An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney were joined by a number of Government Ministers today (Monday) to launch 'Global Ireland – Ireland’s Global Footprint to 2025', the Government’s initiative to double the scope and impact of Ireland’s global footprint in the period to 2025.
It represents the most ambitious renewal and expansion of Ireland’s international presence ever undertaken in terms of diplomacy, culture, business, overseas aid, tourism and trade.
Under the initiative, the Government has already announced new Embassies in Chile, Colombia, New Zealand and Jordan, and new Consulates in Vancouver and Mumbai.
With the formal launch of Global Ireland 2025, the Government will implement a range of further measures, including:
- Expanding and strengthening our diplomatic and enterprise agency presence across Europe
- Promoting Irish arts, heritage and culture to new generations and new audiences across the world
- Enhancing our digital footprint through a global communications strategy to increase visibility, raise awareness and enhance Ireland’s reputation;
- Publishing a White Paper on Irish Aid Programme, reaffiriming our commitment to delivering 0.7% of GNI to development assistance by 2030;
- Promoting Ireland’s values of peace, humanity, equality and justice, including through our campaign for election to the UN Security Council
- Strengthening our presence in the United States, including a new flagship ‘Ireland House’ – a hub for diplomacy, trade, business and cultural promotion - in Los Angeles, and expanding our presence elsewhere in the Americas
- Expanding our presence in the Asia-Pacific region, including a new flagship Ireland House in Tokyo
- Strengthening our presence in North and West Africa, moving beyond our traditional focus on aid to building new partnerships
- Strengthening our presence in the Middle East and Gulf region.
Global Ireland 2025 will support efforts to grow and diversify export markets, inward investment and tourism, as Brexit becomes a reality. It will ensure that Ireland is better positioned to build the alliances necessary to advance its interests and defend its positions in a post-Brexit EU, while also helping to secure our deep and positive relationship with the UK and its constituent parts into the future.
At a global level, it will enhance our ability to advocate for and achieve our foreign policy objectives, including international development, peace, disarmament and security, while strengthening Ireland’s engagement with its 70 million-strong diaspora and bringing our rich culture and heritage to wider audiences.
Speaking at the launch, the Taoiseach said:
“Last summer, shortly after I became Taoiseach, I set-out an ambition to double our global footprint. The concept was a simple one. I wanted to double our impact by doing things differently, doing more, and doing it better. There is an urgency to this, and the reasons are self evident. Technological change is transforming lives and driving change in every corner of the world. Geopolitical and economic power is shifting south and east. The global trading environment is experiencing a period of turbulence and volatility. And closer to home, our nearest neighbour and largest trading partner is preparing to leave the European Union.
“The challenges we face demand comprehensive multilateral responses. It is the only way to make a significant difference on issues such as climate change, security, taxation in the new digital world and migration. We are at a moment in world history where we can turn inwards and become irrelevant, or we open ourselves to opportunities and possibilities on a global scale that we never had before. We grasp this opportunity to open ourselves to the world because we believe we have much to contribute. We have a role to play and this is our time.”
The Tánaiste welcomed the initiative, saying:
“Global Ireland, the Government’s initiative on expanding and deepening our presence overseas, sets an exciting and ambitious agenda. As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the value of our networks abroad to the prosperity and wellbeing of our citizens has always been very clear to me. I believe it is both timely and appropriate to invest now in that global presence.”
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, also welcomed the initiative, saying:
“We cannot sit still as we are confronted by a rapidly shifting business and geopolitical landscape. When it comes to positioning Ireland to thrive in the new global marketplace, we have no better tools than our first-class enterprise agencies: IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. What Global Footprint 2025 will do, over time, is to sharpen and hone those tools further and extend their reach even further again.”
Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD said:
“Global Ireland 2025 brings an unprecedented emphasis on the importance of Ireland’s Cultural Heritage on the world stage. We already know that the strength of Ireland’s culture in a globalised world is a very powerful way of expressing who we are; of connecting with our diaspora; and of opening doors for inward investment and tourism..”
Speaking about the launch of Global Ireland Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee TD said:
“Since Ireland joined the European Union 45 years ago, we have utterly changed as a country. We are part of a Union of 27 other countries with a population of 500 million. It is crucial that we expand our footprint throughout Europe, to take advantage of many, social and economic opportunities that can benefit Ireland in the years to come.”