Shane Ross to stay in Ireland on St Patrick’s Day

Minister objects to Enda Kenny travelling to US to meet Donald Trump on national day

Minister for Transport Shane Ross  argued against Enda Kenny taking part in the annual St Patrick’s Day event at the White House at a Cabinet meeting. File photograph: Dave Meehan

Minister for Transport Shane Ross argued against Enda Kenny taking part in the annual St Patrick’s Day event at the White House at a Cabinet meeting. File photograph: Dave Meehan

 

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross will be staying at home while other Ministers, both senior and junior, travel the world for the annual St Patrick’s Day programme.

The Cabinet was supposed to sign off on the final travel programme at two recent meetings but it has been postponed on both occasions and has yet to be confirmed.

Mr Ross objected at one of those meetings to Taoiseach Enda Kenny travelling to Washington to meet US president Donald Trump for St Patrick’s Day.

Mr Ross was the only Minister at the meeting to argue against Mr Kenny taking part in the annual event at the White House.

He said his objection was due to the US president’s views on torturing prisoners.

The Irish Times published a letter on the same day from Mr Ross’s wife, Ruth Buchanan, outlining similar views.

‘Homebird’

Some sources suggested Mr Ross decided a number of weeks ago that he did not want to participate in the annual ministerial programme.

“He is a bit of a homebird,” said one.

However, an Independent Alliance figure said Mr Ross was staying behind in case there was further industrial unrest in the transport sector.

“He is staying at home in case there is a bus strike, otherwise you lot [the media] would be having a go at him,” the source said.

An indefinite strike by Bus Éireann staff is due to commence on February 20th.

In a separate dispute over pensions, Dublin Bus staff is balloting for industrial action next week.

Other senior Ministers who will not travel include Minister for Communications Denis Naughten, who is still recovering from a recent accident, and Minister for Health Simon Harris, who it is understood has family engagements.