For Oral Answer on : 30/11/2023
Question Number(s): 220 Question Reference(s): 50197/23
Department: Foreign Affairs
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs to report on future plans for Global Ireland, Ireland’s Strategy for the US and Canada 2019 – 2025; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
In November 2022, the Government welcomed the progress made across Government on the implementation of Global Ireland: Ireland’s Strategy for the US and Canada 2019–2025 and agreed on the priorities and objectives of the strategy for the remaining three years up to 2025. The Strategy was launched in 2019, part of the Global Ireland programme to double Ireland’s impact and influence in the world by 2025.
The Strategy is intended to strengthen Ireland’s unique relationships with the United States and Canada, building upon our existing deep ties based on ancestral links, embedded trading relationships and ongoing people-to-people links.
The Strategy has seen a 50% increase of Ireland’s diplomatic footprint in North America, with new Consulates in Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles, and Miami bringing Ireland’s overall mission network in the United States and Canada, from eight to twelve.
In many of these locations, our diplomatic missions are co-located with Team Ireland partners. The appointment of cultural officers in Toronto, Los Angeles and New York further adds to our impact.
Our engagement has an emphasis on cultivating strong and lasting political relationships, most centrally in support of peace and reconciliation in Ireland. The strength of engagement of bipartisan Congressional and Parliamentary friendship groups in the US and Canada, and the appointment by successive US administrations of Special Envoys is a testament to the impact of our diplomatic efforts.
My Department marked the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement with a series of events reflecting on the crucial, long-standing support from the US and Canada for peace in Ireland, and updated political leaders in both countries on current challenges.
High-level political visits continue to play a significant role in our countries’ relationship, culminating in the historic visit of President Biden to Ireland in April of this year. In all, there will be over 45 high-level visits to the US and Canada, both inward and outward, this year. Among these were several trade and investment missions to both countries, highlighting that our economic relationship is mutually beneficial and highly integrated.
Under the Strategy, a key element is support to our citizens and diaspora including through my Department’s Emigrant Support Programme. This support reached almost €4.7m in 2023 alone, including for groups in the areas of immigration support, cultural engagement and sporting outreach. The depth of our mission network in the US and Canada was also vital in ensuring this support of our citizens and diaspora could continue during the pandemic. This work complements the continuing engagement at political level and through the mission network to seek new immigration pathways while also pursuing remedies for citizens with undocumented immigration status.