Belfast Telegraph

Trump should be shown the respect his position deserves when he visits NI... after all, we need friends in high places

Editor's Viewpoint

Successive US presidents and administrations have played important roles in developing and preserving Northern Ireland's peace process and in opening the door to investment from across the Atlantic.

The election of Donald Trump with his America First mantra appeared to herald a radical change of direction in US foreign policy, with trade barriers being erected and incentives given to US companies to invest at home, rather than abroad.

Given the UK's imminent divorce from the European Union, the need for Northern Ireland to have allies in other parts of the world has grown in importance and it seems that America is to retain its special relationship with the province.

President Trump has given the clearest possible indication that he would like to visit Northern Ireland, probably to coincide with the staging of the Open golf championship in Portrush in 2019.

The tournament alone is a great opportunity to showcase the province to a global audience and to boost the local economy but if the golf-mad President was to put in an appearance the interest would go viral.

Some of the credit for ensuring that Northern Ireland remains on the US administration's radar must go to Ian Paisley jnr who has struck up a personal relationship with the new President.

No one can deny that President Trump is a controversial figure but as Rory McIlroy said when challenged on why he had played a round of golf with the President, one can disagree with a person's view but still respect his office.

Respect is a word which is much in vogue in Northern Ireland at the moment and Mr Paisley has shown the value of demonstrating respect to one of the world's most powerful leaders.

Let us hope that when any visit takes place that President Trump is shown the respect due to any holder of his office. Northern Ireland needs all the friends it can muster and to be given a presidential pledge that 'we will be there for you' is a valuable promise to pocket.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph