Wicklow continues to forge links with China
His Excellency Dr Yue Xiaoyong, Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, spoke of the bonds forged between Ireland and China as he visited Wicklow as part of a delegation from People's Republic of China.
Ambassador Yue and his colleagues, Pan Xiongwen, Head of the Political and Press Section of the Embassy, and Xiao Qi, Second Secretary from the Economic and Commercial Counsellor's Office, were welcomed to a meeting of Wicklow County Council by the Cathaoirleach, Cllr Pat Fitzgerald, and Bryan Doyle, Chief Executive.
Earlier in the day the delegation were brought on a tour of Wicklow County Campus in Rathnew.
Cllr Gerry Walsh spoke of the warmth of the people of Wicklow and their interest in embracing new cultures saying he hoped the delegation's best memories of the day would be of the people they met.
Fred Verdier of Wicklow County Tourism displayed images of the county, including Glendalough, Powerscourt Estate and the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk.
Annette Rowsome of the Wicklow Local Enterprise Office described the diverse range of companies operating in the county and explained that it was an important objective of Wicklow County Council to help 'grow and sustain jobs for the future within the county.'
Joe O'Connell of Ashford Studios gave an account of his first experiences of visiting China in the 1970s and of doing business there in the intervening time. He welcomed the business relationship between China and Ireland and stressed its importance. He also talked about future plans for expansion at Ashford Studios.
While greeting the delegation in the council chamber, Cllr Fitzgerald said: 'I am delighted to have the opportunity to 'further develop and enrich the friendship between China and its people and the people of County Wicklow" and described to the delegation the beauty of Wicklow and the endless opportunities it presented to those who live, work and visit the county.'
Addressing the meeting, Ambassador Yue said he was greatly honoured to visit County Wicklow. He outlined China's tremendous achievements in its economic and social development and confirmed that China will continue to be a major driver for the global economy.
He quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping who has called upon all members of the international community to join hands in building 'a community of common future for mankind...to make the process of economic globalization more invigorated, more inclusive and more sustainable.'
Ambassador Yue stated that since China and Ireland had established diplomatic relations in 1979 a 'deep and strong friendship has been forged between our two countries and peoples.'
China has become the third largest export market for Irish food and beverages and the second for Irish dairy and pork products.
A number of other Councillors also welcomed Ambassador Yue and his delegation to Wicklow.
Cllr Brendan Thornhill impressed all and sundry by attempting a few words of Chinese in order to welcome his Excellency. Cllr Steven Matthews, in his role as Cathaoirleach of Bray Municipal District, invited the Ambassador to visit Bray.
Bryan Doyle and Cllr Fitzgerald then presented Ambassador Yue with a print by photographer Fran Byrne showing the Round Tower at Glendalough.