Mayor Shirley Franklin believes that the placement of an Irish consulate in Atlanta would enhance the city's reputation as a global business and cultural center.

“The consulate’s selection of Atlanta suggests that we’re pointed in the right direction, but that doesn’t mean we’ve gotten done everything we need to do,” said Franklin.

Atlanta, the South’s principal commercial center, was chosen as the location for the consulate in order to strengthen its relationship with Irish citizens and Irish-Americans living in the Southern states that it already has with those living in the Northeast.

Mary Hanafin, Ireland’s minister of social and family affairs, made the official announcement March 17 at the Ireland Chamber of Commerce USA Atlanta’s annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. The location and opening date for the consulate have yet to be announced.

Atlanta is just the first stop of many for future Irish consulates. According to Taoiseach, or head of government Brian Cowen, Ireland plans on establishing a general consulate in Houston and honorary consulates throughout the U.S. Ireland has general consulates in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Franciscoand Washington.