News & Events

Minister Mitchell O'Connor visits Leeds to discuss the EU referendum with business leaders and the Irish community on the last day to register to vote

Irish Government Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor T.D. is visiting Leeds today on her first visit to the UK as Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. The visit forms part of a coordinated programme of ministerial engagements reaching out to Irish citizens living and working in the UK who are eligible to vote in the UK's EU membership referendum on 23 June.  

As Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Minister Mitchell O'Connor is emphasising the significant business ties beween Ireland and the UK, and Ireland and Leeds, that are best served in the EU. Minister Mitchell O'Connor has a range of meeting with local business leaders and Irish investors. Speaking at a British-Irish Chamber of Commerce event, Minister Mitchell O'Connor will say: "We are convinced that no alternative arrangement will be better than the one we currently have: a single market and seamless flows of goods, services, capital and people.This trade sustains approximately 200,000 jobs on each side of the Irish Sea." 

Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Government Agency who support and influence the employment generating growth of non-food exports from Irish companies into the UK, will meet with the Minister along with a number of their partner companies who have operations in Leeds to discuss growth potential and the impact of the EU referendum. Minister Mitchell O'Connor will highlight the significance of the U.K. market:"The UK is Ireland’s single largest export market for the Irish-owned companies working with Enterprise Ireland. The fact that Ireland and the U.K. are currently trading about €1.2 billion in trade every week illustrates the importance of the two-way trading relationship." 

Minister Mitchell O'Connor will also meet with representatives of leading Irish community organisations in Leeds - the Leeds, Health & Homes and Leeds Irish Centre. The Minister will visit visit the centre to meet with the attendees of their regular Tuesday club.  

Today is the last day to register to vote in the UK's EU referendum. The Minister is encouraging the Irish community in Britain to register and to remind their friends and family to register too and participate in the important decision on 23 June.  Speaking at the Leeds Irish Centres, Minister Mitchell O'Connor will reflect on the close links and the improved relations between Ireland and Britain in recent years, and say: "The Irish Government fully respects that, first and foremost, this is a decision for UK voters to make on 23 June but the Irish Government want the UK, as its closest neighbour and partner, to remain a member of a reformed EU." 


Note for Editors: 

The most recent information on the Irish Government’s position on the EU referendum, including remarks by Taoiseach(Prime Minister) Enda Kenny can be viewed here: 

Minister Mitchell O'Conor is the third such visit as part of a programme of engagements to be undertaken in Britain by the new Irish Government in advance of the 23 June.  

Irish citizens resident in the UK, over 18, are entitled to register to vote in the EU referendum. Today, 7 June, is the last day to register to vote.  

Irish owned companies operating in Leeds include Jurys Inns, Dairygold Food Ingredients and Adams Foods (owned by Ornua formerly Irish Dairy Board). Adams Foods employs 650 people at their state of the art cheese cutting and packing plant which is one of the largest and best invested facilities in Europe. 

The Leeds Irish Centre recently marked its 60th anniversary. There is also a Leeds Irish History month.  

Further information or requests for pictures to Clare Brosnan, Irish Embassy Press Officer – +44(0)7918768810 

Press Office, D/Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation ph 01 6312200 or