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Embassy celebrates its first St Patrick’s Day in Zagreb

The 17th of March - St. Patrick's Day and the national day of Ireland - was celebrated in Zagreb this year with particular energy and enthusiasm. The Irish Government was represented by Minister of State Kevin Humphreys, T.D.

The Embassy's St. Patrick's Day reception - its first major public reception - welcomed Croatian and Irish and other guests for an evening of Irish food, drink and music. Guests included the Deputy Speaker of the Croatian Sabor (Parliament) Nenad Stazic, the Croatian Health Minister Sinisa Varga and Ireland's Honorary Consul Emil Tedeschi.

The focus of Minister Humphrey's message at the events and meetings he is attending during this St. Patrick's Day visit is that the Irish Government has steered the country out of recession and economic crisis into a future that is strong and viable with an increasing highly skilled workforce.

The Minister said "the turnaround in Ireland's fortunes over the past four years has been due to hard political decisions being taken and implemented, and also because of the resolve of the Irish people. Foreign direct investment continues to be a key contributor to Ireland's economic development and growth, providing rewarding employment for over 256,000 people directly. The Minister also recalled how Ireland had opened its labour market in 2013 to Croatian nationals. He said "Ireland is a strong supporter of the principle of free movement in the EU. This opening of Ireland's labour market is a very significant signal of our commitment to that principle."

Minister Humphreys had a meeting with the minister for Labour and Pensions, Mr Mirando Mrsić and separately, he met with Ms Iva Prpići, Assistant Minister for Social Affairs and Youth in Croatia. He is having informal meetings with Mr Damogoj Hajdukovic, MP, Chair of the Croatian-Irish Inter Parliamentary Friendship Society and Mr Daniel Mondekar, MP, Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Parliament.