Taoiseach, Michéal Martin T.D., on Friday, November 19, engaged in a business programme in Cardiff, Wales, as organised by Enterprise Ireland, following the latest meeting of the British-Irish Council. The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, also attended the appointment.
The business initiative hopes to boost trade opportunities between Ireland and Wales. An Taoiseach was due to meet with Irish companies delivering innovation to Welsh businesses, the Welsh government and local authorities. The visit also focused on strengthening relationships between the Irish and Welsh governments and building on the recent Ireland-Wales Forum which took place in Cardiff in October.
Leading the trade visit, Taoiseach Michéal Martin said, “Ireland’s relationship with Wales is a very positive one, and I’m delighted to visit Wales today to support the excellent connections and trade initiatives that are in place between our two nations. I am eager to gain insights into the opportunities that the Welsh market presents to Ireland and Irish businesses. With so many companies in recovery mode, it’s important to highlight that there are trade and growth opportunities in markets such as Wales, which are very open to working with the likes of Irish companies that are providing high-tech, innovative, and sustainable products and solutions.
“The UK still represents Ireland’s largest export market by value, representing €7.5bn or 29% of Irish exports in 2020. With devolution, the Welsh government has been empowered to focus on the opportunity to rebuild its economy and develop a modern and productive infrastructure. Its Programme for Government includes plans to launch a new 10-year Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan for a zero-carbon economy, and to deliver a digital strategy for Wales to upgrade their digital and communications infrastructure. Given this focus, I believe there is no reason why Ireland cannot grow its exports to Wales, while in the process helping Wales to achieve its targets for sustainable growth.”
First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford said, “Enhancing our public transport system is a vital part of our work to cut emissions and reduce our impact on climate change. The Welsh government’s target is for 45% of journeys to be made by sustainable modes by 2040. It is great to see that technology and data is being used to develop efficiencies and growth in this sector.”
Kevin Sherry, Executive Director at Enterprise Ireland, who led the visit for Enterprise Ireland, said, “Given the close proximity of Wales and its devolved powers, there are significant opportunities for Enterprise Ireland client companies to build mutually beneficial relationships with business partners in Wales. Overall, Enterprise Ireland client companies in the UK have supported exports of over €7.5bn, employing 110,000 people in the market. We continue to work with Irish companies to secure opportunities and deliver innovative customer solutions, particularly in areas of public spending at central and local government, their agencies, and also in healthcare.
“The recent Ireland-Wales Forum has highlighted the genuine and strong desire of the Welsh Government and authorities to engage with Ireland,” aligning with “our strategy to seek diversified opportunities for Irish companies across the UK.”