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Ministers Humphreys, Breen and Halligan focus on opening up new markets for Irish companies across three continents in light of Brexit

  • Minister Humphreys leading 71 Enterprise Ireland client companies on EI/IDA trade mission in Australia and Singapore

  • Minister Breen leading a trade promotion visit to Uruguay, Paraguay and Colombia where Ireland has recently opened a new Embassy

  • Minister Halligan to witness Enterprise Ireland contract signings worth €2.75 million and meet senior Government representatives and business communities in Luxembourg and Paris

The St Patrick’s Day programmes for the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD, and Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, are focusing on the ever-growing importance of trade diversification for Irish companies in light of Brexit. Against this backdrop the three Ministers are leading trade missions across three continents with a view to opening up new markets for Irish companies there.

Leading 71 Irish companies on an Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland trade and investment mission in Australia and Singapore Minister Humphreys emphasised the importance of diversifying Irish exports to markets beyond the UK, “As home to more than half of the world’s population and one of the largest economies in the world, Asia Pacific is a key growth region for Ireland.

“The objective of this mission is to focus on both supporting Irish companies to expand exports and attracting FDI to Ireland. During this trade mission I will meet key decision makers at the highest levels in Government and Industry in order to promote Ireland as both a source of world-class products and services and as a world-leading destination for FDI.”

This approach was echoed by Minister Breen who is on a trade promotion visit to Uruguay, Paraguay and Colombia. “The UK is, and always will be, an important market for Irish exporters. It is essential, however, that whatever the final outcome on Brexit, Irish exporters look at alternative opportunities further afield, particularly in light of the EU’s expanding network of Free Trade Agreements.

“The Government is therefore focusing on market diversification and providing businesses with a wide range of supports to help them prepare for a post Brexit environment”, the Minister added.

Minister Halligan is travelling to Luxembourg and France to discuss new opportunities for Irish companies with Government counterparts and the business communities there. During a St. Patrick’s Day event at the Embassy of Ireland in Paris, Minister Halligan and the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Conveney TD will witness three Enterprise Ireland contract signings worth a total of €2.75 million between Irish and French companies.

“While the Irish exporting landscape is robust and Irish companies are winning business worldwide, Brexit is the biggest challenge currently facing Irish business. It is therefore essential that we look to all the opportunities that are open to Irish companies in existing markets.”

During their trade missions, each of the Ministers will also promote the recent changes to the Employment Permit application process allowing spouses and partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders to access the Irish labour market without the need to obtain an employment permit. This change will streamline existing processes and make Ireland an even more attractive destination for both investors and international talent.

Note To Editors

Minister Humphreys’ St Patrick’s Day programme includes:

• During the Australia/Singapore mission, Minister Humphreys will make a number of announcements on contracts won by EI client companies in both Australia and Singapore as well as the opening of new offices by Irish companies and Enterprise Ireland. The Minister will also be announcing details of new partnering arrangements between Irish companies and companies in Singapore and Australia with a view to developing further in the wider Asia market.
• The Minister will meet a number of Australian companies with an existing presence in Ireland and clients of IDA Ireland. Minister will also meet with a number of potential new investors.
• In Sydney the Minister will address the wider business community including both the Australian-Irish Chamber of Commerce and the Lansdowne Club lunch.
• Minister Humphreys will also attend a number of St Patrick’s Day receptions in Sydney, Perth and Singapore and meet with the Irish diaspora. The Minister will lead the Sydney St Patrick’s Day children’s parade.

Minister Breen’s St Patrick’s Day programme includes:

• Minister Breen will be in Colombia for St Patrick’s Day. As part of Global Ireland new mission opening, Embassy of Ireland in Bogotá opened in January 2019 and it is the first time Ireland has had a resident Ambassador in Colombia.
Minister Breen’s visit is the first Ministerial visit since the opening. The Foreign Minister of Colombia, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, will host a breakfast meeting for Minister Breen with three other Ministers (Technology, Information and Innovation; Agriculture; and Commerce). This level of political engagement would be quite unusual with this type of visit so shows the commitment of the Colombian Government to welcoming Ireland’s presence.
• Ireland’s programme in Colombia focuses on a number of areas: support to the peace process (whereby Ireland has provided over €10m in funding to support the Colombian peace process and to share experiences from Ireland); human rights (Ireland provides funding to a number of UN and civil society human rights organisations); support to Irish business active in Colombia (the largest of these is Smurfit Kappa that employs 3,000 people in Colombia and has over 40% of the paper and packaging market, followed by Irelandia’s Viva Air which has 14% of the internal airline market. Mainstream Technologies, Rubicon Infrastructure Advisors and SEPAM/CleanTech are also active); promote Irish culture (St Patrick’s Day celebrations are a key part of this); and provide consular services to Irish citizens (approximately 80 are known to reside in Colombia).
• The Mayor of Bogotá has agreed to a St Patrick’s Day Parade, along Bogotá’s renowned and quite unique cycleway. Bogotá is one of the most congested cities in the world and has over 200km of cycleways that over 2m people use on a Sunday. This will be the first ever public St Patrick’s Day parade held in Colombia, reflecting the continued development of bilateral relations between the two counties.
• Prior to arriving in Colombia, Minister Breen visited Paraguay and Uruguay where he met a number of Government Ministers and officials to discuss opportunities for developing trade and bilateral relations. He also met members of the Irish communities in both countries.

Minister Halligan’s St Patrick’s Day programme includes:

Minister Halligan and the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, TD will witness the signing of three significant deals between Irish and French companies during a St. Patrick’s Day event at the Embassy of Ireland in Paris on Friday. The deals announced highlight Irish innovation in the ICT and clean technologies sectors and strengthen the strong trade relationship between Ireland and France:

• One of the world's leading French security, data and mobile services companies Orange International Carriers is expanding its roaming mobile data offering with Wi-Fi, drawing on the expertise of the Irish company AccurisNetworks.
• Irish company BHSL, based in Ballagh, Co. Limerick, has signed a partnership with Liger Bioconcept in the project "from waste to energy". BHSL will provide engineering, procurement, construction supervision and commissioning for a thermal plant installed in Bréhan, Brittany by the end of 2019. This plant is the first of its kind on this scale and for this type of fuel.
• Druid Software, in Bray, Co Wicklow, is partnering with two innovative companies, Airspan and Telpass, to provide leading-edge PTT (Talk to Talk), self-employment and smart maintenance services. These services are deployed via the latest 4G offshore private network technology on the oil & gas platforms, and on shore for the industrial sites of the French energy suppliers concerning the latest IoT.

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