THE Lord Mayor of Cork has accepted a surprise invitation to the White House to meet with US President Donald Trump for the St Patrick's Day celebrations.
The visit will be confirmed to city councillors tonight and could be met with some opposition, given the controversy surrounding some of Trump’s policies, particularly his stance on immigration.
Cork's First Citizen, Cllr Des Cahill will fly out to Washington DC tomorrow for a 48-hour trip where he will take part in the ceremonial presentation of a bowl of shamrock by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to President Trump on Thursday.
It is the first time a Lord Mayor of Cork has been invited to the St Patrick's Day celebrations in the White House.
Following the ceremony, the Lord Mayor will depart the US and return to Cork in time to take part in the St Patrick's Day parade at 1pm on Friday.
The invitation was issued to the Lord Mayor's office by the US embassy in Dublin.
Speaking to the Evening Echo, the Lord Mayor Cllr Cahill said he would be bringing the invitation to the attention of City Councillors at tonight's meeting in City Hall.
He said it was an honour that Cork would be represented in the US for St Patrick's Day, a key calendar event for US-Irish relations.
"It was a pleasant surprise and an honour. The event is on Thursday so I will be able to attend and make it back for the parade in Cork on Friday."
The Taoiseach has come under pressure to cancel his visit to the White House given the numerous controversies involving President Trump.
However, the Lord Mayor said the visit was not about personalities.
"This is an invitation from the US to the Office of the Lord Mayor of Cork and is a huge honour for the city. Given the large number of US companies here in Cork and the number of Irish companies in the US it is fitting I attend," he said.