US diplomat calls for ‘dialogue’ not boycotts at Fourth of July event

US Independence Day event, titled ‘United We Rock’, is held at Phoenix Park residence

 

The relationship between Ireland and the US should not be taken for granted, the Charge d’Affaires of the American Embassy in Ireland has said.

In the absence of an ambassador in the embassy in Ballsbridge in Dublin, Reece Smyth, the deputy chief of the US mission, hosted a US Independence Day event, titled “United We Rock”, in the Phoenix Park on Tuesday evening.

“I think the relationship between the US and Ireland is extremely solid especially when you look at the depth of the business and commercial relationship between the two countries,” he said.

This “unique relationship” was strong “but we should always work at hard at it,” he added.

Several politicians declined invitations to attend the event to signal their opposition to the policies of the Trump administration.

Mr Smyth said people were entitled to boycott the event but he did not agree with it.

“Everybody has the right to express themselves and how they do it but I’m a firm believer in dialogue. Even when we disagree, I think the dialogue needs to continue as that is the only way we can come to an agreement,” he said.

Among those in attendance were Fine Gael TDs Michael Noonan, Frances Fitzgerald, Noel Rock and Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

Green Party TD Eamon Ryan; Solidarity-People Before Profit TDs Bríd Smith, Gino Kenny and Richard Boyd Barrett; and Social Democrats TDs Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall did not attend in protest.

Ireland has been without a US ambassador since Donald Trump came to office at the beginning of 2017 and dismissed all Obama administration appointees. The Department of Foreign Affairs does not expect an appointment this year.