Trump could visit Ireland as early as June, says Taoiseach

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arriving at the Drake Hotel, Chicago where he will meet with emigrant support groups. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
By Juno McEnroe
Political Correspondent

Taoiseach says US President Donald Trump could visit Ireland as early as June this year when in Europe for D-Day commemorations, writes Juno McEnroe in Chicago.

Speaking in Chicago, Mr Varadkar also said he was not surprised about the president's views on Brexit this week when in the White House in Washington DC but that he hoped the US could do a trade deal with the EU.

When asked about Mr Trump's comment that he will visit Ireland this year, Mr Varadkar said the visit could go ahead in either June or December.

"He is going to travel to Europe both for the D-Day and for the NATO anniversary so it is possible that he will make the trip to Ireland before or after one of those. It's still early days yet."

Asked could the visit then take place as early as June, when the 75th anniversary of D-Day takes place in France, Mr Varadkar said:

"It is possible but there is no firm date discussed or agreed. He does intend to travel to Europe at least twice before now and the end of the year. It being added on to one of those visit would be the likeliest thing."

Mr Trump was critical of the EU and the Brexit negotiations in the White House this week. Asked about this, Mr Varadkar said he hoped the US president would negotiate a trade deal with the EU.

Mr Varadkar also discussed his speech about growing up as a gay man, which he made in the Washington DC residence of vice president Mike Pence and which drew international attention this week.

He said the two men did not discuss it but both obviously had different views.

"We didn't really discuss the speech but we had a good chat afterwards on different issues and I had the chance to meet him again in the White House.

"I met his brother who was recently elected to congress and his sister too.

"They are very nice people and certainly have made me feel welcome when I have been in DC. Obviously we have very different views on social policy but I think the best way to manage these things is to engage with people rather than boycotting them and that's what I intend to do," said Mr Varadkar.

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