US president Donald Trump has insisted the Brexit crisis is "going to work out" in Ireland's favour and that he believes the UK's departure from the EU is going to be "very, very good" for this country.
Mr Trump made the predictions as he said he is doing everything he can to end concerns over a hard border, despite having to be corrected by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar after referring to it as "the wall".
Speaking during a joint press conference with Mr Varadkar after landing on Air Force One at Shannon airport and before flying out by helicopter to Doonbeg, Mr Trump told Ireland not to worry about Brexit.
Despite the ongoing economic and hard border threat posed by the crisis, the US president claimed it is "going to work out" and that Brexit itself will be "very, very good" for Ireland.
"It will all work out, it will all work out, especially for you [Ireland], because of your border. I think it will work out here.
"I think that will work out [for the UK] and also for you, with your wall, with your border, I mean we have a border situation in the United States and you have one here, but I hear it’s all going to work out.”
Mr Trump's reference to the US and Mexico's border stand-off and his mentioning of "your wall" led Mr Varadkar to interject in front of a packed media conference, saying calmly:
The thing we want to avoid of course is a border or wall.
However, Mr Trump returned to the border issue minutes later, again saying he believes Ireland has nothing to worry about by the ongoing Brexit stalemate.
Mr Trump also told reporters that he is working to find a solution to the Irish visa immigration issue with the US, saying he wants to do so for Irish people and people of Irish descent in the US,
"We almost made it last time, we're looking at that, it was one vote, do you know that, and we're looking to that, I'm sure that is something we will discuss... I want to do for the people of Ireland, but for the people who are in the US and want this vote to happen and happen to be of Irish descent as well," he said.
Mr Trump and the US First Lady left Shannon Airport in a helicopter bound for Doonbeg shortly after 6pm where they will spend the evening at the Trump International Hotel.
In a press conference following their meeting, Leo Varadkar says spoke with Donald Trump about Ireland’s issues regarding Brexit and he said he "explained" the history of the border to the US president and also spoke to him about the Troubles.
"We talked Brexit. President Trump shares our objective to keep the border open," the Taoiseach said.
He said Mr Trump is aware that the border is a "sticking point" when it comes to Brexit but "he didn’t elaborate on why he thinks Brexit would be good for Ireland."
Live press conference with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar https://t.co/gQs6pWxnyC— RTÉ News (@rtenews) June 5, 2019
Mr Varadkar added that Ireland and the United States have a two-way economic relationship.
"Our economic relationship is now a two-way relationship. In fact Ireland has a trade surplus over the US."
Mr Varadkar defended the government's expenses for Mr Trump's presidential visit, saying any money that was spent on this visit was spent for security reasons and none of it was promotional.
I think they’re fans of Ireland pic.twitter.com/0EzjUwvuxJ— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) June 5, 2019
Earlier: Trump says it is 'an honour' to be in Ireland
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania have arrived in Ireland and said they are honoured to be in the country.
Speaking to the media, Mr Varadkar said it was a great honour to welcome President Trump to Ireland.
Mr Trump responded by saying he and Mr Varadkar have become friends, adding: “We love the Irish – it’s an honour to be here.”
Mr Trump said Ireland and the US do a lot of business together and noted it is one of the leading countries in terms of people moving to the US.
“We have millions of Irish and I think I know most of them because they are my friends, we love the Irish, so it’s an honour to be here, we will be discussing various things, probably he’ll ask me about Brexit because I know some very good people that are very likely to welcome Brexit.
I think it will all work out very well also for you, with your wall, your border, I mean we have a border situation in the United States.
Mr Varadkar responded by saying Ireland wanted to avoid a border or a wall.
Asked about the United State as a guarantor of peace in Northern Ireland, Mr Trump said: “I think what’s going to happen is over the next period of time is, first we have to wait to see who is going to be Prime Minister, and I think it’s a very important decision, we’ll see what happens over in the UK because that’s going to be decision number one, who is going to be Prime Minister.
“Once that happens, that person will get in and try to make a deal and maybe if they don’t make a deal, they do it in a different way but I know one thing, Ireland is going to be in great shape, Ireland is a special place that’s going to be in very good shape.
“I don’t think the border is going to be a problem at all.”
President Trump said he also expects to discuss the military and trade and Mr Varadkar.
“It’s an honour to be in Ireland with my friend and he is doing a great job as your Prime Minister,” Mr Trump added.
Mr Trump was asked about Irish President Michael D Higgins’ comments about his “regressive” record on climate change.
Mr Trump responded: “I haven’t heard those comments, but we have the cleanest air in the world in the United States and it’s gotten better since I became president, we have the cleanest water, it is crystal clear, I always say I want crystal clear water and air, so I haven’t heard his comments, but we are setting records environmentally.”
Asked about his plans, Mr Trump said: “Tomorrow we go to Normandy and I’ll be leaving from Doonbeg, I am staying here overnight, and I thought this would be the best place, to come to in Ireland and stay at Doonbeg.”
Mr Trump denied that he was promoting his golf resort by staying at Doonbeg.
“No, this trip is really about great relationships that we have with the UK, and I really wanted to do this stop in Ireland, it was very important to me because of the relationship I have with the people and with your Prime Minister.”
Asked if he will give Irish citizens access to the E3 visa, Mr Trump said: “We are looking at that, we almost made it last time, it was one vote, we are looking at that, I am sure that is something we are going to discuss, I spoke to the one vote, who is a great senator by the way, he really is, he’s a great senator, and we think we are going to be successful.
“He’s a terrific person, he doesn’t mean to do any harm, that I can tell you, he was telling me he loves Ireland actually, so I think we are going to be in great shape.
“We had just about a unanimous vote and if we get a unanimous vote we do something that they have been trying to do for a long time, so I want to do that for the people of Ireland, but I want to do that for the people that are in the United States that want this vote to happen that happen to be of Irish descent.”
Earlier: US President arrives at Shannon Airport
US President Donald Trump has arrived in Ireland for his first Presidential visit to the country.
Air Force One touched down at Shannon Airport at around 4.45pm on Wednesday.
The White House press corps were first off the back of the plane before Mr Trump appeared at the top of the steps and waved, followed by Melania, who also waved, then the pair descended the steps together.
They were greeted by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Mr Trump is holding a bilateral meeting with Mr Varadkar at Shannon Airport.
"It's an honour to be in Ireland with my friend and he's doing a great job as your Prime Minister," he told members of the press, referencing the Taoiseach, after he landed.
On the agenda are Brexit, Northern Ireland, trade and access to the E3 visas for Irish citizens.
When asked about Irish access to E3 US visas, he said: "I think we’re going to be in good shape."
Climate change may also feature after criticism of the USA's record on the environment from President Michael D Higgins.
"I really wanted to do the stop in Ireland. It was really important to me," President Trump said.
Protests also greeted the President by people who say Donald Trump is not welcome in Ireland.
About a hundred people turned out to protest at the entrance to Shannon Airport.
The group are protesting against the president’s policies on climate change and the use of Shannon Airport by the American military.
Earlier, Donald Trump and his family attended D Day commemorations in the UK where Melania sported a hat from Irish designer Philip Treacy.
The ivory overlayed dome in sinamay drew comparisons to the Brodie helmet worn by soldiers in the trenches during the war.
Meanwhile, a 'Donald Plaza' has popped up in Co Clare for the arrival of the US President.
The pop-up petrol station has been decked with banners near the Trump resort in Doonbeg.
Stormy's Shakes and Make Americano Great Again are some of the items available on the Paddy Power menu.
The couple will spend two nights at his Doonbeg hotel and golf resort in Co Clare.
Mr Trump had been due to visit Ireland last November, but the trip was postponed for operational reasons.