Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Questions (48)

Willie Penrose


48. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has spoken recently with the US Secretary of State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22703/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Government engages frequently with the US Administration and US elected representatives on all aspects of the Ireland-US relationship and on other issues of mutual concern.

I last visited the US in February, where I met with senior Congressional leaders and launched the Government’s new US and Canada strategy. During this visit, I also met with Secretary of State Pompeo at a Defeat-ISIS Coalition conference. We discussed issues of mutual concern related to the conference, but also bilateral and broader international issues.

My engagements were followed in March with visits by the largest ever delegation of Government Ministers to the US for St. Patrick’s Day. In total, eight Ministers, the Attorney General and the Taoiseach visited fifteen cities and had a range of high level engagements, including in the White House with President Trump.

The Government has since had the opportunity to engage with a high level Congressional delegation, representing the Friends of Ireland Caucus in Congress and led by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. I met personally with this delegation in April, as did the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance. The Government also hosted a State Dinner for the delegation at which other Government Ministers and senior officials were present. We took these opportunities to fully brief the delegation on a range of issues, including Brexit and Northern Ireland developments, record two-way trade and investment, as well as Irish emigration to the US and the undocumented Irish.

As the Deputy will be aware, President Trump is scheduled to visit Ireland in early June and is expected to meet with the Taoiseach. This meeting, and other upcoming engagements with the US Administration and Congressional leaders, provide excellent opportunities for open and fruitful discussions.