Patrick's Day to see 17 Ministers abroad


Twelve ministers and five ministers of State will attend St Patrick’s Day events overseas later this month, the Government has announced.

Announcing the Government’s programme of travel for St Patrick’s Day festivities, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that now was the time to invest in Ireland’s recovery.

“The Government will use the unique global opportunity of St Patrick’s Day to bring that message to all our key global markets and to Ireland’s many friends around the world,” he said.

Mr Kenny is travelling to Chicago, South Bend in Indiana and New York, in addition to the traditional St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Washington DC as a guest of President Barack Obama in the White House.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore travels to Canada to attend a number of trade, cultural and community events. Other ministers are flying to 15 of Ireland’s trading partners as well as seven locations in the United States.

Among those ministers travelling to the United States are Joan Burton (New York), Richard Bruton (West coast), Jimmy Deenihan (Atlanta) and Frances Fitzgerald (Boston).

Leo Varadkar, accompanied by Minister of State Michael Ring, will visit London and Birmingham, while Minister of State Dinny McGinley travels to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Ministers flying off to European destinations include Michael Noonan (France), Pat Rabbitte (Italy), Simon Coveney (Benelux), while Minister of State Paul Kehoe goes to Germany with Minister of State John Perry destined for Finland and Sweden.

Arguably the plum trips go to Minister of State Ciarán Cannon, who is travelling to China for the national holiday; Brendan Howlin, who undertakes the lengthy trip to Singapore; and Alan Shatter who journeys to Australia and New Zealand.

The Taoiseach’s engagements include the Speaker's Lunch on Capitol Hill, hosted by the Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, as well as meetings with vice-president Joe Biden and other US leaders.

He leaves on March 16th for Chicago, where he will meet mayor Rahm Emmanuel, participate in the local parade and address the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago St Patrick’s Day Dinner.

Later on St Patrick’s Day, he flies to South Bend, home of the University of Notre Dame, whose American football team, known as “The Fighting Irish” is taking part in a game against Navy in Dublin next September.

After a private day in New York, Mr Kenny will visit the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, March 19th, and will attend the American Ireland Fund Gala Dinner later that day.