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Proposal for annual British Irish trade mission supported by British Irish Parliamentary Assembly

Added 15-May-2012

The British Irish Parliamentary Assembly has today endorsed the proposal from the CEO and Chairman of Glen Dimplex, Sean O’Driscoll, for an annual British Irish trade mission led by senior Government members and business leaders to take place alternately in Britain and Ireland.

The proposal was made by Mr O’Driscoll during his participation in a panel discussion between members of the Assembly and private sector representatives at this morning’s session of the 44th plenary of the Assembly in the Seanad chamber, Leinster House, Dublin.

It was also endorsed by the other speakers in the panel discussion, Eoin Tonge of Greencore and Sally Storey of GlaxoSmithKlein.

The Co-Chairman of the Assembly, Joe McHugh TD, subsequently sought the support of members for the annual trade mission concept, and along with his UK counterpart, Laurence Robertson MP, will now take this proposal to the British and Irish Governments.

Deputy McHugh commented, “Over the past two days the 44th plenary has been meeting with a range of Government and business representatives under the theme of ‘Making business easier between Britain and Ireland.’ During our discussions we have sought to identify real and practical proposals and policies that business requires and which Government can implement to boost trade, create employment, and promote growth.

“The idea to have an annual British Irish trade mission, led by either the Prime Minister or Taoiseach, or a senior economic Minister, including business leaders to explore trade opportunities between our two countries is one such idea.

“Given that 42% of Irish exports are to the UK, and that Ireland remains Britain’s fifth largest trading partner, it is logical that we seek to grow this relationship to the greatest extent possible while simultaneously exploring opportunities in new and emerging markets internationally.

“We cannot take the business relationship between Britain and Ireland for granted nor should we under-estimate its importance to both our economies. For that reason, I welcome the Assembly's endorsement of this proposal and I and my Co-Chair will bring it to our Governments, beginning with this week’s Dail debate on the outcomes of the 44th plenary.”


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