Donald Trump during his last visit to Ireland in 2014 and pictured on the tarmac at Shannon Airport
By Irish Echo Staff
The Irish government is continuing to make preparations for a visit by President Donald Trump at the beginning of June – this despite reports of protocol issues surrounding the Irish part of the president’s European itinerary.
“Contrary to what has been reported, there is no standoff about the venue for a meeting between President Trump and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar,” said a statement released by the Irish embassy in Washington over the weekend.
“There has been some preliminary discussions on venues. Having met him twice in the White House, the Taoiseach would welcome an opportunity to meet President Trump should he decide to visit Ireland while he is in Europe next month,” the statement added.
Reports last week pointed to disagreement over the location of a meeting between President Trump and Taoiseach Varadkar.
Those reports, in various media outlets including the Irish Times and CNN, said that the disagreement had thrown a potential visit to County Clare by the president into doubt.
The Trump administration, according to the report, had been considering a visit to Ireland between the president’s trips to Britain for a state visit and to France for D-Day 75th anniversary ceremonies.
Disagreement had emerged over protocol issues, the Irish Times reported.
Added the Times report: “While the taoiseach’s preference is to meet Mr. Trump in Co Clare, Irish officials are reluctant to meet the U.S. president in his golf course in Doonbeg. Instead, the Government has pressed for a meeting in another location, preferably Dromoland Castle, located 50km away.”
Dromoland Castle is also in County Clare and a little over thirty miles from Doonbeg.
Continued the Times report: “One White House source told The Irish Times on Thursday that the president was now favoring a visit to Scotland rather than Ireland during his European trip. But sources in Dublin on Thursday said they believed the Irish visit would still go ahead.”
Thus far, the details of an Irish visit have not been revealed, though Ireland has been reportedly visited by U.S. officials and members of the Secret Service in anticipation of a Trump touchdown on Irish soil.
And perhaps two touchdowns, one before and one after the British and French parts of the trip.
Stated the Times report: “The unique nature of a potential visit - a US president visiting his own private property in Ireland - has thrown up complex issues around protocol, and whether it constitutes a private or official visit.
“While a trip to Scotland would not involve the president engaging in official activities, given that he will have already met the British prime minister and Queen Elizabeth during his state visit to Britain, a visit to Ireland would necessitate some formal engagement with the Government.”
President Trump has an open invitation to visit Ireland and indicated during his meeting with Leo Varadkar at the White House in March that he would visit at some point this year.
That point, despite the reported protocol issues, would still seem to be just a couple of weeks away.