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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019

Minister: 'Just because you don't agree with the policies, it doesn't mean you snub the president'

Pat Breen said this morning that it was important that Ireland welcomes the US President.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

IRELAND WILL EXTEND a warm welcome to US President Donald Trump when he visits in November, Minister for Trade Pat Breen has said. 

The Clare TD told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that, despite the criticism levelled at the current president of the United States, it’s “important” to welcome him to Ireland.

It was announced on Friday that Trump will stop in Ireland for a brief visit as part of a trip to the Armistice commemorations in Paris.

The Labour Party and the Green Party were among those who announced they would participate in protests over the visit. 

Members of the government have also said they will attend demonstrations against Trump during his visit, but Breen said the visit must be “taken into context of the great relationship that exists between the US and Ireland”.

“This is about the office,” he said. “This is what we have to do to separate the office and the individual. Just because you don’t agree with his policies doesn’t mean you should snub the president.”

He said he expected Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to speak to Trump on issues such as trade and human rights, and was confident that the Fine Gael leader would have no hesitation speaking frankly with the US president.

“I think the Taoiseach will handle it in the same sensitive way as Pope Francis’ visit,” Breen said.

While he said he heard about the visit on Friday, when the visit was announced, he said Trump coming to Ireland was “always on the cards” after invitations had been given by both Enda Kenny and Varadkar.

Breen added that locals in Doonbeg, where Trump owns a hotel, were looking forward to the visit and said that vice president Mike Pence had a particularly strong family connection to the area.

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Sean Murray

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