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Tánaiste to visit London to meet Irish business leaders and address Ulster Covenant conference

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D. will travel to London this evening to meet Irish business leaders, Irish community representatives and to address an academic conference on the Ulster Covenant, at King’s College London.

On Thursday morning, in his capacity as Minister for Trade, the Tánaiste will host a working session at the Embassy of Ireland in London with Irish representatives in the British construction, financial services and agri-food sectors. The purpose of the session is to brainstorm around the possible opportunities for Irish firms to collaborate with British companies in pursuit of major business in international markets, as agreed between the Taoiseach and Prime Minister David Cameron when they met in Downing Street last March.

Following this, the Tánaiste will deliver an address at King’s College London, opening an academic conference entitled “The Ulster Covenant 1912 – 2012”. The conference has been organised by the Irish Studies Seminar group in cooperation with the Embassy of Ireland, and is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Reconciliation Fund in the context of the Government commemorative programme 2012 - 2022.

The Tánaiste will also meet representatives of Irish community organisations in Britain at an event hosted by the Embassy. At the event, he will announce the award of grants of over £5.7 million (€7.27million) to 113 organisations all over Britain under the Emigrant Support Programme. 

Speaking in advance of his visit, the Tánaiste said:

"It is a great pleasure for me to take this opportunity to further develop the close relationship between Britain and Ireland, symbolised by the successful visit of Queen Elizabeth to Ireland last year, and to focus on the key areas identified by the Taoiseach and Prime Minister when they met in March.

“Our overriding priority is to promote deeper economic cooperation, and identify new opportunities for Irish businesses operating in the United Kingdom. I look forward to hearing the views of senior Irish businesspeople in London on how best this might be developed.

It is also notable that the academic conference on the Ulster Covenant is taking place in London, complementing activities already underway in Ireland, North and South. It is an important reminder of the shared nature of our history, and is indicative of the kind of cooperation which I hope will be a feature of commemorative activities over the decade ahead”.

"I also wish to personally thank representatives of Irish community organizations for their work, particularly those providing frontline services to the elderly, vulnerable and marginalised.  Despite this significant budgetary pressure, the Government has been able to ensure that funding for vital frontline organisations in Britain is being maintained. This underlines the value the Government, and indeed the Irish people, place on our communities here and around the world and our continuing commitment to assisting those emigrants who most need our help".