Tag Archives: Donald Trump

 

From top: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (left) and US President Donald Trump in the White House Washington last March; Ciaran Tierney

It has been amazing to hear so many people in Ireland express regret that President Trump has postponed (or cancelled) his Irish visit this coming November.

They were so fired up that many said they were looking forward to joining a political protest for the first time.

Irish protesters had to reach out to their counterparts in the UK, who turned out in their thousands to make the President feel so unwelcome when he visited London back in July.

Sorry, they said, we won’t need to ship the giant orange “baby blimp” to Ireland after all!

People in Dublin were really looking forward to the sight of a giant baby Donald in a nappy floating across the skyline.

And a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign had already covered the cost of bringing over the six metre high blimp within days of being set up.

Everyone, it seemed, wanted to be part of mass protests against the US President. The sense of anti-climax was palpable as soon as the White House announced that he had postponed his travel plans.

The leaders of two opposition parties, Labour and the Greens, had come  together to announce plans for a joint rally for “democracy, decency, and international solidarity” in Dublin.

As though such concepts, so alien to Mr Trump, were plentiful across the political spectrum here in Ireland.

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin went as far as to say that President Trump was “no friend of democracy or human rights”.

Mr Howlin said it was important to stand up to Trump on issues such as climate change, the treatment of migrant and asylum-seekers, spending on arms, and the slashing of aid budgets.

In Galway, the local anti-racism group wanted hundreds of people to gather to spell out the words “Feck off Trump” (with a little Irish humour, from the ‘Father Ted’ TV series) on a beach.

In much different times, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy addressed 50,000 people in Eyre Square and the city authorities renamed it as Kennedy Park in his honour.

We are unlikely to see a ‘Trump Park’ in Galway any time in this millennium.

So many people are disappointed that the street protests are off. They wanted to convey a firm message that Trump’s policies have no place in a modern, prosperous, outward-looking Ireland.

They want to reject the anti-immigrant rhetoric on an island where emigration provided the only refuge for the afflicted through much of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The street protests are off . . . as though there was nothing to protest about closer to home.

The economy might be in recovery, but the recovery does not seem to have reached so many Irish people who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

Last week, masked thugs – protected by masked Gardai – used heavy-handed tactics to evict homelessness campaigners from an empty building in Dublin.

The sight of masked policemen with no identification on their uniforms caused consternation at a time when there are almost 10,000 people living in emergency accommodation across Ireland.

And now our Minister for Justice says he would support moves to criminalise the photographing of Gardai as they carry out their duties.

Such a move would be an attack on press freedom and should lead to questions as to what the Gardai have to hide.

Would that mean banning photos of public events such as GAA games or the annual Macnas Parade?

The last time I checked such measures were only being considered in states such as Israel, where an oppressive occupation force has a vested interest in covering up its crimes in the West Bank.

Given recent Irish history, we don’t have to cross the Atlantic in search of police forces who abuse their power. In fact the filming of protests has helped to prevent injustice from occurring.

So, instead of worrying about Trump, perhaps we should be looking at how power is being abused much closer to home.

Last month, a photo of homeless children sleeping in a Garda Station went viral. The youngsters had to sleep on hard chairs in the police station because there was nowhere else for them to go.

The distraught mother who took that photo could soon be guilty of a crime.

Last week, a photo of a sick and distressed 92-year old woman sitting on a chair in a public hospital Emergency Department went viral.

Gladys Cummins posted the photo on Facebook out of frustration and despair. Her mother did not even have a trolley, as she spent 25 hours sitting on that chair.

Two months ago, I saw a 93-year old family member spent 48 hours on a trolley in the ED Department in Galway. The unacceptable has become acceptable and lengthy waiting lists in our public hospitals have become the new norm.

In a supposedly “socialised” health service – compared to the US at any rate – the old and the weak are being forced to spend days lying in corridors in overcrowded facilities.

But Irish people are not taking to the streets to protest about our health crisis.

In June, Irish people became outraged by the images of child migrants on the US-Mexico border crying in distress after being separated from their families. They were outraged by Trump.

Yet few of them have much awareness of the hardships endured by those who spend up to seven or eight years in Ireland’s own Direct Provision system.

About 5,000 asylum-seekers are detained at 31 accommodation centres without permission to work, or even to cook for their children. Among them are 2,000 children, growing up in highly inappropriate shared spaces with adults from a variety of countries.

Direct Provision centres have been described as the Magdalene Laundries and Mother and Baby Homes of our times. Some even see them as a “time bomb” for future problems to come.

We have British politicians steamrolling headlong towards Brexit, with little or no awareness that their dangerous language is threatening the peace process which transformed life in Northern Ireland over the past 20 years.

We have the families of victims of loyalist collusion who are shocked that a former member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary is now at the helm of the Irish Gardai.

They believe he has questions to ask about their long search for justice for atrocities such as the Miami Showband Massacre and the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

We rant against Trump for his sexism, at a time when Irish society has been convulsed by a cervical smear test scandal in which the Irish Government treated Irish women appallingly this year.

A lot of Irish people are disappointed that they won’t get a chance to protest against President Trump, but let’s not pretend that we don’t have some pressing problems much closer to home.

Call Off The Blimp (Ciaran Tierney)

Top pic: MerrionStreet

Tomato.

Tomahto.

Potato,

Potahto.

*removes armband forlornly*

US President Donald Trump cancels controversial planned visit to Ireland (Independent.ie)

Pic YouTube

This evening.

The Office of the Press Secretary of The White House announced that, along with taking part in a commemoration for the 100th anniversary of the armistice which ended the fighting in World War I in Paris, France, US President Donald Trump will visit Ireland in November.

Yes.

Indeed.

Quite.

Our thoughts exactly.

FIGHT!

Statement from the Press Secretary (The White House)

Via Richard Chambers

UPDATE:

Trump Is In Trouble. Here’s How Much Worse It Could Get (TIME magazine)

Would Trump impeachment ‘crash’ stocks, as president says? (USA Today)

TIME/thisisnthappiness

Ah.

This afternoon.

US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May (top) at Chequers, Aylesbury , Buckinghamshire and inflatable Trump during protests in in Westminster, London.

His finest hour.

Theresa May lavishes praise on president, as he rows back Brexit remarks and says US-UK relationship is ‘highest level of special’ (Independent.co.uk)

Earlier: Gotcha

Pics: Getty/AP

This morning’s UK The Sun

He said the Brexit proposals Mrs May and her cabinet thrashed out at the PM’s country house Chequers last week “would probably end a major trade relationship with the United States.”

“We have enough difficulty with the European Union,” he said, saying the EU has “not treated the United States fairly on trading”.

He also said Mrs May had not listened to his advice on how to do a Brexit deal, saying: “I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me. She wanted to go a different route,” he said.

Donald Trump and Theresa May meet amid Brexit storm (BBC)

I told Theresa May how to do Brexit but she wrecked it — the US trade deal is off, says Donald Trump (The Sun)

Oh, wait now.

Trump Says Relationship With May Is Very Strong (RTE News)

This morning.

Leader’s Questions.

Ain’t that the truth.

FIGHT!

Earlier: A Limerick A Day

Meanwhile…

YOU decide.

This morning.

On RTE’s Radio One.

Various shows looked at the fall-out of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s comments in Washington yesterday when he claimed he made a call to Clare County Council when he was Minister for Tourism in 2014.

Readers will recall Mr Varadkar said he made the call after he got a phone call from Donald Trump, who was then a businessman, about a proposed wind farm which was to be built close to Mr Trump’s Doonbeg golf resort, subject to planning permission.

The wind farm subsequently didn’t get planning permission. [The decision was appealed to An Bord Pleanala but the board upheld the decision to refuse permission].

Readers will recall, Mr Varadkar specifically said of the permission not being granted:

The president has very kindly given me credit for that, although I do think it would probably have been refused anyway. I’m very happy to take credit for it…”

Clare County Council last night said it had no record of any contact from Mr Varadkar.

This morning, on Morning Ireland, RTE’s Micheal Lehane reported:

“The latest on it is that it was in fact the Taoiseach’s office that made an inquiry about the status of the planning application.

“They say nothing more than that and a record probably wouldn’t be kept in that instance .

“And it’s being compared by Leo Varadkar’s side to a politician making a call about the status of a medical card and saying it’s nothing at all along the lines of any judicial matter so therefore, on that grounds, they say, it’s acceptable, but there’s no doubt, it is controversial and many in Leinster House believe it highly unusual given the nature of what was being proposed on the planning application and the big purchase at Doonbeg at the time.”

Later, also on Morning Ireland…

Presenter Dr Gavin Jennings spoke to Fianna Fail TD Timmy Dooley and Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway about the matter.

Dr Jennings specifically asked Senator Conway if Mr Varadkar rang the council – as Mr Varadkar himself said – or not.

From Mr Conway’s response…

My understanding is that he didn’t ring the council. I’ve been speaking to council officials. None of them can recall receiving a phone call from Leo Varadkar.

“I have been talking to people in Leo Varadkar’s office who were working with Leo Varadkar at the time he was minister for transport and tourism and they’re absolutely clear that Leo Varadkar did not make a call – that, basically, somebody in his office made an inquiry in terms of the status update.

“As we all do on a regular basis, we regularly, as public representatives get phone calls about planning files by people who are supportive of them and people who are not supportive of them.

Sometimes we will just check, we can do it online or we can make a phonecall to see what’s the story with this file, you know when is a decision due, and so forth.

What the Taoiseach did was the Taoiseach sought information, his office sought information for somebody who was employing over 300 people down in West Clare.”

Further to Morning Ireland, on Today with Sean O’Rourke, which was presented by Damian O’Reilly…

Mr O’Reilly spoke to Labour leader Brendan Howlin and Louth Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd about the comments.

Mr O’Dowd said:

It was a humorous side remark and I accept that’s what it was and it’s something that he spoke about on other occasions. The key point is that at the core of this is that he got a call from Donald Trump, he wasn’t president. Leo wasn’t Taoiseach at the time, he was Minister for Tourism and Sport.

“And indeed, people in public life receive calls all the time from business people, all the time from the public about this and the other and on planning issues, we’re often invited to meetings arguing people for something or against something and as Mr Howlin said there, I mean, Regina Doherty is strongly opposed a planning application for a wind farm in her own constituency, so there’s nothing new…

“[Leo] made a query, through his office, as to what was the status of the application and that’s what he did.”

“…there was no law broken, it wasn’t interference…”

“...he didn’t interfere, he made a query...”

“The office inquired about the planning permission, they didn’t make representation and that’s the democratic process…”

“But the other point is he did it openly, there’s nothing hidden about this, he spoke about it two years ago [in Time magazine], he joked about it in public, what’s the big deal here?

Meanwhile…

On Ryan Tubridy’s RTE Radio One show Tubridy

Mr Tubridy said:

“All the papers covering the trip to Washington by the Taoiseach. And, you know, part of me thinks, oh, he’s telling his story about Doonbeg and I presume he thought, it’s a gas story and it’s a bit of an old, a bit of fun, and you’re in Washington.

“But, you know what, when you’re Taoiseach and you’re in Washington, you have to remember that you might aswell be on the main street in Killarney or wherever you want to be in Clare because it’s just, you kind of think when you go out there, you think the rules are a bit different but they’re not.

“And sure enough, we’re not talking about trade and immigrants in as much a way as you can hear on Morning Ireland there, the interest of the trip has really been slanted towards what he said about Doonbeg and the wind farm and you heard [Fianna Fail TD] Timmy Dooley, a local interest, talking about that.

“I’d say that they’re probably…a bit of a face palm, ‘oh, if only, maybe, you just didn’t need to tell that story and maybe if you hadn’t and everything else’, but…anyway…that’s what he did and that’s what they’re doing.”

“The headline in The [Irish] Times is: ‘Trump open to deal on undocumented’, but actually it’s the story that seems to be getting the most traction is the on the side which is ‘Varadkar criticised over Doonbeg’.

Bit of a pity really because those trips are really meant to be fun, good news trips and you come back armed with loads of stories about investment and everything…

Listen back to Morning Ireland here

Listen back to Tubridy here

Listen back to Today with Sean O’Rourke here

From top: Leo Varadkar with US president Donald Trump at The White House yesterday and above at an earlier lunch in the Capitol Hill building where he revealed his efforts to help prevent a wind farm being built near the Trump golf course in Doonbeg, County Clare

Mr Varadkar said that about three or four years ago, when he was minister for tourism, he received a call from Mr Trump who said he had a “problem” near Doonbeg, that somebody was trying to build a wind farm that would “impact on tourism”.

The Taoiseach said he initially thought the call was “a pisstake by one of my staff members” as he thought a businessman like Mr Trump would write a letter first to set up a meeting.

“But, as we all know, President Trump does work like that. He is a very direct man, likes to get things done,…

“…So I endeavoured to do what I could do about it and I rang the county council and inquired about the planning permission and subsequently the planning permission was declined and the wind farm was never built.

Clare wind farm firm ‘disappointed’ at Varadkar call for Trump (RTE)

Meanwhile…

The Clare Champion, September 14, 2014

Clare Coastal Wind Power wanted to build a nine turbine wind farm, 4km from Trump International Golf Links in Doonbeg.

In a statement, Clare Coastal Wind Power Director Michael Clohessy said the company was “disappointed” at the admission.

Mr Clohessy said the company had at all times acted with integrity and in good faith but it now appeared that it was not a level playing field.

Clare Coastal Wind Power said it will be reviewing this situation over the coming days.

Clare wind farm firm ‘disappointed’ at Varadkar call for Trump (RTÉ)

Meanwhile…

Last night…

Clare County Council release the following statement…

“The planning application was received on 15th August 2014. All representations, objections and observations made in relation to this and all other planning applications are available to view on planning file and the Clare County Council website.

There is no representation by Leo Varadkar, the then Minister for Tourism and Sport, or any elected member on this planning file. The decision on 8th October 2014 by Clare County Council to refuse this planning application was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanala. Following consideration of the appeal, An Bord Pleanala upheld the decision by Clare County Council and refused permission for the proposed development.”

Meanwhile…

Meanwhile…

I’m with stupid“.

An overawed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is greeted at the White House by US President Donald Trump and Melania Trump.

Pics: AFP/Getty