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Micheál Martin: 'President Trump is welcome to visit Ireland'

Micheál Martin says party members are allowed to articulate their views on the visit.

FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin has said party members are allowed to protest against the visit of US president Donald Trump.

Speaking at the party’s think-in in Malahide today, he said the party’s position on Trump’s policies is very clear.

“We don’t agree with the policies of president Trump at all… we are appalled at his decision to … remove relief in the West Bank and Gaza. That is a shocking decision, because it directly impacts on the livelihoods of so many Gazans and Palestinians in the West Bank, in terms of schooling, access to supplies,” he said.

President Trump recently announced he was cutting US funding from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) – an organisation looks after Palestinian children, primarily through schools and education.

When asked if TDs and senators will be permitted to protest against the visit, he said:

I’ve no difficulty with members of the party articulating their opposition to the policies of president Trump. That said, he is president of the US, he is democratically elected by the people, we respect that, we respect the long-standing tradition between our two democracies, and of course the president of the US is welcome to visit Ireland and we welcome the opportunity to talk to him and articulate our position on a number of issues that we’re currently not happy with.

Trump is due to visit Ireland in November. Last week, both the Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar admitted that the announcement of his visit “came out of the blue”. 

The cost of the visit has not yet been established, but it is believed to be in the region of  several million euro, according to Varadkar.

Trump is likely to come to Ireland on 12 or 13 November, according to Tánaiste Simon Coveney, who said the US president is likely to stop off in Ireland on the way back from the Armistice Day commemorations in Paris.

It is understood the US president will visit Dublin and Clare on his trip.

Varadkar and Coveney told reporters at their party think-in in Galway last week that Trump is welcome to visit Ireland, with the Tánaiste adding that to allow the US president to visit the country is not an endorsement of his policies. 

Sinn Féin has also said Trump is welcome to visit Ireland, with Mary Lou McDonald stating that she would meet him.

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