Belfast Telegraph

US President Donald Trump says Brexit border wall 'will work out well' on arrival in Ireland

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania have arrived in Ireland and already he opened up a diplomatic headache for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar suggesting a border wall "will work out well" for the Republic in referring to Brexit.

Air Force One touched down at Shannon Airport at around 4.45pm on Wednesday.

The White House press corps were first off the back of the plane before Mr Trump appeared at the top of the steps and waved, followed by Melania, who also waved, then the pair descended the steps together.

They were greeted by Ireland's premier Leo Varadkar.

At a press conference Mr Trump said Ireland and the US do a lot of business together and noted it is one of the leading countries in terms of people moving to the US.

"We have millions of Irish and I think I know most of them because they are my friends, we love the Irish, so it's an honour to be here, we will be discussing various things, probably he'll ask me about Brexit because I know some very good people that are very likely to welcome Brexit.

"I think it will all work out very well also for you, with your wall, your border, I mean we have a border situation in the United States."

Mr Trump said he also expects to discuss the military and trade and Mr Varadkar.

"It's an honour to be in Ireland with my friend and he is doing a great job as your Prime Minister," Mr Trump added.

The question of the Irish border and how it will work after the UK leaves the EU has dogged the Brexit talks process. Arguments over the hated backstop have led to Theresa May ultimately stepping down as Conservative leader and subsequently Prime Minister.

Mr Varadkar responded by saying Ireland wanted to avoid a border or a wall. Acknowledging the contention around the border and Brexit Mr Trump said the border "would work out," adding: "the way it works now is good and you want to try and keep it that way."

He said Brexit could work out "really well" for Ireland.

Mr Trump was asked about Irish President Michael D Higgins' comments about his "regressive" record on climate change.

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 (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 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

Mr Trump responded: "I haven't heard those comments, but we have the cleanest air in the world in the United States and it's gotten better since I became president, we have the cleanest water, it is crystal clear, I always say I want crystal clear water and air, so I haven't heard his comments, but we are setting records environmentally."

Asked about his plans, Mr Trump said: "We'll be going there (Doonbeg) and as you know I am making a trip tomorrow to Normandy, we had an incredible time today, this was something that the likes of which few people have seen anything like it, we were with the Queen and the royal family, and we were with the Prime Minister, it was something very special, it was very well covered, it was truly beautiful.

"Tomorrow we go to Normandy and I'll be leaving from Doonbeg, I am staying here overnight, and I thought this would be the best place, to come to in Ireland and stay at Doonbeg."

Asked if he was promoting his golf resort by staying at Doonbeg, Mr Trump responded: "No, this trip is really about great relationships that we have with the UK, and I really wanted to do this stop in Ireland, it was very important to me because of the relationship I have with the people and with your Prime Minister."

About a hundred people turned out to protest over the arrival of President Trump at the entrance to Shannon Airport.

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

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

Thousands of gardai have descended on the area where the US president and Melania will stay following their three-day state visit to the UK.

The couple will spend two nights at his Doonbeg hotel and golf resort in Co Clare.

Mr Trump is holding a bilateral meeting with Mr Varadkar at Shannon Airport.

A huge ring of steel has been erected around the five-star resort where the Trump family will stay until Friday.

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.

Officers have been deployed from western, southern, south eastern and Dublin regions and are being supported by approximately 500 members attached to specialist units.

Members from the emergency response unit, armed support, public order, water unit - including sub aqua divers - air support, roads policing escort and the telecommunications unit are all in place for the presidential visit.

Some 16 dogs and 10 horses have also been deployed.

Approximately 8,500 meals have been prepared for each day of the visit for gardai, along with 40,000 bottles of water.

A temporary strategic control room has been installed at Shannon garda station, with a back-up facility at Ennis station.

Paul Markham, who lives 10 miles from Doonbeg in Kilmurry McMahon, is a huge Trump supporter.

He enlisted the help of a few neighbours to make an American-inspired top hat, which he hopes will catch the attention of Mr Trump.

Speaking in Doonbeg, he said: "I think it's a great cead mile failte (Irish welcome) for him to Ireland and to this historic village.

"The atmosphere is building up and we are all here to welcome the Trump family, it's a great occasion.

"He's providing employment for west Clare and tourism.

"We are hoping Donald will come down from his hotel and into the village.

"People are waiting anxiously waiting to greet him. He'll get a great welcome."

He said the high security operation is "important and essential".

Opponents of the president predict thousands of people will take part in protests across Ireland to coincide with his visit.

The Trump "baby blimp" is expected to fly over the skies of Dublin at the largest of the demonstrations.

A Shannonwatch peace camp will be erected at Shannon Airport for the duration of his stay.

Mr Trump had been due to visit Ireland last November, but the trip was postponed for operational reasons.

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