Senators Neale Richmond, Kieran O’Donnell and Gerry Horkan with ambassador Peadar Carpenter and members of the Luxembourg parliament commissions on European affairs and economic affairs.
( Photo : Chambre des députés )
Three members of the Irish parliament were in Luxembourg on an economic mission this week.
Senators Neale Richmond, Kieran O’Donnell and Gerry Horkan from the Seanad Éireann, the upper house of the Irish parliament, spent time at the chamber of deputies on Tuesday to discuss economic and European affairs.
Accompanied by Irish ambassador to Luxembourg, Peadar Carpenter, the three parliamentarians were welcomed by LSAP deputy Marc Angel, who is the president of the parliamentary commission on European affairs.
Speaking on RTL television on Tuesday, Neale Richmond underlined the strong economic ties between the grand duchy and Ireland, especially in the areas of financial services and agriculture. Both countries are part of the club of smaller EU nations, he said, adding that during the crisis the Irish consciously maintained their embassy in Luxembourg. Neale also stressed the human factor, saying that there has been a growth in people moving from Luxembourg to Ireland and vice-versa.
Neale also talked about Brexit and its impact on Ireland, especially in the agriculture sector. He said that although Ireland’s goods sold to the UK had fallen from 60% of total exports before the Republic joined the EU to just 12% now, meat and dairy products were still in high demand across the Irish Sea. He cited sales in tomatoes and mushrooms that had fallen by 10% since the 2016 referendum and that an anticipated increase in growth in the Irish financial services sector is not going to help the agriculture industry. “But the Irish government can’t train a 55-year old mushroom farmer to become a hedge fund manager overnight,” he told RTL.