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Ireland’s new Prime Minister Enda Kenny has told U.S. business leaders his new government is serious about solving fiscal difficulties, and that Ireland is open and ready for new business.

In his first official foreign visit as Ireland’s new leader, Kenny described America as the “gateway to Europe” when he addressed 500 business leaders at a lunch in Washington, D.C. yesterday.

Prior to his lunch he met with members of the Economic Advisory Board and the Global Irish Network.

Last night he addressed the American Ireland Fund dinner, met with artists from the Imagine Ireland campaign and also met U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Kenny confirmed that Ireland’s competitive 12.5 percent rate of corporation tax will remain unchanged.

He again spoke of the possibility that Ireland’s Central Bank could hold talks with the U.S. Federal Reserve regarding borrowing on the strength of Irish assets held in U.S. banks.

Today he is due to meet President Barack Obama when he will present him with a traditional bowl of shamrock in the White House.

Kenny said he plans to once again extend an invitation to the U.S. president to visit Ireland.

Kenny’s trip is part of the new Irish government’s cost-cutting measures in which they have downscaled overseas travel by ministers.

In 2010, over 20 Irish government representatives travelled to 24 countries around the world.
However this year a mere eight countries will be visited by Kenny, Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore, and seven other officials.

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