Written answers

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Official Engagements

10:00 pm

Photo of Seán KennySeán Kenny (Dublin North East, Labour)
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Question 70: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on his recent visit to the United States for St. Patrick's Day; the number of persons he met during the visit; the number of officials who accompanied him on the visit; and the cost of the visit to date. [5926/11]

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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St. Patrick's Day offers a unique opportunity to raise Ireland's profile, promote our interests overseas, to strengthen bilateral relations, provide support for Irish communities abroad and to deepen the connection with our Diaspora. This year St. Patrick's Day was a particularly valuable opportunity to begin the process of rebuilding Ireland's reputation overseas. I travelled to New York for a two day visit for St. Patrick's Day events before travelling on to Washington D.C. for a bilateral meeting with the United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

My programme was heavily focused on economic promotion. I addressed a business audience at the Ireland-US Council. I attended and addressed a joint Bank of America/Enterprise Ireland event focused on leading Irish portfolio technology companies and had an opportunity to brief senior executives in Bank of America on the Irish economy and the Government's plans for recovery. I also met with a range of Enterprise Ireland client companies. I also took the opportunity to deliver a strong economic message to large gatherings hosted by Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Cuomo.

I availed of several media opportunities throughout the visit to focus on delivering Ireland's key economic messages and outlining the policies of the new government. I did interviews with Fox Business News and with NBC, the Adrian Flannelly Show, Out of Ireland (TV show on PBS) and I also met with journalists from the visiting Irish media. While in New York, I met with various community groups including representatives of the Community Advice Centres from New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.

I had a constructive meeting with representatives from the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) and assured them of the Government's commitment to work on the bilateral E3 proposal. I welcomed the opportunity to work with the Irish American community to move forward together on the issue of immigration.

I had a very a useful meeting with representatives from the Irish American Lesbian and Gay community about a range of issues of concern to them. It was agreed by that we would stay in touch regarding these matters as well as the ongoing effort to resolve issues surrounding participation by the Gay and Lesbian community in the New York St. Patrick's Day parade.

I met with representatives of the GAA and was briefed by Larry McCarthy, President of the New York GAA, on the expansion of the game in the New York area and the wonderful success of individual clubs like Rockland GAA. I was pleased to join New York City Speaker Christine Quinn to launch a partnership initiative between the Irish Arts Centre, Imagine Ireland, Speaker Christine Quinn and the New York City Council, aimed at promoting Irish writing.

I travelled to Washington DC for a bilateral meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on 18 March. We discussed a broad range of foreign policy issues, including the ongoing situation in Japan and Libya as well as the wider situation in the Middle East. We also discussed the scope for co-operation on development issues. Ireland and the US have a shared priority in combating hunger and we have been able to work together in developing a strong partnership in the area of food security. I also raised the issue of immigration reform with Secretary Clinton and briefed her on the current situation in Northern Ireland.

I was accompanied on the visit by two officials from my Department. Details of costs, available to date, incurred by my Department in respect of official travel for St. Patrick's Day are set out in the following table. The total cost of the visit to date is €4,788.05.

Members of the delegationTravel cost €Subsistence €Accom.€Other costs €
Tánaiste & Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Mr. Eamon Gilmore264.63 (1)N/A(2)393.00 (3)
PSM, Mr. Aidan Cronin1043.47 (4)264.63 (5)N/A393.00 (6)207.00 (7)
DG Anglo Irish Division, Mr. Niall Burgess999.81 (8)119.00 (9)N/A623.35 (10)232.00 (11)
Delegation Costs157.16 (12)N/A125.00 (13)
Total2848.701814.35125.00

(1) Internal Flight from New York -Washington. Tánaiste travelled by Government Jet to and from US

(2) Travel Claims not yet processed

(3) 2 nights accommodation in NY

(4) Flight Dublin – New York

(5) Internal Flight New York - Washington

(6) 2 nights accommodation in NY

(7) 1 night accommodation in Washington

(8) Flight Dublin - Washington

(9) Train from New York to Washington

(10) 3 nights accommodation in Washington

(11) 1 night accommodation in New York

(12) Car hire for Washington only – Consulate Car used in New York

(13) Gift

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