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Around the world - This is where Varadkar and our ministers are heading for St Patrick’s Day

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will visit US President Donald Trump this St Patrick’s Day.
Mar 11th 2019, 9:00 AM 26,052 73

Taoiseach visits United States of America Leo Varadkar gives Donald Trump a bowl of shamrock in the White House last year Source: Niall Carson via PA Images

ST PATRICK’S DAY is on Sunday – and that means the Taoiseach, ministers and ministers of state will jet off for visits around the world this week. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will visit US President Donald Trump this St Patrick’s Day. 

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.

A government spokesperson said in January that in light of Brexit the duration of the trips are expected to be “shorter than usual”.

 So, where is everyone 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.

Taoiseach visits United States of America Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner Matt Barrett walking in the St Patrick's Day parade in New York City last year Source: Niall Carson via PA Images

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’s cost

The government spent more than €260,000 to send Ministers abroad on trade missions for St Patrick’s Day last year, figures seen by TheJournal.ie revealed on Saturday.

A breakdown of these figures can be read here: 

The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show that at least €267,000 was spent on trips abroad as part of the ‘Promote Ireland’ programme last year.

Last year, there was an increase in travel due to the government’s strategy to highlight its preparedness for Brexit. 

Members of the Cabinet and almost 50 civil servants visited more than 40 countries in an effort to promote Ireland’s political and economic interests abroad.

Those who travelled included the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, Ministers and Ministers of State, as well as the Chief Whip, the Ceann Comhairle, the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, and the Attorney General.

More than €190,000 was spent on flights, with tens of thousands also spent on hotel accommodation and thousands more on gifts for dignitaries – including €350 on a customary bowl of shamrock for the US President.

With reporting by Christina Finn and Stephen McDermott 

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Hayley Halpin

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