Government in ‘appalling abdication of conscience’

A leading Irish American politician behind a tens of thousands strong petition urging Enda Kenny to snub US president Donald Trump has accused the Taoiseach of turning the Irish wolfhound into a “lapdog”.

Former Maryland governor and one-time Democrat presidential candidate Martin O Malley said last night the decision to have anything to do with Mr Trump shows Mr Kenny has suffered an “appalling abdication of conscience”.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner before handing in the petition to the White House today, Mr O Malley said the Irish Government is wrong to be “showering this immigrant-bashing president with shamrocks”.

And in a highly-charged broadside at the meeting, he said the decision to put economics before morals by socialising with Mr Trump’s “white supremacist cronies” means Ireland is effectively turning its back on US citizens in real need.

“That the Irish people, of all people, would shower this immigrant-bashing president with shamrocks is appalling. That the Irish would pin tri-colours to the lapels of his white supremacist cronies shocks the conscience.

“A few months ago, Enda Kenny said Donald Trump was ‘racist and dangerous’. Now, the great immigrant round-up has begun and he wants to have a beer with him.

“This is an appalling abdication of conscience and unbecoming of the more noble traditions of the Irish people.

“I have always had a great deal of respect for Enda Kenny. But he needs to decide where he will stand in the judgment of world history. Does he want to go out of office as a wolfhound or a lap dog,” Mr O Malley said.

Mr O Malley — who served as governor of Maryland from 2007 until 2015 during which time he pushed pro-immigration reform and was an initial Democrat candidate for last year’s presidential election — has close ties to Ireland on both sides of his family.

However, despite the importance of St Patrick’s Day to Irish Americans, he said the annual is not just limited to Irish people and should showcase the need to protect people from every part of the world.

“This isn’t about the St Patrick’s party [with Donald Trump], it’s about the true character of the United States.

“America never turned its back on Ireland. America stepped up big time for the Irish peace process. And as Ireland was once ‘supported by her exiled children in America’, we need Ireland now to stand with us.

“Stand with us against the violence of moms and dads being ripped away from their children by immigrant round-up squads.

“Stand with us against immigrant internment camps, against religious identification cards, against travel bans on our Muslim neighbors,” he urged.

The petition is seen as being a largely symbolic gesture by Irish Americans and other people living in the US who are opposed to Mr Trump’s controversial policies and comments about immigration, women, his own tax payments, “fake news” and the economy.

This issue has again arisen in recent days due to unsubstantiated claims Mr Trump’s New York home was wire-tapped and fresh evidence of his official’s links to Russia.

However, while the opposition to Mr Trump is continuing to lead to concerns about linking too closely with his administration, the Irish Government has repeatedly said Ireland and the EU must do business with the current White House incumbent.

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