Taoiseach Micheal Martin
Leitrim's Fianna Fáil councillors believe that their party leader should not make a trip to the US at this time given the current global pandemic.
Cathaoirleach, Cllr Mary Bohan, the longest serving Fianna Fáil member in Leitrim County Council ,said that she believes that it would be “inappropriate” for An Taoiseach to travel to the USA for St Patrick's Day this year.
“I don't think anybody should be travelling internationally at this time. It is too dangerous,” she said.
“I think that Micheál Martin should do a virtual meeting to mark the occasion (St Patrick's Day) and travel to meet President Biden at a later stage when it is safe to do so,” she said.
“I believe that Ireland has a very special relationship with the US and I don't believe that, under the current circumstances, Micheál Martin not travelling to America for St Patrick's Day, would harm that relationship.”
Cllr Paddy O'Rourke said he did not see An Taoiseach making the trip to the USA next month.
“I can see why (An Taoiseach) is anxious to restart our relationship with the White House given that it was clear the last president didn’t appreciate the importance of it,” said Cllr O'Rourke.
“Whereas President Biden's views, particularly on Northern Ireland, need to be acknowledged and (we need to) show our appreciation for his support. But we don’t have to be physically in the White House to do so.”
His party colleague, Cllr Caillian Ellis, said “without a doubt I do not agree with (An Taoiseach) leaving the country during a lockdown.
“There is definitely a strong Irish connection with the US which we are proud of, but I think that we can still honour that connection on St Patrick's Day this year without travelling to America and we can build on that connection when this pandemic is over.”
Cllr Sean McGowan said while he would love to see Ireland represented in the White House on St Patrick's Day “it would not be appropriate for An Taoiseach to go in the current climate. Covid is still with us and it has ramped up in recent weeks. If I was talking to (An Taoiseach) I'd tell him not to travel at the moment, do it virtually.”
This message to “stay at home at this time” was also supported by Cllr Justin Warnock who said that he doesn't believe that An Taoiseach will travel to the USA this year but said “it would be the wrong message to send out if he did go. I believe he will not be going and will clarify his position shortly.”
Cllr Paddy Farrell said he also feels this isn't the time to travel to the US adding “I wouldn't be in favour of (An Taoiseach) travelling there at the moment. I think there are more important things he needs to do here at home.”