Zagreb - Ireland acknowledges the huge contribution Croatian immigrants have made to its society, visiting Irish Parliament Speaker Seán Ó Fearghaíl said after talks with his host, Sabor Speaker Gordan Jandroković, in Zagreb on Thursday.
We are aware of an increasing number of Croatian citizens living in Ireland. I would like to say clearly that we recognise the enormous contribution they are making not only to our economy, but to our society as well, said Ó Fearghaíl, who was on an official visit to Croatia. We are determined to support them and integrate them with our society, but also to encourage them to nurture their special identity so when the time comes and if they want, they can return to their homeland, just like a large number of Irish people had returned to Ireland. I feel that you in Croatia definitely want that, the Irish official said.
The Croatian Parliament Speaker said that according to some estimates, there were now approximately 20,000 Croats registered in Ireland and expressed hope that their status be regulated. Jandroković said he hoped those people would be a bridge between the two countries. Ó Fearghaíl and Jandroković also talked about promoting the economic trade which currently amounts to some EUR 80 million.
Ó Fearghaíl, a politician with experience in agriculture, said the economic ties could be strengthened through trade missions, adding that after he flew back to Dublin he would encourage agricultural and food institutions to visit Croatia. He also said he was a frequent guest at the Croatian coast, praising Croatia's tourism service but also stressing that Croatia's tourism could be promoted in Ireland more aggressively.
Ó Fearghaíl and Jandroković also talked about cultural cooperation in the context of 2020 when two European capitals of culture will be Rijeka and Galway. Ó Fearghaíl will therefore visit the biggest Croatian seaport of Rijeka. (Hina)