Republic of Ireland leader Leo Varadkar reopened a planning row yesterday concerning an intervention he made after a call from US President Donald Trump relating to a wind farm.
The row centres on a planning decision linked to Mr Trump’s Co Clare course at Doonbeg.
The furore flared when Mr Varadkar, in an unscripted anecdote during a St Patrick’s lunch on Capitol Hill on Thursday, outlined details of a phone call he received from the high-profile businessman four years ago.
Mr Trump told Mr Varadkar, then tourism minister, he was unhappy about a planned wind farm in view of the course.
With the president looking on, Mr Varadkar told Speaker Paul Ryan’s lunch event that upon taking the call he contacted the local county council and “endeavoured to do what I could do about it”.
The planning permission was later declined, he added.
“I do think it probably would have been refused anyway but I am very happy to take credit for it if the president is going to offer it to me,” said the Taoiseach.
The Fine Gael leader’s remarks prompted a wave of criticism from opposition parties back in Ireland, with rival politicians demanding urgent clarity on the extent of Mr Varadkar’s intervention.
Micheal Martin, the leader of main opposition party Fianna Fail, tweeted: “Taoiseach needs to be more transparent in relation to his intervention with Clare County Council on behalf of President Trump regarding a planning application for a wind farm.
“Who did he ring? What was the nature of the intervention?”
The picture was further clouded when Clare County Council issued a statement on Thursday night saying it had no record of a representation made by the then tourism minister.