Tuesday June 7, 2011

Ambassadors Told To talk Up Recovery

Tanaiste and Labour Party Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore opens the Ambassadors' Conference in Iveagh House (Photocall)

Irish ambassadors from around the globe returned to Dublin last week for a two day conference on how to restore Ireland's image abroad. The 76 diplomats heard speeches from Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, who told them to get the word out that Ireland is drawing a line under the banking crisis.

Opening the conference, Mr Gilmore said ambassadors and heads of mission must engage with key opinion formers in their host countries to help sell Ireland's policies.

Among the key points which the new government wants its diplomatic team to drive home to the international media, political and business leaders were Ireland is meeting its EU/IMF rescue package targets, returning to economic growth, has dropped prices and rents and is holding onto its low corporation tax rates.

Mr Gilmore also said they should emphasize Ireland's reputation for innovation, scientific research and the arts.

He said their mission would be "a major diplomatic initiative to restore, in the words of Robert Emmet, Ireland's place among the nations of the world".

Taoiseach Enda Kenny took up the theme on the second day of the conference, when he told the ambassadors and consuls that he looked forward to "waving goodbye to AJ Chopra", the IMF's head of mission in Ireland.

He told them he wanted them to get the word out that there was never a better time to visit Ireland.

He also discussed the "disproportionate impact" of Irish culture around the glove.

"I actually cry every time I see the power of the phenomenon of Riverdance. Ancient dance translated into a phenomenal and powerful message," said Mr Kenny.

Meanwhile, the government has revealed there will be a second gathering of the Global Irish Economic Forum later this year.

The forum brings together influential members of the diaspora, and had its first meeting in Farmleigh in 2009.

The second meeting will take place in Dublin Castle on October 7th, and will be more "action orientated" than the first one.

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