Updated: 20/10/16 : 06:47:42
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South Korean Ambassador welcomed by Sligo Mayor

The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea. His Excellency Mr. Kang-il Hu, visited Sligo recently, and was welcomed to City Hall by the Mayor of Sligo Municipal District Councillor Marie Casserly, the Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Councillor Hubert Keaney and Director of Services Dorothy Clarke. The Ambassador  was accompanied by Third Secretary at the Korean Embassy,  Mr. Hyoyoun Jeong

In her address Mayor Casserly outlined the value Sligo County Council places on global contacts; ‘Our remote location on the Western periphery of Europe has not deterred us from establishing and developing a wide range of international  contacts, and in recent weeks we have hosted visitors from Oman, San Jose University, Detroit and Crozon.  Our guests from Crozon were in Sligo to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of our Twinning Association, and the formal and informal contacts  developed under the umbrella of the twinning programme has been the  backdrop to important cultural, educational and sporting links.

'In this context we are pleased to welcome our special guests from South Korea; Engagements such as this can be the catalyst for a range of projects and initiatives, and it will also encourage us to explore  Korean  history, tradition and culture. There is a very strong linkage at national level between our two countries,  and 2013 marked the 30th Anniversary of diplomatic relations, an occasion marked by the establishment of a memorial in Seoul to those of Irish birth  who fought in the Korean war.

'The first historical links go back much further – the first documented record of Irish people on Korean soil  dates to 1871, when a number of Irish soldiers were members  of the U.S Marine Corps who landed on Gangwha island. The first Irish-man of note to be referenced in Korean history was Derry Native William George Aston, who served as British Consul – General  in the late 19th century."

Trade and enterprise

'At European level, the EU – Korea Free Trade agreement provides a vibrant frame-work for Irish exporters, with trade between our two countries increasing in recent years. The Korean Embassy plays a very positive role in working alongside our state agencies to promote inward trade and investment. They have supported Irish companies in trying to identify new markets, and they assist companies with their network of business contacts. Both the IDA and Enterprise Ireland have offices in Korea, with the Ambassador directly overseeing the local market team.From a local perspective,  Sligo County Council welcomes the  opportunities presented by our new responsibilities in the areas of local  enterprise and economic development, and we look forward to  maintaining and promoting Sligo’s status as the cultural and economic hub of the North West," concluded Mayor Casserly.

Ambassador Hu thanked the Mayor for welcoming him and Third Secretary Jeongto to City Hall. The Ambassador spoke of the  increase in visitors between Korea and Ireland and said this was also reflected in increasing business and enterprise contacts between the two countries. The Ambassador said  was aware of possible proposals to establish direct flights between Seoul and Dublin which would be a significant boost to our growing association at all levels