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Trump should be respected during November visit, says Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met US President Donald Trump in Washington earlier this year. Photo: PA

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the news of Donald Trump’s visit to Ireland came out of the blue for the government, and argued the US president should be respected.

Mr Varadkar said there is a standing invitation for any US president to come to Ireland.

Speaking on the Marty Squad on RTE Radio 1, the Taoiseach said the Government had not known until a couple of days ago.

“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, to attend Washington in March.

Trump and Varadkar appear to have a good relationship. Credit: PA

“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.

“We’ve got to work out a programme and all the rest of it but I think any programme we will have will have to respect the fact that we will be inaugurating our own President on the 11th of November.

“We will have to make sure that we have enough time and space to commemorate the Armistice because bear in mind hundreds of thousands of Irish people, including a lot of people from this city, fought in the First World War.

“We need to make sure that’s appropriate and fits around that as well.”

The news of Mr Trump’s visit in November was immediately met by calls for protests by opposition parties and activists.

Mr Varadkar said he understood that many people in Ireland dislike Mr Trump, and said that he disagreed with many of his policies.

“I know a lot of people dislike him.

“A lot of people object to him, a lot of people disagree with a lot of his policies, just as I do in fact, but he is the President of America.

“He is elected according to their rules, and the relationship between Ireland and the United States is so strong and so important, much more important than any Irish government or any US administration and I think we have to treat his office with the respect that it deserves.”