'Leave the shamrock bowl at home'

'Leave the shamrock bowl at home'

It is unacceptable for the Taoiseach to hide behind Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan regarding the Government’s proposed approach to the traditional St Patrick’s day visit to the White house.

We want to see an unequivocal statement from Taoiseach Enda Kenny regarding the developments arising from President Trump’s Executive Orders and the discriminatory policies that have global repercussions including here at Irish airports.

Almost every Western leader is on the record regarding their position on President Trump’s ban on certain immigrants and refugees, yet here in Ireland all we’ve seen is a very bland statement from Minister Charlie Flanagan which adopts a hesitancy to condemn this outrageous discrimination.

While the current debate has focused on whether the Taoiseach should travel to the White House on St. Patrick’s Day or not, we are far more interested in hearing what the Taoiseach intends to say if that visit goes ahead.

If the Taoiseach is to travel this year he must leave the shamrock bowl at home and travel instead with a very clear mandate to robustly challenge President Trump’s actions and make clear that Irish citizens do not support a regime that compromises on our shared values of freedom, equality and basic decency.

We should not have to wait to St. Patrick’s Day to hear what the Taoiseach has to say on these matters and it is unfair for Government to expect anybody to endorse the Taoiseach’s visit without outlining the intention of the visit in the current climate.

Catherine Murphy TD

Social Democrats