THOSE with long memories may recall the time when Ronald Reagan came here in 1984. It was a time of celebration as he visited his ancestral home of Ballyporeen, Co Tipperary.
It was also a time of protest against US foreign policy that saw a number of TDs walk out during the president’s address to both Houses of the Oireachtas.
While those protesters took issue with his administration’s policies, they did not object to his presence in Ireland, acknowledging that the office of US president should be respected, notwithstanding its holder.
In contrast to that, a motley crew of protesters including Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, AAA-PBP TDs Paul Murphy and Richard Boyd Barrett, want to keep the presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from visiting here.
While they have every right to voice their objections to his open and vile racism with regard, in particular, to Mexican immigrants, has it not occurred to them that the very essence of democracy demands the right to speak and be heard?
Mr Trump is a controversial figure even in the US but denying him access to Ireland is as reprehensible as his proposal to build a wall to keep immigrants out of America’s southern borders.
The proper and appropriate thing to do is to welcome him here and then tell him what we think about him.
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