Ireland opens consulate in Texas
A new Irish Consulate has been officially opened in Austin, Texas.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the move marked a major new phase in Ireland-Texan relations.
The Fine Gael leader said: " The decision by my Government to open the new Ireland House in Austin demonstrates Ireland's commitment to Texas and the strong value that we attach to Ireland-Texan relations both now and into the future."
Mr Kenny has embarked on a massive investment drive in the United States ahead of his annual St Patrick's Day visit to the White House .
Earlier he addressed business leaders in Austin.
The Taoiseach said he hoped the new facility would boost trade and investment on both sides of the Atlantic and promote academic relations.
Ireland House will provide a base for new consul general Adrian Farrell, as well as representatives from investment agency IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, which is responsible to helping Irish companies trade overseas.
"I have great confidence in the future of the relationship between Texas and Ireland," Mr Kenny told a special reception.
Among those invited to the grand opening was Irish footballer Stephanie Roche who has signed a two-year contract with the Texan based Houston Dash team.