The focus is on Laois TD and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Charles Flanagan this week as he travels to Washington DC for a 3 day visit.
The Portlaoise based Minister will undertake a number of business engagements, as well a number of meetings with Congressional leaders. The visit is being seen as a crucial first official engagement with US officials and politicians since President Donald Trump took over at the White House.
“This visit is an important opportunity to meet with US Congressional leaders and to have an exchange of views with on matters of common interest and concern between Ireland and the United States. I am also looking forward to meeting with members of the Irish business community in the Washington, DC, area,” he said.
The Minister will address the AGM of the Irish Network DC. This a professional networking organisation for Irish, Irish-Americans and friends of Ireland in the Washington metro area.
On Wednesday, 1 February, the Minister will hold a series of meeting with US Congressional leaders, both Republican and Democrat. This includes meetings with US House Speaker, Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. The Minister will also meet with members of the bi-partisan Congressional Friends of Ireland group.
“My meetings with senior political leaders on Capitol Hill provide an opportunity for me to discuss a range of issues of interest and concern to Ireland and the US, including: on-going US support for the Peace Process; Ireland’s approach to Brexit; the prospects for immigration reform, as well as recent immigration related measures announced by the US; and economic links between Ireland and the US,” said the Mountmellick native.
In regard to immigration, these contacts will provide an opportunity for the Minister to convey the Government’s concern in regard to the recent announcements by the US Administration which impact on undocumented Irish citizens in the US and, more widely, on citizens of certain designated States.
On Thursday, 2 February, the Minister has a number of engagements with representatives of Irish, US and international media outlets based in Washington.