Michael Noonan spoke on phone to Donald Trump after 2014 visit

Minister criticised for being part of welcome party for Trump during his Irish trip in 2014

Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump  during a campaign rally in Redding, California, on  June 3rd, 2016. Photograph: Stephen Lam/Reuters

Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump during a campaign rally in Redding, California, on June 3rd, 2016. Photograph: Stephen Lam/Reuters

 

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan had a private phone call with US presidential hopeful Donald Trump a week after he visited Ireland in 2014.

Mr Noonan has been criticised for being part of a welcome party for Mr Trump when the US billionaire visited Co Clare in 2014.

Freedom of Information documents show the Minister and Mr Trump spoke by telephone on May 20th, a week after his visit.

The call appears to have been at the request of the Republican presidential candidate.

In an email, the senior vice-president of the Trump Organisation, Rhona Graff, thanked Mr Noonan’s private secretary for helping her put the call together. It lists Mr Trump’s mobile phone number and says he is expecting the call “as discussed”.

A spokesman for the Minister confirmed the call did take place. “There was no business conducted on the call. It was a courtesy call from Mr Trump thanking the Minister for meeting with him. They exchanged a few words about the visit and then the brief call concluded.”

Could cause difficulty

The US presidential candidate is due to visit Ireland later this month to visit his golf resort in Doonbeg, Co Clare. The visit could cause a difficulty for Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his senior Ministers if Mr Trump requests a meeting.

However, it is understood he is travelling in a private capacity and is unlikely to seek one.

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said the property developer and reality TV celebrity “terrifies most of us”.

Fianna Fáil TD Darragh O’Brien said Mr Trump’s views and comments are outrageous, racist and sexist.

“He is playing to a certain audience in America. If you were to take what he has said in America and any of us were to campaign on those platforms we would be rightly castigated. This man is a danger and he should not be afforded any Government or official welcome.”

Minister of State Damien English told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics he would meet Mr Trump on his visit.