In order to promote Ireland over the St. Patrick's Day period, I led an ambitious programme to Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines from 13 to 21 March 2013. The visit included the first senior Ministerial visit to Manila, the first in over a decade to Jakarta and the first ever Ministerial call on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) HQ.
Over the course of my visit I took every opportunity to promote trade, investment and tourism in Ireland, to reach out to the Irish Diasporas across the region, to strengthen political links and to tell the story of our recovery.
I undertook 24 separate engagements during the period, details of which are set out below below.
Examples include a speech on Ireland’s economy I delivered to a packed auditorium in Manila, an event organised by the European Union External Action Service, facilitated by Ambassador Ledoux. I made a visit to the corporate HQ of Indonesia’s biggest Foreign Direct Investor in Ireland, attended financial services Enterprise Ireland (EI) sponsored breakfast in Singapore, led an Enterprise Ireland trade delegation to the Asian Development Bank and participated in an IDA/Enterprise Ireland business lunch in Jakarta.
Irish community St. Patrick's Day events were hosted in the three cities.
I led Singapore’s St. Patrick's Day parade with estimates of around 12,000 in attendance. The parade was partnered with the Down’s syndrome Associations in Singapore and Indonesia. Singaporean Ministers and MPs attended the Embassy reception and parade and I was guest of honour at a Singapore/Ireland Fund lunch for major donors.
I had meetings with the Deputy PM and Minister of Finance of Singapore, the Minister for Trade of Indonesia and the Deputy Foreign Minister. In Manila I met Foreign Secretary del Rosario and the Secretary for Budget and Management. In Jakarta I met with the Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN and in Manila with the Vice President of the Asian Development Bank. (The President had just been appointed Governor of Japan’s Central Bank.)
I travelled with 2 officials, my private secretary and my press officer. While in Singapore, I and my officials stayed in the Ambassador's residence in order to save costs. There is no such accommodation in either Manila or Jakarta.
The visit achieved significant media coverage in the region and included an editorial in “The Jakarta Post”, extensive associated coverage in Indonesia’s business press, front page pieces in The Philippines media, the Raffles interview slot in Singapore’s “Business Times” and TV news reports across all three capitals.
Every possible attempt was made to keep costs low and the costs incurred by my Department to date in respect of the 2012 St. Patrick’s Day overseas travel programme are detailed in the following table:
Costs for St Patrick's Day Travel
Minister: Hotel Manila
Private Secretary: Hotel Manila
Press Officer: Hotel Manila
The total costs of the visit have not yet been finalised. Invoices will be submitted in due course through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for reimbursement by my Department.
Visit to Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Mr. Brendan Howlin, T.D. 13 – 21 March 2013
Wednesday 13 March
15:45 Arrive Soekarno Hatta International Airport, Jakarta.
Transfer to Hotel.
19:30 Dinner briefing by Ireland House - Embassy/Enterprise Ireland (EI)/ IDA Ireland.
Thursday 14 March
09:30 Coffee briefing with EU Delegation, Jakarta.
10:30 Call on H.E. Mr. Wardana, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs.
11:00 Call on H.E. Mr. Gita Wirjawan, Minister for Trade.
12:15 Press Conference – principal Indonesian media outlets.
Contract signing ceremony – Tango Telecom (EI client) and XL Indonesia.
12:45 Roundtable lunch and discussion for high-level Indonesian business contacts, EI clients and IDA clients.
14:30 Jakarta Post 1:1 interview.
14:45 Contract signing ceremony – ICDL Asia (EI client) and YPL Indonesia.
15:00 Depart hotel.
15:30 Call on Mr. Lim Hong Hin, Deputy Secretary General of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
18:30 Depart hotel (check-out).
19:00 Indonesian-Irish community networking evening, Molly Malone’s Irish Pub, Minister to speak.
21:00 Transfer to Purwakarta, West Java.
22:30 Welcomed by senior management of Indorama Synthetics PT (major IDA client with investment in Co. Cavan). Overnightat guesthouse.
Friday 15 March
09:00 Site visit at Indorama Synthetics PT plant: meeting with senior management.
14:00 Depart Bandung for Singapore.
16:50 Arrive Changi International airport.
Transfer to Residence.
18:30 Depart Residence.
18:45 Meeting with IDA target company Transportation Partners/Lion Air.
19:30 St. Patrick’s Society of Singapore Annual Ball Minister to speak.
Saturday 16 March
12:15 Depart Residence.
12:30 Embassy St Patrick’s Day reception and lunch at first Singapore St. Patrick’s Festival.
Minister to speak.
Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Manpower, Mayor (Southwest District), Ms Amy Khor to attend.
14:30 Visit Singapore Gaelic Lions Skills Demonstration at UOB Plaza.
15:00 Visit Molly Malone’s Irish Pub.
Musical performance by Dunleavy family.
15:30 Return to Residence.
19:00 Visit OCBC Building, One Raffles Place & Merlion for photographs.
19:30 Dinner hosted by Ambassador Hayes.
Sunday 17 March
09:30 Depart Residence.
10:00 St. Patrick’s Day Mass.
12:30 Informal Singapore-Ireland Fund lunch hosted by Dr. Stanley Quek.
15:00 VIP Parade Guests Assemble.
15:30 St Patrick’s Day Parade.
Minister to speak.
Senior Minister of State, Ministry for Law and Ministry of Education, Ms. Indranee Rajah to attend.
16:00 Post-parade community reception (St. Patrick’s Festival).
17:00 Return to Residence.
Monday 18 March
07:15 Depart Residence.
07:30 Enterprise Ireland Business Breakfast (banking/financial focus) with EI Clients: Corvil, First Derivatives, Information Mosaic and Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX).
09:15 Call on Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Finance.
10:00 Interview with Vikram Khanna, Deputy Editor, Singapore Business Times.
12:25 Depart Singapore for Manila, Philippines.
16:00 Arrive Ninoy Aquino International airport.
16:45 Visit to Malate Church.
Guided tour by Irish Columban Order.
17:30 Transfer to Hotel
19:30 Filipino-Irish community networking evening.
Minister to speak.
Honorary Consul General’s Residence.
Tuesday 19 March
10:15 Meeting with Asian Development Bank constituency office officials.
11:15 Meeting with Acting President of the ADB, Mr. Bindu Lohani.
12:00 Contract signing ceremony PM Group (EI client).
12:15 Irish business networking lunch.
Minister to give opening address.
13:30 Call on Mr. Florencio Abad, Secretary of Budget and Management.
16:00 Call on the Hon. Albert F. Del Rosario, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines.
20:00 Dinner with Irish Honorary Consul General, Ms. Noreen F. Trota.
Wednesday 20 March
10:00 Public Lecture, “Ireland's Economic Recovery within the Euro Zone”.
Invitees: Think Tanks, NGOs, Government Agencies, Media.
11:30 Media Interviews.
14:30 One to one Interview with Manila Bulletin (largest broadsheet paper in the Philippines), Rob Mabasa, Diplomatic Correspondent.
Thursday 21 March
11:00 Debriefing on Visit.
17:35 Depart Manila for Dublin.