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Enda denies being snubbed by Donald Trump

The Taoiseach made a pitch to companies to relocate to Ireland on US TV this afternoon.

Updated 4.40pm

Pasted image at 2016_12_02 16_00 Taoiseach Enda Kenny Source: Bloomberg TV

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has denied being snubbed by US President-elect Donald Trump while on this visit to the US this week.

Kenny told media in New York, including TheJournal.ie’s Dan Mac Guill, that the three-day business trip to San Francisco and New York was “arranged long before the outcome of the election”.

During his visit to the Irish Consulate on Park Avenue in Manhattan, (only half a mile [six blocks] from Trump Tower) he said:

This is a business, trade and investment trip, both on the West coast and here. There are no political meetings on this occasion.
Obviously I have spoken on the day he was announced as being the President-elect, to President-elect Trump, and I look forward to meeting him in March.
We set out the position that we would work with the American administration. Some points have been made, and we would forward to working constructively with that administration and in the interests of relations between Ireland and the US.

It is understood that soundings were made from the Irish side towards the US president-elect, but a meeting did not transpire in the end.

Relocation, relocation

Earlier today, the Taoiseach made a targeted pitch to companies considering a move to Ireland following Brexit.

Speaking live from New York on Bloomberg TV today, the Taoiseach said the Irish government are fielding a “stream of inquiries” from companies, financial houses and banks in Britain that are considering moving to other locations.

Kenny is on a three-day business trip to the US, travelling to San Francisco and New York.

Yesterday, the Taoiseach met with Apple CEO Tim Cook, where it’s believed the pair discussed the implications of the recent Apple Tax ruling on the multinational’s plans here.

Kenny told the TV station this afternoon that while Brexit is a challenge to the European Union and Ireland, there are “always opportunities”.

Ireland will compete “fairly and hard” with other countries to attract businesses to Ireland, he said.

Specialists teams

“We will give you a specialist team and test us to see if we measure up to your requirements or not,” explained Kenny.

He highlighted that Ireland is just one-hour away from London and is the only remaining English-speaking country in the EU.

When Bloomberg’s Editor-in-Chief, John Micklethwait said it sounded like the Taoiseach was making his pitch to multinationals, he said:

“Well, it is a pitch if you like.”

However, he went on to say that he could not make decisions for businesses.

The Taoiseach was also asked about Ireland’s corporation tax rate, in light of Britain making sounds that it may cut its rate.

Kenny said other countries, such as Britain, are “entitled” to reduce their corporation tax rate, if the wish.

He confirmed that this is not something Ireland will be doing.

“Ireland will not change its corporation tax rate”

Kenny’s talk about multi-nationals and tax comes as Trump warns companies that there will be “consequences” if they leave the US, reports the BBC.

When asked by reporters today if he was concerned about Trump’s rhetoric, he said:

“Let’s wait and see what the decision of the new administration is.”

“Ireland’s open for business,” he said.

Brexit 

When asked about what he thought would be the possible date that Britain will leave the EU, he said:

It is impossible to say, John. You see no one has ever left the EU before. This is the first time someone under the Treaty is actually going to leave. You have 50 years of regulations, and directives and legislation dealing with the relationship between the Britain and European Union… to end that in a two-year period is probably impossible.

I think you will have a transition period beyond the two-year period.

Kenny said that Ireland had been “transformed” by being members of the EU, stating Ireland is now a small country open to the world.

He admitted that there are “fragilities” within the EU at present and said Europe should focus on where it wants to be in the next five or ten years.Warning other EU countries, he said “you cannot have a situation where a 50% of young people are unemployed. The day you turn off hope for young people is the day you breed real trouble”.

The Taoiseach is due to depart from New York tomorrow.

With additional reporting from Dan Mac Guill in New York

Read: Taoiseach Goes Stateside: ‘If Enda does meet Trump, he shouldn’t go cap in hand’>

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