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Fianna Fail ministers planning St. Patrick’s Day junkets could be snubbed by international leaders, main opposition leader Enda Kenny has claimed.
Traditionally several ministers travel to different destinations around the world on state trips, as part of the global celebration of St Patrick’s Day.
While the Fine Gael leader didn’t slam the Prime Ministers annual trip to the White House, he said he thinks it would be inappropriate for a Government on its last legs to represent Ireland overseas on March 17.
"I think that the electorate here would see that as the most cynical exercise, the most cynical swan song that you could ever imagine," he said.
"And it might well have repercussions for many of those ministers internationally in that persons they might wish to see might not want to see them."
The leader added that foreign leaders may not be enthused by the prospects of meeting politicians from an outgoing government.
"I don't speak for the US Government, obviously. I'm talking about the fact you have 14 to 20 ministers travelling to different countries meeting different prime ministers and different political leaders," he continued.
"Some of them might say 'you're not going to be in Government in a weeks time so why should I meet you'."
The opposition party leader made his comments as his party spokesman on tourism, Jimmy Deenihan launched proposals for an overhaul of the tourism industry.
If elected to government, Fine Gael intend to cut travel tax and other costs, alter visa requirements for Indian and Chinese holiday makers, further promote Ireland’s heritage, environment and authenticity, sports and culinary attractions.
Under the Fine Gael plans, sporting ambassadors will promote Ireland worldwide and Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland will be merged into a “Tourism House”.
"Tourism in Ireland has taken a battering in recent years with a staggering one million fewer visitors coming here in the first six months of 2010 compared to 2008," said Mr Deenihan.
"The sector has seriously underperformed in the last decade, with a worrying decline in the British and American markets."
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