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Taoiseach: President’s British visit will showcase Ireland

The forthcoming visit of President Michael D. Higgins to Britain opens up “limitless and endless opportunities” for Ireland, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said this morning.

Mr. Kenny predicted the first ever official visit by an Irish head of State to Britain would ‘showcase’ Ireland and benefit its economy.

Speaking to reporters in Castlebar, Co. Mayo before officially opening Europe Code Week at the local St. Gerald’s College, the Taoiseach would strengthen the close-knit links that Queen Elizabeth first forged by coming here.

“I think it’s a brilliant opportunity to showcase Ireland in its modernity and the new level (of influence) with which we operate in Britain”, Mr. Kenny stated.

The Taoiseach cited the fact that there are now 50,000 Irish people on the boards of British companies.

Britain was our closest neighbour, our biggest trading partner and was “the first out of the traps to assist Ireland monies on loan” when economic catastrophe hit us a number of years ago.

The benefits from the visit would ripple through the Irish economy in many ways, the Taoiseach predicted.

There was, for instance, an opportunity for another Gathering not alone in terms of the Irish diaspora and the British themselves coming to Ireland but also in terms of trade and politics.

“We look forward this visit with great excitement and the endless and limitless possibilities that it brings with it”, Mr. Kenny continued.

Recalling the Queen’s visit here, Mr. Kenny said she had put huge detail and work into making her trip and outstanding success

He added: “The Queen herself said to me that of all the State visits she completed in sixty years this was the one she really wanted to do”.

Finally, the Taoiseach remarked that Irish people both at home and abroad would see the visit by President Higgins as “the start of new days and a new era.”

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