Correspondence seen by the University Observer appears to show that US Embassy staff were given little warning of US President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon a visit to Ireland in November.
The correspondence shows that, as of 1pm on 11th September, US Embassy staff were still planning for a visit from a “fairly high profile visitor”. An event between the US Embassy and the Northern Irish Consulate, planned for November, was ‘to be confirmed’ as “all embassy resources and time” were to be “concentrated on the President’s visit”.
News of the decision to abandon Donald Trump’s visit to Ireland broke late this afternoon, with the independent.ie reporting at 3.55pm that a spokesperson for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was unable to confirm the story at the time. The Taoiseach’s Office was informed by Irish Ambassador to the US Dan Mulhall that Donald Trump would be postponing his visit to Ireland.
The visit had been announced last weekend, when the White House stated that President Trump would visit Ireland to “renew the deep and historic ties between our two nations”.
We understand that President Trump will stop in Ireland for a brief visit on his way to or from the Armistice commemorations in Paris on November 11th.
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) August 31, 2018
The US President was due to visit the Republic of Ireland on 12 November, having given the Irish Government little notice. The Taoiseach, speaking on The Marty Squad on RTÉ Radio One on 2 September, stated that the proposed visit had come “a little out of the blue”.
Varadkar restated that there was “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.”
The cancellation was confirmed today by White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders who said that the trip is off “for scheduling reasons”. This was despite a statement made earlier in the day by Ms Sanders that the White House was “still finalising” whether Ireland would be a stop on Trump’s visit to Europe in November.
Donald Trump was expected to visit his golf course in Doonbeg, Co Clare as well as Dublin around the weekend of 10 – 11 November.