US vice-president Mike Pence looks set to arrive in Ireland four days ahead of originally scheduled and is now likely to land at Shannon Airport on Monday.
Preparations had been continuing in Clare for the visit of Mr Pence and his wife Karen however efforts have now been stepped up after the planned two-day trip was brought forward with just a few days notice after the White House announced that Mr Pence would be travelling to Poland this weekend in place of US President Donald Trump.
It is understood he will arrive in Shannon Airport on Monday.
A government spokesperson said: “Due to a change in the Vice President’s schedule, VP Mike Pence will meet with the Taoiseach on Tuesday instead of Friday.”
While Mr Pence’s itinerary details had not yet been made public, it was expected that he and the U.S. second lady would arrive in Dublin on Friday, September 6 before continuing to Co Clare where they are due to stay at president Donald Trump’s family hotel and golf resort in Doonbeg.
Sources have now said however that Mr Pence and his entourage are more likely to arrive at Shannon Airport some time on Monday and stay in Doonbeg on Monday night before travelling to Dublin, probably be helicopter, on Tuesday.
Mr Pence was to begin his Irish visit on Friday next in Dublin where he was scheduled to meet President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Farmleigh House. It’s now expected that these engagements will take place on Tuesday.
Earlier: Helicopters and equipment begin to arrive at Shannon ahead of US vice-president's visit
Preparations are continuing for the arrival in Ireland next week of U.S. vice-president Mike Pence who is expected to visit Dublin and Co Clare.
While Mr Pence’s itinerary details have not yet been made public, it’s expected that he and the U.S. second lady Karen Pence will stay at president Donald Trump’s family hotel and golf resort in Doonbeg.
Invited by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the vice-president’s visit comes just three months after Donald Trump’s trip to Clare resulted in a ring of steel being thrown around Shannon Airport and tens of square miles of West Clare.
Like when President Trump visited in June, it’s expected Mike Pence will travel to and from Shannon Airport by helicopter while a cavalcade of vehicles will also be available to transport Mr Pence by road if for any reason the helicopters can’t operate.
Two US Army Sikorsky HH-60M Blackhawk helicopters arrived in Shannon this week onboard a C-17 Globemaster III transport plane. Further flights carrying other equipment and personnel are expected to arrive in Shannon in the coming days.
In Shannon, CCTV cameras have been erected on the main route into the airport so that Gardaí can monitor traffic movements before and during the visit.
Mr Pence’s visit to Ireland was confirmed by himself on Twitter earlier this month when he posted: “Finally, on September 6-7 we will travel to Ireland, a country that is very near to my family’s heart, where we look forward to meeting with President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney while celebrating my Irish roots.”
Finally, on September 6-7 we will travel to Ireland, a country that is very near to my family’s heart, where we look forward to meeting with President @MichaelDHiggins, Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar, and Tánaiste @simoncoveney while celebrating my Irish roots!— Vice President Mike Pence Archived (@VP45) August 15, 2019
Mr Pence will begin his Irish visit on Friday in Dublin where he will meet President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin and the Taoiseach at Farmleigh House. The vice-president is then expected to fly to Shannon from where he is likely to be whisked by helicopter to President Trump’s family property in Doonbeg.
There’s speculation that Mr Pence, who will visit Iceland and the UK before arriving in Ireland, will also visit the Cliffs of Moher along with Tánaiste Simon Coveney during his time in Clare.
Mr Pence’s maternal grandparents emigrated to the US from counties Clare and Sligo. His grandfather was Richard Michael Cawley who left Tubbercurry in Sligo for the U.S. in the 1920s and later settled in Chicago. According to records, Cawley married Mary Elizabeth Maloney, a teacher and first-generation American whose family hailed from Doonbeg, Co Clare.