Tánaiste Simon Coveney. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Irish Echo Staff
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney is in the U.S. this week for three days of talks and meetings.
In what could be seen as a St. Patrick’s Day curtain raiser, Mr. Coveney will update the Trump administration and others on the situation in Northern Ireland, as well as Ireland’s priorities for the negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
The Tánaiste will also visit the United Nations Headquarters in New York, where he will meet with representatives of a number of countries - this as part of Ireland’s campaign for election to the UN Security Council in 2020.
Prior to leaving for New York, the Tánaiste said: “I am visiting the United States at an important time, with developments in Northern Ireland and on the Brexit front attracting a lot of attention in the U.S.
“On Brexit, I will be impressing on those I meet that, as well as undeniably presenting significant challenges for the island of Ireland, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU presents opportunities, which the government is working to harness as part of our overall engagement to secure Ireland’s interests.
“On the Peace Process and Northern Ireland, I will be emphasizing to our friends and partners in the U.S. that all with responsibilities and influence should continue to work to protect the progress that has been achieved.
“Most immediately, that means making all possible efforts to secure the operation of the devolved institutions of the Good Friday Agreement. In a wider view, it is also essential to recognize and continue work to advance the peace, reconciliation and transformation in relationships that the Good Friday Agreement has enabled over the last twenty years.”
Mr. Coveney said that there was much interest in the U.S. in the implications for Ireland of Brexit, as well as the implications for the EU-US relationship.
“I will be addressing those issues when I speak at Columbia University on Wednesday,” he said.
“I am also looking forward to speaking on Thursday at an event to mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement reflecting on twenty years of peace in Northern Ireland.
“I will also be spending some time with Ireland’s Ambassador to the UN, Geraldine Byrne-Nason, and her team as we continue our campaign to have Ireland elected to the UN Security Council in 2020.
“It is important that smaller countries like Ireland be represented on the Security Council and our record shows that, when elected in the past, Ireland has always been an active and effective member of the council.”
Mr. Coveney will also have a number of meetings in Washington, D.C. on Friday February, 23, including with representatives of President Trump’s administration.
He will again update on Northern Ireland and Brexit, as well as discussing global issues, such as the situation in the Middle East, said a release.