Defining choice - Taoiseach’s White House visit

THE timing of the European Parliament decision to pass a non-binding resolution calling for visa requirements for US citizens visiting Europe in a row over America’s refusal to lift travel restrictions for citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, or Romania will not smooth Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s path to next week’s White House shamrock visit.

Defining choice - Taoiseach’s White House visit

That US President Donald Trump will host German chancellor Angela Merkel just days before Mr Kenny visits — and the probability that Ms Merkel will be her usual forthright self on these matters — might make a tense situation, where insincere, slap-on-the-back small talk fills the air as officials inspect their shoes, even more fraught for the visitors.

As yesterday’s White House call for Congress to investigate if the Obama administration ordered the Trump Tower phones tapped as part of the inquiry into Russia’s role in the election shows a new normal prevails. What was to be a lap of honour for Mr Kenny may now be a defining moment in his career. He faces an unenviable choice: Do the right thing and face the consequences or pretend the new normal is normal.

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