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Planning under way for US Vice President Mike Pence to visit Ireland in September

The White House is yet to confirm the visit.

Image: Albin Lohr-Jones/SIPA USA/PA Images

US VICE PRESIDENT Mike Pence is expected to make a visit to Ireland in September. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that it has had contact with the US regarding the proposed visit, but that the visit has not yet been confirmed. 

“The US Vice President has indicated his wish to visit Ireland this year,” a spokesperson said.

“While the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has had contact with the US administration on the proposed visit, it remains unconfirmed.”

The White House is yet to confirm the visit. 

The proposed trip comes after US President Donald Trump spent several days in Ireland  at his Doonbeg golf resort in Co Clare in June. 

Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett met with Pence during The Taoiseach’s St Patrick’s Day visit to the US earlier this year. 

Pence has strong ancestral roots to Ireland.

His grandfather emigrated to the US from Tubercurry, County Sligo in the 1920s, and it is understood he passed through immigration inspections at Ellis Island.

His great-grandmother came from Doonbeg, County Clare, home to Trump’s famous Irish golf resort. Pence is believed to have been quite close to his grandfather, someone he says was a great inspiration to him.

The vice-president has returned to his ancestral home on many occasions over the years.

In 2009, he told the Irish Voice newspaper how he remembers spending summers in Ireland, cutting turf and saving hay in Clare and Sligo.

Commenting on the planned visit, Minister of State Finian McGrath said that while he strongly disagrees with Trump and Pence on their policies, on a personal level he believes “he has a lot of Irish family roots” in Ireland and has “no problem with a visit”.

“But on a political level, I protested against Mr Trump and that would still be my position. But on a personal human level he’s very welcome to the country,” McGrath said.

He has strong Irish relations and I still think he has a right [to visit Ireland]. But equally those who oppose his policies have a right to demonstrate and protest as well.

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty added: “I don’t think the way you change heart and minds is by ignoring and isolating people I think the way you do it is by example and by conversation.

“And so, he’s very welcome to Ireland but it gives us an opportunity and no more so than it did when the Taoiseach met him earlier on this year to have a conversation, to see the lived experience of somebody’s reality in Ireland, how the country has changed a lot in the last number of years but how the country still has a long way to go.”

With reporting by Gráinne Ní Aodha

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