News Letter reporter Stephen Gamble took to the streets of Coleraine to gauge reaction to Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries
Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven mainly Muslim countries will only serve to swell the ranks of ISIS and other militant groups.
That was the fear expressed by restaurant manager Paul Kane, from Liscolman, Co Antrim.
The 34-year-old also claimed that Trump’s immigration policy was “alienating a lot of people” and could potentially make America “a bigger target than it already is”.
Mr Kane continued: “I also think it is very telling that Trump has chosen to ban people of some countries and not others, such as Saudi Arabia, where most of the September 11 terrorists came from.
“Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Trump has business interests there.”
Rachel Vickers, a 24-year-old student from Portrush, said Trump’s attitude towards refugees was “deeply wrong”.
“There are so many refugees in the world, especially from some of these countries on Trump’s list, who are in need of help and America should not be turning them away like this,” she said.
“Yes, the rise of terrorism has rightly made a lot a lot of people scared, but discriminating against the population of an entire country is not the way to solve this problem.”
Norman McMullan, 79, from Coleraine told the News Letter he was “very much in favour” of Trump’s extreme vetting.
He added: “I support what Donald Trump is doing. He said he was going to do this during the run-up to the election and he has delivered.
“I think people should let him get on with it rather than having these unnecessary protests, which will not accomplish anything.”
Ballymoney woman Drina Stewart, 67, branded the travel ban “disgusting and shameful”.
She added: “I think it is a big mistake. It sends out the message that Muslims are not welcome and will only increase tensions even more.”
Adam Frew, a 35-year-old potter from Belfast, said a blanket travel ban was “just crazy”.
He added: “Obviously trying to stop terrorists coming into America is a good thing, but the way he is going about it is not.
“There needs to be a more targeted approach, so that the ordinary, law-abiding citizens of these countries are not impacted.”
Des Worboys, a pensioner from Coleraine, said a blanket ban against the seven mainly Muslim countries was “absolutely ridiculous”.
He added: “I understand that America needs to guard against terrorism but there has to be a better way of doing it than this. You can’t just tar all people from these countries with the same brush.
“It has angered a lot of people and I think it was wrong of Theresa May to invite this man to Britain for a state visit.”
Chris Harrigan, 31, from Ballymoney said he fully backed the president’s travel ban and added: “What he is doing is right. It is the only way to stop these terrorists getting into the country.
“I think it is about time Britain was doing this as well.”
Meanwhile, Sara MacFarland, 21, a retail assistant from Coleraine, branded the travel ban “outrageous”.
She added: “I think it is ridiculous the American people has put someone like Donald Trump in power in the first place.
“He is certainly following through on the promises he made during the election campaign, but this ban is just incredible and I hope it doesn’t last.”
Limavady man John McDowell, 63, described Trump as a “bully” and felt the travel ban would “not solve anything”, adding that the USA was a country “built on immigrants”.
“I understand that the US needs to keep its citizens safe, but should focus on people who actually pose a threat,” Mr McDowell said.
Coleraine student Bradley Cathers, aged 21, said it was “unjustified” to impose a ban against entire countries, adding: “What if Britain had decided to ban all people from Northern Ireland in case they were members of the IRA?”
Community worker Peter Thompson, 57, from Dervock indicated his support for Trump and his policy on immigration, adding: “He made his intentions clear when he was running for president, so people knew to expect this.
“They voted him in, and they can’t turn round now and say they don’t like it.
“He has a mandate and should be allowed to continue what he is doing.”
Margaret Gaile, aged 31 from Portstewart, acknowledged that the issue of immigration was “a difficult situation”, but added: “I think generalising an entire population is not right.”
One elderly Ballymoney couple, who did not wish to be named, said that while they were “not huge fans” of Trump as a person, they fully agreed with his stance on immigration.
They added: “If it is the only way to keep terrorists out then I think it is absolutely fine.
“In fact, Britain should do the same. People are scared and you can’t blame them.”