Taoiseach Facing Pressure To Address LGBT+ And Climate Change Concerns With Trump

Donald Trump is set to visit Ireland in June and activists are calling on Varadkar to speak up about environmental and social issues.

Trump and Varadkar

US president Donald Trump is expected to visit Ireland on June 5 and 6 after his state visit to the UK, and may extend his trip here to June 7.

The White House is expected to confirm details of the visit shortly. It is believed that Trump will stay at his Doonbeg resort in County Clare and that arrangements will be made for Trump and Varadkar to play golf.

Both the Labour party and the Social Democrats have spoken out against Trump’s visit, stating he is “not welcome in Ireland”. Climate and LGBT+ activists are also speaking out against Trump’s visit.

Varadkar has said protest during Trump’s expected visit to Ireland next month is “allowed and is welcomed”.

Varadkar has said “we should respect the office, even if people have particular views about the current incumbent.” He added that Trump’s visit would give Varadkar the opportunity to raise a discussion with him in person regarding their opposing views on LGBT+ rights, women’s rights and climate change.

In 2017, Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would cease all participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, whereas Ireland has just become the second country in the world to announce a climate emergency. However, speaking about the declaration in Dáil Éireann yesterday, Varadkar called the declaration “symbolic” and “a gesture”. Ireland is currently the worst performing country in Europe on the Climate Change Performance Index and is set to miss both 2020 and 2030 targets.

Abortion rights in the United States are coming under threat and Alabama’s strict ban on abortion has just been signed into law, showing the chilling effect of Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment. Following the landslide referendum to repeal the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution a year ago this month, activists are expecting Varadkar to address the issue with President Trump as well as the issue of LGBT+ rights in the US, which are also facing threat under the conservative Trump administration.

Trump with Varadkar in US

Activists called on Varadkar to speak up on LGBT+ rights during his St Patrick’s Day visit to The White House but were left disappointed. The Taoiseach is being called on once again to address the aforementioned issues with the US President.

Health Minister Simon Harris said he disagrees with an “awful lot” of what Mr Trump represents, but added: “A respectful relationship involves telling people the truth about how you feel about their position on LGBT+ issues, about how you feel about their position on women’s reproductive health, how you feel about their position on climate change, how you feel about their position on how you respond to the refugee crisis across the world.”

Harris said “The Taoiseach has never been one to shy away from making his views known and I’m sure there will be opportunities if President Trump does visit.”

Regarding the upcoming visit, Varadkar was asked by reporters if people would be allowed to protest close to where the two leaders are meeting and Varadkar responded that security measures have yet to be worked out.

However, the Taoiseach said that he would “certainly never criticise anyone for taking part in a protest if that’s the way they wish to express their views”.

“This is a democracy and peaceful protest is a part of democracy,” he added.

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