Mary Robinson: Trump is a bully and we must stand up to bullies

Former Irish president says travel bans introduced by Trump will not make US safer

US president Donald Trump is a bully and Ireland must stand up to bullies, according to former Irish president Mary Robinson.

Speaking about Mr Trump’s executive order which places a temporary ban on travellers from seven mostly Muslim countries entering the US, Ms Robinson said the decision was “un-American”

The ban causes global imbalance as it bans all refugees from Syria and citizens of seven largely Muslim countries, she said.

Ms Robinson, a member of the Elders, a group of international public figures brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007 to promote peace and human rights, said it was chilling that Mr Trump is delivering on his election rhetoric and claimed "his actions will not make the US safer".


Ms Robinson said she also feared the influence of Mr Trump’s chief strategist, former Breitbart publisher Steve Bannon.

Ms Robinson said Mr Trump’s ban on abortion funding was one that would have a shocking impact on the ground in developing countries.

Asked whether the Taoiseach should travel to Washington for St Patrick’s Day she declined to comment.

However, she said Mr Trump appeared to have a very big ego and was influenced by responses.

"He is a bully and we must stand up to bullies," she told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar told the same programme said the State does not support Mr Trump’s actions as “they’re discriminatory on religious grounds, they’re inhumane in terms of the blanket ban on refugees, and they may well violate the UN and international conventions and the US Constitution”.

He said in terms of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance practices, the Taoiseach has ordered a review into exactly how the law operates.

He said the current system is “of huge advantage to Ireland”.

“People remember those long two hour queues at US airports. It’s good for tourism it’s good for aviation.”

“When I was transport minister it was very helpful when trying to get new routes into Ireland. It’s very good for jobs. Having that does not prevent us from questioning US policy,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said the fact that every country makes its own laws and immigration rules must be respected, but that Mr Trump’s immigration orders have overstepped the mark.

“What the Americans have done on this occasion has overstepped what is acceptable. If it is to continue into the future we would then have to examine those arrangements between the two countries. For now it stands.”

He said: “For the moment the existing arrangements stand which means that Irish law applies on Irish soil, but when people voluntarily enter the CBP process the American officials implement their rules but not with our assistance. They implement them on their own”.