Belfast Telegraph

US Vice President Mike Pence set for official visit

The Vice President’s trip comes three months after Mr Trump visited Ireland for the first time as president.

United States Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen (Niall Carson/PA)
United States Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen (Niall Carson/PA)

By PA Reporters

US Vice President Mike Pence will arrive in Ireland later for an official visit that will also offer a chance to reconnect with his Irish roots.

Mr Pence will fly into Shannon Airport to begin a two-day visit on Monday afternoon.

He will meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin on Tuesday, as well as President Michael D Higgins.

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Mr Pence will meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar again (Brian Lawless/PA)

Mr Pence and Second Lady Karen will stay in Doonbeg, Co Clare, where President Donald Trump owns a luxury golf resort.

The Vice President has his own reason for staying in the remote coastal village however, as his ancestors on his mother’s side come from there. One of Mr Pence’s cousins owns a pub in Doonbeg.

The Indiana politician was originally scheduled to visit Ireland at the end of this week, but his trip was brought forward at short notice after President Trump cancelled a weekend visit to Poland.

Mr Pence brought forward his European visit to take the place of Mr Trump at commemorations in Warsaw on Sunday to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two.

After his visit to Ireland, the Vice President is due fly to the UK later in the week for a further series of engagements.

Last month, Mr Pence spoke of how he was looking forward to celebrating his Irish roots as the country is “very near to his family’s heart”.

The White House said that during his trip to Ireland, the Vice President would voice the United States’ “commitment to maintaining peace, prosperity, and stability in Ireland by upholding the Good Friday Agreement”.

He is also intending to discuss trade, investment and strengthening the economic relationship between the two nations.

The Vice President’s trip comes three months after Mr Trump visited Ireland for the first time as president.

His visit was met with protests in Dublin and in Shannon.

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Anti-Trump demonstrators walk along O’Connell Street in Dublin (Liam McBurney/PA)

The Pence family visits Ireland regularly, but Mr Pence himself has not visited since becoming vice president.

Mr Pence’s mother, Nancy, is a first-generation Irish-American.

As well as ancestors in Doonbeg, Mr Pence also has roots in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo.

In March, Mr Varadkar and his partner Dr Matt Barrett met with the Vice President at his official residence in Washington DC as part of his annual St Patrick’s Day tour to the US.

It came after Mr Pence, who describes himself as a Christian and a conservative, extended an invitation to the couple during a meeting with Mr Varadkar last year.

Mr Pence has faced criticism in the past for his stance on LGBTQ rights issues.

Mr Varadkar is Ireland’s first openly gay leader and one of very few openly gay national leaders in the world.

PA

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