Donald Trump not ruling out meeting Enda Kenny on Irish trip

Taoiseach this week called tycoon’s immigration comments ‘racist and dangerous’

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California on June 2nd, 2016. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California on June 2nd, 2016. Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

 

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has not ruled out the possibility of meeting Taoiseach Enda Kenny when he visits his golf resort in Doonbeg, Co Clare later this month.

The visit, announced by Mr Trump on Twitter on Thursday night, causes a potential headache for Mr Kenny, coming after the Taoiseach this week called the businessman’s comments on immigration “racist and dangerous”.

Mr Trump has opened divisions within his Republican Party and beyond with his staunchly anti-immigration proposals and a pugnacious campaign.

He has proposed banning all Muslims from entering the US and building a wall between the US and Mexico to keep illegal immigrants out of the country.

The Government views the billionaire’s trip to Ireland as a private visit and does not expect Mr Trump to request a meeting with the Taoiseach, though this has yet to be confirmed by the businessman’s staff.

‘Pleasant stay’

"Our understanding is that Mr Trump is visiting in a private capacity. As is the case with all visitors to this country, we wish him a pleasant stay," said a Government spokesman.

Asked whether he wanted to meet Mr Kenny on his trip to Ireland, a spokeswoman for Mr Trump told The Irish Times they had not yet planned his schedule for the June 22nd-25th trip to Scotland and Ireland.

His visit comes at a politically sensitive time, coinciding with the visit of US vice-president Joe Biden to Ireland and the UK’s Brexit referendum.

The property developer and reality TV celebrity bought Doonbeg two years ago for €15 million and, according to his son Eric, who opened the redesigned course last month, has spent about €50 million more on it.

Mr Trump called Doonbeg “small potatoes”, now that he was running for the US presidency, during a campaign stop in South Carolina.

Locals in Doonbeg were excited about the prospect of the celebrity TV star visiting the west Clare village. “This will give our summer a huge boost,” said Joe Russell, general manager at Trump Doonbeg.