Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman in Qatar and Bahrain for Trade visit

May 13th, 2014 - Pat Breen

The Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade Pat Breen TD is in Qatar and Bahrain on a three day official visit at the invitation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Qatar and the Shoura Council of Bahrain.

The itinerary in Doha includes meetings with the Prime Minister of Qatar, the CEO of Qatar Airways, the Deputy Foreign Minister and the US Assistant Secretary of State for Economics and Business Affairs. Tomorrow, Deputy Breen travels to Bahrain for meetings with the Minister for Industry and Trade to push for the re-opening of the beef and sheep meat market, as well as the Chairman of the Shoura Council and representatives from the Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security Committee there.

Deputy Breen says: “This visit is follow up to An Taoiseach’s trade visit in January and it is my hope that it will serve to strengthen the economic and trade ties of Ireland with Qatar and Bahrain. Yesterday I was hosted by Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheik Abdullah bin Nasser, where we discussed the outcomes of An Taoiseach’s visit and the good relations between our two countries. I stressed the need to strengthen and grow these ties and outlined the attractiveness of Ireland for foreign direct investment, highlighting the fact that 1032 multinationals use Ireland as a base in Europe. We also discussed the possibilities of further trade visits in both directions.

” I also met with the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al-Bakar, and was impressed with their ambitious plans in the immediate future, which includes opening of the new airport in Doha and the expansion of his airline’s network later this year in preparation for World Cup 2022. I raised the possibilities of Qatar Airways flying cargo and passengers into Ireland. Given the rapid pace of development in Doha, and its growing stature as a business, media and aviation hub, I intend to press the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade consider the opening of an Irish Embassy in Qatar.”

The Chairman attended the Doha Forum and while there he had a meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Qatar Mohamed Bin Abdullah Al Rumaihi and the US

Assistant Secretary of State for Economics and Business Affairs, Charles Rivkin, where they discussed progress in the ongoing EU-US trade talks. Tomorrow (14 May) the Chairman will pay a one day visit to Bahrain.

Deputy Breen continues: “Tomorrow, I will be hosted by the Minister for Industry and Trade Dr Hassan Fakhro, with whom I intend to raise the possibility of reopening the beef and sheep meat market. It is estimated that the Bahraini market was worth €1.5m to Irish agriculture before it closed. Recognising the importance of such markets to Ireland’s

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farm families and the wider agrifood industry, I will be stressing that Ireland’s agricultural produce is among the finest in the world. I am also looking forward to meetings with the Chairman of the Shoura Council Ali bin Saleh Al Saleh and Members of the the Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security Committee to discuss the Middle East and developments in the area.”