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Minister Flanagan departs for five-day ‘Promote Ireland’ programme in Toronto and New York

Minister Charles Flanagan, Press Releases, North America, 2015


Minister Flanagan departs for five-day programme of trade, investment, political and Irish Diaspora engagements in Toronto and New York

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., departs today for a five-day programme of trade, investment, political and Diaspora-focussed engagements in Toronto and New York.

During his programme in the leading financial cities of Canada and the United States, Minister Flanagan will hold a series of high-level political meetings, including with former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton; Canadian Foreign Minister, Rob Nicholson; Canada’s Finance Minister, Joe Oliver and the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio.

In Toronto, Minister Flanagan’s programme commences with a 100-guest business breakfast hosted by Enterprise Ireland, the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce and the Embassy of Ireland. He will also meet with Canada-based members of the Global Irish Network along with senior representatives of the Toronto financial services industry.

Speaking this morning about the potential for boosting Ireland’s economic ties with Canada, Minister Flanagan said:

“Current bilateral trade with Canada is already in the region of €2.5 billion per annum and last year’s Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU has to potential to increase Irish exports to Canada by €250 million annually. The focus of my meetings with influential political and business leaders in Toronto, including the Canadian Foreign Affairs and Finance Ministers, will be to brief them on the economic recovery taking hold in Ireland, the huge potential for increased trade and investment between our two countries and the Government’s plans to build on the 90,000 new jobs created since 2012.

“In particular, I will highlight our new International Financial Services Strategy, IFS2020, the goal of which is to make Ireland a global location of choice for specialist international financial services by 2020.

“Canada is a strong G7 economy and Enterprise Ireland client companies are reporting double-digit growth in recent years. Enhancing the trade and political relationship between Ireland and Canada is a priority for me as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.”

During his meeting with his new Canadian counterpart, Foreign Minister Rob Nicholson, Minister Flanagan will discuss ways to enhance our two-way economic and trade relationship. They will also discuss current foreign policy issues, including Ukraine, the Middle East and Iran.

Referring to the growing positive relationship between Ireland and Canada, Minister Flanagan stated:

“The number of seats on direct air routes between our two countries has now doubled, with five airlines now serving Ireland directly from four Canadian cities. I look forward to having the opportunity to support Irish businesses when I visit Toronto with its vibrant Irish diaspora and ever-growing trade and economic links with Ireland.”

The visit to Toronto will also celebrate links with the Irish diaspora. Minister Flanagan will attend the Toronto St Patrick’s Day Parade and the Grand Marshall’s Ball. He will also meet with the Ireland Park Foundation, a leading Famine commemoration centre, and will address a 1200-guest Ireland Fund event in Toronto, held in memory of the late Irish-Canadian former Finance Minister of Canada, Jim Flaherty, which several members of the Canadian Cabinet will also attend.

In New York, the world’s financial capital, Minister Flanagan will begin his programme by addressing key business leaders at a breakfast meeting focused on the financial sector and organised by our Consulate, IDA Ireland, and Enterprise Ireland. This is the first of several business engagements the Minister will have during his visit to promote trade and jobs for Ireland and new initiatives such as the financial services strategy.

Minister Flanagan will meet Hillary Clinton, who is to be honoured at an Irish America magazine event.

The Minister’s programme will include meetings relating to US immigration issues; promoting greater cultural and diaspora links with Ireland; and also meeting with the American Irish Historical Association, with whom the Irish government is working closely on events around the Decade of Commemorations, in particular, at this time, the Centenary of the 1916 Rising.


Press Office

12 March 2015

Note to Editors:

· The Minister’s programme is part of the Government’s wider ‘Promote Ireland’ campaign of international activity over the St Patrick’s Day period which will see 27 Ministers taking part in over 100 business events and 100 high-level political meetings in 27 countries.
· Current bilateral trade with Canada is already in the region of €2.5 billion per annum. Following agreement on the EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA) in 2014 and expected ratification in 2016, it is estimated that Ireland’s exports to Canada will increase by in the region of €250 million per annum.
· On 5th March 2015, Minister Flanagan launched a new report commissioned by the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland. The Irish-US Economic Relationship 2015 researched and written by Wall Street Economist Joseph Quinlan.
The report highlighted key elements of the Irish-US economic relationship as well as the potential for continued growth and investment, highlighting that:

o 130,000 people employed by the 700 U.S. companies in Ireland
o US companies have invested over $277 billion in Ireland since 1990
o The output from US companies in Ireland now exceeds $80 billion per year
o Exports from US companies in Ireland are four times higher than from China

Minister’s Programme includes:

TORONTO, 13-15 March
· Enterprise Ireland / Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce business breakfast
· Media event at to announce the development of the George Robert Grasett Memorial at Ireland
· Park, in the presence of the Mayor of Toronto and members of Toronto City Council.
· Meeting with Robert Nicholson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada
· Ireland Fund event (1200 guests) in Honour of the late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, with attendance including members of Mr Flaherty’s family and three ministers from the Canadian government
· Grand Marshal Reception & Dance honouring Grand Marshall Bill Blair, Toronto Chief of Police
· Meeting with members of the Global Irish Network
· St Patrick’s Day breakfast event, Quinn’s Steak House, Toronto
· St Patrick’s Day Parade

NEW YORK, 15-17 March

· Business Breakfast hosted by IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Consul General of Ireland
· Meetings with local community leaders at the Consulate General of Ireland
· Launch of Yeats playwriting competition (in association with the Abbey Theatre) with the Origin Theatre Company at Consulate General of Ireland
· Irish America Magazine Hall of Fame Luncheon with guest of honour, Hillary Rodham Clinton
· Ireland-US Council St Patrick’s Lunch
· Visit to the Irish Arts Center
· Jerry McCabe Fellowship Programme Reception, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
· Mayor’s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast
· Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
· Irish Chamber of Commerce USA (ICCUSA) business breakfast.
· St Patrick’s Day Parade
· American Irish Historical Society St. Patrick’s Day reception