Belfast Telegraph

‘Ambitious’ plans set out to boost country’s international presence

The seven-year project, entitled Global Ireland, will involve the promotion of Irish arts and culture.

Ireland’s premier Leo Varadkar has unveiled “ambitious” plans to double the impact of the country’s global footprint.

The seven-year project, entitled Global Ireland, will involve the promotion of Irish arts and culture in a bid to boost the country’s international presence.

The Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, were joined by a number of Irish Government ministers on Monday to launch the initiative.

The expansion will involve targeting the areas of diplomacy, culture, business, overseas aid, tourism and trade.

Under the initiative, the Irish Government has already announced new embassies in Chile, Colombia, New Zealand and Jordan, and new consulates in Vancouver and Mumbai.

The global trading environment is experiencing a period of turbulence and volatility Leo Varadkar

The Government said it plans to expand its diplomatic and enterprise agency presence across Europe, promote Irish culture, enhance its digital footprint and strengthen its presence in the United States, North and West Africa and in the Middle East and Gulf region.

It also said that as Brexit becomes a reality, the project will help grow export markets, inward investment and tourism.

Speaking at the launch event, Mr Varadkar said: “With the launch of Global Ireland 2025 we are setting out our path for global citizenship.

“Today we follow in the footsteps of our forebears by showing how we will engage as citizens of the world in the 21st century.

“Last summer, on a visit to Toronto, shortly after I became Taoiseach, I set out an ambition to double our global footprint.

“The concept was a simple one. I wanted to double our impact by doing things differently, doing more and doing it better.

“Technological change is transforming lives and driving change in every corner of the world. Geopolitical and economic power is shifting south and east.

“The global trading environment is experiencing a period of turbulence and volatility. And closer to home, our nearest neighbour and largest trading partner is preparing to leave the European Union.

“I believe the challenges we face demand comprehensive multilateral responses. It is the only way to make a significant difference on issues such as climate change, security, taxation in the new digital world and migration.”

Mr Varadkar said the Government has plans to win a seat on the UN Security Council in 2021.

Also speaking at the launch, Mr Coveney said: “Global Ireland, the Government’s initiative on expanding and deepening our presence overseas, sets an exciting and ambitious agenda.

“As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the value of our networks abroad to the prosperity and wellbeing of our citizens has always been very clear to me.

“I believe it is both timely and appropriate to invest now in that global presence.”

The minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, also welcomed the initiative.

She said: “We cannot sit still as we are confronted by a rapidly shifting business and geopolitical landscape.

“When it comes to positioning Ireland to thrive in the new global marketplace, we have no better tools than our first-class enterprise agencies, IDA Ireland (Industrial Development Agency) and Enterprise Ireland.

“What Global Footprint 2025 will do, over time, is to sharpen and hone those tools further and extend their reach even further again.”

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