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Protest over Mayor’s White House trip

Wednesday, 15th March, 2017 1:01am

Local political and activist groups will join together today (Wednesday) to voice their opposition to the Mayor of Galway’s visit to the White House.

Cllr Noel Larkin is set to visit Washington DC tomorrow (Thursday), before travelling to New York on St Patrick’s Day.

However, his international visit has been met with local opposition in Galway.

The demonstration, which will take place at City Hall at lunchtime, is being organised by a number of different groups including Solidarity (formerly Anti Austerity Alliance) and We the People campaign group.

Mayor Larkin said that the invite to the White House was unexpected, however he plans to use the opportunity to promote Galway and the undocumented Irish in America.

However protest organisers have criticised Mayor Larkin’s justification for the trip, describing it as “nothing but an excuse to take a junket to the US at the expense of ordinary people”.

“This is the same weak excuse used by Enda Kenny to justify his trip to the White House despite the fact that Mr Kenny has publicly called Mr Trump racist and dangerous in the Dáil prior to the US elections last year,” Conor Burke of Solidarity (AAA) stated.

“This sort of petty pandering to a man who represents racist, homophobic, sexist and xenophobic views is an absolute insult to women, the LGBTQ community and to minorities across the US and can only be seen as an endorsement of these kind of prehistoric opinions on behalf of Enda Kenny and of course Mayor Larkin.”

Ariel Edesess of We the People campaign group, who have sent hundreds of signed letters from members of the public to the Taoiseach in recent weeks in opposition to his Trump visit, added, “We beg to differ with Mayor Larkin that any publicity must be good for the city. His attendance at the eve of St. Patrick’s Day events on the very same day that the newest ‘Muslim ban’ will be implemented condones the Trump administration’s treatment and dehumanisation of minorities and refugees. This visit uses Galway’s status as the 2020 European Capital of Culture as a propaganda ploy for the Trump administration, which surely must be considered negative attention.”

According to the organisers, they hope today’s protest will also “send a message of unity with the victims of Trump’s policies”, which is what they claim public representatives should be doing.

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