Tánaiste & Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Leo Varadkar T.D. visits U.S. West Coast
News04 May 2022
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar with Team Ireland at Ireland House San Francisco
Ireland’s Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Leo Varadkar T.D. travelled to the West Coast of the US from April 25 to 29 for a trade and investment programme hosted by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. The Tánaiste was accompanied by Secretary General of the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment Dr. Orlaigh Quinn and delegates from EI and IDA including Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy and IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan.
The visit included stops in Seattle, Silicon Valley, San Francisco and San Diego where the Tánaiste met with key industry and political leaders and members of Ireland’s business diaspora. The Tánaiste was the keynote speaker at events marking the official opening of the new Enterprise Ireland office in Ireland House San Francisco, and celebrating the recently opened IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland offices in Seattle.
The visited highlighted Ireland’s place at the heart of the European Union and the Eurozone, and the single market which access to an open marketplace of 450 million people. The visit also focused on a number of key sectors including Cyber Security, Life Sciences and ICT. These are sectors with significant Irish company capability depth and are sectors that have seen steep growth in the U.S. over the past two years.
The visit kicked off Monday morning in Seattle with a visit to T-Mobile Headquarters, which included a tour of T-Mobile’s Tech Experience, 5G Hub. The group then departed for Microsoft campus in Redmond where the Tánaiste met with Microsoft President Brad Smith and toured Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit. Next stop was Amazon Headquarters where the Tánaiste and delegation met with Amazon executives and joined a cybersecurity roundtable session with Enterprise Ireland client companies. The Tánaiste also met with Alaska Airlines – a major carrier in the U.S. who partner with Aer Lingus – and referenced the return of Aer Lingus direct Dublin – Seattle flight later this year.
That evening, the Tánaiste, Consul General Robert O’Driscoll and Dr. Orlaigh Quinn met with Mayor of Seattle Bruce Harrell where they discussed Irish links with Seattle, diversity and job creation. Later that evening, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and the Consulate General hosted a Team Ireland reception where the Tánaiste and Mayor Harrell spoke about deepening economic connections between the Emerald Isle and the Emerald City following the opening of the new IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland offices in Seattle.
On Tuesday morning, the delegation departed Seattle for Silicon Valley where IDA Ireland hosted a visit to both Intel and Apple headquarters. The Tánaiste met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and discussed Apple’s future plans for Cork, including the opening of a new European engineering and test facility at Apple’s Cork campus.
The following morning, the delegation arrived at the Google Event Center where the Tánaiste presented IDA Ireland’s Special Recognition Award to Google CEO, Sundar Pichai. This is the second Special Recognition Award given by IDA Ireland, which recognises investor commitment to Ireland. Google has expanded its EU Headquarters in Ireland rapidly over nearly 20 years. The event also recognised the significant contribution that Google Ireland has made in supporting the SME eco system in Ireland where Google currently has 9,000 employees.
Later that day, the Tánaiste spoke with Enterprise Ireland’s Technology Advisory Panel and met Enterprise Ireland Client Intuition. The delegation then departed for Meta Headquarters in Menlo Park, before heading up to San Francisco for the official opening of the new Enterprise Ireland office in Ireland House San Francisco.
At the opening, Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy spoke about the Enterprise Ireland’s new three-year strategy, Leading in a Changing World, and the Global Ambition of indigenous Irish companies scaling their businesses in the U.S. West Coast. The Tánaiste spoke about Ireland’s unwavering support for the Government and people of Ukraine, Global Ireland and the two-way nature of Ireland – U.S. economic relationship. Ireland is now ranked 9th for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the U.S. economy – valued at US$240 billion.
A highlight on Thursday, was a lunch roundtable at Ireland House San Francisco with senior Irish and Irish-American Technology Industry executives, which focused on economic developments in Ireland and the Bay Area. The Tánaiste also participated in meetings with indigenous Irish companies, Utmost and StarCircle, and spoke at a roundtable discussion on West Coast Healthcare Systems.
That afternoon the Tánaiste met with San Francisco Mayor London Breed in City Hall. The Tánaiste and Mayor spoke about the vibrant two-way economic relationship between Ireland and San Francisco and recovery from the pandemic. The Tánaiste extended an invitation for the Mayor to visit Ireland during her term as Mayor.
The delegation arrived in San Diego for a final day of meetings with IDA client Dexcom. Irish IOT technology company, Taoglas hosted a reception for the Tánaiste, at their U.S. headquarters in San Diego in celebration of the success of their U.S. business.
Official Press Release is available here.