Irish and Americans in Ireland celebrated US democracy in action, on Tuesday night at Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, at the invitation of Ambassador Kevin O’Malley. By 12.30am the message that Donald Trump would be the next President of the United States was beginning to become a reality and it was met with some shock.
As the Florida first poll results rolled in after midnight, with over 50 percent in favor of Trump, there was an audible exclamation among the crowd. Although with recent research showing that only seven percent of Irish people were in favor of Trump as President their reaction is no surprise.
A full house was entertained with WWII-style songs, hotdogs, burgers and of course pints of plain before O’Malley took to the stage. He told the crowds, beneath giant TV screens streaming CNN and Fox News that “Democracy in a nation of over 300 million people can be noisy, it can be very messy - and in a year like this is can be endless, it just goes on and on - but it's the way we do things in the United States.
The Ambassador encouraged the crowd to celebrate their differences of opinions and relish the privilege of democracy. “After our election, passions won't necessarily die, there'll still be issues, there'll still be important things that we need to talk about. The discussions and the differences of opinion that we have are really a true sign of our own freedom and our own liberty.
“As all of you know people in distant lands are struggling at this very moment in places far away from the United States and far away from Ireland for the right to be able express their opinions, to express dissent against the government against the government that is running the country or to cast a ballot as so many of my countrymen will do.
“We must not ever forget how fortunate all of us are that we live in a democracy.”
The Ambassador outlined what the United States, through its history of elections, has aimed to be. He said “We want to live in a world of peace, want the United States to be part of the peacekeeping process and we want to be a good global citizen, we want our economy to support our citizens.”
He also emphasized that no matter who won the election Ireland and the United States “partnership” will go unchanged. He said “Regardless of who our next president is in January America's relationship with Ireland will remain strong because of the exceptional ties that already exist between our two countries.”
Come Wednesday morning Ireland woke to the official news that Hillary Clinton had conceded and Donald Trump will the President of the most powerful countries in the free world.
Headlines on Irish newspapers included:
“President Trump: Five areas of immediate concern for Ireland” - Irish Independent
“The United Hates of America has raised its middle finger to the world” - The Irish Times
“Donald Trump becomes 45th US president after delivering shock ‘Brexit for America’ by beating Hillary Clinton – and now vows to unite the country” - Irish Sun.
Ireland’s leader Enda Kenny, who in May of this year called Donald Trump’s comments “racist and dangerous” spoke to the national broadcaster.
'The people of America have made a very clear choice'. Taoiseach reacts to Trump's election win pic.twitter.com/NrxGMBZN6C— RTÉ News (@rtenews) November 9, 2016
Kenny offered Trump “sincere congratulations” and added that he is confident the relationship between Ireland and the US will “continue to prosper.”
When later questioned in the Dail (Parliament) about whether he would address his previously stated views on Trump’s comment in a “face-to-face” context Kenny said “I listened very carefully to the president elect this morning and the first thing he said was that it’s now time to heal wounds. It’s now time to build partnerships, it’s now time to work constructively with... all the people of the United States and every other country and peoples who want to work with him."
Other politicians reacted with:
My congrats to US President elect & VP. I look forward to working with the incoming US administration in the interests of both our nations.— Charlie Flanagan (@CharlieFlanagan) November 9, 2016
Every day brings new https://t.co/g1q97LZfKo from USA challenges us 2 ensure support 4 Ireland, 4 peace process continues with Trump admin.— Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) November 9, 2016
Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin said he also welcomes Trump’s intention to heal wounds but expressed concern for the impact of his policies on Ireland’s economy and the fate of the undocumented.
He added “It is important that as a country we move quickly to prepare our case to defend our interests. I sincerely hope that the long standing and excellent relationship between Ireland and the USA will continue.”