Taoiseach Enda Kenny with the visiting Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, on Monday evening. Rollingnews.ie photo.
By Ray O’Hanlon
Taoiseach Enda Kenny is in California today on a trade and investment mission that will later have him visiting New York.
The three day U.S. trip comes at a time of particular uncertainty as a result of looming Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to the presidency.
Mr. Kenny might want to speak mostly of investment, while perhaps playing down trade over his three days, the latter having become something of a pejorative word during the election campaign.
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The official Irish government release speaks of a three-day program of engagement with key business leaders in Silicon Valley and New York.
Stated the release: “The primary focus of the visit is to emphasize and promote Ireland’s attractiveness as a location for investment and trade and to communicate Ireland’s priorities in the context of Brexit and other recent significant international developments.”
The centerpiece of Mr. Kenny’s program in Silicon Valley is an address to the San Francisco Bay Area Economic Council, described in the release as an influential group of leading Bay Area companies which will take place in Facebook headquarters.’
While on the West Coast, the taoiseach will also attend an Enterprise Ireland event aimed at supporting the growth of Irish companies on the West Coast, as well as meeting with some key investors in Ireland.
Mr. Kenny will then travel to New York where he will meet with, and address, a number of influential business groups including the Partnership for New York City and a meeting of key business leaders hosted by Peter Grauer, Chairman of Bloomberg.
He will additionally meet a number of existing and potential investors in Ireland and attend the signing of a partnership between Enterprise Ireland and Northwell Healthcare Group, a leading U.S. healthcare company.
Mr. Kenny will, according to the release, also engage with Irish-American political, business and community leaders at receptions in both Palo Alto and New York.
Said Mr. Kenny in advance of his visit: “My visit to the United States is a timely opportunity to engage with key business leaders to promote Ireland and highlight our strengths as a gateway for U.S. firms into Europe and other global markets.
“In all engagements I will highlight our highly skilled workforce, our competitive tax offering and our focus on innovation as well as our strong commitment to EU membership.”
While in New York, Mr. Kenny will be only a short distance from Trump Tower but a meeting with President-elect Trump has not been flagged by the Irish government.
When the two do eventually meet, trade and investment will be for certain on the front burner.
Mr. Trump is an investor in Ireland by way of his Doonbeg golf resort in County Clare.
And with regard to trade, Mr. Trump has clearly signaled his dislike for multilateral trade pacts in favor of bilateral trade deals.
Trade between the United States and Ireland is at significant and rising levels, the U.S. being an increasingly important market for Irish exports.