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Dutch Ambassador highlights Galway’s potential in renewable energy on visit

The Dutch Ambassador has hailed the importance of Galway for harnessing Ireland’s potential in areas like renewable energy and the marine sector.

Ambassador Maaike van Koldam concluded a two-day visit to the county last Wednesday after meeting with local politicians, Dutch businesses, the Galway Chamber and academic and scientific experts from the marine sector.

On Wednesday morning last, the Ambassador was welcomed to the Marine Institute in Rinville by CEO, Dr. Rick Officer. Dr. Officer and his team provided a tour of the facility before discussing key areas where Dutch/Irish partnerships already exist, including offshore renewable energy, links between ports and bilateral trade.

“Galway – just like the Netherlands – will always be associated with the sea, with shipping and with trading links with the rest of the world,” Ambassador van Koldam said.

“As Dutch/Irish trade expands, and as our ports continue to develop their links with one another, coastal cities and counties like Galway are going to play an increasingly crucial role in harnessing the vast potential which Ireland possesses in terms of offshore renewable energy,” she added.

During her trip, the Ambassador met with a number of Dutch businesses operating in the county, including Go-Dutch Flowers, which is headquartered in Salthill and led by the Dutch Master Florist Henk Van Enk, and the Killeen Farmhouse Cheese business which Marion Roeleveld runs outside Portumna.

Dutch/Irish economic links have developed significantly in recent years, after the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU left both countries without one of their key economic partners in the Union.

According to the CSO, the Netherlands was Ireland’s fifth largest export partner for goods in 2022. In all, €14 billion worth of Irish goods were sold to the Netherlands in that year, with €5 billion worth of Dutch goods heading the opposite direction.

In the area of services, Dutch/Irish links are even more crucial, with the Netherlands being Ireland’s fourth largest trading partner, behind only the US, the UK and Germany.

Commenting on the visit of the Dutch Ambassador, Dr Officer recognised the potential that exists in developing closer ties with the Netherlands.

“Ireland’s importers and exporters use Dutch ports as gateways to the Single Market and Third Countries,” he said.

“Ireland and the Netherlands share common interests in areas of marine research and environmental protection and are working together on the development of the emerging Offshore Renewable Energy industry.

“It makes sense to strengthen these ties and to build on the excellent relationship we enjoy with the Netherlands in business, research and environmental protection,” he added.

Pictured: Dutch Ambassador Maaike van Koldam at the Marine Institute with the MI’s Chief Executive, Dr Rick Officer. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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