Ireland to double its presence overseas by 2025 as Varadkar aims to be 'island at the centre of the world'
Ireland will double its footprint overseas by 2025, to fulfill our ambition of being "an island at the centre of the world."
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made the announcement at a business breakfast organised by the Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Ireland in Toronto today, amid his three day official visit of Canada.
He explained the move will mean "new and augmented diplomatic missions and as well as significantly increased resources for our investment, tourism, cultural and food agencies overseas."
The government will approve the specifics of what Ireland’s doubled presence overseas will look like in 2025 later this year.
The plan, Ireland’s Global Footprint 2025, will set out milestones between now and then, said the Taoiseach, saying it will clearly articulate the benefits from this initiative with greater investment, tourism and trade; stronger links with our diaspora and increased cultural exchange.
Canada is now one of our top ten export markets.
Enterprise Ireland client exported €21.6bn or $32bn Canadian dollars in 2016 - growing more than 6 pc.
The Taoiseach said he would like to see the IDA open its open base in Canada.
Ireland is currently emerging from a lost decade, he said - but today faces "undoubtedly" the greatest set of political and economic challenges in a generation with Brexit.
"The decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, poses major economic and political challenges for us," he said.
And he reiterated that Ireland’s key priorities in the Brexit negotiations include minimising the impact on our trade and economy, maintaining our strong bilateral trade with the UK; the Common Travel Area between our two countries; and the preservation of the hard won achievements of the Northern Ireland peace process.
"We are resolute in our determination that there can be no return to a physical border on the island," he said.
"Indeed, we want no new barriers to trade or movement at all. We should build bridges, not borders."
Ireland needs to influence the future of the the post-Brexit European Union, said he Taoiseach.
"The future of the EU matters because we helped create it, and we recognise that it is our own future we are speaking about," he said.
Later, the Taoiseach will attend a Tourism Ireland lunch, followed by an evening reception with the Irish community hosted by the Irish Ambassador to Canada Jim Kelly.