Trump visit: Second day confirmed for president’s trip

Varadkar to raise Ireland’s support for free trade between US and EU with president

US president Donald Trump is due to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for a bilateral meeting on  next Wednesday in Shannon airport. File photograph: Getty

US president Donald Trump is due to meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for a bilateral meeting on next Wednesday in Shannon airport. File photograph: Getty

 

US president Donald Trump will spend a second night at his golf course in Doonbeg when he visits Ireland next week. It was announced earlier this month that Mr Trump would visit Ireland on June 5th and 6th, arriving in Shannon airport on Wednesday, June 5th, at the end of his three-day state visit to Britain. He will then leave on the morning of June 6th for Normandy where he is due to attend the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

But sources have now confirmed that he will return to Ireland following the Normandy visit and spend a second night at Doonbeg Golf Course before returning to the United States the following day.

At this point, it is not expected that there will be any official engagements involving the Taoiseach or Government on the second leg of Mr Trump’s visit.

The Taoiseach is due to meet the American president for a bilateral meeting next Wednesday in Shannon Airport.

It is expected that Mr Trump will play golf during his two-night stay at Doonbeg – his first visit to his property since becoming president.

Buckingham Palace

Further details of his state visit to Britain have been confirmed in recent days. Mr Trump will be welcomed next Monday, June 3rd, by Queen Elizabeth at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace. A state banquet will be held that evening in the ballroom of the Palace, which will be attended by prominent British and US figures and other members of the royal family, though Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle is not expected to attend.

A meeting between Mr Trump and outgoing prime minister Theresa May is also scheduled, as well as a dinner at the residence of the US ambassador. Mr Trump will also attend the D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth on the final day of the visit, before departing for Shannon.

His visits to Britain and Ireland are expected to attract protests. Speaking in Washington on Tuesday, Minister for Education Joe McHugh said that he welcomed Mr Trump’s visit.

“This is a long-standing invitation going back to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s predecessor, Enda Kenny. And yes, I certainly am happy to continue that bilateral relationship which is a very, very important relationship,” he said.

He said that the relationship between Ireland and the United States encompassed education, business and other links. “It’s about strengthening the unique relationship that we have.”

Asked about possible protests during Mr Trump’s visit, Mr McHugh said: “Protest is part of democracy and people have different ways of getting their voice across.” When it comes to protests, Ireland is a democracy and “no different than America in that regard”.

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar has said he will discuss Ireland’s support for free trade between the US and European Union when he meets Mr Trump at Shannon next week.

Mr Varadkar said he would make the point that when it came to investment the relationship works both ways. He said there are nearly 100,000 Americans in 50 states working in Irish-owned companies. “That is not always well known or fully appreciated,” he said.

“I will use the opportunity of our meeting at Shannon to emphasise that point and our support for free trade between the US and the EU, subject to environmental concerns, health and safety, employment rights and other standards, or what might be called the level playing field.”

He also said he would encourage the president to “re-enter negotiations on what would be the largest trade deal ever, namely, between the US and the EU”.

‘Serious turbulence’

Mr Varadkar was responding to Dáil questions about his talks with the Democratic delegation led by speaker of the US Congress Nancy Pelosi during its visit to Ireland last month.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that at various times in the past two years, “the Trump administration has initiated moves against trade with the European Union”.

President Trump had backed off somewhat but the expectation is that as he “gets closer to his re-election campaign, he will ramp up his rhetoric against trade deals and there will at least be serious turbulence”.

And he said there appeared to be no possibility of reactivating the deal that was being discussed between the EU and the Obama administration.

The Taoiseach said: “I look forward to discussing trade policy with President Trump when he visits Ireland next week. I am a big believer in free trade and free enterprise. Free trade makes us better off in the round and has been very good for Ireland.”

Mr Varadkar said that President Trump’s focus is on China but might move towards the EU later in the year. He said the bloc, as 28 nations, would need to respond “to any aggressive action that may take place. When I meet President Trump I will once again make the case for free trade. Free trade between the US and EU makes us all better off in the round and creates more jobs in the round.”