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'I have never seen anything like it': Wide range of reactions to Trump's cancelled visit

Several opposition parties expressed delight at the cancellation while Fianna Fáil says it highlights the need for the government to pressure the US to appoint an ambassador.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar presents US President Donald Trump with a bowl of shamrock at the White House.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar presents US President Donald Trump with a bowl of shamrock at the White House.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

IRISH POLITICIANS HAVE greeted the news that US President Donald Trump will not be coming here in November with a range of reactions from bewilderment to joy. 

Trump was expected to visit Dublin and Clare, with protests planned to mark his arrival. 

The status of the visit was the source of much confusion yesterday evening with the Irish government and the White House offering different answers as to whether it would go ahead.

Some clarity was finally provided when the White House informed the Irish ambassador in the US that the November trip had been cancelled for “scheduling reasons”. Trump may still come to Ireland at a later date.

The cancellation blindsided the government, which scrambled to find details from their US counterparts as to whether the trip was postponed or cancelled.

Fine Gael Oireachtas members have been tight lipped about the cancellation so far today but Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin said he has never seen anything as haphazard as the announcement and subsequent cancellation of the trip.

“I haven’t seen anything like this before and no one seems to be the wiser in our government as to what is going on,” he said at his party’s think-in in Malahide.

“Normally there are channels. People are in touch with each other, embassy to embassy government to government.”

The government haven’t been alerted that the visit is on, the first instance is it came as a bolt out of the blue and then in a similar manner it emerges that the visit is off. I don’t know whether channels are working between the government here and the government in the US… but there is a need to get this relationship sorted.

Martin called on the government to put more pressure on the US to appoint a US ambassador to Ireland, stating that yesterday’s scenario would not have happened if an acting ambassador was in place.

It subsequently emerged that the cabinet is expected to approve the appointment of 80-year old Edward J Crawford as ambassador later today.

The cancellation sparked triumphant proclamations from those who opposed the visit with some claiming that it was the result of planned protests.

“Delighted the vocal opposition to his proposed visit esp (sic) from Labour & Green Party has had the desired effect with the visit being cancelled. Proud we took another #IrishStand,” Labour senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said on Twitter.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he is glad Trump is not coming as the US president’s politics “represent the opposite of Green and indeed Irish values”.

It’s hard to know why the trip has been cancelled at this stage, but we are nonetheless glad that such a costly, potentially divisive and undignified event will now not take place.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Roisin Shortall of the Social Democrats who said that Trump’s values are a “betrayal of those that Irish people hold dear”.

People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd Barrett said we have much more “urgent priorities” such as the housing crisis.

With reporting by Christina Finn

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Ceimin Burke

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