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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with US President Donald Trump after attending a Speaker's Lunch on Capitol Hill in Washington D.during his visit to the US in March PA Wire/PA Images

Taoiseach says any protests against expected Trump visit 'allowed and welcomed'

Both the Labour party and the Social Democrats have spoken out against Trump’s visit, stating he is “not welcome in Ireland”.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said protest during Trump’s expected visit to Ireland next month “is allowed and is welcomed”. 

Speaking to reporters today, Varadkar said that he would “certainly never criticise anyone for taking part in a protest if that’s the way they wish to express their views”.

“This is a democracy and peaceful protest is a part of democracy.”

It is understood that Trump will be in the country for a number of days at the beginning of June.

However, Varadkar said he can’t give any confirmation of the visit as it has to come from the White House. 

“We don’t have official confirmation yet, but there is a protocol around these matters and protocol says that the announcement has to come from the White House.”

Trump is due to visit the UK and France at the start of June for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Sources say he is expected to arrive in Ireland, where he will stay at his Doonbeg resort in Co Clare, on 5 June.

It’s expected he will then head to France for further World War II commemorative events the following day, before returning to Doonbeg for another overnight stay.

‘Respect the office’

Both the Labour party and the Social Democrats have spoken out against Trump’s visit, stating he is “not welcome in Ireland”.

Labour Senator Aodhán O Ríordáin has said “Trump is no ordinary president”  adding that he “is the face of hate, racism and division”.

Meanwhile, the Social Democrats have called his visit it “a betrayal of Irish values”.

“The Social Democrats will strongly oppose any proposed visit on the basis that we don’t believe Irish people are willing to entertain his narrow and divisive brand of politics. Any official hosting of President Trump in Ireland would be a betrayal of the values that Irish people hold dear,” the party’s co-leaders Róisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy said. 

It is believed that arrangements will be made for Trump and Varadkar to play golf. Government officials here are said to be exploring the possibility of hosting a meeting at Dromoland Castle in Co Clare.

When asked by reporters if people would be allowed to protest close to where the two leaders are meeting, Varadkar said that security measures have yet to be worked out, adding that it was a matter for gardaí.

When pressed on Trump’s opposing policies to his, such as climate, women’s rights, and free trade, Varadkar said he would have the opportunity to raise them with him in person, acknowledging that others may wish to do the same through protest. 

In a democracy, protest is allowed and is welcomed. 

“I believe that we should respect the office, even if people have particular views about the current incumbent.

The links that exist between Ireland and America are very strong… we want to keep those links strong, regardless of who is Taoiseach or President.

Last November, Trump was due to visit Clare and Dublin but the status of the visit was the source of much confusion with the Irish government and the White House offering different answers as to whether it would go ahead.

The trip was later cancelled for “scheduling reasons”.

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