Ireland is getting ready to do something it hasn’t done that often in the past century: open some new consulate offices. Hong Kong, Bangkok and São Paulo are among the cities selected. Oh, and one more – Austin, Texas.
Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with Consul General Adrian Farrell about plans for the new office, trade between Ireland and Texas, and efforts to reach out to Irish Texans and Americans.
On the history the Ireland-Texas relationship:
“Ireland has been here a long time in Texas. I think we go back to our first Irishman in Texas, who was Hugh O’Connor. He was Spanish Governor here in the late 1700s. Since then, Ireland and Irish people have played a remarkable role… in this state over the last two centuries.”
On the economic focus of the consulate:
“We’re bringing together in this consulate colleagues from two Irish agencies:Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Industrial Development Agencies. We will be working to try and basically promote Irish goods and services in Texas and bring Texan investment to Dublin … but we’re also looking to bring Irish companies to Texas.”
On why Ireland chose Texas:
“Austin, but not just Austin – the state of Texas – is developing so fast and so rapidly it is a very important market for Ireland, and will be into the future. And likewise, the Irish economy is growing rapidly as well. We think there are great mutual benefits to be achieved by both sides into the future and part of my job is to make that happen.”
On the culture shock of coming to Texas:
“There’s the old slogan, ‘Everything is bigger in Texas.’ Texas for an Irish… in term of land mass, in terms of population, is huge. I think it’s always one of the surprises people get when they come to Texas that Houston, Dallas and Austin just aren’t half an hour from each other.”
On Farrell’s expectations of Texas:
“I think the things I’d heard about Texas before I came here – that Texas is renowned for – is actually its hospitality… which is something we sell ourselves a lot on in Ireland as well. I can only say that it’s absolutely true in my experience so far that people have been so friendly and warm.”
You can follow the new consulate on Twitter.