Bonds between Ireland and UK "as strong as ever" despite political circumstances

Bonds between Ireland and UK "as strong as ever" despite political circumstances

IRELAND AND the UK have much to work towards together as complementary business hubs, according to the Lord Mayor of the City of London.

Speaking backstage after the St Patrick's parade in London on Sunday, Vincent Keaveny, who is the 693rd and first Irish office-holder for the role, said the two countries can towards a "work very positive agenda despite current political circumstances."

"Certainly from the City of London Corporation point of view, and the view I expressed in Dublin two weeks ago, is that we would love to see leaders working hard to find a pragmatic solution to the Northern Ireland Protocol," he said.

"It's really important that we can sort that out in a sensible way, because then we can move on to all of the other important issues that we need to address. There are huge opportunities for sustainability and fintech in both cities.

"Politically, we are in a difficult situation," he said, "but all of the bonds, the family ties, the social, the sporting, the cultural, the educational and business links - they're all as strong as ever. That came through really strongly on my visit to Dublin."

Keaveny, from Dublin, moved to London in 1989 for a "bit of city experience" after completing his law degree in UCD.

"My mother said to me the other day 'surely you have enough city experience at this stage, why don't you come home?', but here I am all these years later as the Lord Mayor of London!

"I've noticed big changes in the city, and I've really noticed how much more international the city and its workforce has become. There is always a big Irish cohort to the workforce, like myself, who come over as graduates to get a bit of experience. May of them went back, and that still continues, which is great. It's really important for the Irish community here that we've still got that two-way traffic between Dublin and London.

"It's really important for London, and that talent that comes over provides so much benefit to the city and the businesses and culture here."

Speaking about the return of the St Patrick's celebrations, he said it was "wonderful to be back celebrating St Patrick's Day with the Irish community in London.

"We're all on a bit of a high after the win yesterday - it's always great to get a win in Twickenham - and it's great to see big crowds out on the streets of London celebrating the day."

Read more about the St Patrick's Day celebrations around the country here.