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

There are far fewer trips this year than before.

Leo Varadkar will be in the States for just five days for the St Patrick's Day celebrations.
Leo Varadkar will be in the States for just five days for the St Patrick's Day celebrations.

THERE’S NO NEW government in place yet, but eight ministers as well as the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar are heading abroad for their annual St Patrick’s day visits.

The Cabinet today approved the list of limited St Patrick’s day visits for ministers to key European and North American cities.

The Tanaiste told the Cabinet that the list was modest and balanced and should proceed given the unique opportunity to promote Ireland to political, business and cultural audiences.

Varadkar’s trip to the US will be shorter than previous years, due to the ongoing government formation talks. 

While Boston was mooted to be one of the stopovers, it is believed the Taoiseach will now travel to New York for UN-related business next Tuesday, before travelling to Washington DC on Wednesday. 

Varadkar will attend an Irish Embassy event, before attending the Irish Funds Gala, a black tie dinner which is traditionally attended by every serving Taoiseach.

This year’s theme for the gala is “Irish America’s Commitment to Peace and Reconciliation”.

The House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi will also receive the Distinguished Leadership Award on the night. 

On Thursday 12 March, Varadkar will take part in the traditional shamrock bowl ceremony and Oval Office visit with US President Donald Trump. He will end the official programme at the annual St Patrick’s Day reception hosted by the Ambassador of Ireland to the United States Daniel Mulhall.

The shortened trip also occurred in 2016, when Enda Kenny was in a similar position during government formation talks. He travelled to the US for just one day

In recent years about 30 ministerial trips abroad for St. Patrick’s Day have taken place each year, but this time it was decided to cut the number of politicians travelling, as reported a number of weeks ago by

Today’s Cabinet memo said there were two criteria for choosing the cities involved. Firstly, the destinations must be of indisputable and immediate value to Ireland’s interests, and secondly, they must have a significant diaspora community.

The Tánaiste also gave three criteria for all costs associated with the visits, including flights and hotels.

Delegations should be kept to a minimum and first-class flights should not be used.

Hotel suites and hired limousines should also not be used.

So, where is everyone else off to? 

Only a handful of ministers will travel abroad, with no ministers who lost their seats getting a jaunt to away for St Patrick’s Day. 

Tánaiste and Minister Simon Coveney is to lead a delegation to New York for St Patrick’s Day. 

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is travelling to Paris and Brussels this year.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is off to Berlin, while Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe is travelling to Savannah in the Southern States.

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Agriculture Minister Michael Creed will visit Chicago.

Ministers Heather Humphreys will travel to Sacramento in California.

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan is going to London.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring is heading to Boston.

The Attorney General Seamus Wolfe will travel to New York and surrounding areas.

Minister for Education Joe McHugh was due to travel to Canada but made the decision at the weekend to stay home to deal with the Covid-19 situation.

Minister for Health Simon Harris is also remaining in Ireland. 

Ministers will be given a handbook with the key messages for this year’s visit. They include:

  • Ireland remaining a dedicated member of the EU.
  • Ireland is working towards a close trading relationship with the UK post-Brexit
  • Highlighting the political turning point in Northern Ireland with the return of Stormont and power sharing as envisaged by the Good Friday Agreement.
  • To promote Ireland’s economy and global visibility

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