Ireland will continue its 65-year-old tradition by presenting a bowl of shamrock to America’s leader Donald Trump on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day 2018.
The Irish government has officially announced its travel plans for St. Patrick’s Day 2018, including that fact that Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar will visit President Donald Trump at the White House, as is tradition.
Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Simon Coveney confirmed on Tuesday that 38 Irish ministers will countries around the world to emphasize Ireland’s approach to Brexit and built trade links. They will also focus on Ireland's campaign to become a member of the UN Security Council in 2021.
Those minister’s traveling to the United States for St. Patrick’s Day include:
- An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D.
- Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys
- Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring
- Minister for Diaspora and Development, Ciaran Cannon
- Minister for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton
- Minister for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin
- Minister for Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D’Arcy
- Attorney General Seamus Wolfe
Since 1952 a representative of the Irish government has traveled to the White House on St. Patrick’s Day to take part in festivities and present the United States leader with a Waterford crystal bowl of shamrock. As President Truman put it, as a symbol that the “relations between the two countries will continue to be on a good and effective level for generations." In 2018 it seems Leo Varadkar will carry on this tradition.
Varadkar, who came into power in June 2017, had initially not committed to confirming that he would engage in the traditional handing over of the bowl of shamrock in Washington on St. Patrick’s Day. However, in July 2017, he told TIME he hoped to develop a relationship with the American leader. In October Varadkar came out dubbing Trump “fake news” following the US President’s comments on Ireland's corporation tax.
In 2017, during Trump’s first St. Patrick’s Day in the White House, the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny made the international press as he told the President that it is immigrants that make America great.
His speech and Trump’s stony reaction quickly went viral. In his speech Kenny said “It’s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy. He too, of course, was an immigrant. And though he is, of course, the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe he’s also a symbol of — indeed the patron of — immigrants.”
On Tuesday (Jan 16) Coveney released a statement on St. Patrick’s Day plans for 2018. It was announced that a full program will be developed in the coming weeks by Irish Embassies and Consulates to deliver on Ireland’s promotional priorities, with the support of State Agencies. A finalized listing will be published in advance of St Patrick’s Day.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney will visit China, while Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will be in Argentina on St Patrick's Day. Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and Junior Health Minister Jim Daly will fly to Australia. The Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, is going to Japan while Minister for Communications Denis Naughten is scheduled to visit Canada. The Independent Alliance Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran will travel to Kenya and his colleague Finian McGrath is going to the Czech Republic.
The 2018 St. Patrick’s Day program “Promote Ireland”, according to the government’s press statement will deliver “a comprehensive, strategic approach to high-level visits and trade missions, including St. Patrick’s Day Ministerial programs, is a key commitment of the Government’s trade strategy Ireland Connected, launched in March 2017 and an outcome of the recent Team Ireland Conference. “
Referring to the newly launched program Coveney said “The St. Patrick’s Day period provides a unique opportunity to promote Ireland on the international stage, and to renew the strong bonds between Ireland, the global Irish abroad, and our partners around the world.”
He added “St. Patrick’s Day provides Ireland with an unparalleled opportunity to promote our political and economic interests abroad, as well as access to key political and business contacts in leading markets around world.”
Here is a full list of the countries and the Irish ministers who will visit the, outside the United States:
China and Hong Kong - Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney
Argentina - Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe
Germany - Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton
Australia - Minister for Justice and Equality Charles Flanagan
The Netherlands and Belgium - Minister for Health Simon Harris
UK - Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed
Canada - Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten
Ireland - Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross
Italy - Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone
France - Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty
Korea and Japan - Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy
Norway and Sweden - Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan
Brazil - Government Chief Whip Joe McHugh
UAE and Oman - Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor
Lebanon and Cyprus - Minister for Defense, Paul Kehoe.
Czech Republic - Minister for Disability Issues, Finian McGrath
Poland - Minister for Housing and Urban Development Damian English
Scotland - Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen
Denmark and Finland - Minister for National Drugs Strategy & Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne
Vietnam - Minister for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle
UK - Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation and Research and Development, John Halligan
Switzerland - Minister for Community, Natural Resources and Digital Development, Sean Kyne
Canada - Minister for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment Patrick O’Donovan
Austria and Slovakia - Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee
Kenya - Minister for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, Kevin Boxer Moran
Singapore - Minister for Local Government and Electoral Reform, John Paul Phelan
Australia & New Zealand - Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly
Croatia - Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghail T.D.
Slovenia & Bosnia Herzegovina - Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Senator Denis O’Donovan