Charlie Flanagan to query US travel ban and undocumented Irish with new US administration

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan is expected to raise the new travel ban and the undocumented Irish when he meets officials with the US new administration.

The Irish Examiner understands a passenger had dual citizenship and was denied permission on Monday evening to board a flight as they tried to go through US pre-clearance at Dublin airport.

The refusal was the first here since President Donald Trump’s executive order was signed, temporarily banning entry into the US from seven countries.

The US embassy here though last night provided clarity on entry into the US, saying that the travel of passengers with dual citizenship would not be banned.

This was as long as those US-bound passengers hold the passport of an unrestricted country and possess a valid US visa.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said yesterday the person who was stopped from flying at Dublin was lawfully working and resident in Ireland and entitled to leave the airport.

A review of US pre-clearance facilities in Ireland is now underway, which will be done by the departments of transport, justice and foreign affairs. This will take a few weeks.

However, in a sign that facilities will remain, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said now was not the time to “place a question mark” over the arrangements at Dublin and Shannon airports where US clearance systems operate.

Mr Flanagan said the fast-track US entry scheme used by thousands of Irish air passengers must be maintained.

As the international community struggles to make sense of the new US administration less than two weeks since Trump’s inauguration, Mr Flanagan will meet senior Democrats and Republicans in his three-day visit.

He is expected to meet senior figures from the new administration, including Trump’s national security advisor, Mike Flynn, a meeting that was scheduled to take place last night.

Today, the minister is also scheduled to meet speaker of the House of Representative Paul Ryan, the most senior Republican in Capital Hill. He will also meet Nancy Pelosi for the Democrats.

Other issues that are expected to be raised include the peace process, the case of the 50,000 undocumented Irish in the US and Ireland’s concerns about Brexit.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin yesterday told RTÉ that he had been taken aback by the Government reaction to seeing if the US clearance measures here might be scrapped.

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