November 13, 2017
About two weeks ago, the 20th National Golf Tourism Conference & 2017 Gala Irish Golf Awards were held at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Doonbeg in Ireland. The course was bought by the Trump Organization in 2014, and this is the first time the event, hosted by the Ireland Golf Tour Operator Association Ltd, has been held at the Trump course. Among the event’s sponsors were four that are funded by the governments of Ireland and Northern Ireland: Shannon Airport, Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland (Tourism NI), and Tourism Ireland.
Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland operate in liaison with the devolved Northern Ireland government’s Department for the Economy (DfE), and Tourism NI is directly sponsored by funds from the DfE: in the 2015/16 fiscal year, for example, Tourism NI received 11.7 million pounds. Tourism Ireland, meanwhile, receives funds indirectly from both the government of Northern Ireland and the government of Ireland. In 2015, Tourism Ireland received 10.7 million pounds from Tourism NI and 30.4 million pounds from Fáilte Ireland, which operates under the government of Ireland’s Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. Shannon Airport is managed and operated by Shannon Airport Authority, a subsidiary of Irish government-owned Shannon Group.
The Department for the Economy (formerly known as the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, or DETI) gave Tourism NI 11.7 million pounds sterling in the 2015/16 fiscal year.
In 2015, Tourism Ireland received 30.4 million pounds from Fáilte Ireland — which runs under the government of Ireland — and 10.7 million from Tourism NI — which runs under the government of Northern Ireland.
This is not the first time a foreign government has directly sponsored an event at a Trump property. In September, Turkish Airlines, which is partly owned by the Turkish government, held its World Golf Cup at the Trump National Golf Club – D.C. in Potomac Falls, Virginia. These events raise concerns that President Trump is receiving foreign government money, which could violate the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause. Since President Trump did not divest from his business interests when he assumed executive office, he still profits from events held at his lavish properties.
CREW is currently suing President Trump for violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause. Oral arguments were held in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on October 18, and presiding Judge George B. Daniels said he would come to a decision in thirty to sixty days. Regardless, the 20th National Golf Tourism Conference & 2017 Gala Irish Golf Awards serve as an example of the president cashing in on foreign government spending.