Visiting Irish minister Seán Canney hails solidarity with its people living abroad as he tours around China.
(Photo: Irish CG Peter Ryan (left) with minister Seán Canney)
For the third consecutive year Hong Kong was painted green with the celebration of the St Patrick’s Day parade on 12 March, 2017. After lighting the eyes of the dragon and the lion, the line of green marched on and reached Tamar Park on a fine Sunday afternoon where Irish compatriots, local and international participants were then treated with three hours of non-stop Irish entertainment.
A total of 38 groups and some 700 individuals took part in the parade. Also attending was Seán Canny, the visiting Irish Minister for State at Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, who was accompanied by Ireland’s Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau Peter Ryan as well as Ambassador to China Paul Kavanagh.
“A highlight for me was to see so many young and local people participating and enjoying our culture,” Mr Canney said. “From our point of view, as the only English-speaking country that will be left in the European Union upon UK’s exit, we want to let people know that we are very much open for business and for people to come and locate in our country for business.”
Mr Canney took a short trip to Macau on Monday and departed for Shanghai later that day to meet with Chinese officials responsible for infrastructure projects and flood relief measures. The minister will also visit Nanjing and Huzhou before hosting a St Patrick’s Day celebration in Beijing that will see the Great Wall decorated in green for the fourth year in a roll.
Mr Canney’s trip to China is part of an annual programme which sees the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and 27 ministers taking part in over 100 business events and high-level political meetings in 27 countries. These state visits have however been criticised back home as costly and unnecessary on top of a controversial meeting between the outgoing Enda Kenny and US president Donald Trump on Thursday.
In response, Mr Canney stressed that the visits are paying dividends not only in the form of business contracts they have attracted, but also to appeal to Irish abroad that Dublin is with them.
“We know the importance of connecting and communicating with all our people around the world just as St Patrick’s Day is vital in promoting Ireland across the world,” Mr Canney asserted. “Our visitings come in the right time as we will have a referendum to allow Irish people living all over the world to have the right to vote in our presidential elections. That’s a statement to say that we want to include the full Irish family and to see these places where our people are living and working.”
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