Donald Trump has cut short his flying visit to the Republic of Ireland, telling reporters he had to deal with a court case in the United States.
The ex-US president spent less than 24 hours at his golf resort in Doonbeg.
He said he was leaving early to fight allegations being made against him in a civil rape case in New York.
Earlier Mr Trump said the political crisis that has left NI without its power-sharing government will be a “tough one to resolve”.
A jazz band and Irish dancers greeted Mr Trump on his arrival on Wednesday.
Northern Ireland’s devolved government has not functioned for over a year after the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) pulled out of it.
The move was made in protest against post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland.
At resort in County Clare, Mr Trump was asked about how he would resolve the long-running dispute.
“Well we’re going to see – they’re negotiating and we’re going to see,” he said on Wednesday night.
“There are a lot of negotiations going on in Ireland and other places right now, but it’s going be a tough one.”
The DUP has taken its stance because it believes the trade arrangements agreed in the original Brexit deal in 2019 undermine Northern Ireland’s place within the UK.
Checks on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK were introduced in order to allow trade to flow freely across the Irish border.
In February this year Prime Minister Rishi Sunak struck a deal with the EU to modify the trade rules and reduce the number of inspections.
But the DUP has said the new agreement, known as the Windsor Framework, does not go far enough and it is demanding more changes before it considers a return to Stormont.
The other main political parties in Northern Ireland have indicated that they support the new deal and they want the power-sharing executive to get up and running again.
US companies ‘love it in Ireland’
Before leaving Doonbeg for Shannon Airport and a flight to the United States at around 17:30 local time on Thursday, Mr Trump played golf at his resort.
Speaking to reporters, he repeated his denials of allegations he faces in a civil trial of rape and defamation.
In a video deposition played on Thursday in a Manhattan court, where writer E Jean Carroll is suing Mr Trump for rape, Mr Trump denied knowing his accuser.
Ms Carroll, 79, has accused Mr Trump, 76, of attacking her in a New York City department store in the mid-1990s.
He told reporters in County Clare that the allegations were being made because he was rich, famous and a politician.
Mr Trump also spoke about the “good job” the Republic of Ireland had done in “luring” US companies to the country.
A long-standing part of the Republic of Ireland’s economic strategy has been to attract major foreign investment – its corporation tax of 12.5% is among the lowest in the developed world.
Global technology companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google have major set-ups in the country.
During his presidency, Mr Trump – who is seeking the Republican Party nomination to run for the White House again in 2024 – said he wanted those companies to bring their profits back to the US.
At Doonbeg on Wednesday he was asked if he would prefer the corporation tax being paid by those companies in Ireland to boost US tax revenue instead.
“I won’t answer that question in your country,” he said.
“A lot of people would say yes.
“Ireland has done a good job – you’ve lured a lot of companies in. They love it here, they really love it here.
“They’ve been treated well just like I’ve been treated well. This has been a great success.”
Source : BBC