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Visit by Minister Flanagan to Washington, 30 September 2015

Minister Flanagan with Congressman Joe Kennedy

On Wednesday 30 September, Minister Charlie Flanagan visited Washington for a full programme of meetings with key Democratic and Republican contacts on Capitol Hill, senior figures in the US Administration and other influential Irish-American contacts.

The visit focussed on the current situation in Northern Ireland and the ongoing political talks process. Prospects for US immigration reform also arose for discussion.

While on Capitol Hill, the Minister met with Senator Patrick Leahy and prominent US Congressmen including Joe Kennedy, Paul Ryan, Jim Sensenbrenner and Richard Neal.

Minister Flanagan with Congressman Ryan

The Minister also addressed the Congressional Friends of Ireland group and Irish-American community leaders. Those exchanges focussed in particular on Northern Ireland, with Minister Flanagan briefing on latest developments.

The Minister said he valued greatly the active involvement and good counsel of Senator Gary Hart and the US Administration at this important time.

Prospects for U.S. immigration reform, trade and cultural links between the U.S. and Ireland and 2016 commemoration events in the U.S. were also discussed.

Congressional Friends of Ireland group

‌Later that afternoon, the Minister attended a special event in Washington to highlight and promote the work of the International Fund for Ireland. The Minister said:

“I highlighted how the IFI is an excellent policy instrument for building and sustaining peace in Northern Ireland, and how the solidarity and support of the US on the journey to peace in Northern Ireland continues to be of immense value. The Fund’s programmes seek to tackle the sectarian attitudes, fears and mistrust within and between communities that continue to limit progress towards a lasting peace and shared future.”