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Taoiseach criticised for "gushing tweet" and manner towards Trump and Pence

Enda Kenny has spoken to both the President and Vice President-elect

coppinger Ruth Coppinger is not happy with the Taoiseach's response to Trump's election. Source: Oireachtas.ie

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has been accused by opposition TDs of a “gushing” response to the election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence in the US.

In an exchange in the Dáil this evening, Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger told the Taoiseach that he should have “sent Mr Trump a message that he hopes he will respect gay rights, minority rights and immigrant rights.”

“While I accept that the Taoiseach must go through the motions of formally greeting the election of world leaders, does he have to do so in such a gushing manner?,” Coppinger said.

On Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the Taoiseach sent a gushing tweet over the weekend in which he said Mr Pence certainly knows Ireland and the issues that matter to Irish people. Last year, Irish people turned out in droves for the same-sex marriage referendum. Vice President-elect Pence is bitterly opposed to same-sex marriage and has argued, for example, that resources should be provided for conversion therapy to assist those seeking to change their sexual behaviour. How is that in accordance with the views of Irish people?

Coppinger also joked that the Irish people will “sleep soundly in their beds” after the Taoiseach confirmed that Irish politicians have been invited to the White House next year and that the annual Shamrock ceremony will continue.

The Taoiseach’s tweet about the Vice President-elect followed a conversation between the pair in which the Taoiseach said they spoke about Pence’s Irish heritage.

Pence has been a consistent opponent of LGBT rights and as Coppinger mentioned he has previously advocated so-called “conversion therapy” for gay people.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD told the Taoiseach that he had been contacted by “various gay friends of mine” after Kenny’s conversation with Pence.

“There is a balancing act between being diplomatic and standing up for certain values, rather than just normalising positions that are beyond the pale,” Ryan said.

I would like the Taoiseach to consider the example of gay rights, which he will rightly say the previous government championed.  We all introduced marriage equality.  How can we protect the fundamental principles we now hold in a diplomatic way?

In response, the Taoiseach said that: “We stand up for our own rights by our own actions.”

Kenny made reference to Ireland’s vote on marriage equality but did not say whether it was mentioned in his conversations with Trump or Pence.

“We had a referendum on gay marriage and equality of rights. I was very happy to support it. It was a wonderful period of exultation and excitement among Irish people,” he said.

kenny Enda Kenny responding to questions in the Dáil today. Source: Oireachtas.ie

Kenny also added that people must accept the results of the US election:

The decision has been made.  It has been made by the electorate of the United States.  It went to the ballot box and elected Vice President-elect Pence and President-elect Trump. Politicians the world over have got to deal with the consequences of whatever administration emerges from that.

Read: Enda Kenny had a 10-minute phone call with Donald Trump last night >

Read: Brendan Howlin has described Shane Ross as ‘Donald Trumpesque’ >

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