And they’re off – the Irish government’s top leaders have left for St Patrick’s Day celebrations all around the world.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny will lead the travels with his five city tour of America, culminating in a Washington dinner with President Obama.
Kenny will stop off in Chicago, Indiana, New York and Washington, before attending a White House dinner as special guest of the President.
A total of 12 Ministers have left Ireland to spread the message in 15 countries all across the globe.
Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore from the Labour Party has said that the delegations will ‘unashamedly’ sell the message that Ireland is recovering.
“We want people to know that Ireland is one of the best destinations in the world for inward investment and tourism,” said Gilmore.
“St Patrick’s Day is a unique opportunity for Ireland to promote itself that was available to almost no other country in the world.
“Apart from Bastille Day and the Fourth of July, there is no other national day that commands such attention. All Ministers will be consciously using that focus on Ireland to promote the country and to encourage investment and trade.
“The basic message is that now is the time to invest in Ireland’s recovery. We will be looking to getting investment in, increasing tourism and cultural links.”
Gilmore is off to Canada when he will meet with Irish emigrants as well as the country’s finance minister, Jim Flaherty, in Toronto, and the Quebec premier, Jean Charest, in Montreal.
The Deputy PM said he would bring two messages to the new wave of emigrants and their families, that they would not be forgotten, and that the Government’s focus on jobs would work towards offering them a way back home.
Kenny’s tour includes a stop-off in Indiana for a visit to the University of Notre Dame, home of the Fighting Irish college football team who play the Navy in Dublin next September.