More protests to take place against Trump’s visit to Ireland

Further protests are planned today to oppose the visit of Donald Trump to Ireland.

Organisers say they are expecting a large turnout in Dublin city centre despite the relatively small crowd at Shannon Airport where Mr Trump landed on Wednesday.

Around 100 people gathered at the airport as the US president landed at a facility regularly used by the US military, with around 10 campaigners staying on site for an overnight vigil.

An anti-Trump rally will kick off at the Garden of Remembrance at around 6pm on Thursday.

It has been organised by a number of campaign groups, organisations and political parties.

President Trump state visit to Ireland – Day Two
President Trump state visit to Ireland – Day Two

The protest will also feature the orange Trump baby blimp which will make its way through Dublin city centre.

A number of other protests will also take place across the country to coincide with Mr Trump’s first official visit to Ireland since becoming president.

On Thursday morning Mr Trump travelled to France for a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Mr Trump tweeted: “Heading over to Normandy to celebrate some of the bravest that ever lived. We are eternally grateful.”

During a meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar on Wednesday, Mr Trump drew a parallel with his planned wall between the United States and Mexico as he expressed confidence that the Brexit logjam over the Irish border would work out “very well”.

At the start of a bilateral meeting with the Taoiseach at Shannon Airport, Mr Trump said Brexit could be “very, very good for Ireland”.

“I think that will all work out, it will all work out very well and also for you, with your wall, your border,” he said.

“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. I think it’s both going to work out well, it’s going to work out very well here.”

Mr Varadkar told Mr Trump that Ireland wanted to avoid any wall or border with Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

The president agreed that the current free-flowing Irish border should be preserved.

Donald Trump (left) and Leo Varadkar hold a bilateral meeting
Donald Trump (left) and Leo Varadkar hold a bilateral meeting

“The way it works now is good and I think you want to try to keep it that way and I know that’s a big point of contention with respect to Brexit is your border,” he said.

“And I’m sure it’s going to work out well. I know they are focused very heavily on it.”

Mr Trump rejected the suggestion Brexit would be bad for Ireland.

“I think it will be good, the big thing is going to be your border but hopefully that is going to work out and I think it will work out,” he said.

Protesters at the peace camp on the road to Shannon Airport
Protesters at the peace camp on the road to Shannon Airport

“There are a lot of good minds thinking about how to do it and it’s going to be just fine and I think ultimately it could even be very, very good for Ireland, but the border will work out.”

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Mr Trump, Mr Varadkar said the president had told him he believed it was possible to keep the Irish border open.

“We didn’t go into any particular detail as to how he thinks it can be done but he understands that that has to be a shared objective – that if the UK is going to leave with a deal, that deal must involve legally-operable guarantees that we won’t see the emergence of a hard border between north and south,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said Mr Trump “didn’t elaborate on why he thinks Brexit would be good for Ireland”.

Asked if was concerned that Mr Trump appeared to compare the Irish border with the US/Mexico border, the Taoiseach said: “We very much discussed the different nature of the border and I explained that 20 or 30 years ago we did have a hard border between north and south, particularly when the Troubles were happening and there were customs posts and so on, and that everyone in Ireland – north and south, unionist and nationalist – want to avoid a return to a hard border, but that Brexit is a threat in that regard and an unintended consequence that we can’t allow.”

Mr Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are staying at the president’s Doonbeg hotel and golf resort in Co Clare.

Two of his sons visited a number of pubs in the village hours after their arrival.

Eric and Donald Junior arrived to cheers from locals as they swept up in Range Rovers.

They spoke to several villagers, posed for selfies with children and received even louder cheers after asking “does Doonbeg love Trump?”.

The Trump family visit comes amid a massive security operation in west Co Clare.

A ring of steel has been erected around the five-star Doonbeg resort.

Around 3km of barriers and 3km of 6ft-high fencing have been put in place for the visit.

And 1,500 gardai have been drafted in throughout the area for three days.