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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 17 February, 2019

In full: Here’s where the Taoiseach and our ministers are going for St Patrick’s Day

The trips could be shorter than usual given Brexit.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the New York parade last year.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the New York parade last year.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

THE TAOISEACH WILL visit the US President Donald Trump in Washington this St Patrick’s Day.

Today, Cabinet approved that ministers and ministers of State will visit every EU capital.

Ministers will visit all 27 EU capitals – including London. There are more senior Cabinet ministers visiting European cities than ever before on St Patrick’s Day.

However, a government spokesperson said this evening that in light of Brexit the duration of the trips are expected to be “shorter than usual”.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March.

The Oireachtas may have to pass emergency Brexit legislation in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The spokesperson said that it is more important than ever for the ministerial delegations to go ahead, in light of Brexit, stating that at a time like this an Irish presence is needed around the world. 

Where are they off to? 

Tánaiste and Minister Simon Coveney is to lead a delegation to Paris, Berlin, The Hague, Brussels for St Patrick’s Day. 

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is travelling to London this year, while Minister for Communications Richard Bruton is heading to Canada.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is off to New York, while Health Minister Simon Harris will be heading to the Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed will visit Madrid and Lisbon.

Ministers Heather Humphreys will travel to Australia and New Zealand.

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone will travel to South Africa, while Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty will travel to Rome and Malta.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy is heading to Argentina and Chile. and Culture Minister Josepha Madigan is going to Japan and South Korea.

Minister of State for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment, Patrick O’Donovan is paying a visit to Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, while Junior Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly is going to India.

Junior Housing Minister Damian English is going to Australia and Timor Leste, while Junior Minister for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath is off to Mexico and Cuba.

Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay will get a visit from Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen. The Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann, Seán Ó Fearghaíl is off to Brazil this year.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, who has stayed home the last number of years, is off to the United Arab Emirates this year.

Education Minister Joe McHugh is going to Finland and China, while Minister of State for Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D’Arcy is going to Germany and the Netherlands.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring is heading to Chicago, while the Attorney General, Seamus Woulfe SC is also off to the US, taking in Washington DC.

Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht and the Islands, Seán Kyne is off to Boston and Pennsylvania, while Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor is going to Austin, Denver and Kansas.

Savannah, Atlanta will get a visit from Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton, while Vancouver, Calgary and Seattle will be paid a visit from Minister of State for the Diaspora and Development, Ciaran Cannon.

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan is going to France and Luxembourg, while Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform, John Paul Phelan is going to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne is heading to Slovakia, Austria and Hungary while Junior Agriculture Minister Andrew Doyle is going to Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia.

Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Kevin Boxer Moran is going to Poland and Czech Republic while Minister of State for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development, Sean Canney is going to Greece, Romania and Bulgaria.

Junior Sports and Tourism Brendan Griffin is going to Scotland.

Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann, Senator Denis O’Donovan is heading off to Russia for the celebrations.

Last year there was an increase in travel due to the government’s strategy to highlight its preparedness for Brexit. This year, the visits will no doubt be used to bolster political support in light of the withdrawal agreement not being agreed.

Announcing the St Patrick’s Day programme for 2019, Coveney said:

St. Patrick’s Day offers a unique opportunity to promote Ireland around the world, to celebrate our heritage and renew our bonds with the global Irish family.
The Taoiseach, Ministers, Ceann Comhairle, Cathaoirleach and I will undertake an ambitious programme of visits across Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, and the Asia Pacific region over the St Patrick’s Day period, to promote Ireland as a great place to live, visit, study, work and do business.This year’s St Patrick’s Day programme will serve as a platform to underline Ireland’s commitment to and membership of the European Union. Ministers will visit all 27 European capitals over the St Patrick’s Day period.

He said the 2019 programme also reflects Ireland’s expanding diplomatic and state agency presence around the world, as part of the Global Ireland initiative.

Ministers will visit Wellington and Vancouver, where Ireland opened new diplomatic missions in 2018. Bogota, Santiago, Mumbai, and Los Angeles will also receive a Ministerial visit over St Patrick’s Day, in advance of the opening of new Irish Embassies and Consulates there later this year.

The greening of many iconic landmarks around the world in celebration of St Patrick’s Day will also take place, as part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, which celebrates its tenth year in 2019. 

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