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  • Taoiseach launches strategic review of Irish-US relations

    Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

    Taoiseach Brian Cowan has launched a major review of Ireland-US relations entitled “Ireland and America: Challenges and Opportunities in a New Context”. The report was initiated following a visit by the Taoiseach to New York last year. It is the first significant review of diplomatic relations with the United States since the 1930s.

    The report is an ambitious one, setting out the following key objectives:

    • A revitalised relationship between Ireland and the United States, shaped to meet the challenges of a new era
    • A strong and mutually beneficial economic partnership
    • A deep and enduring engagement with the Irish diaspora in the US
    • A vibrant Irish community with new possibilities for young people to work, gain experience and live in the United States
    • A strong partnership with the Irish American community and with US authorities in caring for the ‘forgotten Irish’
    • Continued strong partnership with US Administration and Congress in support of the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement

    The Taoiseach has outlined a number of key initiatives:

    • a new Ireland-US Strategic Policy Group, chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, which will oversee implementation and report directly to the Taoiseach
    • A new Irish American Leadership Council
    • Extended diplomatic representation in the US, with, in the first instance, a new Consulate in Atlanta, GA and later in Houston, TX
      Expansion of the Honorary Consul network
    • Development and expansion of business networks to support Irish jobs and take advantage of new economic opportunities
    • A reinforcement of the Embassy’s capacity to promote economic relations
    • Development of bilateral dialogue foreign policy dialogue with the US on issues ranging from development assistance, human rights, disarmament and non-proliferation to conflict resolution
    • Develop targeted engagement with individual US states
    • Development of Ireland-US bilateral visa arrangements with a new reciprocal and renewable 2-year working visa arrangement, a reenergised J1 visa programme and a long term solution for the undocumented
    • encouragement of new online links for Irish communities and the wider diaspora in the US
    • A new certificate of Irish ancestry for Americans seeking formal acknowledgement of their Irish roots
    • A fast-track naturalisation regime for those with Irish great-grandparents who have studied in Ireland
    • Improved on-line access to genealogical records
    • Annual arrangements to commemorate the Famine in the US
    • A new leadership development programme to connect emerging leaders in US with counterparts in Ireland
    • Improved coordination of activities by Irish universities and Higher Education institutes
    • Expanded internship programme for US students with reciprocal placements for Irish students
    • Enhanced secondary school linkages and the development of curriculum materials in both the US and Ireland
    • Support for growing Irish studies programmes and development of an annual Summer School focussing on aspects of the Irish story in America
    • Officer exchange programme between the US State Department and Department of Foreign Affairs
    • A dedicated education officer in the Embassy in Washington
    • A series of high-profile Irish cultural events in 2011
    • Investment in existing Irish-American cultural infrastructure, especially in New York.

    Download the review.

    Related websites: