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Trump says he hopes to visit Ireland this year during White House visit by Taoiseach

The Taoiseach will return to the White House later this evening for the traditional shamrock ceremony.

Image: Brian Lawless

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has said that he hopes to visit Ireland this year while meeting Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office in the White House.

Describing Ireland as a “special place”, Trump referenced his golf resort at Doonbeg in Co Clare.

“I have a very warm spot for Doonbeg, I will tell you that. And, it’s just a great place,” he said.

The US leader made similar comments during last year’s sit down in Washington DC.

Before travelling to the White House the Taoiseach indicated that he and Trump would discuss future trade deals between the US and the UK and he would urge the president not to sign any deal that would undermine the peace process in Northern Ireland.

Speaking to reporters alongside Varadkar ahead of their private meeting, Trump said that he will stay out of the Brexit negotiations but hopes that the discussions work out.

He added that he’s surprised how badly the talks have gone and said that UK Prime Minister Theresa May has failed to follow his advice on how to handle the negotiations.

Speaking after the meeting Varadkar said he and Trump have “very different views” on whether Brexit is a good or bad thing.

“It was a real opportunity for me to set out Ireland’s position, particularly when it comes to protecting the Peace Process, the Good Friday agreement and avoiding a hard border,” the Taoiseach said.

He added that the pair also discussed immigration and Trump offered “strong support” for securing more visas for Irish people to work in the US and also backed aiding the plight of the undocumented Irish in America.

Breakfast

This morning Vice President Mike Pence hosted Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett for breakfast at his residence on the grounds of the US Naval Observatory in Washington.

Barrett, who is a doctor, is based in Chicago for work. He chatted about the city with Pence after the couple arrived at the residence. 

The US vice president is a deeply conservative Christian and has been criticised for his views and his legislative record on LGBT rights. 

Varadkar will return to the White House later this evening for the traditional shamrock ceremony.

TheJournal.ie’s Political Correspondent Christina Finn will be bringing you all the latest updates from Leo Varadkar’s visit to Washington DC this week, including his meeting with US President Donald Trump on Thursday.

Stay up-to-date by following @christinafinn8@TJ_Politics  and TheJournal.ie’s Facebook page

With reporting by Ceimin Burke 

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