Ireland Prime Minister: Anti-Trump Protests Are Welcome During President's Upcoming Visit

The prime minister of Ireland has made it clear that protests during any visit to Ireland by President Donald Trump were not just allowed—but welcome.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told reporters in Dublin on Thursday that the details of the trip were still being finalized but noted that the U.S. president was “always welcome in Ireland.” But the right to public protest would not change, he said.

“A lot of people have been very critical of President Trump, including me on occasion, on issues around climate, on his opposition to free trade, on the criticisms he had made on the European Union, on issues such as human rights,” Varadkar told The Irish Times.

“I will have the opportunity, as I have in the past, to actually raise those issues with him in person. But I understand that other people will wish to do so by means of protest. And in a democracy, protest is allowed and is welcome,” the prime minister said. It is expected that Trump will visit Ireland following his U.K. state visit, which is scheduled for June 3-5.

When asked what message he would give to dissenting citizens, Varadkar said he would “never criticize anyone for taking part in a protest if that's the way they wish to express their views.”

The prime minister continued: “I believe it's important that we should respect the office even if people have particular views about the current incumbent.

“The links that exist between Ireland and America are very strong, they're about the economy and jobs, they're about citizenship, they're family links too and they're cultural links. We want to keep those links strong, regardless of who is Taoiseach or President.” He was less open to saying if he agreed with any of Trump's policies, saying: “Let me think about that.”

While no schedule has been set by the White House, Irish media has reported it was likely that Trump would pay a visit to a golf resort that he owns in the County Clare region.

The president canceled a trip to Ireland last November, citing scheduling conflicts. As reported by Reuters at the time, groups had been planning to stage protests during that visit.

It is likely that the president's travels to the U.K. and Ireland will not be without major demonstrations from the public.

The Huffington Post reported on Wednesday that polling had indicated an anti-Trump march could draw as many as 1 million Londoners to the streets next month. Trump's first presidential trip to the U.K. trip was met with mass protest—and the “Trump baby” blimp.