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    Friday, December 19th, 2008

    Politicians to make annual pilgrimage to global Irish communities

    Friday, March 9th, 2007

    This year’s plans for the annual St Patrick’s Day trek by Irish politicians to sundry locales around the world has been announced by the Taoiseach.

    Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern will visit Washington, DC, where they will celebrate the day at the White House and meet with the President and key Congressional leaders; they will discuss the issue of the undocumented, as will other Government Ministers visiting other American cities. The Taoiseach will also address the American Ireland Fund Dinner.

    On the trip the Taoiseach will also travel to New York where he will meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. He will meet with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, visit the Twin Towers Memorial Centre and meet with leaders in the financial services industry.

    United States
    Taoiseach – New York and Washington
    Tánaiste – Savannah
    Minister Dermot Ahern – Washington
    Minister Mary Coughlan – New York
    Minister Brian Cowen – Chicago
    Minister Martin Cullen – San Francisco
    Minister Noel Dempsey – Dallas and Houston
    Minister Mary Hanafin – Boston
    Minister Éamon Ó Cuív- Phoenix
    MoS Pat the Cope Gallagher – Atlanta and Philadelphia

    Toronto – Minister Dick Roche

    Minister John O’Donoghue – London
    Minister of State Brendan Smith – Manchester
    Minister of State Seán Power – Birmingham
    Minister of State Conor Lenihan – Edinburgh

    Rest of Europe
    Austria – Minister of State Mary Wallace
    France – Minister of State Brian Lenihan
    Italy and the Holy See – Minister Seamus Brennan
    Norway Sweden and Denmark – Minister Harney
    Poland – Government Chief Whip Tom Kitt
    Romania – Minister of State Noel Ahern
    Russia – Minister of State Seán Haughey

    China – Minister of State John Browne
    Japan – Minister of State Tim O’Malley
    India – Minister of State Frank Fahey
    Kuala Lumpur and Singapore – Minister of State Michael Ahern
    Vietnam – Minister of State Batt O’Keeffe

    South America
    Argentina – Attorney General Rory Brady

    South Africa – MoS Tom Parlon – Cape Town and Pretoria

    For more details on each of these trips, see the Taoiseach’s department website.

    Christmas homecomings changing with Ireland

    Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

    The Irish Emigrant newsletter highlights the fact that the familiar stories of emigrants arriving home at Christmas has taken new twists now that there are so many immigrants in Ireland.

    As recently as ten years ago the arrival of emigrants, returning home for Christmas, was the top story on most news bulletins in the days prior to Christmas. It still makes news but alongside a new phenomenon, that of immigrants going home to places such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Slovakia to be with their families at Christmas. We also have significant numbers of parents of immigrants arriving in Dublin from eastern Europe to spend Christmas in Ireland in the company of their sons and daughters.

    The newsletter also reported that President Mary McAleese sent a Christmas greeting to the Irish troops serving overseas with the UN via a live video link.

    Visit the Irish Emigrant website.

    Society of Physiotherapists raises emigration issue

    Thursday, December 7th, 2006

    The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists has issued a press release headlined, “Minister urged to halt forced emigration of Irish physiotherapy graduates”.

    The organisation says that it welcomes increased public health service funding in yesterday’s Budget, but says, however, that increased funding “will come too late for physiotherapy graduates who are currently facing the prospect of emigration due to serious planning failures in the health service”.

    The ISCP says it is “gravely concerned” about the employment position of new graduates, noting that 71 (45%) of the 150 new graduates are either unemployed or working in unrelated jobs. The organisation suggests a number of recommendations “to address this crisis before new graduates are forced to emigrate”.

    Read the press release.

    Christmas visitors face car hire hikes

    Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

    The Consumers’ Association of Ireland says that car rental companies in Ireland are fleecing visitors who want to hire a car over Christmas. The CAI’s John Cradden compared car hire prices on websites in the days prior to Christmas (5-18th December) with the holiday period (23rd December – 5th January 2007); the companies surveyed were Avis, Hertz, Budget, Argus and National. Most firms doubled their prices over Christmas; Budget is actually charging 225% more for the Christmas rental.

    The CAI also looked at car hire prices in Belfast and Paris over the same weekend. The same companies had more modest increases for Belfast, ranging from no increase to a 57% rise. There was no increase in price for Paris.

    CAI’s Chief Executive Dermott Jewell stated:

    “Yet again we see this sector hike their prices outrageously without any additional benefit to the customer and with a complete disdain for the negative effect upon tourism. It is profit that is the focus but with greed at its core. It is important therefore that we let our family members coming home and friends visiting for Christmas know that they must look at all possible transport alternatives before giving business to these outlets.?

    See the Consumers’ Association of Ireland press release.