Mike Pence visit to Ireland brought forward to early next week

US vice president may land in Shannon as early as Monday

US Vice President Mike Pence may be in Ireland as soon as Monday. File photograph: Aubrey Gemignani/Nasa via Getty

US Vice President Mike Pence may be in Ireland as soon as Monday. File photograph: Aubrey Gemignani/Nasa via Getty

 

The visit of US vice president Mike Pence is being brought forward to early next week after Donald Trump cancelled a trip to Europe this weekend and decided to send Mr Pence in his place.

Mr Pence is expected to land on Shannon as early as Monday after he travels to Poland this weekend to participate in a second World War commemoration that Mr Trump was originally due to attend.

The Government confirmed the change in the US vice president’s travel schedule noting that he will meet Mr Varadkar on Tuesday instead of Friday as originally planned.

The US president called off his trip on Thursday and said he would remain in the US to monitor Hurricane Dorian which is headed toward a potential landfall in Florida or elsewhere on the US east coast.

Mr Pence was due to land in Dublin next Friday, September 6th and travel on to Co Clare that day for an overnight stay before flying out to the US on Saturday.

He was due to travel to Ireland following visits to Iceland and the United Kingdom.

Irish and US government officials are said to be looking at t Mr Pence now landing in Shannon late on Monday night and visiting Dublin on Tuesday for meetings with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and President Michael D Higgins at Farmleigh and Áras an Úachtaráin in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

Mr Pence may return to Co Clare on Tuesday night to attend a family dinner at Morrissey’s pub in Doonbeg, which is owned by a distant cousin, and fly out of Shannon Airport on Wednesday, according to sources familiar with the planning around the vice president’s itinerary.

The details of the vice president’s revised travel itinerary are still being worked out.

Brexit discussion

The change in his schedule would mean he could arrive in Ireland before his visit to the UK. Brexit and a possible crash-out UK exit from the EU will be one of the main topics at the centre of discussions with Mr Varadkar during their meeting.

Preparations were being made previously for Mr Pence and his party to stay at the Trump family’s Doonbeg golf resort. Sources said that plans were still not confirmed around whether the vice president would stay at the golf resort that Mr Trump visited in June. Other venues in Co Clare are also being considered.

This is Mr Pence’s first visit to Ireland as vice president. The Irish-American politician whose relatives hail from Doonbeg and near Tubbercurry in Co Sligo has visited Ireland several times in the past.

The former member of the US congress and the one-time Indiana governor tweeted earlier this month that Ireland was a “country that is very near to my family’s heart.” He confirmed that he would be meeting Mr Varadkar, Mr Higgins and Mr Coveney “while celebrating my Irish roots.”

Mr Pence’s grandfather Richard Michael Cawley left Ireland in the 1920s emigrating to the US through Ellis Island before he eventually settled in Chicago. He has regularly mentioned Mr Cawley in speeches.

The family of Mr Cawley’s Irish-American wife hailed from Doonbeg.