Minister Alan Shatter TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence today travels to Mexico to begin the Government’s St. Patrick’s Day Promote Ireland Programme. This is the first St. Patrick’s Day Ministerial visit to take place in Mexico, and follows the successful visits of President Higgins in October last, and the visit of the Lord Mayor of Dublin earlier this month.
The purpose of the St. Patrick’s Day Promote Ireland Programme is to promote trade, tourism, inward investment and Irish culture abroad. Minister Shatter’s programme includes a series of economic and cultural engagements and meetings with senior Government Ministers, trade and business leaders.
On St. Patrick’s Day Minister Shatter and Mr Leonal Luna Estrada, the Head of Delegation for Álvaro Obregón (one of the 16 districts that make up Mexico City) will attend a commemorative event in remembrance of the Batallón de San Patricio at San Angel. The Batallón consisted of over 600 soldiers, the majority from Ireland, who fought to defend Mexico’s sovereignty during in the US-Mexican war of 1946-48. The Battalón are still revered as heroes today in Mexico.
Later that day, Minister Shatter will be accompanied by the Head of the International Relations Unit for Mexico City, Mr Claudio Ruz, at the lighting ceremony of the most iconic monument in Mexico City, the Angel of Independence. This is the first time Mexico has been included in the Global Greening initiative.
On Tuesday 18 March, Minister Shatter will meet with key figures from the Government of Mexico, including Mr Cuauhtémoc Cardenas, Head of International Relations, Mr Salomón Chertorivski, the Secretary for the Economy of Mexico City and Dr. José Antonio Meade, Secretary for Foreign Affairs to discuss economic and trade cooperation between Ireland and Mexico. Both Mr Cardenas and Mr Chertorivski met with the Lord Mayor of Dublin on 5 March 2014 and plans are underway to draw up a Memorandum of Understanding between Dublin and Mexico City focused on cooperation in the economic, education and digital sectors. Minister Shatter will also attend the Irish Ambassador’s Reception for the Irish community and business contacts on Tuesday. Approximately 300 guests are expected to attend the Reception.
Minister Shatter will visit the Mexico City’s state of the art Command and Control Centre, launched in 2007 by the Mexico City Government. This facility, which actively monitors 8,000 security cameras in the city, across five different centres, has significantly contributed to deterring crime in Mexico City.
On Wednesday 19 March, the Minister will attend a Business Breakfast with Irish and Mexican business leaders at the Mexican Chamber of Commerce (COMCE). The breakfast will gather the leaders of Irish companies in Mexico, as well as Mexican business people for a focused discussion on Mexico’s political and economic outlook and the opportunities for Irish companies in Mexico and Mexican investment in Ireland.
Minister Shatter will also meet representatives from the Mexican Federal Police and the Commission for Public Security for an exchange of views on policing issues.
The Irish Embassy works closely with Mexican Tourism company, SCI Viajes, who specialises in holidays for Mexicans to Ireland and the UK. Minister Shatter will attend a reception to launch an agreement between the Mexican Association of Tourist Agents and Abbey Tours to promote educational, cultural and heritage tourism to Ireland. Mexican citizens do not need a visa for short stay travel to Ireland.
Finally, Minister Shatter will meet the Secretary for the Economy, Mr Ildefonso Guajardo to discuss the development of trade links with Ireland and to prepare for Secretary Guajardo’s forthcoming visit to Ireland, which will include attending a major Business and Investment Summit organised by Dublin City Council from 1 -2 May, focused on attracting Mexican businesses and investment to Ireland. Significant Irish companies investing and exporting to Mexico include the Kerry Group, SmurfitKappa, H & K, Glanbia, the Irish Dairy Board and Kentech.