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Minister Flanagan and Chilean Foreign Minister Sign Working Holiday Agreement

Travel, Culture, Minister Charles Flanagan, Diplomatic Relations, Visas, Press Releases, Latin America, 2016

Minister Flanagan and Chilean Foreign Minister Sign Working Holiday Agreement

- Agreement allows up to 100 young people to travel each way annually
- Meeting covered pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, software and environmental solutions

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, today met with his Chilean counterpart, Minister Heraldo Muñoz, in Killenard, Co. Laois, where the talks focused on strengthening the relationship between Ireland and Chile.

In an important development in the bilateral relationship, the Ministers signed a Working Holiday Agreement to encourage greater movement of young people between both countries.

The meeting focused on political and economic developments, global issues such as migration and climate change and possible further measures to deepen relations between the countries.

Minister Flanagan said:

I am delighted to have the opportunity of welcoming Minister Muñoz to Co. Laois.

“This is a significant visit, given that Ireland’s relationship with Chile is strong and long-standing, dating back to the 19th Century. Chileans of Irish descent such as Bernardo O’Higgins were prominent in the country’s foundation and there is a strong historical bond between our two countries.

“There are also strong contemporary bonds, with our economic, political and cultural links continuing to grow.

“The signing today of a Working Holiday Agreement with Chile is indicative of that growth and marks an important step in increasing movement between our countries, particularly of our young people. This can only be of benefit to the people of Ireland and Chile and will lead to a better understanding of each other and of the opportunities offered by our relationship, particularly on the trade side.

“Trade between Ireland and Chile is growing, with pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, software and environmental solutions amongst the sectors offering the most promising opportunities for Irish exporters. Ireland is, in turn, a major importer of Chilean products, including wine and other beverages.”

Minister Flanagan concluded:

I am confident that the Ireland-Chile relationship will continue to blossom in the years ahead and that today’s meeting in Co. Laois, and in particular the signing of the Working Holiday Agreement, will mark an important step in that process.”


Press Office
15 JANUARY 2016


Notes for Editors:

  • Minister Muñoz, who is in Ireland on a two-day visit, is a senior Chilean politician and diplomat. Prior to his appointment as Foreign Minister in 2014 he was a UN Assistant Secretary General and Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • In 2014, merchandise trade between Ireland and Chile was valued at €145 million, a 20% increase on 2013. In 2014, the total trade in services with Chile was valued at €119 million.
  • The most notable Irish Chilean, Bernardo O'Higgins is often referred to as the "Father of Chile". He was the force behind Chile's Independence from Spain and was elected Supreme Director of Chile 1817. His Sligo-born father, Ambrose O’Higgins was a Spanish officer who served as military governor of Chile and viceroy of Peru. Other famous Irish-Chileans include Juan Mackenna (b. 1771 in Monaghan), a military officer and hero of the Chilean War of Independence and Patricio Lynch, a naval commander during the War of the Pacific and distant relative of Che Guevara.