A NON-EVENT is probably a fair enough description of United States President Donald J Trump’s visit to Ireland last week and its underwhelming nature was something of a relief because there was no knowing what hobby horse of his he was going to let loose during a visit that mainly ended up being a shameless promotion of his Trump International Golf Resort in Doonbeg, Co Clare.
The government deserves credit for not wanting to have President Trump’s meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Doonbeg. Instead, the meet and greet took place in a lounge at Shannon Airport and it was not long before the US leader’s profound ignorance of and lack of sensitivity towards issues affecting Ireland came to the fore when he declared that Brexit would be a ‘very very good thing’!
Then, he likened the Irish border situation to that of the US-Mexico border where he wants to build his infamous wall. Even though our Taoiseach seemed once again over-awed in Trump’s presence initially, he recovered well to point out to his guest that we wanted to keep our border open – not close it.
Notwithstanding all that, Trump seemed quite relaxed here in Ireland and eschewed issuing vitriolic tweets while in the country in between visits to Britain and France in connection with the 75th anniversary commemorations of D-Day at either side of the English Channel. The usual protests against him took place here and in the UK, but the people of Doonbeg gave him a predictably warm welcome in gratitude for the number of jobs his resort provides there and all the ancillary jobs too.
However, all the fuss when two of Trump’s sons visited the village and bought a drink for everyone in the four local pubs and being promised a place in heaven by a local priest smacked of downright tasteless Paddywhackery.