Once again, as we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, it is a great honour for me to extend warmest greetings to all Irish people and friends of Ireland living in the Canary Islands.
- There are very close relations between the Canaries and Ireland since the first Irish migrants arrived over four centuries ago. We are very fortunate to have in the Canaries a large number of people who see themselves as friends of Ireland. The fact that a number of the first mayors of the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife were Irish illustrates the depth of our historical relationship.
Today, there remains a close interconnection through the hundreds of thousands of Irish people who visit the islands each year for their holidays. Ireland is indebted to our three Honorary Consulates for the support and advice they provide to Irish visitors. I look forward to again visiting the Canaries over the coming year, to meet with local authorities and to seek to further develop our relations with the islands.
Ireland is quickly recovering from the dramatic impact of the financial and economic crisis. We have had to adjust from over ten years of high growth rates to a period of austerity. I am happy to say that our country is in a much better position than at this time last year. The Government has taken decisive and credible decisions to stabilise our public finances and remedy our banking sector. We are particularly heartened by the fact that last year we saw record levels of exports. As a small economy, this is what will fuel our recovery. Our competitiveness is improving significantly and Ireland’s attractiveness as a location for foreign investors is growing all the time. We retain a young demographic and a flexible and hard working workforce. These factors will ensure that Ireland will rapidly recover from the current crisis.
Finally, I wish to use this opportunity to congratulate the President of the Cabildo of Tenerife, Sr. Ricardo Melchior Navarro, whom I had the pleasure of meeting again in Madrid at the recent award to him of an honour by the French Government. Sr. Melchior Navarro is a distinguished professional who has contributed significantly to the development of Tenerife. I am pleased to note that he was awarded a Degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, by the National University of Ireland in 2002.
Ambassador of Ireland to Spain