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Here's what Irish parties think about Enda Kenny visiting Donald Trump in the White House

The AAA-PBP want a Dáil debate.on the matter.

Enda Kenny on his first visit to Washington DC as Taoiseach in 2011.
Enda Kenny on his first visit to Washington DC as Taoiseach in 2011.
Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE AAA-PBP is to submit a Dáil motion calling on Enda Kenny not to attend the White House for St. Patrick’s Day because of Donald Trump’s ‘racist and divisive’ policies.

Political pressure has been building on the Taoiseach not to attend the annual shamrock handover ceremony but his department has said it remains committed to the event.

The AAA-PBP now hopes to bring the debate to the Dáil floor with a motion that also wants to ensure that Irish airports do not cooperate with US rules that are contrary to the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention.

As well as the refusal to attend the White House, the AAA-PBP motion also wants the Taoiseach to release a public statement explaining the decision.

“Donald Trump has commenced the implementation of utterly racist, discriminatory and abhorrent immigration policies. The ban on entering the US for citizens of seven majority Muslim countries that are being ripped apart by war and conflict is pure unadulterated racism and must be condemned,” said AAA-PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett.

It would be inexcusable for Enda Kenny to grovel to this racist bully, by handing him shamrock on St Patrick’s Day. It would be equally inexcusable and possibly illegal for any Irish public official to co-operate with these obnoxious policies at Irish airports.

In a further statement issued this afternoon, Fine Gael said that the Taoiseach will attend the meeting with Trump and “will continue to act in the interest of Irish people”.

“St. Patrick’s Day provides the Irish government with a unique annual opportunity to hold bilateral talks with the US President and this longstanding arrangement is of great value to Ireland,” the party said in a statement.

Party stances

AAA-PBP said it has distributed the motion to Dáil TDs in the hope of securing support.

Labour and the Green Party both said yesterday that Kenny should not attend the St. Patrick’s Day event.

Sinn Féin has said that the Taoiseach should ensure Irish airports don’t enforce the travel ban but the party stopped short of saying Kenny should not visit the White House.

The Social Democrats have said that the debate is about more than whether Kenny attends the White House.

“If the Taoiseach is to travel this year he must leave the shamrock bowl at home and travel instead with a very clear mandate to robustly challenge President Trump’s actions,” argued Catherine Murphy TD.

Fianna Fáil said that it believes the the travel ban being imposed by Trump is “unjust and unacceptable” but that Kenny should still visit the White House.

“It is our view that this annual opportunity to engage with the US Presidency is of major strategic importance to the country and should be maintained,” the party said in a statement.

The upcoming visit to Washington DC should be used as an opportunity to press President Trump on his latest changes to stop people from the seven countries he has listed from entering the USA and also on the plight of undocumented Irish.

Over 30,000 people have signed a petition aimed at halting Enda Kenny from meeting Trump.

The AAA-PBP’s motion also seeks to have the Dail note “with extreme alarm and disapproval” a number of Trump’s other policies.

These include the intention to build a wall with Mexico, to upgrade the US’ nuclear weapons capability and its “undermining of efforts to combat climate change”.

Read: ‘Not in my name’: 30k sign Irish petition against Kenny visiting Trump on St Patrick’s Day >

Read: Confusion and outrage over Trump migrant ban as UK secures exemption >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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