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Mike Pence defends choice to stay at Trump's Doonbeg resort despite most meetings taking place in Dublin

Pence has been staying at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel during his two-day visit to Ireland.

Mike Pence and Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House in Dublin on Tuesday.
Mike Pence and Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House in Dublin on Tuesday.
Image: Sam Boal

US VICE PRESIDENT Mike Pence has said it was “logical” to stay at the golf resort in Doonbeg owned by Donald Trump after criticism over taxpayer money going to the US President’s family business. 

Pence said his great-grandmother grew up in Doonbeg and that he visited the area when he was 22. 

“I understand the political attacks by democrats but if you have a chance to get to Doonbeg, you’ll find it’s a fairly small place and the opportunity to stay at Trump [International] in Doonbeg, to accommodate the unique footprint that comes with our security detail and other personnel made it logical,” Pence told reporters today.

“We checked it with a state department, they approved us staying there and I was pleased to have the opportunity to return to that family home town.

“It’s deeply humbling for me to be able to come back to Ireland and have the opportunity to go to the very home town of my mother’s grandmother,” he said.  

Pence stayed at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg Co Clare which is owned by US President Donald Trump during his ongoing two-day trip to Ireland.

He said the trip is re-affirming the US commitment to the Republic of Ireland and the economic and diplomatic ties between the two countries. 

Trump also stayed in the Doonbeg hotel during his visit to Ireland earlier this year. 

The US President resigned as the director of the golf course and resort on 19 January 2017, the day before his inauguration as US President, RTÉ reported at the time. 

The controversy around the hotel stay surrounds the spending of US taxpayer money on the president’s family business. 

The hotel is located around 290 kilometres from Dublin where the official meetings between Pence and figures such as Leo Varadkar and Michael D Higgins were held today. 

doonbeg to dub Distance between the Doonbeg resort and Farmleigh House where Pence met with the Taoiseach earlier today. Source: Google Maps

When asked by reporters if Trump asked Pence to stay at the resort, chief of staff for Mike Pence, Marc Short said it wasn’t “like a command”. 

“I think that it was a suggestion,” he said. 

Short said Pence planned to go to Doonbeg because his family is from there so Trump made the offer to “stay at my place”. 

Short added that the secret service has protected the facility before “so they sort of know the realities” and the logistics of the resort. 

The stay was criticised by US congress representative Ted Lieu who said it was “corrupt”. 

Pence visited with his wife Karen and arrived into Shannon airport today. The couple were accompanied on the trip by Pence’s mother Nancy Pence-Fritsch and his sister. 

They were greeted by Tánaiste Simon Coveney at the airport. 

Pence visited Dublin today and first went to Áras an Uachtaráin to meet President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett welcomed Pence to Farmleigh House in Phoenix Park. 

Pence urged Ireland and the EU to negotiate “in good faith” with Boris Johnson, sticking with the Trump administration’s position on Brexit. He will be returning to Doonbeg this evening with his family.

- With reporting from © AFP 2019

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