Belfast Telegraph

China's Xi wraps up Ireland visit

China's vice president Xi Jinping it to end his trade-boosting visit to Ireland.

Several agreements aimed to strengthen investment have been signed during the three-day visit, along with measures to increase services and educational ties.

Mr Xi also invited Taoiseach Enda Kenny to visit China during an official dinner in Dublin Castle. The trip is expected to take place at the end of March.

Jobs, trade, tourism and agriculture were the focus of the visit for Mr Xi and his 150-strong delegation of business leaders and government officials.

Mr Xi will meet President Michael D Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain ahead of talks with politicians at Leinster House. He will then attend the Ireland-China Trade and Investment Forum at Royal Hospital Kilmainham before leaving the country for Turkey.

Ireland is the only EU country Mr Xi - China's leader-in-waiting - will visit during his tour. However, the trip has been criticised by human rights organisations, which have called on the Government to raise China's human rights records with the vice president.

Richard Bruton, Ireland's Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, said increasing trade and investment activity with key markets such as China was part of the Government's plan for economy recovery and job creation.

The Chinese party was briefed by management at Shannon Development business park, attended a traditional banquet at Bunratty Castle and saw the Cliffs of Moher.

He also visited a family-run dairy farm at Sixmilebridge, Co Clare, where farmer James Lynch named a newborn calf after him, and saw a demonstration of Gaelic games in Croke Park - where he kicked a Gaelic football and hit a sliotar with a hurling.

On Sunday night Mr Xi and his delegation attended a dinner hosted by Mr Kenny and a special performance of Riverdance.


From Belfast Telegraph