Minister Donohoe travels to Belgium for St. Patrick’s Day

14th March, 2014

Minister for European Affairs, Paschal Donohoe, will travel to Belgium on Sunday morning as part of the Government’s St. Patrick’s Day programme.

As part of the Government’s St. Patrick’s Day Promote Ireland Programme, Minister Donohoe will be in Brussels promoting trade, tourism and investment links between Ireland and Belgium.


The trip includes a visit to the Kortrijk Meat Fair, the unveiling of the Manneken Pis in Irish clothing, the ‘Greening’ of the Grand Place, a cultural evening in Kraainem, as well as meetings with the Irish Belgian Business Association (IBBA) and members of the Irish community.


While there, Minister Donohoe will have an opportunity to consolidate relations with Belgium and to explore the opportunities for enhanced trade and economic links between our two countries. Engagement with Bord Bia, and a number of its clients, will take place at the Kortrijk meat fair, where the Minister will learn about the major campaign to promote Irish meat in Belgium which is currently underway.


The unveiling of the iconic Brussels statue, the Manneken Pis, who will be dressed in Irish clothing and the ‘Greening’ of the Grand Place are both supported by Tourism Ireland as part of a drive to promote Ireland overseas. Minister Donohoe will also meet with the Irish Belgian Business Association (IBBA) representatives on Monday evening, who will have an opportunity to consult with him on a range of issues, as well as members of the Irish community living and working in Belgium.


Speaking ahead of his trip, Minister Donohoe said: ‘The value of this intensive period of promotion of Ireland around St. Patrick’s Day and ‘Greening’ of landmark sites is estimated at over €10 million. Our national saint’s day offers us a unique opportunity to showcase everything positive that Ireland has to offer. Not only does this fill us with exceptional pride, representing our country abroad, it also presents an unparalleled opportunity to capitalise on tourism and trade links, and that means one thing; jobs at home.