Trump protesters should stay away from west Clare, says local politician

Doonbeg residents say US president would be warmly welcomed due to his support of area

US president Donald Trump is expected to arrive at Doonbeg on June 5th. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

US president Donald Trump is expected to arrive at Doonbeg on June 5th. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

 

People planning to protest US president Donald Trump’s expected visit to Co Clare should stay away from his Doonbeg resort and “mind their business”, a local politician has said.

Fianna Fáil councillor Bill Chambers, who represents the Cooraclare area neighbouring Doonbeg, said there would be a “100 per cent welcome” for Mr Trump from the people of west Clare if he stops in Ireland as expected early next month as part of his travels to the United Kingdom and France.

The White House has yet to make an official announcement about what will be Mr Trump’s first visit to Ireland as president, though the visit has been confirmed among US officials preparing for the trip.

Opposed

Mr Trump is expected to arrive at Doonbeg on June 5th after his three-day state visit to the UK and to use the Co Clare resort as a base to travel to D-Day commemorations in France on June 6th before he returns.

Mr Chambers urged demonstrators opposed to Mr Trump not to travel to west Clare during the president’s visit.

“They should stay above at home and mind their business because we don’t go from Clare to demonstrate above in Dublin against any foreign dignitary that we have differences with. He is the head of the most powerful country in the world and he deserves our respect,” said the councillor.

Mr Trump has become a popular figure in west Clare since he purchased the Doonbeg hotel and golf resort in 2014 for €15 million and promised to invest many more millions developing the tourist destination.

“He has created so much employment here. For the summer season, you have 300 people working at Doonbeg, which is great for the economy of west Clare,” said Mr Chambers.

“West Clare is kind of forgotten by Dublin and the Government; they are pumping money into Doonbeg. I think we should welcome him with open arms.”

Local businesspeople feel that Mr Trump would be warmly welcomed in west Clare given his investment in the community and the employment he has created in an area they believe is neglected economically.

Investment

“Through the whole of west Clare he will get an extremely good reception and it will be justified given the level of investment he has made into the area,” said Hugh McNally, owner of the Doonbeg pub Morrissey’s.

“I am welcoming Donald Trump to Doonbeg as the biggest investor into west Clare in the last 10 years. We will be extremely disappointed if there are protests.”

Mr McNally, a distant relative of the US vice president Mike Pence, estimated that Mr Trump’s investment in the Doonbeg resort supports another 1,000 jobs in the wider community.

“Small villages in rural Ireland are absolutely on their knees; very few of them are getting this kind of investment,” he said.