For Oral Answer on : 31/01/2023
Question Number(s): 89 Question Reference(s): 4411/23
Department: Foreign Affairs
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on Irish-Canadian relations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Ireland Canada relationship is deeper on many levels than ever before. Canada is home to millions of people with strong Irish connections in both historic and new Irish communities. The influence of those with Irish heritage in Canada and the depth of their affinity with Ireland is the pre-eminent factor in the nurturing of our relationship with Canada, especially in recent decades.
Under Ireland’s Strategy for the US and Canada 2019-2025, the Government has committed to dedicating significant resources to increasing Ireland’s presence and impact in Canada. In 2019 we opened a new Consulate in Vancouver, in addition to our Embassy in Ottawa, and last year a Consulate in Toronto was established. This represents a tripling of Ireland’s diplomatic presence in Canada in the space of four years.
Ireland shares strong common priorities with Canada in the multilateral and foreign policy space. We have been aligned in our support for Ukraine and also have close working relationships at the UN. Ireland and Canada (and also the Caribbean) share a constituency in both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, with Irish and Canadian officials working closely together in both offices.
Ireland and Canada also have strong economic ties, with more than 80 Canadian companies operating in Ireland and in increase in recent years in investment into Canada of many Irish companies.
Canada maintains excellent relations with the EU, with which Ireland is fully engaged.
A good example of the depth of the people-to-people links between Ireland and Canada is the successful Working Holiday Agreement exchange programme that is in place. This agreement allows for a maximum of 10,700 participants annually, in each direction, to work and travel for up to 2 years. This programme is a wonderful opportunity for tens of thousands of young Irish people to experience such a rich cultural exchange with Canada, creating lifelong memories and connections in the process.
In 2022 I was glad to see a number of high-level connections between Ireland and Canada. I myself spoke with Prime Minister Trudeau twice. With the return to in-person engagements, a number of Canadian delegations visited Ireland last year, and Irish Ministers also travelled to Canada. I welcome this increase in visits and look forward to welcoming more Canadian friends to our shores this year. I also expect to see outward Ministerial travel to Canada over the St. Patrick’s Day period again this year, which will further consolidate the close ties between our countries.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the good work of the Canada-Ireland Inter-Parliamentary Friendship group, led by Deputy David Stanton, who have been working closely with the Ambassador of Canada to Ireland, Her Excellency Nancy Smyth, to promote political and cultural exchange between Ireland and Canada.