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Minister of State Cannon T.D. remarks at Bord Bia event in Paris

I am delighted to be with you this morning.

This is a unique occasion to bring together a small group of Irish diaspora members working in the French foodservice sector, many of whom don’t know each other and/or have had limited engagement with the Embassy or Bord Bia to date.

France is known for its fine dining and gastronomy and it is a credit to you to have made a career for yourselves in this prestigious sector in France, which has been recognised by UNESCO as a “world intangible heritage” in 2010.

France is also Ireland’s 4th largest export market for food and beverages and while this is growing year-on-year, we are keen to seek out further opportunities in the interest of diversifying export markets and lessening our food and beverage industry’s dependency on the UK market.

The objective of this morning - apart from getting to know each other which itself is very useful - is to take this opportunity to inform you of the wide range of high quality Irish food and drink available to you in France.

Noreen Lanigan, the Established Markets Manager in Bord Bia will also explain Origin Green, Ireland’s unique national sustainability programme, which has helped significantly raise the imagine of high quality Irish food and drink globally.

She and her colleague, Stephanie Lahad, will also indicate where you can source a range of Irish food and drink products in France.

From your side, we would welcome your views on the perception of Irish food and drink in France and more specifically in your establishments if you use Irish ingredients.

What could we do to improve this and do you see specific opportunities for products that you currently have difficulty finding in France?

This morning you will taste a sample of Irish products during breakfast, including Irish salmon, teas and jams.

However, as you will learn, the Irish food and beverages range available in France goes well beyond that to include meat, seafood, beverages, dairy and more.

We are not only interested in helping to promote Irish businesses and producers abroad, but if we can, to help those who come back to build on what they have learned abroad to develop new businesses at home or to share their knowledge and experiences with Irish companies and agencies such as Bord Bia so that we can continue to enhance the supports we can provide.

One such new initiative we have set up at home is Back for Business, a mentoring programme set up by the Department this year to help returning emigrants to set up businesses on their return to Ireland. This year we had 45 participants in the programme in a huge variety of sectors, who were mentored by highly successful Irish entrepreneurs who also had experience of spending time abroad; and the feedback so far is that the knowledge shared has been hugely beneficial to participants.

So, I would encourage you not only to enjoy the wonderful food we have on offer here this morning, but to share your thoughts, ideas and experiences so that we can continue to support Irish businesses to the very best extent that we can.

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