Enda Kenny begins St Patrick's Day US visit

He is taking part in a seven day five-city programme

Enda Kenny begins St Patrick's Day US visit

Enda Kenny is pictured on his first official trip as Taoiseach to the United States of America in 2011 | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny begins his St Patrick's Day visit to the United States Saturday.

He will begin in Philadelphia, the first stop of a five-city programme.

During the seven day visit, his department says he will work to advance Ireland’s economic and political interests - including promoting Ireland as a location for jobs, and highlighting Ireland's priorities in the context of Brexit.

Mr Kenny will participate in a number of engagements with the Irish-American community and business groups, including attending Philadelphia's 247th St Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday.

On Monday March 13th, the Taoiseach will meet Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

He will also meet Enterprise Ireland and IDA clients, and attend events at the JFK Library to mark the 100th anniversary of President John F Kennedy's birth.

On Tuesday, Mr Kenny travels to Rhode Island where he will meet Governor Gina Raimondo, before opening the Ireland West International Trade Centre, and visiting TF Green Airport to mark the commencement of new transatlantic routes operated by Norwegian Airlines.

In Washington on Wednesday, the Taoiseach will meet senior business contacts and attend a business leaders' lunch.

He will celebrate Irish research and industry-academic links at the presentation of the SFI St Patrick's Day Science medal.

He will also address the American Ireland Fund that evening.

On Thursday, the Taoiseach's programme includes a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump and events hosted by US Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Paul Ryan.

In a statement, the Government says: "The Taoiseach will use each of these opportunities to emphasise the strength of Irish-US relations, and our Brexit priorities and to continue to advocate for immigration reform to assist the many thousands of undocumented Irish in the US."

The Taoiseach will also highlight Ireland's commitment to EU membership.

While on Friday, Mr Kenny travels to New York to participate in the St Patrick’s Day parade. He will then speak at 'Ireland Day,' an event to promote Ireland, hosted by Michael Bloomberg.

Canada and New Zealand 

Seperatly, Housing Minister Simon Coveney is travelling to Ottawa and Toronto in Canada.

He will have a number of media engagements in Toronto on Sunday and will visit the Ireland Park Foundation Famine Memorial Park.

He will also attend the St Patrick’s Day mass and reception, and meet with members of the Irish community before departing on Sunday night.

He will visit the Irish Canadian Immigration Centre and attend the Ireland Fund Luncheon at the Toronto Convention Centre and meet with members of the local business community.

Mr Coveney will also have a bilateral meeting with Catherine McKenna, Canada's Minister for the Environment and Climate Change.

Both ministers will walk in the St Patrick’s Day parade from Ottawa City Hall.

While Minister of State for Tourism Patrick O’Donovan is in New Zealand, as part of a 'Promote Ireland' programme.

Minister of State for Tourism Patrick O’Donovan (centre) travels to New Zealand | Image supplied to Newstalk.com

His schedule includes an event organised by Tourism Ireland, attended by leading New Zealand travel trade, airline representatives and journalists.

Rugby is also a key theme, as Tourism Ireland promotes Ireland's hosting of the Women's Rugby World Cup and our bid for the Rugby World Cup 2023.