Trump postpones November trip to Ireland

US President Donald Trump congratulates Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland during a phone call from inside the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, June 27, 2017. — Reuters pic
US President Donald Trump congratulates Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland during a phone call from inside the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, June 27, 2017. — Reuters pic

DUBLIN, Sept 12 — US President Donald Trump has put off a visit to Ireland that had been scheduled to follow a commemoration in Paris of the end of World War I, the Irish government said yesterday.

“We can confirm that the proposed visit of the US president is postponed. The US side has cited scheduling reasons,” the office of Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stopped short of confirming the decision but said officials were “still finalising” whether Ireland would be a stop on the tour, without giving a reason for the rethink.

The Trump administration announced last month that the president would continue on to Ireland following the November 11 ceremonies, to “renew the deep and historic ties” between the two countries.

Trump was among the world leaders to congratulate Varadkar on becoming the country’s youngest ever and first openly gay leader after his election last year.

“We have so many people from Ireland in this country — I know so many of them, I feel like I know all of them,” the president said.

The 38-year-old Varadkar, who was born in Dublin to an Indian immigrant father and an Irish mother, is seen as progressive on social issues such as gender equality and abortion rights.

But he has been criticized by opposition parties for his more conservative views on economic issues.

Varadkar took office as prime minister, or taoiseach, in June 2017, after winning the leadership of Ireland’s ruling centre-right Fine Gael party. — AFP

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