By James Ward, PA
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney will attend the official opening of the Consulate General of Ireland for the North of England on Friday.
Ireland’s newest diplomatic mission, located in Manchester, is being established as part of the Government’s commitment to strengthening the British-Irish relationship following Brexit.
The mission will represent Ireland’s interest in England’s North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber.
Mr Coveney said: “The establishment of the Consulate, along with opening of an Enterprise Ireland office two years ago, is a physical testament to the importance that the Irish Government places on the relationship with the North of England, and to our ambition for the British-Irish bilateral relationship.
“I am delighted to be marking this major step forward with our new Consul General, Sarah Mangan, and with partners such as the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, the mayor of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Steve Rotheram, and Wendy Morton MP, minister for Europe and Americas at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
“The links between Ireland and this part of the world are profound, and uplifting, and have been built over generations.
“There are few facets of life where connections cannot be found and my hope is that with the opening of this new diplomatic mission we will strengthen existing partnerships, and forge new ones, across every sector and area of activity.”
As part of the launch, Mr Coveney will chair a business roundtable discussion, looking at opportunities for Irish businesses in the region.
He will then host a reception at the Manchester Art Gallery, where he will meet with representatives of the Irish business and cultural community as well as other key contacts.
The Minister will then travel to Liverpool for a community engagement at the Liverpool Irish Centre.
Mr Coveney will also support planning for an official visit to Ireland that Mr Burnham and Mr Rotheram will lead in early 2022 to drive forward Irish partnerships.
The move forms part of a wider programme of investment in Ireland’s footprint in Great Britain in recent years, including an enhanced whole-of-Government presence in London, the reopening of the Consulate General in Cardiff in 2019, and the establishment of an Enterprise Office in Manchester in the same year.