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Minister Flanagan commences St Patrick’s Day “Promote Ireland” Programme in Milan and Rome

Brexit and Trade  to be discussed with Italian Foreign Minister and business leaders

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, begins a four day St Patrick’s Day programme and Trade Mission to Milan and Rome today (Wednesday).

He begins the programme in Italy’s economic capital, Milan; with a series of events with state agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, Bord Bía and Tourism Ireland. Speaking ahead of the visit, he said:

“Italy is an important partner for Ireland – indeed it’s our ninth largest trading partner with annual trade exceeding €12 billion annually.  Italy is also an important tourist market for us with over 300,000 Italians visiting Ireland annually and great potential to grow that market. With the pending departure of the UK from the European Union, Italy will be the third largest economy in the EU. Ireland’s trade and cultural links with the Italian people will only increase in the coming years.”

The visit will also take in the Italian capital Rome, for an important bi-lateral meeting with th Italian Foreign Minister, Angelino Alfano. Minister Flanagan added:

“As the triggering of Article 50 will take place this month, it is crucial that I am ongoing contact with my EU colleagues.  I look forward to having a further discussion with Minister Alfano about Ireland’s unique concerns and priorities.  The Italian government has a strong understanding of our approach, and I have had the opportunity to brief Prime Minister Gentiloni when he visited Ireland in his capacity as Foreign Minister last year.

“St Patrick’s Day provides a wonderful opportunity to highlight Ireland’s profile around the world.  This year, I am very much looking forward to seeing the iconic Colosseum – one of the most famous sights in the world – illuminated in green.”

The Minister will also address a number of Irish community engagements including the now-annual “greening” of the Colosseum for St Patrick’s Day, a major St Patrick’s Day reception at the Irish Embassy, and the hosting of the gala “Celtic Ball” in the city.



Press Office

14th March 2017