Hundreds of Irish Americans opposed to Ireland’s burgeoning relationship with US president Donald Trump held a mass cultural protest last night against his “patently xenophobic policies”.
The Irish Stand event, led by Labour senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin, took place at the Riverside church in New York City, during which celebrities and ordinary citizens hit out at the impending visit of Mr Trump to Ireland, insisting that he and his views are not welcome.
Speaking before the event, Mr Ó Riordáin said Mr Trump’s de facto Muslim travel ban “is an outrage” and “the special agency configured to tackle immigrant-related crime is racist”.
He said Irish citizens are “the ones whose job it is to call it out as we see it” and that the vast majority of Irish Americans and people in this country “reject the politics of division and fear”.
The Irish Stand event — which involved speeches and cultures performances to highlight Ireland’s literary works — was attended by high-profile figures such as the writer Colum McCann and playwright Lisa Tierney-Keogh.
The cultural protest took place 24 hours after Mr Kenny invited Mr Trump to visit Ireland after meeting him at the White House, a meeting which was boycotted by three Irish-American musicians who are opposed to the US president’s policies.
Billy McComiskey, Laura Byrne, and Donna Long said they would not participate in the performance by the Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance, with Ms Byrne telling the Washington Post she would have “felt like a hypocrite” if she were to do so.
“I just couldn’t bring myself to do it,” added Mr McComiskey. “My father [who emigrated to the US from Northern Ireland] would be disgusted with me if I supported this administration in any way.”
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