2019 has been a busy and successful year for the ICCC. We hosted some wonderful events featuring speakers such as Mark Porter, Minister Ciaran Cannon, Ambassador Kelly and Minister Tanya Fir with details captured below:
Thank you to the Government of Ireland for funding support received in 2019 through the Emigrant Support Program. Funding was applied to software subscription, administration setup, data integration, website configuration, development and creation, security maintenance, system activation and launch. The new aggregated platform is completed and is now in ongoing maintenance and updates. With the system, the ICCC is now able to automate and manage all areas of the organization’s communications and promotions efficiently.
The year also brought great support from a number of generous sponsors including:
Oak Tree Tavern
We thank all of our sponsors for their generosity and support in 2019.
Our New Brand
2020 will mark 10 years since we founded the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary.
Through the years, we have had many events featuring business and political leaders representing multiple sectors. It’s been a wonderful decade to be a part of this organization.
With this new decade comes a re-branding of the ICCC. One that is more relevant, current, and progressive.
You are getting a first peak of our logo found at the top of this newsletter!
The infinite loop, with a Celtic knot feel to it, is about partnerships and expanding possibilities. There is a flow back and forth that can go on forever.
The circle around the infinite loop is about the support we give to these connections and the global business and trade possibilities when we look at the big picture.
The new brand reflects our infinite possibilities when we work together on business and trade.
Over the coming weeks, you will start to see the new look reflected on our website, banners and more.
Organizations like the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary are made successful through the endless hours and expertise from volunteer Boards.
A sincere thank you to our Board Members - Evan Howe and Adrian Nagle - for all your great work throughout 2019!
This year, we said goodbye to Board Member Maggie McKee (although she is still involved and helping on the fringes). Thank you Maggie!
Our Board has grown with two wonderful additions:
Shay Heron – In her role as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Payload in Calgary, Shay is responsible for sales, service delivery and overall brand positioning. Her passions include change management and education – and of course Ireland and Alberta!
Stephen Malone – Stephen’s Ireland-based company, Malone Group, has offices in Alberta, Ontario, UK and Bulgaria. Combined with his connections in the Irish market, his support will ensure we continue to build stronger ties between Alberta and Irish companies.
I am looking forward to working with all of you.
2020 – An exciting year ahead!
We will continue to bring you great speakers and events throughout 2020 including a St. Patrick’s Day event, Fall Speaker and our traditional Holiday Mixer. In addition, we are adding an exciting event the last week of May.
The last of week of May, 2020, we are hosting a Trade Mission in conjunction with the Ireland Canada Business Association from Ireland consisting of 15 – 20 ICBA Members and representatives from Irish companies. We have worked hard to attract Irish businesses to Alberta and are planning out the program for the Business Summit, which will highlight the best of this province and the infinite possibilities between our two countries.
Watch for updates and information over the coming weeks. If you have any questions or would like to be involved in the exciting year ahead, please reach out to email@example.com.
Wishing you and yours the very best of this special season and a healthy, happy and prosperous 2020!
On June 19th, the ICCC in Calgary held their final event prior to the summer season. It was a unique opportunity for ICCC Guests and Members to come together and enjoy the tastes and sounds of Ireland while networking in an informal setting.
With our generous sponsors - Urban Fare, Secret Spirits and the Oak Tree Tavern - everyone came together to share in a wide range of delicious cheeses and several unique whiskeys while being entertained with beautiful Irish music.
It has been a busy year so far for Ireland-Canada relations. It started with the exciting announcement from WestJet of the launch of their direct flight between Calgary and Dublin. his milestone route announcement opens doors for tourism and trade between Ireland and Alberta.
On June 1st, 2019, ICCC Founder and President, Laureen Regan, joined several WestJet team members, the Ambassador of Ireland to Canada, Jim Kelly, Tourism Ireland’s Country Manager, Dana Kelly, and many others from the Calgary business community on the inaugural flight to Dublin. With a flight time of 7 ½ hours from YYC to DUB, this direct route creates easy access for business.
Since the launch of the flight, we have connected with Irish companies visiting Calgary to explore LNG production, construction, education and engineering who are looking for more information on how to do business with Alberta.
During her stay in Dublin in June, Laureen met with the Ireland Canada Business Association’s Board Member and Executive Director, and with Trade Commissionaires from the Canadian Embassy in Dublin who represent a variety of industries in Ireland. Laureen also met with Malone Group, an engineering firm headquartered in Dublin and with an office in Calgary and a number of other interested professionals regarding the opportunities between our two countries.
With direct access, we are expecting to see much more interest in the Alberta and Ireland trade opportunities in many sectors including: Construction, Engineering, Agriculture, Clean Technologies, Information and Communication Technologies, Artificial Intelligence and more. The ICCC in Calgary is actively working on building opportunities for market access in both countries including a potential Fall trade mission and ongoing events.
We will be announcing our Fall events shortly and you will receive notification via email or you can watch the iccccal.com website for updates.
Thank you for your support. The Board of the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary wishes all of you a safe and fun summer.
Learn more about our Sponsors:
Established in 2010, the ICCC works to strengthen relationships between Canadian and Irish businesses. Opportunities for growth and expansion are facilitated through networking events, information and collaboration.
On January 24, the ICCCC hosted its first event of 2019. The breakfast event was well attended by over 75 individuals representing multiple sectors highlighting the diversity of the Calgary business community. In addition to the many Members and guests and Board Members of the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary, attendees also included Mary Moran from the Calgary Economic Development, Sandip Lalli, Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Bob Sartor, Calgary Airport Authority, Todd Hirsch from ATB, and several key members of the WestJet team.
Laureen Regan, President of the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary, opened the breakfast event. Opening remarks from Regan noted that Ireland and Alberta have many areas of expertise and trade opportunities between the two would benefit from market expansion in many sectors such as ICT, energy, cleantech, professional services, infrastructure, agriculture, water and wastewater systems, and so much more. With an estimated value of trade between Ireland and Canada at approximately €2.5bn, and with the new EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), there is considerable potential for expansion for businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.
“CETA is a game-changer for countries like Ireland and Canada and Ireland is uniquely positioned among EU Member States to benefit under its terms, given our common language and legal systems and Ireland’s cultural compatibility with Canada” Regan said “However, while we are being empowered through CETA to grow and explore new markets, there still needs to be a way to access markets in a timely way. Connectivity is the lifeblood of trade.” “There has been an increase in the number of direct flight connections between Ireland and Canada over the past few years; but they have been based primarily in eastern markets.” Regan went on to say, “Here in the West, we are therefore, especially pleased with the new WestJet Calgary-Dublin route.”
Mark Porter, Executive Vice President of People and Culture at Calgary-based WestJet and keynote speaker for the event, engaged the audience by sharing the WestJet story of growth and expansion. Porter highlighted many exciting milestones from the WestJet history including their very first transatlantic destination to Dublin, in 2014. Since then, capacity between Ireland and Canada has increased by some 200 per cent, flying more than 208,000 guests to and from Canada and Dublin. A testament to the strength of the relationship and market demand for connectivity between our two countries.
“Connectivity between Alberta and the rest of the world is extremely important. This will boost tourism, help grow the economy and help position Calgary as an international aviation hub.” Mr. Porter shared “Here in Alberta, our exports to Ireland are worth about $30 million per year, and are mainly organic chemicals, iron and steel products, pharmaceuticals and machinery. Coming back the other way, our imports from Ireland are valued at about $54 million a year, and are mainly pharmaceuticals, optical, medical and other photographic equipment, and machinery.”
“Which brings me to an exciting new chapter in the history of our airline – our new Calgary-Dublin service, beginning June 1, and running through the summer, until October 25. The service will run three times weekly on board our fleet of brand-spanking-new Boeing 787 Dreamliners!”
WestJet is the first Canadian airline to base Dreamliners in Calgary. The first three will be based at YYC Calgary International Airport, their largest hub. WestJet's Dreamliners will carry 320 guests in a three-class cabin configuration including a new Business cabin featuring 16 private pods with lie-flat seats, an upscale Premium cabin and an updated Economy cabin.
Mark closed say “Between WestJet Rewards and our new Premium product offers, the value proposition for the business traveler is now stronger than ever before. Folks, this is not your parents’ WestJet.”
WestJet generously donated a return direct flight for two people from Calgary to Dublin. There was excitement in the room as Mr. Porter drew the name. The name of the winner was Michael Hayward.
Laureen closed the breakfast thanking WestJet for their generous sponsorship of the event and reiterating the excitement the Irish community shares for this new, direct access between Calgary and Dublin.
For more information on events, sponsorship and membership, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Members and Friends,
2018 marks eight (8) years since the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary was founded. It has been an exciting time to be a part of this organization and the community. We have seen many changes in the Irish and Canadian economies since that time, however, the ties between Ireland and Canada continue to strengthen.
Canada is Ireland’s seventh largest trading partner outside the EU. The ICBA reports that there are now over 70 Canadian companies in Ireland employing over 13,000 people – an increase of over 40% since 2014. The IDA has estimated Canadian Direct Investment in Ireland at €12 billion, ranking Ireland as the tenth largest destination for Canadian investment.
The ICCC in Calgary has had a busy year. In addition to beginning to redevelop the website, we are also implementing membership management software to improve efficiencies, communications and automation. Throughout the year we hosted a number of events for information and networking, including an evening networking event and some great speakers. Here are a couple of highlights:
Blockchain Technology – Luncheon Event
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies are important elements in the changing global landscape and our event featuring both Michael Brown, Director of Innovation ATB, and Todd Hirsch, Vice President and Chief Economist from ATB, and ICCC Members and guests were able to access leading information on this sector.
Blockchain technology is relevant to the Alberta economy and our need to focus on diversification of our economy. This technology and various applications are being developed by ATB as an emerging solution for global trade in the energy sector. Our speakers broke down the elements of blockchain, how it applies to global opportunities and, that to build and implement a minimum viable ecosystem (MVE) in a blockchain solution, an engaged ecosystem of participants is required – one that includes suppliers, partners, customers, regulators and competitors.
His Excellency Kevin Vickers – Ambassador of Canada to Ireland – Breakfast Event
In May, Ambassador Kevin Vickers, Ambassador of Canada to Ireland, spoke to our Members and guests on the strong ties and history between Ireland and Canada. This insightful breakfast presentation was sponsored by our long-term supporter – Vermilion Energy. On July 12, 2017, Vermilion and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board announced a strategic partnership, that came into realization on November 30th, 2018 whereby Vermilion assumed operatorship of the Corrib natural gas project and increased its ownership interest to 20%.
During the presentation, Ambassador Vickers highlighted that Ireland has built a strong system for innovation commercialization which Canadian business could explore for trade and export opportunities.
Large growth areas in the Irish market include data centres, the Internet of Things, eHealth and cyber security, to name a few. In addition, a strong area for opportunities for Canadian firms are in the infrastructure sector – from energy efficiency technology, to design and management of building systems and sustainable products in both the residential and non-residential construction market.
The insightful presentation highlighted many areas of opportunity where businesses in Canada already have the expertise and are seeking market expansion.
And finally, every event, all communications, membership and financial management, inquiries, speaker requests and more are made possible by the work of a team of dedicated and hard-working volunteers. Without them, we would not be able to succeed. My sincere thanks go to Gavin Kavanagh, Maggie McGee and Adrian Nagle!
We have a busy year coming up in 2019. Please read on for more information on upcoming events and messaging from Ambassador Kelly and Enterprise Ireland.
We are looking forward to welcoming you at various events throughout 2019. Wishing you and yours all the best of the special time of year and a prosperous 2019!
Direct flights between Dublin and Calgary Announced!
Market access is always a key driver in market expansion and bi lateral trade – there is a lot of excitement around WestJet’s very timely announcement this Fall of direct flights between Calgary and Dublin beginning in June 2019. This announcement has many businesses exploring how they can now more easily look to grow and diversify their markets in either Ireland, Canada and/or the EU. The ICCC is looking forward to working with WestJet to build awareness of the new route. Many Members and stakeholders have expressed that they are excited to be able to fly directly between Calgary and Dublin.
Ireland Increases Presence in Canada
We heard of two significant and exciting announcements this year which indicate a strong interest in increased trade focus and support of Irish diaspora on the Canadian market:
In November, ICCC Members and Guests were asked for their input to help guide and build on the success of the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce. The Board hosted a small dinner and spent the evening engaging with long time members and guests to learn more about their ideas and suggestions.
In addition, an online survey was distributed. Respondents answered questions on topics/sectors of interest, purpose of the ICCC, what the ICCC is doing well, and where we need to improve. Here are highlights of some of the responses:
• Sectors/topics of interest for events include: Finance, IT, Energy, Export/Trade, CETA, Agriculture and business-related topics.
• Primary functions of the ICCC:
• Top challenges facing businesses: Economy, Political Climate, Diversifying into New Markets, Increasing Costs to do Business, Access to Capital
• Areas for improvement: More consistent communications and more events and opportunities to network
The Board will be reviewing the survey results more fully and laying out a plan to address the requests and suggestions throughout 2019.
The Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary, would like to sincerely thank key sponsorship partners this year:
Ambient Media Inc.
We thank them for their support!
Save the Dates:
1. January 24, 2019 Breakfast Presentation, Mark Porter, EVP of People for WestJet. Watch for event information coming shortly.
2. February 2019 – Ambassador Jim Kelly
3. March 2019 – St. Patrick’s Day event
Message from His Excellency Jim Kelly, Ambassador of Ireland to Canada
It is my pleasure to send Christmas greetings to members of the Ireland-Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary.
As 2018 comes to a close, we look back on an exceptionally busy and productive year in which we have welcomed visits by eight members of the Government of Ireland to Canada. The unprecedented political and diplomatic activity over the past two years reflects the importance which the Irish Government attaches to our contemporary relationship with Canada – more Irish Ministers have visited Canada in the last 18 months than in the previous seven years combined!
This increase in engagement has been driven by opportunities and challenges. These include the new trade and investment opportunities arising from the EU-Canada CETA Trade Agreement, as well as the disruption caused by Brexit and the NAFTA renegotiations which has conversely served to draw Ireland and Canada closer together in an uncertain world. As a result, we have seen a continued growth surge in trade, investment and tourism between our two countries.
2018 also marks a new departure with the opening of a diplomatic Consulate General in Vancouver. This marks the first expansion of Ireland’s permanent diplomatic presence in Canada since 1939 and will enhance our capacity to serve the growing community in Western Canada. It will also provide a base for increased political, diplomatic and trade engagement with the west, including more Ministerial visits to the region. The IDA – Ireland’s investment promotion agency – will also be opening an office in Toronto early next year, joining Enterprise Ireland and Tourism Ireland in supporting the continued growth of the Ireland-Canada trading relationship.
I want to congratulate Laureen Regan and the members of ICCCAL on another successful and active year of strengthening relationships between Canadian and Irish businesses. 2018 is closing on a positive and exciting note with WestJet’s announcement of its inaugural Dreamliner 787 service from Calgary to Dublin, commencing in June 2019. This new direct connection will boost tourism and greatly enhance the potential for closer business links between us. As Ambassador, I look forward to my next visit to Calgary in February 2019 and to working with all of you to further strengthen those important ties.
Happy Christmas and best wishes to all of you for 2019.
Nollaig Shona agus Ath-bhliain faoi Mhaise Daoibh go leir!
Ambassador of Ireland
Message from Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Ireland client companies posted record growth to the Canadian market in 2017, in excess of 19%. This growth reflects the deepening trade relationship between Ireland and Canada, which has since September 2017, been supported by the implementation of CETA, the EU Canada trade deal.
Enterprise Ireland client success stories:
On June 7, 2017, Michael Crothers, spoke with the Ireland-Canada Centre for Commerce Calgary. Crothers was also the Managing Director of Shell E&P Ireland Limited (SEPIL) for over 3 years starting in 2011, during which he led the Corrib gas venture.
The Corrib gas project is one of the most significant engineering projects ever undertaken in Ireland. Located some 83 kilometres off the northwest coast of County Mayo, this medium sized gas field was developed as a subsea ‘tie-back’ facility, connected by a pipeline to an onshore processing terminal.
The Corrib Gas Partners are SEPIL (45% – Operator), Statoil Exploration (Ireland) Limited (36.5%) and Vermilion Energy (18.5%).
The Corrib onshore pipeline project became the centre of controversy in 2005 when a number of local people refused to allow SEPIL access to areas along the then permitted pipeline route in Rossport. Arising from legal proceedings taken by SEPIL, five local people were jailed by the High Court for contempt.
During this time work on the Bellanaboy terminal site was suspended. In an effort to resolve the standoff, the Government appointed international consultants, Advantica, to conduct an independent safety review of the onshore pipeline. Their report, published in May 2006, concluded that “proper consideration was given to safety issues in the selection process for the preferred design option and the locations of the landfall, pipeline and terminal”.
The Advantica Report also made a number of recommendations, including a recommendation limiting the pressure in the onshore section of the pipeline to 144 bar – less than half the original design pressure of the pipeline.
Also in 2005, the (then) Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources appointed an independent mediator, who recommended that the route of the onshore section of the Corrib Gas Pipeline be modified to increase the distance between the pipeline and local houses. The Corrib Gas Partners accepted this recommendation and appointed consultants identify and develop a suitable modified route. An alternative route was identified which doubled the distance from housing. This permission included the construction of a 4.8 km tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay and directed that a Community Gain Investment Fund be established to benefit the communities most impacted by the project.
Community support, which had been tentative following the jailings, grew as the benefits of local content became evident. Throughout the terminal construction phase close to 50% of the workforce, at any given time, was from Erris and Mayo. Other community benefits were delivered through the Corrib Natural Gas 3rd Level Scholarship Programme, the Local Grants Programme and the Erris Development Fund.
The Bellanaboy Bridge Gas Terminal began commissioning in late 2014 and came into operation at the end of December 2015. The plant is operating at its maximum capacity and during its first year of operation supplied 55% of Ireland’s gas requirement.
Shell has largely regained the trust of the community. Shell is now accepted as part of the business landscape in Mayo. The combined efforts of the plant who are focused on minimizing impacts of operational processes on our neighbours and the dedicated community liaison team, who continue to educate and build trust with community stakeholders, has resulted in minimal numbers of concerns raised, while an appropriately scaled Social Investment programme demonstrates Shell’s continued commitment to supporting local organisations and initiatives.
The presentation was very well received by the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary’s Members and Guests in attendance at the Westin Calgary. In appreciation for Mr. Crothers time, the ICCC will be making a donation to a charity of his choice.
For more information on this event, or upcoming events, please contact:
On February 7th, 2018, the Ireland-Canada Centre for Commerce in Calgary held their first networking event of 2018.
The sold out evening was held at Calgary’s Downtown Marriott. Members and guests enjoyed some great food and there was lively discussions throughout the evening.
Ireland’s Honorary Vice Consul, Laureen Regan, provided an update and greetings from the Irish Ambassador in Ottawa, Jim Kelly, along with highlighting some bi-lateral trade successes.
In his message to the group, the Ambassador reiterated his thanks for the warm welcome he received when he visited Calgary in November 2017 and conveyed his regrets at not being able to attend this event. The Ambassador shared how 2017 was a productive year in terms of deepening the Ireland-Canada relationship. A record of eight Ministers, including two Taoisigh (Prime Ministers), visited from Ireland. Additionally, Prime Minister Trudeau and separately, Minister McKenna, visited Dublin. These visits are an indication of the growing strength of our bilateral relations’ including increased trade and investment flows.
His message continued with his announcement of an equally busy and productive 2018, with plans already underway for five Ministers to visit Canada from Ireland before the end of March and a parliamentary delegation, including the chairs of the Canada-Ireland Inter-parliamentary Group and its UE and UK counterparts on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, to pay a visit to Ireland and Northern Ireland in March.
And finally, the Ambassador’s message concluded with a look forward at the deepening engagement with Canada’s Western Provinces in 2018, which will be supported through the opening of a full diplomatic Consulate-General in Vancouver later this year.
The ICCC in Calgary is looking forward to welcoming the new Consul-General to Vancouver and assisting with relevant market access and information.
In January, the IDA Ireland announced they will be opening their first Canadian office in Toronto. Further evidence that trade relations between our two countries continues to increase.
“Ireland is the fourth largest recipient in the EU of Canadian foreign direct investment,” Ms. Regan shared with the audience “and, among EU countries, the Irish are the seventh largest EU direct investors in Canada.” She continued with a short summary of just some of the significant activities in Irish and Canadian markets:
• Calgary’s Vermillion Energy’s 18.5% interest in the Corrib natural gas field;
• Dublin-based, Brown Bag Films acquisition by 9 Story Media Group in 2015;
• Irish multinational, One51’s, 280M CAD deal with Quebec’s Cuisse de depot, the Quebec Labor federation, FDQ, for injection-molded plastic producer IPL;
• Fairfax Financials investment of €93.5M in Bank of Ireland shares in 2011;
• Great West Life’s acquisition of Irish Life in 2013
• €450M acquisition of Topaz by Couche-Tard;
• Acquisition of Whitegate refinery by Irving Oil;
• €41M acquisition of Canadian firm, All Seasons Mushrooms, by Fyffes;
• €5.5M investment by Canadian firm, Mark Anthony Brands, in Glendalough Distillery;
• The partnership between the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Canadian Media Fund to establish a €150K development fund;
• The establishment of Canadian firm, Shopify, in Galway, creating 50 jobs;
• The acquisition by Canadian Firm Greystone of 51% stake in the Ballycadden Wind Farm;
The event concluded with an announcement of two of the ICCC’s upcoming events:
• March 12 – 16 – Exhibit: The Irish Diaspora in Canada: A History with an evening event for ICCC Members and Guest on the 15th of March.
• May luncheon event: Cryptocurrency in International Trade presented by ATB.
These events are designed to improve awareness of the larger opportunities that exist for business partnerships between Ireland and Canada and to increase networking opportunities for our members.
We are committed to adding value to our members and to the business communities of which they are a part.
Irish Citizens who are over 18, have held an Irish Passport and have not changed their name from their previous passport can now apply to renew their Passport online via the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
This new service will be convenient, secure, and will offer faster and more predictable turnaround times. The initiative is part of the passport reform programme which is modernising passport systems and controls and will bring further benefits to Irish citizens at home and abroad in the years ahead.
What you need to know to apply online:
You will be asked to input your home address and your postal address, if different, on the online application form. Please bear in mind when inputting your postal address that your Passport Book must be signed for on delivery.
St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and the 17th March, better known as St. Patrick’s Day, is our national holiday. Every year, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade helps to organise over 350 events in 100 countries around the world to mark the day. Central to this is the ‘Promote Ireland’ programme which in 2017 will see the Taoiseach, Tanaiste and 27 Ministers and Ministers of State travel to over 50 cities in 27 countries, ensuring a truly global celebration of Ireland.
St Patrick’s Day provides a unique opportunity to increase awareness of Ireland and our values worldwide. Right across our network of 80 Embassies and Consulates, we use the celebrations to share our culture, history, and values with the 70 million people of Irish heritage who celebrate around the world and increase awareness of Ireland
Video Message: – 2017 St Patrick’s Day Message from President Michael D. Higgins
May I send my very best wishes for St Patrick’s Day to the people of Ireland and to our global family and friends around the world. I do so with particular warmth in this year when we commemorate the centenary of one of the most significant events in our nation’s journey to independence – the Easter Rising of 1916.
As we come together to celebrate our Irishness on our national day, it is appropriate that we not only recall our founding moments, but also take the opportunity to imagine what Ireland might yet become. We must ask ourselves how we might best use that freedom which was handed down to us by previous generations in such a way as will serve all of our people.
As to 1916, with the benefit of rich and recent scholarship, we can appreciate in a new way the complexity of the historic event that was the Easter Rising. We can now acknowledge the diverse identities, backgrounds and experiences of those who participated in it, as well as the varied ideologies and beliefs that motivated them. We also recognise that, whatever their differing priorities, all of these men and women were at one in their commitment to rejecting Empire. All of them were determined to achieve independence, and to proclaim a free Republic with equal rights and opportunities for all its citizens.
One hundred years later, as we reflect on the Proclamation of 1916, and the idealism that inspired it, we are urged to re-engage with the work of crafting, together, a Republic worthy of that title. We are invited to seek to achieve the unfulfilled promises of the past as we imagine, together, new possibilities for our present and collective future.
In undertaking that task we can draw on the aspirations, expressed in different places and at different times by our people since the founding moments of our State, in The Democratic Programme of the First Dáil in 1919, in Bunreacht na hÉireann in 1937 and in the sentiments expressed at the moment of the formal establishment of the Irish Republic in 1948. As a people we have of course revisited our Constitution on many occasions, seeking to ensure that the principles it enshrines bring us closer to the ideals of freedom, justice and equality that were proclaimed in 1916. The need for idealism remains.
On many occasions since my inauguration as President of Ireland I have witnessed idealism of so many at every level of our society here in Ireland, and amongst our extended family around the globe, who are working for the creation of a better world at home and abroad. Their sense of justice and solidarity is reflected in a multitude of actions that it is a pleasure to acknowledge.
When we Irish are at our best we are a nation defined by a commitment to human rights, creative imagination, and at a global level the upholding of freedom from oppression. In this new century, we Irish have a most valuable contribution to make in the global fight against extreme poverty, hunger, and in our response to climate change. Conscious of our history and culture, we can give a lead too in crafting a human response to the ongoing refugee crisis. We can, in so many ways, continue the work of making Ireland the Real Republic of which our founders dreamed.
May I wish all Irish people, by birth or descent, and those who have made new homes here in Ireland, and all who share our national day with us, a very happy St. Patrick’s Day.
MICHAEL D. HIGGINS
UACHTARÁN NA hÉIREANN
PRESIDENT OF IRELAND
Ireland’s Ambassador to Canada was in Calgary this week, where he told a luncheon meeting of the Ireland-Canada Centre for Commerce (ICCC) that his country’s economy is on the comeback after several difficult years. “Part of the recovery strategy is increasing trade and tourism between Ireland and Canada”, said Ray Bassett, at the October 26 gathering at the Westin Hotel.
“Calgary and Alberta is our number one priority in Canada,” said Bassett. He noted Canada helped young people from Ireland weather the gloomy economy by opening up opportunities for employment here. Over 500,000 Albertans claim they have Irish heritage. “I think those young people who came to Canada revolutionized the Irish-Canadian relationship,” said Bassett.
As part of his trip to Calgary, Bassett and Regan met with Westjet officials, discussing the need for more direct flights to Ireland from Alberta.
The ICCC luncheon was sponsored by Vermilion Energy, which expects production to begin soon on a deep-water natural gas operation off the coast of Ireland providing up to 60% of Irelands gas needs and lessening Ireland’s dependence on English and Russian gas.
Almost 300 Irish companies do business in Canada, of which, over 50 have a local presence of some kind. There are approximately 25 Canadian companies in Ireland and about 7,000 Canadians are employed by Irish companies.
With Ireland’s economic ties to Calgary strong and growing, Bassett, announced he is looking to Laureen Regan to help maintain momentum. Regan, the head of the Boom Group which administers programs for corporations to optimize employee engagement, was appointed Ireland’s Vice-Consul Trade and Investment in Alberta. Regan, who is Irish born, also founded the Calgary chapter of the Ireland-Canada Centre for Commerce (ICCC).
Bassett said she was an obvious choice. “She has a proven track record here,” said Bassett. “She’s a tremendous networker, she’s a great human being and she’s very popular within the community. So it was a no-brainer.”
Regan will work with Deirdre Halferty, Ireland’s Honorary Consul responsible for boosting Irish community and cultural links.
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