The Mayor Economy

Greater Manchester welcomes Taoiseach Micheál Martin as city-region strengthens ties with Ireland

GREATER Manchester has welcomed Taoiseach Micheál Martin on his first official visit to the city-region, reaffirming the historic ties of heritage, culture and trade that link the North West of England and Ireland.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Manchester City Council Leader Cllr Bev Craig will meet the Taoiseach in Manchester today (Thursday 10 November) ahead of his participation in the 38th British-Irish Council Summit in Blackpool this week. They will be joined by Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram, who took part in the first joint mayoral mission to Ireland with Mayor Andy Burnham earlier this year.

As part of his visit the Taoiseach will attend a reception with Irish community organisations and other groups from across Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester is home to the Consulate General of Ireland for the North of England, which was opened by Foreign Minister Simon Coveney last year, and an Enterprise Ireland office, which assists Irish companies looking to do business across the North.

In March the Mayor and his Liverpool City Region counterpart led the first mission of its kind to Ireland, joined by a delegation of 15 businesses from Greater Manchester and Liverpool and representatives from the Department for International Trade.

They met with Irish President Michael D. Higgins, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, and Foreign Minister Simon Coveney TD, and took part in a series of meetings and events with British and Irish businesses and cultural organisations. Talks throughout the two-day visit focused on net zero innovation, low carbon industries, and other areas of cooperation between Ireland and the North West.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “It is a great privilege to be able to welcome the Taoiseach to Greater Manchester today, as we celebrate the enduring and historic friendship between the North West and Ireland.

“Earlier this year I led the first joint mayoral mission to Dublin, alongside my friend and colleague Steve Rotheram. I am now pleased to extend the same warm welcome to Micheál Martin on his visit to our city-region, and to reaffirm our strong commitment to deepening trade and cooperation with our closest neighbours across the Irish Sea.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “I am delighted to visit Manchester today, a place with such a deep and longstanding connection to Ireland, and somewhere we share so many political, trading and cultural links with.

“We are committed to strengthening these connections and forging new ones.

“The opening of our Consulate General shows the enduring commitment to the Irish community in Britain and to the British-Irish relationship as a whole.”

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester’s Economy Lead, said: “Ireland is one of our most important international partners, and the Taoiseach’s visit to Manchester today sends a strong message about the value we both place on this relationship.

“Hundreds of jobs have been created by Irish companies investing across the city-region, and boosting cooperation on key sectors like health innovation, low-carbon technologies and advanced manufacturing is a top priority for us.”

Ireland is a key trading partner for Greater Manchester and the wider North of England. The value of exports from the North West to Ireland was around £2bn in 2019, almost half of which came from Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region. Ireland is among the most popular tourist destinations for residents of the two city-regions, while Irish visitors to Greater Manchester outnumbered any other in 2019, and the visitor economy in Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region is worth around £10bn.

Article Published: 10/11/2022 14:00 PM