04/06/2019

NI Parties Oppose Trump State Visit

Party leaders from Northern Ireland have expressed their opposition to US President Donald Trump's three day state visit to the UK.

Mr Trump, the 45th President, and his wife Melania arrived in London on Monday 03 June for a series of public engagements, including attending the Queen's state banquet and paying tribute to the allied servicemen on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The tour has been met with mass protests on the streets of London, and leaders of the Green Party and SDLP in Northern Ireland have added their voices to the opposition.

Green Party leader Clare Bailey said the visit validates many of the issues surrounding the administration, including Mr Trump's "xenophobia, sexism, transphobia and climate change denial".

She added: "Donald Trump will enjoy the pomp and pageantry of a state visit but his presence will further divide people still suffering Brexit aftershocks.

"Even before setting foot in the UK, Trump launched a tirade against London Mayor Sadiq Khan. He's intent on undermining the Office of the President of the United States one tweet at a time."

Ms Bailey said she believes the President should not have been offered a state visit.
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"I don't want him negotiating the privatisation of the NHS with the future Tory Prime Minister," she continued. "I don't want the UK to incur the costs of entertaining Donald Trump and policing the inevitable protests."

Mr and Mrs Trump will travel to the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday to stay overnight at his Doonbeg hotel and golf resort in County Clare.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood welcomed the strong, organised opposition to the visit and said it is impossible to separate the office of the President with the "divisive politics of its occupant".

The Foyle MLA commented: "While he attends state banquets, people from all communities are sending a powerful message that his politics of division, distrust and denial are not welcome on these islands.

"The embarrassing spectacle of the British Government rushing to bend the knee in deference to Trump's office, divorced from his toxic politics, demeans their position on the international stage. The clamour by the Tory party leadership cultures to rub shoulders with Trump is an equally uncomfortable sight.

"The people of Ireland know, better than most, how dangerous the politics of hate and division can be. We have suffered at the hands of those who seek to divide people on the basis of their faith or their nationality. It is our duty, given the unshakable bond between our people and the people of the United States, to take a stand against those who seek to perpetuate similar division."



(JG/CM)

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