Written answers

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Official Travel

Photo of Gino KennyGino Kenny (Dublin Mid West, People Before Profit Alliance)
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197. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide an update on his recent visit to the United States; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23595/22]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I travelled to the United States from 27 - 29 April for a series of engagements in Washington, D.C. and Boston. Over the course of the two-day programme, I met with senior officials from President Biden's Administration, engaged with a number of foreign policy organisations, and met representatives from the Irish American community.

In Washington D.C., I participated in a public discussion at the German Marshall Fund on Ireland’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as Ireland’s unique position within the EU-US transatlantic relationship. I underscored the need for strong international cooperation in support of the international rules based order, now more than ever.

My engagements with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez, and Senator Pat Toomey, were valuable opportunities to discuss priority issues, particularly in relation to Northern Ireland, Brexit, immigration, and foreign policy issues such as Ukraine, the JCPOA, and the humanitarian situation in Syria.

On Northern Ireland, it was clear to me in my discussions that this remains a priority on a bipartisan basis across the political system in the US. The US will continue to play a vital role in supporting peace, stability and prosperity in Northern Ireland. The role of the US Special Envoy to NI has been greatly valued by the Irish government over many years, and the appointment of a new Envoy was something I emphasised in my exchanges. We will continue to ensure that the Irish perspective is understood through continued high-level contact, as well as through the ongoing engagement by our Embassy in Washington DC.

I was also pleased to visit Boston, a city with a large and historic Irish-American population, where there is great interest in Ireland and the Irish perspective. I participated in a number of engagements including at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Harvard University, and Boston College, where I discussed developments in Northern Ireland, Ukraine, and the EU-US relationship.

I also met with leaders of local Irish community organisations, who briefed me on their critical support to the Irish community in Boston during the pandemic. My meetings with Governor Charlie Baker and members of the Massachusetts State House were a great opportunity to reaffirm Ireland’s strong historic, political and economic links with the State of Massachusetts and to explore how we might further strengthen these links.

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