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Deepening business, community and cultural links with Canada to be focus of visit - Deenihan

Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, will travel to Toronto, Canada as part of the Government's St Patrick's Day 'Promote Ireland' programme.

This year 19 Government Ministers will travel to 21 countries across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia for a series of trade, investment and tourism-focused programmes.

Whilst in Toronto, Minister Deenihan will undertake a number of engagements including an Ireland/Canada Business Event with Enterprise Ireland and a promotional event with the Irish Dairy Board. Exports from Ireland to Canada increased by 24% in 2012, and promoting growth in both trade, community and cultural links between Ireland and Canada (population 34 million) will be a focus of Minister Deenihan's visit.

Minister Deenihan will also review the Toronto St Patrick's Day Parade and will view the greening of Niagara Falls accompanied by Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland.

Minister Deenihan' s itinerary includes:

· Hosting an Enterprise Ireland / Toronto Chapter of the Irish Canada Chamber of Commerce business event.

· Taking part in a promotional event for the Irish Dairy Board.

· Meeting with the Ireland Fund of Canada, a registered Canadian charity that funds community projects in Ireland.

· Participating in a panel discussion on heritage policies, hosted by Toronto Heritage.

· Meeting with representatives of the Bank of Montreal to discuss Ireland’s international reputation.

· Touring the Irish Famine Park, Éireann Quay, to visit mass graves of victims of the famine.

· Meeting with members of the Global Irish Network based in Canada.

· Visiting the Department of Celtic Studies, University of Toronto.

· Meeting with local community, sporting and language groups including the Irish Canadian Centre, Lár na nGael Irish Centre, Toronto Board of the GAA, Cumann na Gaeltachta Kingston, the Kerry Association of Toronto, and the Irish Cultural and Benevolent Society of Toronto.

· Visiting Niagara Falls to view the greening of the falls for St Patrick's Day.

· Reviewing the St Patrick's Day Parade in Toronto.

· Meeting with representatives of the “Canada Come Home” Gathering event.

Minister Deenihan commented:

"Representing Ireland abroad is a privilege and a responsibility. Having our National Day recognised and celebrated internationally is a huge opportunity to tell a story to the world about Ireland - about our skills, about our strengths, and about our recovery. Canada and Ireland are closely linked, both in our past and in the present.

"I want to use this visit to encourage more business opportunities for Ireland in this great country, strengthen our shared heritage and culture, and encourage people to visit Ireland in 2013."