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Micheál Martin is still waiting on a call from US President Donald Trump. Patrick Semansky/AP/Press Association Images
hold the line

Taoiseach Micheál Martin still waiting on first phone call with Donald Trump

Micheál Martin has spoken to several world leaders and senior EU figures – but not Donald Trump.

NEARLY 20 DAYS after being appointed Taoiseach, Micheál Martin has spoken to several world leaders and senior EU figures – but he still hasn’t received a call from US President Donald Trump. 

In response to questions from TDs, Martin confirmed that he had “not spoken with the President of the United States of America since my appointment as Taoiseach”. 

While few Taoisigh have faced a more uncertain world upon taking office, the lack of any communications with the White House is somewhat notable from a country traditionally seen as a key ally. 

Leo Varadkar had a 10-15 minute phone call with Trump 14 days after being appointed Taoiseach. 

Enda Kenny met Barack Obama in Washington for St Patrick’s Day shortly after being appointed taoiseach, while Brian Cowen met George Bush just over a month after taking office. 

Martin has already spoken with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss Brexit and the Covid-19 crisis, while he has also been in contact with President of the European Council Charles Michel and German Chancellor Angela Merkel among others. 

Prof Ben Tonra, who lectures on Irish foreign policy at University College Dublin, said the Trump presidency had already illustrated that it’s a place where “norms and procedures go out the window”.

“In the normal course of events this would be scheduled by the State department,” he said. 

While stressing that “personal chemistry is decisive” among leaders of bigger nations, he said such a scenario is less a priority for Ireland. 

“When you’re dealing with asymmetry between US and Ireland, it is far less so,” Tonra said. He suggested that there was little evidence that Varadkar and Trump enjoyed any significant rapport. 

There were questions raised following the election of Boris Johnson as UK Prime Minister, after it took nearly a week to arrange a call with Varadkar. 

However, the call – when it happened – was described as friendly

The Department of the Taoiseach did not respond to questions about any plans for a phone call with Trump. 

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