A TOTAL 35 countries will be visited as part of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations this year.
Today, Cabinet approved where each Minister and Minister of State will be travelling this March.
The Ceann Comhairle, the Attorney General and the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad will also travel abroad as part of the ‘Promote Ireland’ programme.
It has been confirmed that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will travel to the US where he will visit US Donald Trump at the White House.
It is expected that he will visit other States in the US, with a focus on promoting trade and culture.
Tánaiste and Minister Simon Coveney is to lead a large delegation to China and Hong Kong for St Patrick’s Day. It is envisaged the focus for the trip will be issues surrounding Brexit, Irish tourism and Irish food.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is travelling to Argentina this year, while Minister for Education Richard Bruton is heading to Germany.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is off to Australia, while Health Minister Simon Harris will be heading to the Netherlands and Belgium. Agriculture Minister Michael Creed will visit the UK.
A number of ministers will travel to the US, including Ministers Heather Humphreys, Michael Ring, David Staunton, Ciaran Cannon, Michael D’Arcy, and Brendan Griffin (who will also travel to Mexico).
Attorney General Seamus Wolfe will also travel to the US.
Communications Minister Denis Naughten will travel to Canada, and will be joined by Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan.
Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone will travel to Italy, while Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty will travel to France.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy is heading to South Korea and Japan and Culture Minister Josepha Madigan is going to Norway and Sweden.
Chief Whip Joe McHugh is going to Brazil, while Mary Mitchell O’Connor is travelling to the UAE and Oman. Minister Paul Kehoe is off to Cyprus, while Minister of State for Disabilities is Finian McGrath will travel to the Czech Republic.
Minister for State for Housing Damien English is going to Poland, junior Minister Pat Breen is off to Scotland and Junior Minister Catherine Byrne is travelling to Denmark and Finland.
Junior Minister for Agriculture Andrew Doyle is going to Vietnam, while John Halligan will be going to the UK.
Minister of State for Rural Affairs and Natural Resources Sean Kyne is off to Switzerland, while Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee is travelling to Austria and Slovakia.
Minister of State for the OPW Kevin Boxer Moran will travel to Kenya and Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform JP Phelan will make his way to Singapore.
Minister of State for Older People Jim Daly will travel to Australia and New Zealand, and the Ceann Comhairle Sean O’Fhearghail will travel to Croatia
The Cathaoirleach of the Seanad Denis O’Donovan is off to Slovenia.
Transport Minister Shane Ross will once again, be remaining in Ireland.
In 2015, there were 30 ministerial trips abroad for St Patrick’s Day, while last year there were only ten.
It’s understood the increase in travel is part of the government’s strategy to highlight its preparedness for Brexit, in tandem with the Taoiseach’s move to double Ireland’s global footprint abroad.