Metro Mayors of the Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester, Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham, will lead a trade mission to Ireland this month. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram will join his Greater Manchester counterpart Andy Burnham on a trade mission to Ireland later this month.
On March 28 and 29, Mr Rotheram and Mr Burnham will fly to Dublin for a series of meetings and events with political leaders, trade officials, and businesses from Britain and Ireland.
They will also be accompanied by a Department for International Trade delegation of 15 Liverpool city region and Greater Manchester exporting businesses, and Department for International Trade (DIT) Minister for Exports Mike Freer will himself join the group in to support the initiative.
The mayors will hold meetings with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and Enterprise Ireland chief executive Leo Clancy, and take part in a round table discussion with the British Irish Chamber of Commerce.
As part of the joint mission, the Liverpool city region, Greater Manchester, the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the DIT will commit to further efforts to deepen cooperation between Ireland and the North West. This is set to include regular visits each year, collaborating on shared priority areas including climate action, developing trade links, and building on sporting and cultural links.
Exports of goods to Ireland from the North West totalled almost £2bn in 2019, with the Liverpool city region and Greater Manchester accounting for around half of this total. The visitor economy in both city-regions is worth around £10bn, with Irish visitors among the most frequent, while Ireland is one of the North West’s biggest tourism destinations.
Mr Rotheram, who is currently in Cannes for the MIPIM global property expo, said: “The Liverpool city region has always been an open and outward-facing place and we have no closer friend than our ally over the water. Ireland has a special place in the hearts of many of the 1.6m people who call our region home, so much so that we’re often referred to as Ireland’s 33rd county.
“I’m really excited by this historic trade delegation that Andy and I are leading to help the North West to forge a stronger, more prosperous future for people on both sides of the Irish Sea. We not only have a rich and intertwined past, but a shared set of future priorities too.
“On renewable energy, trade, investment, culture, innovation and much, much more I’m looking forward to working with colleagues to help our region grow.”
Adrian O’Neill, Irish Ambassador to the UK, added: “The visit presents an excellent opportunity to celebrate the longstanding ties of people, trade and friendship between Ireland and the North West of England and to broaden and deepen our existing connections.
“We are very proud to have opened a new Irish Consulate General for the North of England last year and welcome the enhanced links that are already flowing from the on the ground presence of our Consul General Sarah Mangan and her team.”