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Maintaining tradition, Trump declares March 'Irish-American Heritage Month'

It’s not a particularly old tradition. In fact, it barely predates Lethal Weapon 3.

Trump in golf conservation deal Trump meets Michael Noonan at Shannon Airport in 2014. Source: Niall Carson

DONALD TRUMP HAS declared the month of March Irish-American Heritage Month – in keeping with a tradition that dates back to the days of … George Bush Senior.

Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month back in 1991, and the President issues a proclamation marking the occasion each year.

In the weeks since the Republican took office, the Trump White House has come in for criticism over the range of content on its social media accounts and official website  - notably, over the removal of all Spanish-language content in the first few days of the administration.

Irish-American news outlet Irish Central had clearly been keeping a close eye on the White House in relation to the heritage month announcement, and ran a story yesterday noting that Trump had ‘failed to recognise’ the month.

The month, the site said, had historically been launched on the last day of February. However, it seems Trump’s predecessor may have occasionally slipped up when observing that tradition – Barack Obama’s 2012 announcement was made on 1 March. Others announcements from Obama were made on either 28 or 29 February.

The Irish-related celebrations in the White House, of course, will culminate with the traditional shamrock ceremony as Trump welcomes Enda Kenny to Washington later this month for St Patrick’s Day.

There have been calls for Kenny to boycott the event this year – and in recent days former Maryland Governor and Democrat White House hopeful Martin O’Malley added his voice to criticism of the planned ceremony, calling on his fellow Irish-American politicians to stay away.

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O’Malley said it was “not a time to be giving bowls of shamrock and tricolour lapel pins to white supremacists with Irish surnames” – a reference to President Trump’s controversial advisor, Steve Bannon.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, O’Malley described Trump’s immigration policies as “evil”.

US “immigrant internment camps” were already “the largest in the free world,” he said. “When this happens the only thing that’s needed for success is for good people not to stand up.”

Read: Leo Varadkar is the first minister to say Trump shouldn’t be invited to Ireland>

Read: Minister tells Trump’s security advisor: ‘This travel ban has damaging consequences’ >

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Daragh Brophy

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