Michael Paul Kehoe, Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Departments of An Taoiseach and Defence, was in Australia last week, as part of a "Promote Ireland" programme around St Patrick's Day – helping to promote tourism to Ireland and inviting members of the Diaspora living in Australia to come home during this special year of The Gathering Ireland.
Minister Kehoe met with state politicians, representatives of the Irish Diaspora and influential local business people, at a reception hosted by Tourism Ireland and the Irish Consulate at Parliament House. On that day, many of the parliamentarians wore green and sported a Tourism Ireland shamrock pin. Commending the work of those Irish organisations who worked with the Irish Consulate on the St Patrick’s Festival, Minister Kehoe noted: “Initiatives like the Sydney St Patrick’s Festival help us showcase and celebrate what is best about Ireland, and to engage in a very positive way with both Irish communities abroad and the wider communities in the cities in which they have made their home.”
Tourism Ireland’s St Patrick’s 2013 programme spanned Great Britain, Mainland Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, as well as emerging tourism markets like China, India, the Middle East and South Africa. About 70 landmark buildings and iconic sites around the world went green at the weekend to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. In Australia, they included the iconic Sydney Opera House, Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney, as well as the Bell Tower and Council House in Perth. In New Zealand, the Sky Tower in Auckland, the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Clock Tower in Palmerston North were all illuminated in green as the sun set on 17 March.
Elsewhere around the globe, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the London Eye, Selfridges in London, Niagara Falls, Burj al Arab in Dubai and the Prince’s Palace of Monaco also joined Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative. Tourism Ireland took every opportunity to capitalise on Ireland’s heightened profile around St Patrick’s weekend, with the saturation coverage about Ireland across the global airwaves, in newspapers and digital media, proving an invaluable boost for Ireland’s overall tourism marketing drive this year.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are delighted that Minister Kehoe travelled to Australia to help us deliver the message about the many great reasons to visit Ireland in 2013 and, in particular, The Gathering Ireland.
“Our Global Greening initiative got even bigger and better this year, with some famous additions like the Pyramids of Giza, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, Anfield stadium in Liverpool, the Eye Film Institute in Amsterdam, the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, the Gateway of India in Mumbai and even the Friends Arena in Stockholm, where the Republic of Ireland takes on Sweden later this week in the World Cup qualifying campaign. Our aim is to bring a smile to the world and to convey the message that Ireland offers the warmest of welcomes and great fun, as well as fantastic scenery and cultural activities.”