The Irish will have much to celebrate this National Day. Over the past year, they have commemorated the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising and had their first rugby win against New Zealand after 111 years.
Its economy is also faring well, the ambassador noted, with the highest growth rate in the EU at over 5% and unemployment expected to dip below 6% by the end of the year.
The Brexit factor
Nevertheless, it would be impossible to overlook the impact the referendum on Brexit could have, considering British prime minister Theresa May is expected to trigger Article 50 by the end of March.
“While we, of course, respect the decision of the British people, it is not the decision that we had hoped for,” the ambassador said.
The Irish government has emphasised increasing efforts to find new markets for its national produce, but it remains to be seen how Brexit negotiations would affect its economy.
The ambassador used Guinness--a St Patrick’s Day staple--as an example: “Guinness produces 1.2 billion pints of Guinness in Dublin every year…the equivalent of 10,000 trucks take it to Belfast to be packaged and returned to Dublin for export.”
Despite the potential challenges ahead, Carpenter encouraged attendees to enjoy Luxembourg’s current lucky streak of weather while festivities take place.
“It is a wonderful time of year that we celebrate [St Patrick’s Day], as spring is a time of renewal and hope after the dark days of winter,” he said, adding: “[The] great number of Irish events over the coming days…will surely banish any lingering winter blues.”