Week’s events: St. Patrisk’s Day, Design island & PQs

20th March, 2015

This week comes from San Francisco as I represent the Government here in California on a five day St. Patrick’s Day programme. I travelled out on Wednesday as the bulk of the St. Patrick’s Day activities take place here this week, with the parade taking place on Saturday.


It is my first year travelling for St. Patrick’s Day as a full Cabinet Minister and it gives me enormous pride to do so. St. Patrick’s Day s us an opportunity to promote our country in a way that is rivalled by all others across the world. Last year’s programme saw the Government participate in124 high-level political meetings, directly reach audiences of over 353,000 and secure €5 million in new business for Ireland. I have travelled here this year to bring a clear message; that Ireland offers strong investment potential, is a good place in which to do business and that and we are very much open for trade.


During my trip I will meet with tourism and transport related IDA and Enterprise Ireland client companies in Silicon Valley, facilitate a Tourism Ireland and Aer Lingus trade and tourism media engagement, hold a meeting with LucasFilm and meet with the Speaker of the Californian State Assembly and key State legislators. I will be telling potential investors about the strength of Ireland’s recovery and how that can be further secured with additional US investment, which will translate into jobs here at home.


Before I left on Wednesday, I had a number of other engagements across the week. On Wednesday morning I launched the Design Island photographic exhibition at Dublin Airport which celebrates the breadth of Irish creativity as part of Irish Design 2015. ID2015 is a year-long initiative backed by the Irish Government which aims to explore, promote and celebrate Irish design and to drive job creation.


This expo, which is presented by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and daa, features a series of 300 photographs by award winning Irish photographer, Peter Rowen, and captures 24 designers, including fashion designer, Helen Steele, who joined me on the day, at work in their studios. It gives a fascinating insight into Irish design and the craftsmanship involved in the industries depicted, will be seen by more than 20 million people passing through terminals 1 and 2 over the coming year, showcasing Irish design in a prominent and creative way.


In the Dáil, I had Oral Parliamentary Questions (PQs) which covered topics such as Aer Lingus, the Irish Aviation Superannuation Scheme dispute, public transport and targets for growth in the tourism sector. I also called on the people of the Navan Road before I left to talk to them and hear about how life is for them. I will be back in Ireland on Sunday and will be attending our own St. Patrick’s Day parade. I look forward to see the displays which get bigger and better each year.