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A Trump Visit to Ireland Is Now Up in the Air

Category: Europe,World

A postponement of the visit — if confirmed — would most likely be welcomed, if quietly, by an Irish government torn between the traditional open invitation to any American president but fear of the disruption a visit by Mr. Trump might bring.

“There will be a big sigh of relief in the taoiseach’s office and Iveagh House, and an even bigger sigh of relief in Garda headquarters,” said Noel Whelan, a political commentator, referring to the offices of the prime minister, the foreign ministry and the police force. “It would have been a security nightmare, dealing with large and colorful protests, and I know that they were hoping to confine most of his visit to the midwest to keep him away from the crowds.”

Mr. Trump is widely unpopular with an Irish populace that is socially more liberal than much of the president’s American base, and that believes strongly in institutions like the European Union and United Nations, Mr. Whelan explained. A visit by the president would probably little resemble those of predecessors like John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, whose were exuberantly welcomed in Ireland.

“The Irish on the whole are left of center and Democratic in terms of U.S. politics, even if Irish -Americans no longer are to the same extent,” Mr. Whelan said.

Condemnations of Mr. Trump’s policies have come from across the Irish political spectrum. Speaking just hours before news of the postponement, the leader of the opposition, Micheal Martin, said that the president was welcome to visit Ireland, but that he would not object if members of his Fianna Fail party wanted to protest against the visit.

“We don’t agree with the policies of President Trump at all,” Mr. Martin said, citing in particular his recent decision to cut funding to Palestinian refugees.

It has also not gone without notice that after nearly two years in office, Mr. Trump has failed to appoint a new ambassador to Dublin.

Nevertheless, Mr. Varadkar told state radio last week that Mr. Trump would be welcome.

“The relationship between Ireland and the U.S. is so strong and so important, much more important than any Irish government or any U.S. administration,” he said. “I think we have to treat his office with the respect it deserves.”

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