While attending an Enterprise Ireland business breakfast in Toronto on Monday (21 August), Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that the government plans to double Ireland's global footprint by 2025.
The event took place on day two of a three day visit to Canada, during which the Taoiseach partook in several talks aimed at expanding trade and tourism links between Ireland and Canada, as reported by thejournal.ie.
Commenting on the implications of the new global footprint expansion plan, Varadkar declared that it will allow for "new and augmented diplomatic missions, as well as significantly increased resources for [Ireland's] investment, tourism, cultural and food agencies overseas."
Other topics addressed by the Taoiseach at the breakfast included EU-Canada trade deal CETA and Brexit, with Varadkar emphasising his desire to increase Ireland's international presence.
He asserted, "Foreign Direct Investment from Canada to Ireland has been buoyant in recent years and at the end of 2016, IDA Ireland had 28 Canadian companies in its client portfolio, employing over 31,000 people in Ireland. We plan to grow this inward investment significantly in the years to come. Our efforts will undoubtedly be helped further by the entry into force of CETA."
Varadkar added that CETA will break down more than 98% of tariff barriers between the EU and Canada, helping to "unlock the enormous untapped potential for greater trade and investment between Ireland and Canada."
He also stated, ahead of the visit, that in the face of Brexit, it is crucial that the Irish government "seeks to expand [Ireland's] markets overseas and strengthen [Ireland's] relationships with major trading partners."
The full extent of the government's Global Footprint 2025 scheme is expected to be made public by the end of 2017.