He will use the luxury facility as a base to travel to France on Thursday for D-Day commemorations.

His arrival in Ireland comes amid a massive security operation in west Co Clare.

A ring of steel has been erected around the five-star Doonbeg resort.

Around 3km of barriers and 3km of 6ft-high fencing have been put in place for the visit.

And 1,500 gardai have been drafted in throughout the area for three days.

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