Evening Express

Confusion over Donald Trump’s autumn visit to Ireland

There was confusion around whether US President Donald Trump’s visit to Ireland will go ahead this autumn, as the two Governments gave initially differing accounts.

Dublin said the trip planned for November had been “postponed” due to scheduling reasons.

Washington clarified it was still finalising whether Ireland will be a stop on the President’s itinerary in Europe, marking the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Mr Trump was due to make a two-day visit to the Irish Republic during which he was expected to visit his golf course in Doonbeg, Co Clare, on the west coast and Dublin around the weekend of November 10-11.

The White House announced on August 31 that he will travel to Paris for a commemoration of the centenary of the Armistice which ended the carnage.

The President’s visit to Ireland was due to coincide.

Doonbeg golf course and hotel in Co Clare (Niall Carson/PA)

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: “The President will travel to Paris in November as previously announced.

“We are still finalising whether Ireland will be a stop on that trip. As details are confirmed we will let you know.”

A spokesman for the Irish Government said: “I can confirm that the proposed visit of the US President is postponed. The US side has cited scheduling reasons.”

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has previously said news of the visit came a little bit out of the blue.

Irish activists espousing left-wing and environmentalist causes had pledged to hold protests.

The US President was originally invited to Ireland by former taoiseach Enda Kenny on his final St Patrick’s Day visit to the White House last year.

That offer was reiterated by Mr Varadkar in March.

Last week Ireland’s deputy premier Simon Coveney said the Irish Government was “a little taken by surprise” when the announcement was made.

Mr Coveney said: “It will be controversial because everything Donald Trump does these days is controversial.”

It was to be Mr Trump’s first visit to Ireland since he assumed the office.

Brendan Howlin, leader of the Labour Party in the Republic, said Mr Trump was “no friend of democracy or human rights”.

During a regular press briefing, a spokeswoman for the State Department said she could not answer a question from US press about the Irish visit.