President Higgins to undertake State Visits to Australia and New Zealand
Date: Thu 21st Sep, 2017 | 12:02
President Michael D. Higgins today confirmed that, following advice from the Government, he has accepted the invitation of the governments of Australia and New Zealand, to undertake State Visits to the two countries in October 2017.
The State Visit to Australia will focus on deepening and expanding Ireland’s long-standing bilateral ties with Australia, highlighting aspects of the two countries’ shared history and it is aimed at strengthening economic, tourism, cultural and political links between the two nations.
The President will meet with Irish communities in Perth, Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, and will have meetings with leading figures in the worlds of business, tourism, sport, academia, culture and the arts.
The President will meet the Governor General and Prime Minister of Australia, and have meetings with national and State authorities.
The President’s visit will be an opportunity to celebrate the significant contribution of the Irish Australian community to Australia’s multicultural society.
Irish people have had a significant influence in the political, social and cultural history of Australia and in the 2016 census, 2.5 million Australians, or 11% of the population, indicated they had Irish ancestry. Over 80,000 Irish born are living in Australia.
The President will continue with a State Visit to New Zealand for a State Visit, which he is making at the invitation of the government of New Zealand.
The State Visit to a country with which Ireland has many shared interests is intended to strengthen political, cultural and economic ties between the two nations, as well as to reach out to members of the Irish diaspora living in New Zealand.
There are an estimated 13,000 Irish citizens in New Zealand, and some 600,000 people in New Zealand have Irish ancestry. Irish culture, values and influence have been tangible throughout the modern history of New Zealand.
The President will meet with Maori elders as well as with business representatives, academics, artists and sports bodies and is scheduled to have meetings with the Governor General, Prime Minister and political leaders in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland.
Further details of the President’s programme of activities during the two State Visits will be available from Áras an Uachtaráin in due course.