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Simon Coveney hasn't spoken to US ambassador yet, but says 'it's clear where Irish people stand'

The Tánaiste said that he has a “very good relationship” with the US ambassador, and they “can speak very bluntly to each other”.

TÁNAISTE AND MINISTER for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has told the Dáil that although he doesn’t have a call scheduled with Ireland’s US ambassador, that he expects to speak with him this week.

The Tánaiste was responding to questions about whether he had been in touch with US ambassador Edward F Crawford over the US protests against racism and police brutality – and US President Donald Trump’s response to introduce the military to quell protesters.

” I have not spoken to the US ambassador, Mr Crawford,” he replied to a number of TDs who asked. “This does not mean I will not do so, but I have not yet.”

I think it is pretty clear where the Irish people stand on this issue.  I speak to the ambassador, Mr Crawford, quite regularly. I do not have a scheduled call with him but I would not be surprised if I were to speak to him in the next week or so.  

He said that he has a “very good relationship” with the US ambassador, and they “can speak very bluntly to each other”.

“In my view, the US govt are in no doubt about Ireland’s position.”

Two Black Lives Matter protests have taken place in Dublin in response to the death of George Floyd who was killed while being arrested by US police.

Thousands marched in Monday’s protest to the US embassy, where a minute’s silence was held and George Floyd’s name was chanted. 

Another protest is scheduled for this Saturday, 6 June, but strict instructions have been issued to protesters to adhere to public health advice.

The Tánaiste continued:

“The overriding message from the Irish government but also, I think, from Irish people, is a complete rejection of racism and a determination to combat it in all its forms.  We need to focus on ourselves as well as looking critically at others.

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“What Irish people want is an appropriate political response to the outrage on the back of this awful killing and the protests that have erupted since. However, they also want to see a country that historically has given a lot of global leadership on democratic values facilitating peaceful protest in an appropriate way.” 

The Tánaiste added that “political and community leadership” was needed “to stand up against racism, and to reassure those who feel victims to it”. 

“It needs to be about clarity of comment,” he said, “So we can move on and learn from the images coming from the US in recent days.” 

The Department of An Taoiseach was asked by TheJournal.ie whether Leo Varadkar had been in touch with the White House administration about the Black Lives Matter protests, and use of police force. It had no comment at the time of publishing.

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