Remarks by Minister Flanagan at the Launch of the 2015 Greening CampaignDFAT - 11/2/15
Remarks by Minister Flanagan at the Media Launch of the 2015 Greening Campaign
I am delighted to participate in the launch of this year’s Global Greening campaign.
This year, as in previous years, our Embassy network, supported by Tourism Ireland, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, IDA and other State agencies, will organise and support St Patrick’s Day celebrations across the globe from Tokyo to San Francisco and from Oslo to Cape Town. These celebrations also provide an opportunity to share positive news on the Irish economic recovery, and to highlight the fact that our economy is growing again and jobs are being created.
The Greening is all about drawing attention to Ireland not just as a place to visit but as a place to do business in, to trade with, to engage in culturally. St. Patrick’s Day gives us a unique opportunity to promote our country. This key date is the high point of the work that our Embassy network, along with State Agencies, engages in day in and day out. We have missions now in 80 locations around the world and diplomatic relations with 176 countries. Ambassadors chair Local Market Teams in 27 priority markets. In recent months we opened new Embassies in Jakarta, Nairobi, Bangkok and Zagreb and Consulates in Hong Kong, Sao Paolo and Austin, Texas. The relentless work by all concerned is opening new markets for Ireland all of the time – for example, today, Minister Coveney is in the USA promoting Irish beef – Ireland has become the first EU country permitted to export beef to the US market since an embargo was imposed. Moreover, our export market is very healthy and continues to grow, contributing significantly to our ongoing economic recovery.
Speaking for my own Department, I know that the Greening of iconic buildings around the world this St. Patrick’s Day will greatly help the Embassies in their work promoting Ireland and I commend the hardworking Ambassadors and their teams as well as Tourism Ireland and Minister Donohoe’s Department for delivering such an excellent outcome for the Greening 2015.
Last year, iconic sites went green in honour of our national day on every continent in the world. Even the far-flung Scott Research Base on Antarctica went green! In 2015 again, as you have heard, an exciting and varied list of iconic sites across the world - many of which are important national and world heritage sites - will go green in honour of Ireland’s national day.
This year, the Colosseum in Rome will go green for the first time this year, thanks to an initiative of our Embassy in Rome and, as recently as last night, the Embassy in Paris has secured the agreement of the Mayor of Paris to the first-time greening of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in the fabled district of Montmartre overlooking the city of Paris. We heard this morning that Nelson’s Column in London will be greened for the first time, at the climax of the London St. Patrick’s Day Festival, which is taking place in Trafalgar Square on 15th March, so new announcements are being made all the time. We also continue to see brand new locations added to the list, for example Serbia, with the greening of the impressive new Ada bridge in Belgrade!
Finally, it is important to stress that along with the tourism and economic benefits that the Greening brings, it is also an enormous source of pride to people here in Ireland and to our Diaspora overseas. The greening of iconic sites is also symbolic of the great friendship that exists between Ireland and so many countries around the world. It presents us with an invaluable opportunity to deepen existing friendships, strengthen awareness of Ireland and our rich heritage, and forge new ties.