On Sunday evening the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his wife Fionnuala visited Cathal and Mary Garvey's farm in county Mayo and welcomed Premier Li of China and his wife Professor Chang to Ireland.
The visit put Mayo on the world stage and was designed to showcase the best Ireland has to offer in terms of high quality food production and hospitality. Speaking of the official visit by Premier Li, the Taoiseach said: “I was delighted to welcome Premier Li Kegiang to Ireland. It is very significant that the Premier chose to visit our country and shows the relationships that have been developed since this Government came to office. It builds on the visit of President Xi Jinping, when he was vice-president in 2012 follows on from my own visit to China in 2012 when the Strategic Partnership Agreement was struck. Earlier this year, Minister Coveney announced at the Fine Gael National Conference in Castlebar that China had lifted its ban on Irish beef paving the way for Irish operators to get a share of this vast market. Irish beef will be stocked in Chinese supermarkets in the near very near future. There are further opportunities in the dairy sector and I am confident that the huge potential that a market of 1.3 billion people offers our country can benefit Ireland and help us build on the recovery that has also taken hold. Premier Li and I also held bi-lateral talks in Ashford Castle yesterday (Sunday ) and told me that China now sees Ireland as a gateway to Europe and the western economy. The visit also offers our county and country huge potential for Tourism. Last year 40,000 Chinese tourists visited Ireland and this year we hope to grow this figure to 50,000."