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A respectful welcome - but no pomp and circumstance: What to expect from the Trump visit

Trump will arrive in Shannon Airport later today.

Image: PA

UNITED STATES PRESIDENT Donald Trump will receive a mixed welcome when he arrives in Ireland today for a brief visit in between D-Day commemorations in Britain and France.

Trump has spent the last three days in England, where he attended a state banquet with the royal family at Buckingham Palace, a dinner at the US ambassador’s residence and talks with Prime Minister Theresa May. Earlier he joined other world leaders in Portsmouth for the official event to commemorate 75 years since the D-Day landings.

His itinerary for his Irish visit – which is a private visit – will be much less busy and will not involve the pomp and circumstance of the official State visit to England.

The US president will touch down in Shannon Airport in the late afternoon or early evening. It is not clear whether he will be treated to a musical welcome on the runway, like he was in 2014, but it’s believed there won’t be any harpists this time around, nor any Irish wolfhounds.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

At the airport he will meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar for bilateral talks. This is the only formal meeting or event planned with Irish officials for the three days Trump is in Ireland.

However, TheJournal.ie understands there could well be a press conference with Varadkar after his meeting with Trump as took place in the White House earlier this year. 

Negative forces

During his time in London, President Trump caused a stir with his comments about mayor Sadiq Khan who he called a “stone cold loser” following criticism by Khan. He doubled down on his remarks when questioned by reporters about it yesterday, describing him as “a negative force”. 

“I think he’s been a not very good mayor from what I understand,” Trump said.

“He’s done a poor job, crime is up, a lot of problems and I don’t think he should be criticising a representative of the United States that can do so much good for the United Kingdom.”

During this press conference, he took aim at Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who he also accused of being a “negative force”. 

“He wanted to meet today or tomorrow and I decided that I would not do that,” Trump said.

“I really don’t like critics,” he added. 

Commemorations in France

There is a photo opportunity planned for media with the president and Taoiseach at the airport, but it is not clear whether he will take questions.

After his meeting with Varadkar he will fly by helicopter to Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg, Co Clare, where he will be staying for two days. The resort will be closed for the duration of his visit. 

Tomorrow he will fly from Shannon to France, where he will meet President Emmanuel Macron and visit Colleville-sur-Mer in Normandy to commemorate the anniversary of the Normandy landings. He is expected to stop at the graves of former American president Theodore Roosevelt’s two sons who are buried at Normandy American cemetery. 

After this he will return to overnight in Doonbeg. Aside from his meeting with the Taoiseach and his short trip to Normandy, Trump is not expected to leave the resort, where he will take in a round of golf before returning to the US on Friday. 

Security

There will be a strong security presence around Doonbeg and Shannon Airport over the next three days. Gardaí have said traffic restrictions for the visit will be kept to a minimum during the US president’s visit and this should not impact greatly on normal traffic in Shannon and Doonbeg.

They have said both Shannon town and Doonbeg village remain open for business during that time, which indicates Trump is not likely to venture out for a local pint or a bit of shopping.

Passengers travelling through the airport are advised to allow extra travel time as there will be additional security on the approach road to the airport and car parks until Friday. All visitors are advised to have photo ID and intending passengers should have proof of travel.

Gardaí locally have also engaged with local secondary schools in these areas to give them advance notification as the Leaving Certificate starts this week.

Parents and students, particularly in Doonbeg and Shannon, are advised to give additional travel time to ensure that they can attend exam centres without difficulty.

Local businesses have welcomed the visit, pointing out that Trump’s Doonbeg estate is the largest employer in the area and that his visit may boost local tourism.

Caroline O’Brien, owner of The Igoe Inn, told RTÉ:

The world press follows him around so every time he mentions he’s coming to Ireland he mentions Doonbeg so that’s all good publicity for us and it’s helping to keep all our businesses going and viable in Doonbeg.

Protests

However there will not be a warm welcome from everyone when Trump touches down in Shannon Airport. A ‘peace camp’ has been set up close to the airport and anti-war and climate change protesters will be based there for the duration of his visit.

John Lannon of Shannonwatch told TheJournal.ie that the main protest will take place this evening, to coincide with the president’s meeting with the Taoiseach at Shannon Airport.

Gardaí have said they are engaging with the protest groups and will facilitate the demonstrations, while making every effort to minimise disruption to the community and those travelling through the airport. 

The Peace and Neutrality Alliance and Venezuela Ireland Network will hold a vigil outside the US Embassy in Ballsbridge, Dublin at 6pm this evening. There will also be a protest in Dublin’s city centre, starting at the Garden of Remembrance and moving to the GPO, on Thursday evening.

Those in attendance will include Minister for State Finian McGrath, who said yesterday that it is important to have “peaceful, democratic protests and that people with different views express those views”.

“I have major problems with him – in relation to his policies, both nationally and internationally.”

With reporting from Christina Finn

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