- Ireland’s prime minister met US President Donald Trump at an airport lounge, having reportedly rejected a proposal to meet at Trump’s Irish golf course.
- The Irish Times previously reported that the Irish government rejected Trump’s desire to meet at his golf course at Doonbeg. They ended up in Shannon Airport instead.
- A reporter at Trump’s press conference asked Trump is he was only there to promote his golf course. Trump responded that he "really wanted" to visit Ireland.
Ireland’s prime minister met US President Donald Trump at an airport lounge, reportedly after rejecting Trump’s wish for the two leaders to meet at his Irish golf course.
Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Taoiseach, met Trump at the VIP lounge at Shannon Airport in the west of Ireland on Wednesday after Trump landed following his state visit to the UK.
The Irish Times reported in May, when the details of Trump’s visit were being finalized, that Trump was pushing for the meeting to be held at his course in the town of Doonbeg.
It said that Irish officials were "reluctant" to meet there, and instead advocated for another location.
The decision meant Trump was unable to attract much media attention to his stay at Doonbeg, with reporters instead keen to see him meet Varadkar.
The Irish Times reported that Trump then considered visiting Scotland instead, citing a White House source.
Trump is staying at the golf course, which he bought in 2014, during his two-day visit. On Thursday Trump visited Normandy, France, for D-Day commemoration events, but is due to return to Doonbeg on Thursday night.
Lodge at Doonbeg
Trump responded: "I really wanted to do this stop in Ireland. It was really important to me because of the relationship I have with the people and with the prime minister."
Varadkar and Trump have met before, including in Washington DC for St Patrick’s Day in March.
During his Wednesday meeting with Varadkar, he compared Ireland’s desire to avoid border infrastructure between Ireland and Northern Ireland when the UK leaves the EU to his own desire to build a border wall between the US and Mexico.
"I think it will all work out very well, and also for you with your wall, your border," he said at a joint press conference with Varadkar.
"I mean, we have a border situation in the United States, and you have one over here. But I hear it’s going to work out very well here." Pool/Getty Images
Varadkar then said that the "main thing" Ireland wants to avoid is a border between the two countries.
He later told reporters that he did not expect Trump to have a deep understanding of the issue.
"He’s the president of America and there are nearly 200 countries in the world, so I don’t think it’s possible for him to have an in-depth understanding of issues in every single country, which is why this engagement is important," Mr he said.
"He is in favour of Brexit as you know, and we’re not, Varadkar said. "But he understands that a major issue is the border between north and south and he shares our objective to keep the border open as it is now, respecting the Good Friday Agreement."
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