21st April 2023

In the week that was in it, with all eyes on the State visit of the US President Joe Biden, the show kicked off with Donal Kavanagh this morning with our contributor Seamus Gunn drawing comparisons between the current president’s stay in Ireland and that of his predecessor Donald Trump’s visit in June 2019. Seamus Gunn thought that Biden’s visit was very cleverly choreographed from touching down in Belfast on Tuesday to his joint houses of the Oireachtas address yesterday the 13th and the conclusion later today in his native Ballina in Mayo. He said that he had balanced the personal with the political and he carried a common theme throughout the 3 days, that of dignity, courage and possibilities. He said that in contrast Trump’s visit was on the backdrop of a 3 day State visit to the UK at the beginning of June 2019 and he touched down in Shannon for a one night stay at his Doonbeg Resort where he took in a round of golf, having met with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Shannon, but his main concern at the time was China rather than Europe. This again was unlike President Biden, who’s emphasis was on the unity and partnership between Ireland, the USA and Europe and the endless possibilities going forward. He also commented on Biden’s speech in Belfast with the emphasis on encouragement for the executive to be got up and running again, stating that if nothing else was achieved as a result of his visit, this would be very positive, especially with the momentum it gave the 25th Anniversary celebrations, of the Good Friday Agreement, which are imminent. 

Contrast this to Trump’s appearance on an indictment last week in New York on various criminal charges being linked to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. Our contributor Seamus Gunn said that he had some sympathy for him as he was the first president to be charged in such a manner and it could be claimed that the allegations amounted to misdemeanors while former holders of high office in the USA have faced much more serious allegations but never charged. He was of the opinion that this suited the democrats as it galvanized the baseline support for Trump to ensure that he would secure the Republican nomination and that the Democrats would be comfortable to have Biden run against Trump with Kamala Harris on the ticket. He thought that there was a lot more to be played out on this going into the back end of the year but said that he would not be surprised if the charges of last week went into the ether as they were not scheduled to come back to Court again until December next. 

One of our most varied Q&As followed and can be listened to below.