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Politicians from both sides of border tout for business as trade and tourism on agenda in US

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Economy Minister Gordon Lyons. Credit: Liam McBurney

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons. Credit: Liam McBurney

Taoiseach Micheal Martin. Credit: James Manning/PA

Taoiseach Micheal Martin. Credit: James Manning/PA

PA

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Economy Minister Gordon Lyons. Credit: Liam McBurney

Politicians from both sides of the border have been talking business in the US as a week of St Patrick’s celebrations continues.

DUP Economy Minister Gordon Lyons signed an agreement with the State of Maryland, hailing Northern Ireland’s cyber security sector as world leading.

In Washington, Micheal Martin said economic links between Ireland and the US were a “powerful two-way relationship”.

Mr Lyons met with representatives from Maryland’s Department of Commerce and Department of Labor to strengthen ties under a joint cyber security memorandum of understanding, which aims to capitalise on the opportunities the sector offers to both economies.

“Northern Ireland has a world class reputation for excellence in cyber security with specialist university research centres, innovative start-ups delivering global cyber security solutions and an impressive cluster of international cyber security investors,” he said.

“This is why we are the number one international investment location for US cyber security firms, with Nisos and Agio just some of the US firms choosing to invest with us recently.”

He also travelled to Washington, where he was due to hold a number of meetings, including one with US government energy officials to discuss opportunities around hydrogen.

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He was then due to attend The Ireland Fund’s 30th National Gala dinner to engage with influential business leaders.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach met with a number of Irish multinational companies based in the US.

He emphasised the business and economic links between the two countries.

He said: “Today we have been concentrating on the economic dimension of the Irish American relationship, which is a powerful two-way relationship. We met with a number of Irish multinational companies who have a very strong presence in the US.

“American multinationals have a very strong presence in Ireland. Ireland equally has a very strong presence in the United States.

“At a conservative estimate, Irish companies employ about 100,000 in the United States and bring a lot of expertise to areas like food, life sciences, technology.”

Mr Martin also met with representatives from small and medium-sized companies which are led by women and discussed better channels of mobility of workers between the US and Ireland.

The Taoiseach later presented Science Foundation Ireland awards to John and Patrick Collison, founders of financial services firm Stripe.

Later he was due to appear at the 30th anniversary of the gala dinner, with President Joe Biden expected to make an appearance.

The event is expected to raise over $1 million for charitable causes across Ireland.

On Tuesday night Mr Martin declared Ireland’s tourism industry once again ready to welcome visitors from across the world after Covid.

Mr Martin was speaking at a reception hosted by Tourism Ireland at the Kennedy Centre in Washington before watching a special 25th anniversary performance of Riverdance.

He added: “The beauty, the history and the culture of our island has long made tourism one of the most important parts of not just our economy, but also our society.

“We have greatly missed welcoming American and other visitors to Ireland.

“Before Covid-19 in 2019, we welcomed over 11 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland.

“Now is the moment for us to again open our arms, to welcome visitors and to show you the extraordinary sights and experiences of a unique island.”

Earlier, Mr Lyons attended a business breakfast in New York organised by Tourism Ireland, where he took the opportunity to promote Northern Ireland as a holiday destination to US travel industry professionals.

The Taoiseach also mentioned locations north of the border as he promoted the island as a destination for visitors.

“Tourism Ireland’s Green Button campaign is continuing throughout this year. The campaign champions our strengths and iconic locations, from the Cliffs of Moher and the Wild Atlantic Way, to Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“Ireland is a wonderful place for a holiday.

“The warmth and hospitality of the people still stands, our scenery is stunning.

“Ireland stands ready to welcome back our friends from the United States.”


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