Trump plans to visit Ireland this year as he hosts Taoiseach

Government has said no indication yet received from Washington about possible date

US president Donald Trump has said that he will be coming to Ireland at some point during the year. Video: C-Span

 

US president Donald Trump said he planned to visit Ireland this year as he hosted Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for the second time at the White House on Thursday.

Welcoming Mr Varadkar to the Oval Office, Mr Trump expressed regret that a proposed trip last November had not gone ahead.

“I will be coming at some point this year,” he said.

“I missed it last year, and I would have loved to have been there. It’s a special place and I have a very warm spot for Doonbeg, I will tell you that.”

With Mr Trump expected to attend the Nato summit in London in December, he could visit Ireland as part of that trip.

However, a Government spokesman said no indication had been received from Washington about a possible date.

Speaking after meeting the Taoiseach, Mr Trump was non-committal about the appointment of a US special envoy to Northern Ireland.

He said he would not comment on Brexit, although he criticised Britain’s prime minister Theresa May’s approach to the exit negotiations, noting she had not taken his advice on the issue.

Access to E3 visas was also discussed during the meeting. The Taoiseach raised the issue in his speech at the presentation of the shamrock bowl to Mr Trump after the US president signalled his backing for the proposal.

A resolution will be brought to the House of Representatives aimed at reviving the bid to allow Irish citizens access the scheme, which is currently only available to Australians.

Congressman Richard Neal has agreed to reintroduce a resolution to the floor after it failed to garner sufficient support in the Senate in the final weeks of the last congress.

It is understood that Mr Trump and vice president Mike Pence spoke to Arkansas senator Tom Cotton, the senator who blocked the proposal in December, earlier this week.

Mr Varadkar is due to meet Irish immigrant groups in Chicago today.

In his speech at the White House reception last night, the Taoiseach praised Mr Trump’s record in office, while highlighting shared political and economic interests between the US and Ireland .

“Mr President, You’ve said your ambition is to make America Great Again, and I think we can already see some of the results of that. The American economy is booming. There are more jobs, rising incomes, lower taxes - exactly what you said you’d do. And American military power is unrivalled,”

However he added that “the greatness of America is about more than economic prowess and military might.” It was about “Your people, your values, your nation conceived in liberty, the land and home of the brave and free.”