Kenny to consider inviting Trump to Ireland

European leaders at Malta summit sharply critical of US president’s recent actions

British prime minister Theresa May with Taoiseach  Enda Kenny: Mr Kenny said he “wouldn’t be afraid of any fallout” from inviting US president Donald Trump to Ireland when he sees him in Washington.   Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

British prime minister Theresa May with Taoiseach Enda Kenny: Mr Kenny said he “wouldn’t be afraid of any fallout” from inviting US president Donald Trump to Ireland when he sees him in Washington. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

 

The Taoiseach has said he will consider inviting Donald Trump to visit Ireland when he meets the US president in Washington during St Patrick’s week. Speaking in Malta, where he was attending an EU summit, Mr Kenny said he would not be deterred by any controversy such an invitation might arouse.

“I’ll consider that when I go to Washington. I wouldn’t be afraid of any fallout from it. I will consider the question when I get there,” he said.

“I’ve had quite a deal of controversy since the president extended his invitation to the traditional St Patrick’s week engagement with Ireland. I’m very clear in my mind that that’s the right thing to do and I want the opportunity to go and talk directly to him.”

Almost two million people in Britain have signed a petition calling for Mr Trump’s planned state visit there to be cancelled. No other EU member state has invited the president to visit, although German chancellor Angela Merkel has invited him to attend a G20 meeting in Hamburg in July.

The leaders discussed the new US administration over lunch, with British prime minister Theresa May briefing them on her visit to Washington last week and Dr Merkel, the Taoiseach and French president François Hollande giving an account of their phone conversations with Mr Trump.

Warned against interference

A number of leaders were sharply critical of the president and his actions since taking office and Mr Hollande warned him against interfering in the EU’s Brexit negotiations.

“He should not get involved in what the life of the EU is. He can have an opinion, but it is up to Europe to decide how it wants to be and how it should live,” he said.

The Taoiseach rejected a call from leaders in the European Parliament for Ted Malloch, who is expected to be nominated as the next US ambassador to the EU, to be rejected. Mr Malloch has called for the EU to be “tamed” and has compared it to the Soviet Union.

“I would say if there’s an issue there, receive him in Europe and prove him wrong. We’ve got a great deal to work for, and a great deal of issues to work with here. So whoever the nominee is, he’s the nominee of America and we’ve got to deal with that,” the Taoiseach said.