IRELAND’S Foreign Affairs Minister made a special trip to Wales to officially reopen its Consulate General this month.
The diplomatic mission, which reopened its doors in April 2019, is located in Cardiff Bay and is headed up by Consul General, Denise Hanrahan.
First opened in 1999, the Consulate was closed in 2009 due to Irish Government public spending cuts.
Its re-establishment in 2019 came under the Global Ireland 2025 programme and has already “strengthened political, commercial, community and cultural ties between Ireland and Wales” a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed.
But the formal reopening of the venue was postponed until now due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It finally took place on October 22, with Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney officially reopening the venue.
“The re-establishment of the Consulate is testament to Ireland’s commitment to increasing cooperation and collaboration with Wales across the business, arts, sporting and community sectors,” he said.
“I am delighted to be marking this important milestone with our Consul General, Denise Hanrahan, in the presence of the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford.”
He added: "Ireland and Wales are the closest of neighbours, and we have a strong and positive relationship built on age-old connections and a deep cultural understanding.
“Our modern and vibrant relationship has grown from historic links, common heritage and culture, and close people-to-people, business, cultural and sporting connections.”
As part of the visit, Minister Coveney also led the Irish Government’s attendance at the inaugural Ireland Wales Forum, hosted by the Welsh Government.
The Forum brings together Irish and Welsh ministers to discuss critical issues, including sustainability and green recovery, as well as trade cooperation, economic development, climate action and energy policy.
“I am delighted to co-chair the inaugural Ireland Wales Forum with First Minister Drakeford today,” Minister Coveney said.
“We launched an ambitious framework for the Ireland Wales relationship earlier this year and one of our shared priorities was to deepen cooperation in important sectors,” he explained, “[this] Forum will be an excellent platform for doing so.”
Minister Coveney was accompanied by Trade Minister Robert Troy at the Forum, who said he was happy to “come together to assess our established economic ties, to examine challenges we face collectively, as well as the common opportunities that we hope to harness in order to further trade cooperation between Ireland and Wales”.
Ireland’s Environment Minister Eamon Ryan also attended the meeting virtually.