Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (175)

Seán Haughey


175. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade when the new consulate general offices in Frankfurt and Los Angeles will open; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28161/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The new Consulates General in Frankfurt and Los Angeles will open later this year with the first staff arriving at the end of August and the formal openings taking place a short time later once the office set-up is complete.

Working closely with the Embassy in Berlin, the new Consulate General in Frankfurt will focus on strengthening Ireland’s relationship with Germany, both bilaterally and in the context of our shared EU membership. The office will allow Ireland to build on our existing presence in this economic and financial powerhouse. The primary focus of the Mission will be on trade and economic issues, alongside political engagement with the federal authorities. Significant numbers of Irish companies operate in Hesse and there is potential to grow our engagement in areas such as FinTech. Frankfurt is also home to the European Central Bank and the Single Supervisory Mechanism, making it the financial capital of the Euro area, vitally important to Ireland’s economic interests. The office will also undertake an intensive public diplomacy programme, with a media and cultural promotion focus, to develop Ireland's profile and image in Hesse and the neighbouring states Rheinland-Pflaz and Saarland.

The new Consulate General in Los Angeles will facilitate the development of high level business, community and political contacts, and will maximise the economic opportunities on offer in the fifth largest economy in the world, particularly in relation to tech and the creative industries, but also in finance, bio-tech, healthcare, aerospace and aviation. The office will have a strong economic focus, with forty percent of the foreign direct investment to Ireland already coming from the west coast region of the US. The office will also strengthen our presence on the ground by opening up new opportunities for investment and job creation. The new Consulate General will focus on building networks and supporting the 140 Irish companies operating in California, several of whom have large operations in Southern California. It will also take a lead role in coordinating cultural and artistic linkages to Ireland, initially with a focus on Los Angeles but eventually California and Western US.