Thursday, May 20, 2010

Micheal's Great Whirl of China


China’s Green Tea producers had better watch out – Ireland’s top expert on the stuff is on his way!

Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin is a man who takes his health very seriously. Smoothies, fresh fruit and seasonal veggies are also part and parcel of his ‘five-a-day’.

Next week, the Minister will embark on a whistle-stop five-city, five-day tour of the world’s new economic powerhouse – China – and while he may indulge in a lot of his favourite tea to keep up with a gruelling schedule, the main focus of the trip is serious business.

The Minister is hitting Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Dalian.

At each location, he will visit key Irish companies which are supporting jobs at home by doing business in the world’s biggest market.

And my moles tell me that there will be a few positive announcements as a result!

The highlight of the trip is expected to be a visit to Shanghai, which is twinning with Micheal’s native Cork and is host to the World Expo.

The ‘Ireland’ exhibit is already one of the most visited at the event which only opened last month – maybe that has something to do with the fact that it boasts its very own Porter House.

The trip to China is the latest in his diplomatic offensive to tell the world that ‘Ireland is open for business’.

And it seems Micheal Martin has been using some divine inspiration for help along the way in this gruelling battle.

Only recently, the Minister and his diplomats used their influence to bring their message into the hallowed pages of the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano – where column inches are normally reserved for the messages and daily engagements of the Pope!

In between reports of statements from bishops, a message from Pope Benedict on the digital age and reports on the Pontiff’s recent visit to Malta is an article by Minister Martin outlining Irish measures to meet the economic challenge.

But it is not just readers in the Vatican that have been receiving Micheal’s message – similar articles have been placed in newspapers across the globe over the past month in places such as Europe, the US, Asia, Australia and the Arab World.

One has to wonder why Micheal Martin is taking such a prominent role in promoting the Irish economy.

He has been out to bat for the Government on economic issues on a number of occasions in the past few weeks. Is he being groomed for bigger things? Only time will tell.

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