Trump confusion shows need to ‘sort out’ our relationship with US, FF says

Parties react to uncertainty surrounding president’s planned trip to Ireland

Fianna Fáil has said the confusion over US president Donald Trump's visit to Ireland demonstrated the need to "sort out" our relationship with the US.

It was reported on Tuesday that Mr Trump’s planned visit to Ireland in November had been put off.

The Government on Tuesday evening confirmed that the visit of Mr Trump had been “postponed” for what it called “scheduling reasons”.

However, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders then said a final decision on whether Mr Trump will make a stop in Ireland has not been made.


"We weren't properly told he was coming, it seems that we haven't been properly told that he isn't coming," Fianna Fáil spokesman on foreign affairs Niall Collins said in a tweet on Tuesday.

“We don’t have a US ambassador,” Mr Collins continued. “The US-Ireland relationship is very important. It needs to be sorted.”

Members of the Labour Party were more forthright in their response to the reported postponement.

In a statement, party leader Brendan Howlin said: "The indication that president Trump may not visit Ireland could certainly be because we made it clear that he is not a normal US president and his approach to politics is beyond what is acceptable."

Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin similarly noted that the “outpouring of objections to this visit has had the desired effect”.

People Before Profit, also among the more vocal opponents of an invitation to visit being extended to the US leader, said its members were “delighted” by the fresh doubts as to whether he would visit.

Richard Boyd Barrett, speaking on behalf of the group, said: "His hate-filled message is not welcome here." Mr Boyd Barrett vowed to continue with planned demonstrations should Mr Trump visit.

‘Stark contrast’

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan also issued a statement, saying the US president's position on numerous issues was in stark contrast to that of the Irish people.

“The visit came out of the blue and has now been cancelled in the same erratic way. We are glad he is not coming,” he said.

A spokesman for Sinn Féin said its position remained that “if and when Trump comes to Ireland” its members would participate in protests.

It remains unclear as to what exactly Mr Trump’s plans are and whether the trip has simply been put off to a later date.

Speaking on RTÉ, Larry Donnelly, a law lecturer from Boston based at NUI Galway, said he was still relatively certain the president would eventually visit Ireland.

“But it is disappointing in a number of different ways that he’s not coming,” he said. “I’m not one of the people who would have said this was terrible.

"The reality is the president of the United States coming to Ireland . . . reaffirms the relationship between our two countries."

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times