Thursday, 24 March 2022
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
I thank the Deputy for his question. Last week, I visited the United States to undertake a series of engagements as part of the State’s annual St. Patrick’s Day programme, as well as to head the delegation attending the UN Commission on the Status of Women as Minister responsible for equality.
These engagements bolstered the Irish Government’s support for the large Irish-American communities in Philadelphia and New York, particularly after having been suspended during the pandemic. I was also afforded the opportunity to meet several US elected representatives, community leaders and business leaders, where I was keen to raise issues related to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
I also represented the State at the 66th annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Ireland’s commitment to the UN is strong and it was important that a member of the Government join government representatives from around the world to discuss critical issues related to women and their role in responding to the climate crisis, as well as to discuss domestic, sexual and gender-based violence, DSGBV, gender norms and to deliver the national statement on behalf of the Government. Again, it was also a very useful opportunity for me to raise issues related to Ukraine with other countries and international organisations.
In total, I participated in 38 engagements over seven days, and I am happy to list them further in the supplementary time. I would like to take this opportunity to praise the consul general, Helena Nolan, and the ambassador, Geraldine Byrne Nason, and each of their respective teams, for the extraordinary work they do in representing Ireland’s interests in the United States and the United Nations, which I got to experience at first hand.
I would also like to extend my deepest sympathies to them and to the family and friends of the ambassador, Jim Kelly, who very tragically passed away last week. Mr. Kelly served Ireland with distinction at the United Nations in recent years, and in his other postings throughout his career as a diplomat.