Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, T.D., is in London today (Friday) for talks on Northern Ireland, as well as a series of engagements with representatives of the Irish community there.
The Minister will meet with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers, M.P., to discuss recent developments there as well as assessing the potential for progress amongst the parties of the Northern Ireland Executive in dealing with contentious issues.
Speaking ahead of the visit, the Minister said:
‘The Irish government attaches the utmost importance to Northern Ireland and my talks with the Secretary of State will focus on how Northern Ireland’s parties can be encouraged back to the table to address outstanding issues including parades, flags, and the past’
Later today the Minister will visit Ashford Place, a care centre catering for vulnerable Irish emigrants in Cricklewood, which since 2006 has received €2 million in funding through the Emigrant Support Programme (ESP) of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The Minister said:
‘Supporting the most vulnerable of our emigrants is an important part of my responsibility as Minister. My visit to Ashford Place in Cricklewood is an opportunity to meet some of the people who care for emigrants, and to see for myself how our Emigrant Support Programme is working’
Minister Flanagan’s programme also includes a briefing on the work of Irish State Agencies operating in Britain, at a time when bilateral trade, close to €1 billion per week, is greater than ever, and tourism figures are on the rise again. The Minister will meet with Irish business networks and community groups, including Global Irish Network members based in London.
On Saturday morning, Minister Flanagan will visit the headquarters of London GAA at Ruislip where he will be briefed on the work of the GAA in London and on the redevelopment of their stadium, which is part-funded through the ESP.
On Saturday evening, the Minister will attend the annual conference of the British Irish Association at Oxford, where he will deliver the keynote address.
Press Office, 5th September
Notes to Editors
· 59% or €6.8 million of all funding through the Department’s Emigrant Support Programme went to organisations supporting the Irish community in Britain in 2013
· Further details on the Emigrant Support Programme are available at the following link: