Belfast Telegraph

Why Trump is the first US President the Irish aren’t rooting for (but try stopping our politicians visiting for St Patrick’s Day)

By Lindy McDowell

Donald Trump may go down in history as the first and only American President whom Ireland - north or south - didn't try to claim. The identification of the President's Irish Roots is one of the rites of passage that traditionally marks the swearing in of any new US leader.

No sooner, in fact, is the President elected than the genealogists are on to his family tree like Dutch Elm Disease, trying to spot any old ancestor who might conceivably have been Irish.

Or, failing that, might at least have sounded like they could have been.

Hence Barack O'Bama.

With Trump, though, there's been a sustained and unusual silence from the Begorrah brigade.

Nobody rushing to claim a second cousin's granny twice removed from Ballygoviral.

They've uncovered no O'Trump from Co Kerry. They've claimed no McTrump from Co Antrim.

"Trump's da was German. They can have him." That seems to be the consensus.

Trump's mother, as we know, was Scottish. A MacLeod from the Hebrides. So could there be a possible Ulster-Scots connection?

We dinnae ken that either since in local tartan circles there also appears to be a reluctance to plump for Trump.

Never mind Meryl and your Hollywood detractors, Donald, this is surely a more serious snub than Saturday Night Live.

The land that eternally vies for American presidential ancestry links has hurtfully turned its back on you.

Tellingly, if you do an internet search for 'Is Donald Trump Irish?', it throws up considerably fewer results than if you search for, say, 'Is Donald Trump the Anti-Christ?' (Answer, apparently, yes.) There's no indication, of course, that Donald is in any way fazed by any of this or that he regards himself as a Trump of Irish origin.

True, he once bought a golf course down south and he has been famously photographed shaking hands with a beaming Gerry Adams at a Sinn Fein fundraiser. But that's been about the height of it.

This year, he and Gerry won't be getting pally over the shamrock bowl. Who's snubbing whom there, it's hard to say. They'll both be celebrating in Washington. But not together.

Meanwhile, on the issue of shamrock, Team Trump has unfortunately already come adrift in the run-up to the saint's celebration.

A special-issue, bright green 'Make America Great Again' cap had to be withdrawn from sale after it was pointed out that the symbolic vegetation featured thereon was actually a four-leafed clover. The Saint would surely be turning in his grave. Fake four-leaf is not shamrock.

But then Irish America has always had a bit of previous in terms of what could be called alternative facts when it comes to St Patrick's Day.

As well as routinely confusing clover with shamrock, they refer to our patron saint - cringingly - as St Patty. They make him sound like a beef burger.

Which brings us to McDonald's and the chain's 2017 exercise in submerging historical accuracy in a sludgy, sugary mix of mint-flavoured naffery.

The burger giant's 'St Patty's Day Shake' - a lurid green and brown concoction (it looked vile) - was promoted in a video that has since been withdrawn. In the ad, a bloke in a suspiciously Scottish tartan cap was seen to be 'playing' the straws in his shake like the - Scottish - bagpipes. Sheep (Welsh) were gambolling in the background. There was a rainbow. And then there was that most iconic of ancient Irish sites... Stonehenge.

None of this buffoonery and claptrap will, of course, deter Irish political leaders (north and south) for hastening once again Stateside this year to celebrate St Patty, or whatever they choose to call him, with Washington bigwigs.

That annual exodus is now as traditional as the drowning the four-leaf clover. It's also the greatest and most of enduring Irish ironies.

That for a politician being in America on March 17 somehow trumps being in Ireland.

Do posters on poles suggest a new poll?

Waste not, want not. As we know, that is surely the unspoken mantra of our elected representatives up at Stormont.

How careful they are with money... particularly when it's their own money or comes out of party coffers.

I'm wondering if that's why so many election posters still remain in situ along the pavements.

Are politicians assuming there's no point cutting them down if they're only going to have to go back up in a few weeks time again?

Hedging their bets, so to speak.

Advertising strategy's just barking mad

An enterprising English council is hoping to raise cash by offering companies the chance to advertise their wares on... dog poo waste bags.

I'm trying to think which business would want to be associated with doggy business, but I'm sure there might be something appropriate.

Other councils are offering the opportunity for commercial concerns to advertise on recycling vehicles, workers' uniforms and even the mayoral car.

Now there's thinking outside of the box. Not to mention the dog poo bag.

Belfast Telegraph


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