Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Questions (72)

Micheál Martin


72. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on all of his meetings in the United States of America. [12803/18]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

I visited the United States from 11-17 March for this year’s St Patrick’s Day programme. My visit included engagements in Austin Texas, Durant Oklahoma, Washington D.C. and New York.

The objective of my visit was to advance Ireland’s interests and deepen the bilateral relationship between Ireland and the US.

In Austin, I paid a courtesy call on Governor Abbott, met members of the Irish community in Texas, and spoke at the South by South West Festival, where I also met with Enterprise Ireland companies attending the convention.

In Durant, Oklahoma, I had a courtesy call with Governor Mary Fallin and met the Choctaw Nation of Native Americans, whom I thanked for their act of humanitarianism towards Ireland, during the height of the Great Famine in 1847.

In Washington D.C. I held high-level political meetings with President Trump, Vice President Pence, as well with senior members of Congress including Speaker Ryan, House Majority Leader McConnell, Senators Schumer, Leahy, Neal and King, and the Friends of Ireland Caucus. My priority in these discussions was to further develop the US - Ireland bilateral relationship, and to advance Ireland’s interests, including in relation to trade, and the status of undocumented Irish citizens in the US.

Also in Washington D.C. I had a number of economic engagements, including with the US Chamber of Commerce, and a series of meetings and engagements with the clients of Irish state agencies including Enterprise Ireland, IDA, SFI and Tourism Ireland. I also spoke at a number of events, including at the Brookings Institution, at an event hosted by Ireland Funds, at a Reception hosted by Ireland’s Ambassador to the US, and at an event marking the 20th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

In New York, I met a number of political leaders including Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Corey Johnson. I attended a lunch with business leaders, hosted by Michael Bloomberg. I attended an event at the site of the new Irish Arts Center, where I announced additional Government funding for the construction of the Arts Center’s new facility.

I also attended a Community Reception at the Irish Consulate in New York, where I met with the representatives of the Irish community, including the leadership of several Irish immigrant support centres.

Finally, I attended the traditional St. Patrick’s Day events in New York, including the Mayor’s Breakfast, St. Patrick’s Day Mass, and the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which I walked in alongside Governor Cuomo and with the United Irish Counties.