President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arriving in Shannon today. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Irish Echo Staff
President Donald Trump has landed at Shannon Airport and his holding talks with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before overnighting in his Doonbeg golf resort.
The sky over County Clare was blue as Air Force One landed at Shannon.
Shortly afterwards the president and First Lady Melania Trump took their first steps together on Irish soil.
The president and first lady arrived fresh from a state visit to Britain and a D-Day 75th anniversary memorial gathering earlier today in Portsmouth, England.
During his three day visit to Britain, the president urged the UK to unceremoniously ditch the European Union while promising a “phenomenal” and “very, very substantial trade deal” between the U.S. and UK post-Brexit.
Such a scenario - a no-deal Brexit - could have profound and negative ramifications for the peace process, the border, and the Irish economy which will remain part of Europe’s shared economy, all while facing possible trade shifts by the UK which could have a potentially devastating effect on Irish agriculture, particularly the beef industry.
So the Shannon meeting between Trump and Varadkar could fundamentally chart the course for Irish/U.S. relations into the foreseeable future.
The Trumps will stay tonight at the Trump Doonbeg golf complex which sits beside the Atlantic and on the other side of County Clare from Shannon airport.
The Trumps are expected to return to Doonbeg following D-Day 75th anniversary ceremonies in Normandy tomorrow before flying back to Washington from Shannon on Friday.
The president is planning a round of golf on the challenging Doonbeg links on Friday.
President Trump was greeted at Shannon by Mr. Varadkar.
RTE reported: “The two men held a meeting in the presidential suite at the airport, where Brexit, immigration, trade, U.S. support for Northern Ireland, and the E3 visa program were on the agenda.
“Speaking at a press conference afterwards, Mr. Varadkar said he told President Trump that large U.S. companies - such as tech and pharmaceutical firms - were very welcome in Ireland and that they were a big part of the economy in terms of the creation of jobs.
“The Taoiseach said he expressed a very strong view, that he said Ireland has, that these companies should pay their fair share of taxes.
“In relation to Brexit, Mr. Varadkar said Mr. Trump would have heard a certain story about the issue in the UK and that he made sure to express that there were different issues for Ireland, such as the border.
“He said that while they spoke about avoiding a hard border, the president did not go in to any detail about how a hard border could be avoided.
“Mr. Varadkar said President Trump did not elaborate on why he thought Brexit would be good for Ireland.
“On the election of a new leader of the British Conservative Party, the Taoiseach said President Trump had some good things to say about Boris Johnson but also about Jeremy Hunt.
“Mr. Varadkar said there was no discussion about the possibility of the United States placing tariffs on goods from the European Union. He added that he hoped this would not happen.
Speaking ahead of their meeting, President Trump said that "it's an honor to be here.”
He said he thought Brexit would be good for Ireland, describing the border as the big issue, but he said he believed it would "work out very well.”
President Trump said that once a new prime minister was appointed in Britain that person would have to "try to make a deal" or Brexit would have to be done a different way.
When asked about comments by President Higgins on his stance on climate change, Mr. Trump said he had not heard the remarks, adding that the United States had the cleanest air in the world. He said it had gotten better since he became president.
Mr. Trump, according to the RTE report, also said that Ireland was important to him.
"You are certainly one of the leading countries in terms of people moving and living in the United States. We have millions of Irish and I think I know most of them because they're my friends,” the president said.