Approximately fifty members of the US media cover Trump visit to Ireland
Full secret-service screening before media transported by coach to Shannon airport
US President Donald Trump gestures before boarding Air Force One at Shannon Airport on Thursday to fly to Normandy, France. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP
Though the Ireland leg of the tour was announced long after Mr Trump’s visit to England and France had been flagged, a substantial number of journalists are in Ireland to cover the trip, though not as many as registered to cover the British state visit.
Approximately fifty members of the US media – including a core group of approximately 20 media representatives travelling on Air Force One with the president — are in the Shannon area for the visit.
Some media organisations from around Europe have sent correspondents to cover the trip, though not as many as some officials had been expecting.
Most media representatives from foreign outlets are staying at the Clayton Hotel on the banks of the river Shannon in Limerick.
Representatives from the New York Times, ABC News, CNN and the other main media outlets had set up stalls in the first floor conference room of the hotel, some filming live shots from the balcony.
A special centre at the University of Limerick was set-up on Wednesday where media representatives were screened by the Garda before entry. A full secret-service screening took place before members of the media were transported by coach to Shannon airport to attend the arrival of the president.
Shannon Airport lost no time in using the President’s visit to highlight its history.
In a press release circulated to travelling journalists covering the trip last week, it notes that “every US President since John F Kennedy” has been welcomed at the international airport. It also highlights the fact that Shannon is the birthplace of the Irish Coffee and the site of the World’s first Duty Free shop which was established in 1947.
Despite the heavy media presence in Limerick, relatively few foreign journalists travelled to Doonbeg on Wednesday night when the Trump sons took to the streets of the village.
Doonbeg has been out of bounds for the 20-strong White House press pool covering the trip, who were bussed to Limerick after Mr Trump’s press conference in Shannon. Many of them spent the day in Limerick, awaiting Mr Trump’s arrival back to Shannon on Thursday afternoon from Normandy.
Nonetheless, there has been significant interest in the Irish leg of Mr Trump’s trip in the United States.
White House correspondents for the New York Times and Washington Post have been keeping readers abreast of his visit here, highlighting in particular Mr Trump’s comments on the Irish border and his apparent nonchalance when it comes to the impact of Brexit on Ireland. Trump’s trip to his “money-losing golf course threatened by climate change” was the headline on the Washington Post’s article on Wednesday shortly after the president had landed.
Others have focused on the possible conflicts of interest thrown up by the president’s decision to stay in his own private golf club while on official business in Europe, as well as the decision to hold the bilateral meeting between the Taoiseach and the president in Shannon airport following dispute over a venue.
The Huffington Post reported that the president had arrived in Ireland for a “tax-payer funded visit to his golf resort”, noting that the he has spent 178 days of his first two and a half years in office on a golf course.
Trump’s visit may have also brought some welcome PR for Tourism Ireland. Earlier this week hosts on Mr Trump’s favourite morning TV channel ‘Fox and Friends’ enthused about the president’s visit to the west coast of Ireland, discussing in depth his “beautiful” property in Doonbeg.