Thursday 5 December 2019

Ministers to visit 35 countries in St Patrick's Day exodus

Shane Ross
Shane Ross
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The St Patrick's Day exodus will see ministers travel to 35 countries in one of the largest overseas offensives ever - but Shane Ross is being left at home for the second year in a row.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe are among the big names to land long-haul flights.

Mr Coveney, who is also Foreign Affairs Minister, will travel to China and Hong Kong, while Mr Donohoe is off to Argentina.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will make the traditional trip to the United States for a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House.

Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring, Diaspora Minister Ciarán Cannon, Equality Minister David Stanton and Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin will also visit various parts of the US.

Ministers were told of their destinations at yesterday's Cabinet meeting by Mr Coveney, whose department is in charge of the project.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is travelling to Australia, as is Minister for Older People Jim Daly.

Other high-flyers include Denis Naughten (Canada), Eoghan Murphy (Korea and Japan), Joe McHugh (Brazil) and Mary Mitchell O'Connor (UAE and Oman).

A large emphasis is being placed on Brexit, with Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and junior ministers John Halligan and Pat Breen travelling to the UK.

"The St Patrick's Day period provides a unique opportunity to promote Ireland on the international stage, and to renew the strong bonds between Ireland, the global Irish abroad, and our partners around the world," Mr Coveney said.

"This year, the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, ministers and ministers of State, and Chief Whip, will undertake comprehensive programmes across countries in Europe, the Americas, the Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, in a truly global celebration of Ireland."

Other notable trips include:

Germany - Richard Bruton

The Netherlands - Simon Harris

Italy - Katherine Zappone

France - Regina Doherty

Norway and Sweden - Josepha Madigan

Vietnam - Andrew Doyle

Kenya - Kevin 'Boxer' Moran

Singapore - John Paul Phelan

Mexico - Brendan Griffin

Lebanon - Paul Kehoe

Czech Republic - Finian McGrath

Poland - Damien English

Switzerland - Seán Kyne

Irish Independent

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