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In full: Where our ministers are going for St Patrick's Day...

The full list has just been confirmed.
Feb 23rd 2015, 3:45 PM 24,786 105

Updated 3.45pm 

THE GOVERNMENT HAS confirmed where ministers are going for trade & tourism trips this St Patrick’s Day.

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be making his traditional trip to the States including a visit to the White House where he will meet President Barack Obama.

Tánaiste Joan Burton will be on US duty this year – with her tour taking in Boston, Pittsburgh and Philadelpia.

Also heading to North America are Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan (Canada & New York), and ministers of state Paul Kehoe (Houston, Savannah), Jimmy Deenihan (Chicago & Milwaukee), Michael Ring (Phoenix, LA) and Paudie Coffey (St Louis, Indianapolis).

Only Michael Noonan, the Finance Minister, is staying in Ireland to mind the shop along with the Attorney General Máire Whelan.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar is heading to Mexico.

Speaking today, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan insisted that the trips abroad represent “very, very good value”.

“Last year for example, as an immediate consequence of our ministerial visits €5 million was gained at a cost of €300,000 for the entire event.

“This year, each department pays for its own ministerial engagement. I am quite satisfied that this is money really, really well spent.

“Every minister and minister of state will report directly back to the Taoiseach on the number of meetings, type of meetings, who they met and follow-up engagements. No other country has an opportunity like St Patrick’s Day.”

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Elsewhere – Alex White and junior minister Tom Hayes will be racking up the most air miles, with trips to New Zealand and Australia respectively.

On the European front – jobs minister Richard Bruton is heading to Paris, arts minister Heather Humphreys goes to London, and agriculture/defence minister Simon Coveney is Italy-bound.

Junior minister Ged Nash will be off to Sweden. His colleagues in the minister of state ranks, Joe McHugh, Simon Harris, Dara Murphy, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Kevin Humphreys, Ann Phelan and Damien English will  also be heading on relatively short-haul trips.

Elsewhere, junior health minister Kathleen Lynch will be off to Russia, minister of state Sean Sherlock will go to Ethiopia, Children’s Minister James Reilly will go to India, Environment Minister Alan Kelly to China, Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan to Brazil, and Brendan Howlin to South Korea and Japan.

Full details were disclosed at a press event at the headquarters of ding*, an international mobile phone top-up service, in Dublin this afternoon.

- with reporting from Hugh O’Connell 

Read: Enda will NOT be marching in New York’s St Patrick’s Day parade

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Daragh Brophy

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