Donald Trump is expected to face unprecedented security and protests when he flies into Shannon Airport in the west of Ireland on June 5th. A state visit by the US President was finally confirmed this week.
He’ll have a meeting with 26 County Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, before he travels to his hotel in Doonbeg in County Clare for a round of golf. The exclusive country club is to be his base for the two-day visit.
Speaking today, Leo Varadkar said he has a number of things he wants to discuss with Mr Trump.
He told deputies in the Dublin parliament: “I’ll once again explain why Ireland is so much in favour of the European Union, and I’ll always try to make the case once again for a strong European-American partnership when it comes to trade, the economy and security.
“We’ll also discuss Brexit I’m sure, and once again I will try to explain our perspective on Brexit, and also our commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change.”
Members of several opposition parties have said they will be mounting protests during the visit, including Sinn Fein, Labour, the Green Party, Social Democrats and People Before Profit. Varadkar has said the protests would be “allowed and welcome”.
Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said the party will be protesting the US President.
“The majority of the policies espoused by President Trump are anathema to the Irish people,” he said.
“I imagine that there will be a large group of people throughout many sections of Irish society who will come out and protest at his visit and Sinn Féin will be part of those protests.”
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan explained why his party would also be demonstrating. He said: “It’s not demeaning or disrespecting the American people - it’s actually reminding them of our constitutional connection - and in that connection saying this administration is contrary to that.
“It is our business, because is approach on climate change and disregard for international order is a risk to us all.”
Labour said a ‘united protest’ was needed from progressives and democrats here.
“We know why Trump is visiting Ireland. It is to exploit the visit to appeal to Irish American voters in the 2020 Presidential election. We should not be facilitating his visit and providing highly managed PR opportunities. This man and his politics are not welcome in Ireland.”
Trump will reportedly be protected by a powerful US warship and a nuclear submarine, a huge army of soldiers, gardai, US Secret Service men and women, and a range of hi-tech weapon systems.
According to the Daily Mirror, Shannon airport is being ringed with surface-to-air missiles ready to destroy any threat to Trump’s Air Force One jumbo jet.
A warship and a nuclear submarine will be piloted to near the Irish shoreline om the West coast in advance of the visit.
Nearly 2,000 gardai are being drafted in to turn the area into a fortress. All garda annual leave and rest days are being cancelled for the duration the visit. Hundreds more troops from barracks across the country are also being posted to Clare.
Irish Army Ranger snipers backed up by elite gardai units will patrol the golf course itself- even hiding in bunkers.
“If any aerial threat is identified to the POTUS (President of the United States) plane, these ships will simply fire missiles to take them out,” the newspaper quoted a military source.
“Then you have the SAMs (Surface to Air Missiles) all around Shannon itself to cover his ensure there are no threats around the airport.”
Shannon will become a no-fly zone while the Air Force One approaches from the US - not a single other aircraft will be allowed anywhere near the airport. Towers are being built all around the golf course to allow the Secret Service and garda snipers greater view.
Different routes from Shannon to Doonbeg have been mapped out and will be sealed off. If Trump travels by car, it will be in his specially designed bomb-proof Cadillac nicknamed ‘The Beast’.
All in, the visit is expected to cost the state around €11m.