Donald Trump touches down for his first presidential visit to Ireland

Protesters set up camp near Shannon Airport

After visiting the UK for the D-Day 75th anniversary, US President Donald Trump began a trip to Ireland to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Getty
After visiting the UK for the D-Day 75th anniversary, US President Donald Trump began a trip to Ireland to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Getty

Donald Trump has arrived in Ireland, taking part in talks with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar before heading to his golf club.

The two leaders' teams had disagreed on the location for their meeting. Mr Trump wanting to promote his golf course on the Irish west coast, while the government offered the grand stage of an ancient castle.

In the end, it was the VIP lounge of Shannon Airport.

Mr Trump arrived for his first visit to the country as president after attending a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings – the allied invasion of northern France during the Second World War.

After Mr Varadkar met the Trumps on the tarmac, they held a press conference with Brexit and border issues playing a central role.

Mr Trump appeared to confuse the aims of his border wall with Mexico with the Irish border.

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"Probably you'll ask me about Brexit because I just left some very good people who are very involved with Brexit, as you know," Mr Trump said in the leaders' meeting.

"And I think it will all work out very well, and also for you with your wall, your border."

Mr Varadkar quickly retorted: "I think one thing we want to avoid, of course, is a wall or border between us."

"I think you do, I think you do," Mr Trump replied. "The way it works now is good, you want to try and to keep it that way.

"I know that's a big point of contention with respect to Brexit. I'm sure it's going to work out very well. I know they're focused very heavily on it."

He said North Korea had not been testing nuclear weapons and wanted to make a deal, as did China.

And Mr Trump said he thought Mexico wanted an agreement on illegal migrants to avoid tariffs being imposed next week, and that he expected to know more later.

Irish police officers pass by an anti-U.S. President Donald Trump sign as people demonstrate in a camp they have set up outside Shannon Airport in Shannon. Reuters
Irish police officers pass by an anti-U.S. President Donald Trump sign as people demonstrate in a camp they have set up outside Shannon Airport in Shannon. Reuters

A “peace camp” was set up near Shannon Airport by 100 people unhappy with the president’s visit or the US use of the airport for military purposes.

A bigger protest is planned for Thursday afternoon in Dublin.

The Trump Baby balloon is due to make an appearance at the Irish protests, after being used to taunt the US leader in London this week.

A smaller version of the balloon had been damaged by a protester at the London protest.

Mr Trump and his wife will now spend two nights at his 160-hectare hotel and golf course, Doonbeg.

The course is a large employer in the area, and many who call Doonbeg home believe it benefits from the visitors.

Updated: June 6, 2019 01:15 AM

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