Irish Foreign minister Eamon Gilmore has raised the issue of a bilateral visa program for Ireland in discussions with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

Ireland is seeking access to the E3 visa, which allows 10,000 non-emigrant working visas a year. The visas can be renewed on a two year basis.

Australia has already gained access to the program.

Gilmore met with Secretary Clinton on Friday morning in Washington soon after she returned from a visit to Tunisia.

In a statement, Gilmore said Ireland and the U.S. have many areas of common interest and thanked her for her help on the peace process.

“Your own constant encouragement and unwavering support in helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland is deeply appreciated by all your friends in Ireland, as is your ongoing support for the International Fund for Ireland, " said Gilmore.

"I also took the opportunity to thank Secretary Clinton for her strong support of the Irish community here over many years, and we discussed the prospects for progress on immigration reform as well as bilateral visa arrangements."

In response to questions, Clinton said she hoped to accompany President Obama to Ireland during his May visit.