Invitation to Donald Trump to visit Ireland stands, Tánaiste says

Simon Coveney says that US president ‘will be facilitated’ if he chooses to come to State

At the St Patrick's Day reception in the White house Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaks about how Irish and other immigrants traveled to the U.S for asylum. Video: White House

 

The Government will not withdraw its invitation to US president Donald Trump to visit Ireland in the wake of his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.

“If President Trump chooses to come to Ireland, that visit will be facilitated,” Tánaiste Simon Coveney said.

He told Solidarity TD Paul Murphy that he had conveyed the Government’s deep concern about Mr Trump’s plan to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

“No country has its embassy to Israel in the city of Jerusalem,” Mr Coveney said. “There are good reasons for this international consensus,” and its status had to be resolved as part of a peace agreement.

Mr Coveney noted Mr Trump’s statement that the US recognition “did not imply any US view on the eventual boundaries of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital” which he said was “an important caveat”.

“Unfortunately this nuance is lost in the political signal sent to Israel last week,” he said. “I would not be in favour of refusing to meet or host the president of the United States because of a disagreement on policy, however strongly we might disagree.

“That would be incompatible with the depth and scale of our relationship which is overwhelmingly a positive one. It would reduce our opportunities for influence in the short-term and damage our interests in the long-term.”

Annex

Mr Murphy said he had to ask “what it will take for the investigation to be withdrawn”. He said it was now time for the Government to withdraw the invitation to Mr Trump in the wake of his decision which was seen as an attempt to annex not just East Jerusalem but all of the Palestinian territories.

He said it had caused uproar in the Middle East and four people had been killed and hundreds injured in protests. The EU’s response to the US decision is a “wringing of hands” and statements that there is nothing to be done.

“The Government can do something that would send a powerful signal right around the world, namely to use this occasion as it should have used on many other occasions previously to withdraw the invitation, which has political significant to President Trump,” Mr Murphy said.

Mr Coveney said the difference in approach “is one of choosing engagement or protest-isolation”. He said it would be counter-productive and a mistake for Ireland to effectively reverse an invitation to the president of the United States.