Pictured at the Chamber of Commerce on 96 O’Connell Street for the appointment of the new honorary consul are Eoin Ryan, vice-president of Limerick Chamber, Stephane Crouzat, Ambassador of France in Ireland, Dee Ryan, CEO of Limerick Chamber and Dr Loïc Guyon, the new Charge d’affaires for the region. Picture: Shauna Kennedy.
PHOTOS & VIDEO – Limerick Chamber event hosts French honorary consul Dr Loïc Guyon
Yesterday the Mid-West got a new French diplomatic representation with the appointment of Dr Loïc Guyon as honorary consul.
And at an official event hosted by Limerick Chamber, Dr Loïc Guyon highlighted the key areas he intends to focus on, in addition to the standard duties of the office, to deepen French relations in the Mid-West of Ireland. These include regenerating twinning relationships between Limerick city, Limerick, Tipperary and Clare towns and counterparts in France.
Honorary Consuls can be French citizens or citizens of a country in which France has an embassy or a consulate. They are appointed by the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs in areas in which there is a significant number of French citizens residing or visiting.
Dr Guyon said that cementing and reviving twinning arrangements are among his priorities. “There are no less than 12 such twinning agreements (in Mid West). Some of them are over 30 years old and need to be revived in some cases. So that’s something I’m going to work on. The other thing I’m going to work on is on the food industry in the region, the food sector.
Limerick Chamber CEO Dee Ryan said the appointment of Dr Guyon will help deepen diplomatic, cultural and economic ties between the Mid-West and France.
“We were delighted to host the event here today. We have many links between Limerick and France but it’s really important to have an honorary Consul to develop relations between this part of Ireland and France.
“French visitors to Ireland are very important. There are on average 600,000 French visitors to Ireland every year, with 70,000 specifically to the Mid-West. And that’s on top of the growing attraction of the Wild Atlantic Way, which draws people down the coast-way and into this region.
“Limerick is a gateway city for the Wild Atlantic Way. That’s really big news for the tourism and hospitality sectors in this area and we’re hoping that our members will be able to build on the ties that we celebrate here today to welcome more than the 70000 French visitors who currently come here.”
The Honorary Consul of France in Limerick has jurisdiction over the Mid-West region including counties Clare, Limerick and Tipperary.
The role of the Honorary Consul is three-fold. They give administrative support and emergency consular protection to French nationals residing or visiting the Mid-West region. They deal with maritime affairs in relation to French ships berthing at Mid-West harbours. And they act as a representative of the Embassy of France to local authorities and work with them to promote cultural and economic links between France and the Mid-West region.
A native of Romans in the South-East of France, Dr Guyon is the Head of the Department of French Studies at Mary Immaculate College and has lived in Ireland since 2002.
Attended by the French Ambassador and Deputy Mayor, the event held at Limerick Chamber also celebrated the many business and historical links enjoyed between the Mid West and France.
Some Mid-West Businesses with connections to France include:
ACI (Castletroy), Bia Café (Limerick), AXA Partners (Shannon), Bon Appétit Creperie (Limerick), Cook Medical (Castletroy), Country Choice (Nenagh & Limerick), Essidev SA (Ennis), Gourmet Store (Ennis), Grassland Agro (Limerick), La Patisserie (Castletroy), Oh La La Creperie, Saint Gobain Performance Plastics Ireland (Kilrush), The French Table Restaurant (Limerick), Uber (Limerick), Viagogo (Castletroy).
A website and Twitter account for the French Consul in the Mid-West has now gone live and can be found at www.FranceinmidwestIreland.org and @France_midwest.
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Photos: Conor Owens/ilovelimerick.