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Speech by Taoiseach Micheál Martin at Business Breakfast Event: ‘Ireland and France: Partners in Innovation for Energy Cooperation and Sustainability’

I am delighted to be in Paris this morning to witness this further step forward on the Celtic Interconnector project, by some distance the largest bilateral project between Ireland and France. 


It is, of course, a vital piece of energy infrastructure that will serve both sides well into the future, but it is also representative of the deep and enduring connections between our two countries.


The Celtic Interconnector will bring tangible benefits to the citizens of both France and Ireland by promoting the use of renewable energy, bringing down electricity prices, and helping ensure security of energy supply.  


Today’s signing will allow construction work on the project to begin next year. 


A remarkable 575km of cable will link my home County of Cork to Finistere in Brittany to bring energy to 450,000 homes.  


This project has been made possible through EU funding through the Connecting Europe Facility and through the tremendous work of Eirgrid and RTÉ France.  


I would like to thank Mark Foley of Eirgrid and Xavier Piechaczyk for their work and for that of their teams.


This is my third visit to France this year, and energy has been a central issue each time.


At the One Ocean Summit in February, alongside President Macron, I addressed the theme of “An Ocean of Solutions” and spoke of the abundant potential Ireland has when it comes to renewable energy.


At the Versailles Summit in March, I met with other EU leaders to define our response to the Russian aggression against Ukraine and we agreed actions to reduce our dependency on Russia. 


Increasing our interconnections and accelerating our roll-out of renewable energy is an essential part of this response. 


Ireland and France have never been closer. France is our nearest neighbour in the EU, and we have many historical, cultural and people-to-people ties to celebrate. 


Taking those relations onto an even higher plane was an important theme in my meeting with President Macron yesterday.


We already have a Joint Plan of Action between our two Governments which identifies how we can deepen our cooperation in areas such as offshore wind, the development of renewable energies, and the development of smart and sustainable cities.


There is much that we can learn together – how to protect our coastlines, how to engage with local communities and fisherman, and how to reinvigorate economic development in coastal communities.


I have long been convinced of the environmental and economic benefits of the green transition. Russia’s weaponisation of energy as part of its war on Ukraine has demonstrated it is also the only route to geo-political security and stability. 

Companies in Ireland and France are at the forefront of that vital work.


I am thinking of Amarenco who are providing innovative solar energy solutions across France. and Neoen, a French company providing on-shore wind solutions in Ireland. 


I am delighted that there are so many influential French and Irish companies in the room today, working to find solutions that will help us realise the energy transition.  


I know that you will soon hear from other innovators who will help us reach our net zero goals.


Later this morning you will hear from Kingspan who are delivering district heating projects across France and from Pernod Ricard who are developing a carbon-neutral distillery in Middleton.


Ireland and France, working together as European partners, are ready to meet our common challenge of delivering a sustainable and green energy system for the future.


Today’s further progress on the Celtic interconnector is a concrete demonstration of our commitment to deliver.


Thank you.