Wednesday 20 February 2019

St Patrick's Day trips: ministers to jet to every European capital as part of Brexit response

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar greets US President Donald Trump at Capitol Hill during St Patrick’s Day celebrations in 2018. Photo: PA
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar greets US President Donald Trump at Capitol Hill during St Patrick’s Day celebrations in 2018. Photo: PA

Kevin Doyle Group Political Editor

Ministers are to jet to every European capital for St Patrick’s Day as part of the Government’s Brexit response.

While Taoiseach Leo Varadkar heads Stateside to visit US President Donald Trump, his Cabinet and junior ministers will travel across EU, Africa and Asia.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney will meet delegations in Paris, Berlin, Brussels, the Hague.

London has been assigned to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.

Announcing the St Patrick’s Day programme for 2019, Mr Coveney said: “St. Patrick’s Day offers a unique opportunity to promote Ireland around the world, to celebrate our heritage and renew our bonds with the global Irish family.

“The Taoiseach, Ministers, Ceann Comhairle, Cathaoirleach and I will undertake an ambitious programme of visits across Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, and the Asia Pacific region over the St Patrick’s Day period, to promote Ireland as a great place to live, visit, study, work and do business.”

He said this year’s programme will serve as a platform to underline Ireland’s  commitment to and membership of the European Union. 

Ministers have been told to use the trips to emphasise key economic messages, underline Ireland’s commitment to the restoration of the institutions in Northern Ireland; and advance our campaign for a seat on the Security Council of the United Nations in 2020-21

Their brief also includes promoting Ireland as a great place to live, visit, study, work and do business.

The 2019 programme also reflects Ireland’s expanding diplomatic and state agency presence around the world, as part of the Global Ireland initiative. 

Ministers will visit Wellington and Vancouver, where Ireland opened new diplomatic missions in 2018.   Bogota, Santiago, Mumbai, and Los Angeles will also receive a Ministerial visit over St Patrick’s Day, in advance of the opening of new Irish Embassies and Consulates there later this year.

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