I propose to take Questions Nos. 2 to 12, inclusive, together.
I have had a number of recent engagements in support of Ireland's relationship with the United States of America. I met with the new ambassador, Mr. Kevin O'Malley, on Friday, 10 October, in Government Buildings. I welcomed Mr. O'Malley to Ireland and congratulated him on his appointment. The ambassador told me he was looking forward to his term and spoke warmly of the overwhelming welcome and support he had received since arriving in Ireland.
Our discussions were wide-ranging. We discussed the excellent relationship between Ireland and the US, acknowledging the strength of economic, personal and political ties. We recalled the successful visits by President and Mrs. Obama and my own visits to the United States. We discussed the economic situation in Ireland and Europe, and the ambassador was complimentary about the remarkable progress made by our country in recent years. We spoke about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, recalling that a negotiation mandate was secured during Ireland's Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and discussed the potential for increased investment, trade and job creation on both sides of the Atlantic. I also briefed the ambassador on the latest state of play in Northern Ireland and the all-party talks that were, at the time of the meeting, proposed by the British and Irish Governments.
The subject of US immigration reform has been a key priority for the Government and a constant element in our discussions with the American Administration. While I did not have occasion to meet any of the immigration lobby groups during my brief visit to New York in November, I took the opportunity to raise the issue with the ambassador, Mr. O'Malley, and to emphasise the importance of people's ability to move freely between the US and Ireland.
Since that meeting, as Deputies are aware, President Obama announced some welcome changes to the US immigration system, which represents a strong start on immigration reform. These changes should benefit a significant number of our own citizens. For those covered, it promises to lift the threat of deportation and should allow them to work and travel more freely within the United States. I followed up on President Obama's announcement by writing to him to welcome this development and to ask that the arrangements be as open and as flexible as possible in order to protect the undocumented Irish in the United States.
I must stress, however, that, while this is a good start, our work is not yet done. The President has acted within his own powers, but legislation in Congress is still needed to build on what has been achieved in the President's announcement. For that reason, the Government and our embassy in Washington have been working and will continue to work with the Administration and with both Republican and Democratic political leaders. We have strong contacts across both sides and we will continue to build on this particular network.
I visited New York in November with a programme focused on boosting trade, investment and job creation. In engaging with business groups and companies, I highlighted a number of key messages, including Ireland's strong economic recovery, our advantages as a place to invest and to do business, the strong offering of Irish exporting companies and the Government's roadmap for Ireland's tax competitiveness. My engagements included a round-table event at the New York Stock Exchange with the CEOs of a number of leading international financial services companies. I spoke about Ireland's continued economic recovery, our strengths as a location for investment and the new international financial services strategy currently being prepared by the Minister of State, Deputy Harris. While at the New York Stock Exchange, I also had the opportunity to meet its new CEO, Mr. Thomas Farley, and was pleased to be invited to ring the opening bell that morning. I met again with Mr. Farley during the World Economic Forum in Davos last month.
I also attended a meeting with members of the Partnership for New York City, a membership organisation made up of CEOs of leading businesses with headquarters in New York. This was a follow-on to my previous meeting with members of the partnership earlier last year. Again, I spoke about the strengths of Ireland's economy and Ireland's excellence as a location for investment, as well as our new roadmap for Ireland's tax competitiveness.
During my visit, I attended a dinner event hosted by the Ireland-US Council, attended by a range of leading US and Irish business leaders, where I highlighted Ireland's progress towards economic recovery and its many advantages as a location for business, investment, tourism and high-quality goods and services. I was pleased to have a follow-up meeting with Bristol-Myers Squibb at which it confirmed its major new investment in Ireland, involving about 1,000 construction jobs while the facility is being built and then up to 400 permanent high-tech jobs in the pharma sector. I also availed of the opportunity to visit North Shore-LIJ Health System's new state-of-the-art health care facility, the Lenox Hill HealthPlex, and meet with North Shore's president and CEO, Mr. Michael Dowling, and some of his senior colleagues. As Deputies will be aware, Mr. Dowling is a native of Limerick and maintains a close interest in developments here in Ireland. While at Lenox Hill, I chaired a round table with North Shore, representatives of the Visiting Nurse Association and Enterprise Ireland, EI, client companies with a view to building the necessary links and expertise amongst the EI companies to supply goods and services to the health care market in the US.
Overall, while it was a brief visit to New York, my programme covered a wide range of business engagements aimed at promoting Ireland's continued attractiveness as a business location and helping Irish companies to pursue further business opportunities in the US.