Ireland’s Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin TD announced today, February 8, that the Irish Government will open a new ‘Ireland House’ in Chicago later this year.
Ireland House, to be located on the city’s Michigan Avenue, will house the Consulate General of Ireland together with representatives of Ireland’s economic and trade promotion agencies, Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday.
The announcement comes as the Tánaiste visits Chicago for a series of political, business, and community engagements.
The opening of Ireland House in Chicago this autumn will coincide with the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ireland and the US.
Ireland's DFA said on Thursday: "This new showcase premises is part of Ireland’s continuing investment in a deepened and integrated diplomatic, economic, and cultural engagement in Chicago, Illinois, and across the wider Midwest of the United States, a region with a significant Irish diaspora and strong and mutually beneficial economic relationships with Ireland.
"The Midwest has a population of over 50 million, including some five million Irish Americans, and a GDP of $3.5 trillion, with a highly diversified economy. The region is home to over 100 Irish companies employing almost 25,000 people, while 312 IDA client companies in the US Midwest & South region employ almost 62,000 people in Ireland."
Welcoming the announcement, the Tánaiste said: “Our Strategy for the United States sets out a clear commitment to strengthening our relationships with States and regions across the country.
"Opening a new Ireland House in Chicago is a clear signal of this intent and of our desire to grow Ireland’s connections in Chicago and the wider Midwestern United States.
“Our historic relationships here are built on an energetic and engaged Irish community and vibrant economic and cultural links. Ireland House Chicago will mark a new and exciting chapter and play a central role in unlocking potential and new opportunities that will benefit both Ireland and the Midwest.”
Mayor of Chicago, Brandon Johnson, said: "We warmly welcome Ireland House to the great city of Chicago.
"This is a testament to the enduring bond between Chicago and Ireland, including our cherished sister city, Galway.
"We invite Irish visitors and businesses to visit and experience the beauty of our city. We look forward to collaborating with the Consulate General of Ireland to ensure that this hub not only opens doors to enhanced economic opportunities but also fosters cultural exchanges."
Warm welcome from @ChicagosMayor Brandon Johnson.
Ireland is proud of the part it played in shaping this great city.
Good discussion on economic and education opportunities, and shared challenges & progress on affordable housing. pic.twitter.com/A7Ojmzg1Gg— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) February 8, 2024
The Tánaiste was in Chicago on Thursday as part of his US visit this week that also saw him visit Washington, DC, where he met with some of America's leading politicians.
In Chicago on Thursday, the Tánaiste met with members of the local Irish community and thanked them "for everything you do to maintain and strengthen the bonds with Ireland."
Enjoyable meeting members of our thriving and vibrant Irish community in Chicago.
Thanks for everything you do to maintain and strengthen the bonds with Ireland. pic.twitter.com/itEsMGnXiE— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) February 8, 2024
He also met with Governor of Illinois JB Pritzker and said that there is "enormous potential" for growing the friendship between Ireland and Chicago even further.
A great pleasure to meet @GovPritzker to celebrate Ireland’s bonds with Chicago and Illinois.
Enormous potential for growing that friendship even further in the coming years. pic.twitter.com/VovrJzbVW8— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) February 8, 2024
The Tánaiste's visit to the US comes not long before 11 Irish politicians head stateside in March as part of the Irish Government's annual St. Patrick's Day Programme, which this year aims to promote "Ireland's Future in the World."