Donald Trump expected to fly into Shannon on June 5th

Shannon Airport being considered as a potential venue for a private meeting between the US president and Leo Varadkar

Following weeks of negotiations, which included differences between the two sides over the location of a possible meeting between US President Donald Trump and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the White House has indicated   an announcement is imminent.  File photograph:   Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Following weeks of negotiations, which included differences between the two sides over the location of a possible meeting between US President Donald Trump and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the White House has indicated an announcement is imminent. File photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

 

Discussions are intensifying between the White House and Irish officials about a visit by President Donald Trump to Ireland on June 5th, with Shannon airport emerging as a possible venue for a meeting between the Taoiseach and the US president.

An announcement by the White House is expected imminently.

Shannon Airport management is aware that US and Irish government officials are considering the airport as a potential venue for a private meeting between Mr Trump and Leo Varadkar, a source familiar with planning said.

It is likely that the airport’s presidential suite, the VIP room that has been used to accommodate many visiting dignitaries including US presidents and vice-presidents passing through Shannon, will be used for the meeting of the leaders.

The Co Clare airport has been inspected by US officials and gardaí in preparation for Mr Trump’s expected visit, but management is believed to be still awaiting final details of Mr Trump’s arrival and departure times.

A source said that the fact the president was not on a state visit to Ireland permits a more low-key private meeting at the airport with Mr Varadkar.

Following weeks of negotiations, which included differences between the two sides over the location of a possible meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Varadkar, the White House has indicated that an announcement is imminent.

Mr Trump is expected to arrive into Shannon on June 5th after his state visit to the UK and depart for the US again on June 7th. He is expected to use his golf resort in nearby Doonbeg in west Co Clare as a base over the three days and to fly to France for the D-Day commemorations on June 6th before returning to Shannon later that day.

‘Warm spot for Doonbeg’

The US president said in March that he planned to visit Ireland this year, mentioning in particular his golf course in Doonbeg.

“I will be coming at some point this year,” he said alongside Mr Varadkar in the Oval Office in March during the St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

“I missed it last year, and I would have loved to have been there. It’s a special place and I have a very warm spot for Doonbeg, I will tell you that. It is just a great place.”

Mr Trump had been scheduled to visit Ireland last November after the armistice centenary commemorations but the trip was ultimately postponed.

He has not visited his Doonbeg golf club since his election as US president, though his son Eric Trump stayed there in 2017 and has returned a number of times since.

Mr Trump’s three-day visit to Britain is expected to attract protests.

Prime Minister Theresa May extended the invitation for a full state visit to Mr Trump shortly after his election. He is only the third US president, after Barack Obama and George W Bush, to have been invited to Britain for a full state visit. His engagements while in Britain are expected to include a state dinner at Buckingham palace. An invitation to address parliament has not been extended however.

Mr Trump last visited Ireland in 2014 when he was welcomed warmly by then minister for finance Michael Noonan among others.

Both Mr Varadkar and his predecessor Enda Kenny invited Mr Trump to visit Ireland when they met the US president as part of the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the White House.