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Statement by the Tánaiste to welcome the Vice President of China Xi Jinping to Ireland

Statement by the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D. on the occasion of the visit of His Excellency the Vice President of China, Xi Jinping, to Ireland.  

Mr. Vice President,

On behalf of the Government and people of Ireland it is my great pleasure to welcome you back to Ireland here at Shannon this afternoon. We look forward to a most successful visit over the next couple of days.  

Shannon airport, on the western shore of our island, is a fitting starting point for your visit, a doorway to east and to west that has generated strong relationships with China over the years. 

Later we will visit Shannon Development, one of the models which your own country looked to when it embarked on its own economic reforms.  This evening I will have the honour to host you at a traditional Irish banquet and entertainment at Bunratty Castle.  

Tomorrow, you will visit a typical Irish family farm at Sixmilebridge in County Clare and see the strength and excellence of our agricultural sector. You will also visit the Cliffs of Moher to enjoy the beauty and heritage of our landscape.  

We look forward to welcoming you again in Dublin tomorrow, where you will have meetings with President Higgins, the Taoiseach and leaders of our Parliament.  You will visit Croke Park the heart of Ireland's rich sporting heritage and later you will have the opportunity to enjoy a performance of Riverdance, a modern celebration of Irish dance and music that has become so popular in your own country.

We will have an opportunity to promote and expand the strong business ties between China and Ireland at the Trade and Investment Forum in the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham on Monday.

Mr. Vice President, Ireland attaches great importance to widening and deepening our bilateral relations.  We trust that this visit will be an enjoyable one for you and that it will be the starting point of an enhanced relationship between China and Ireland.  

Mr. Vice President, "Céad mile fáilte".