News & Events

Minister John Halligan in Brazil to advance Ireland's Trade, Tourism and Investment strategies

Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, is in Brazil this week on a St Patrick’s Day mission aimed at advancing Ireland’s Trade, Tourism and Investment strategies.

During the week-long visit, Minister Halligan will meet key Education and Research & Development leaders along with senior business people in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. A key focus of the trip will be promoting Ireland as a destination for education and showcasing the country’s approach to economic innovation, as well as promotion of Ireland as a destination for tourism and investment, engagement with the Irish community and promoting a better understanding of Ireland’s position on Brexit.

Minister Halligan’s programme will include a visit to the Brazilian Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and Foreign Ministry, as well as meeting his Brazilian counterpart, Minister for Technology, Innovation and Communications Gilberto Kassab. He’ll also meet Education Ireland officials at an international student recruitment fair to discuss opportunities for Brazilian students to study science, technology, engineering, mathematics and creative industries at Irish universities. Over 3,000 STEM Brazilian students have studied in 22 Irish Higher Education institutions under the Science without Borders programme.

“Ireland’s popularity with Brazilian students is a direct result of the high quality experience of the students coming to Ireland and the messaging they are bringing back to fellow students, their families, and their colleges and universities”, Minister Halligan noted.

As part of his visit Minister Halligan will meet with Irish companies which are increasing their presence in Brazil, including telecommunications service provider Openet. He’ll also travel to Vila Prudente, a neighbourhood in the east of São Paulo, where Dublin-born Fr Patrick Clarke has worked for over 40 years. The Minister will visit the recently reformed parochial house to meet Fr Clarke and Sligo native Fr Mick Foody and tour the surrounding St Jospeh the Worker Pastoral Area to witness the impact of the Irish missionaries’ work.

On Wednesday, Minister Halligan will give a keynote address at a conference on ‘Innovation in Rapidly Changing Societies’ at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro TechPark and a seminar on the impact of Brexit for Ireland. He’ll also launch the 2017 Academic Activities of W.B Yeats Chair of Irish Studies at the University of São Paulo, before participating in a Round Table on Training, Skills and Innovation at the University’s Faculty of Economics.

On Thursday night, Minister Halligan will attend the annual ‘Greening’ of the Christ the Redeemer statue as part of the global greening initiative, aimed at increasing awareness and enhancing tourism links with Ireland. Prior to his departure on Sunday, Minister Halligan will officially launch the St Patrick’s Street Festival on São Paulo’s famed Avenida Paulista.

Throughout the trip, he’ll be meeting members of the Irish community and investors with an interest in Ireland at a series of receptions, including one at the official residence of Irish ambassador Brian Glynn.

“Brazil and Ireland enjoy a positive and fruitful bilateral relationship”, Minister Halligan added. “Our businesses have created productive partnerships, our students enjoy educational exchanges, and our cultures are alive on the streets and in the communities of both countries. Brazilian tourists are welcomed each year at our attractions across the island, just as Irish tourists are embraced in Rio de Janeiro and in particular by the statue of Christ the Redeemer. In the area of education, science and innovation the links are strong and I have no doubt they will become stronger in future.”


For further information contact Michelle Clancy, Special Adviser to Minister Halligan, tel. 087 8216524, email

Editor’s Note:

· In 2016 Brazil’s total trade in goods with Ireland was valued at €509m and Irish exports to Brazil were worth €228 million. Medicinal and pharmaceutical products, together with computers and computer parts, make up the majority of Ireland’s exported commodities while the most imported commodities were aircrafts and parts, accounting for nearly two thirds of total imports.


· In 2015, the last year for which figures are available, trade in services were valued at €1,023 million, up from €735 million in2014. Exports were valued at €919 million; imports at €104 million.