Donald Trump has cancelled an upcoming trip to Ireland – with massive protests having already been planned to greet him.
The president was expected to visit the country after celebrating Armistice Day in France on 11 November. Activists had begun planning massive demonstrations across Ireland for Mr Trump’s arrival, as opposition parties immediately protested the planned trip when it was announced earlier this year.
The Irish Independent first reported the cancellation, claiming the move came as an apparent surprise to the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, and his staff, who also did not expect the president to announce a November visit to the country. A spokesperson for Mr Varadkar said the “US side has cited scheduling reasons” for the cancellation.
Mr Varadkar himself said: “There is an open invitation to the US president to visit Ireland at any time, I think they’ve all visited since Reagan, if not before and obviously there’s an open invitation for me, or any future Taoiseach [prime minister], to attend Washington in March. We hadn’t known until just a couple of days ago that he was going to take the opportunity of his visit to Paris for the Armistice commemorations, commemorating a hundred years of the end of the First World War, to visit Dublin, and also he’s going to go to Doonbeg too.”
The president was reportedly planning a state visit in Dublin with his Irish counterparts before departing for Doonbeg, Co Clare, where he owns a golf course.
It remains unclear why exactly the trip has now been called off, however. Initial reports indicated the White House was still determining whether or not the president would visit Ireland as of Tuesday afternoon.
“The president will travel to Paris in November as previously announced,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “We are still finalising whether Ireland will be a stop on that trip. As details are confirmed we will let you know.”
The Irish Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin previously described Mr Trump as being “no friend of democracy and human rights” in a tweet encouraging constituents to protest the president’s visit.
It also remains unclear whether there will be any additional changes to Mr Trump’s upcoming European trip. The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The president’s last visit to the UK was marked by massive protests following his every move, with demonstrations throughout London and Scotland, where he later visited his golf course as protestors hurled insults towards his envoy.
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