Anti-Trump protesters criticise Taoiseach’s remarks
Enda Kenny says he would be happy to meet Donald Trump despite thinking his comments are racist and dangerous
Organisers of protests against the visit to Ireland of US presidential hopeful Donald Trump have criticised remarks by Taoiseach Enda Kenny that he would be happy to meet him.
Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy described as “a bit shocking” comments by Mr Kenny on Friday when he said he would be happy to meet Mr Trump if he came to Ireland.
Mr Murphy is part of the “Trump Not Welcome” group, a coalition of political and interest groups including the Anti Austerity Alliance, People Before Profit, Green Party, United Against Racism and the Irish Anti War Movement.
“The Taoiseach is saying ‘he’s a racist but I’ll meet him anyway’. If he does meet Mr Trump it will annoy a lot of people.”
Mr Kenny told the Dáil last week that Mr Trump’s comments were racist and dangerous and US voters had an alternative for president.
At a media briefing on Friday, however, the Taoiseach said he would be happy to meet him if he came to Ireland but stood over what he said about Mr Trump being racist and divisive.
Mr Murphy said the Taoiseach as leader of Government might be obliged to meet leaders he did not like “but this is different. Trump isn’t going to Ireland as an elected leader. It’s an election stunt.”
He said Mr Trump’s visit was being posed as a private one but he was in the middle of an election campaign and if the Taoiseach met him it would be giving him some respectability and credibility in his campaign.
Any argument for the Taoiseach to meet Mr Trump “just doesn’t fly”, he said
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said however that any meeting between the Taoiseach and Mr Trump was “entirely a matter for the Taoiseach. I don’t think there’s any problem”.
He said Sinn Féin as a party was for dialogue. “We’re absolutely opposed to many of the utterances that Donald Trump has made and many of the policies he has espoused but it’s a matter for the Taoiseach whether he meets him or not.”
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said however that “for all our desire to seek consensus and be respectful to other political views, there is a certain point when appeasement is not the right option. This is one such time.”
Mr Ryan, whose party’s annual conference is underway in Cork, said “Trump is dangerous, he needs to be stopped. We cannot let our country and the image of our home be used in his election campaign.”
The Green Party will protest against Mr Trump’s visit. “We will gather under the statue of Daniel O’Connell in Ennis town and at the same time we will meet in the centre of O’Connell Street in Dublin. It is appropriate that streets named after the Liberator should be our meeting place.”
He said the Green party stood for peaceful and democratic politics that went back to the founding fathers of the American Revolution.
“The very first tune you learn in traditional Irish music is the ‘Rights of Man’: Let’s dance to that tune in Ennis and remind the American people of their great constitutional tradition, which they now need to protect and uphold.”
Organisers will finalise their protest plans at a meeting in Ennis on Monday.
Mr Trump’s finalised itinerary has not been confirmed but he is expected to spend two days in Ireland following a trip to Scotland. He will visit the Outer Hebridean island of Lewis where his mother grew up, before his arrival in Ireland, scheduled for June 23rd.
He will visit his Doonbeg, Co Clare golf club before his departure on June 25th.
Protesters plan a demonstration on O’Connell Street in Dublin at the Spire at 6 pm on Thursday 23rd and a protest is likely the following evening in Ennis. Demonstrators may also protest at Shannon airport.