Zatlers travels to Ireland to meet officials, Latvians

President Valdis Zatlers will spend three days in Ireland, meeting with the Latvian communities in Dublin and Limerick as well as conferring with Irish government officials, his press office has announced. Zatlers and his wife, Lilita Zatlere, will be in Ireland from Nov. 2-4.

The president is scheduled to meet with the Latvian community of Dublin at 16:00 hours Nov. 2 in the European Union House, 18 Dawson Street, Dublin. During the event attendees will have the opportunity to add their names and wishes to the Latvijas vienotības josta (Latvian Unity Belt), a project celebrating the 90th anniversary of Latvia’s declaration of independence. The project is supported by the newspaper Latvijas Avīze, Latvian State Television and Latvian State Radio.

On Nov. 3, Zatlers is to meet with Irish President Mary McAleese and Prime Minister Brian Cowen to discuss European Union issues as well as international political trends and the global economic crisis. He will also meet with Limerick Mayor John Gilligan and present a speech about Latvia’s future in the European Union to the Institute for International & European Affairs in Dublin.

In Limerick on Nov. 4, the president is expected to visit a local high school and meet with Latvian students and their families. He also will visit the medical technology company Crook Ireland, where a number of Latvians work.

Zatlers will meet with the Latvian community of Limerick at 18:00 hours Nov. 4 in City Hall, Merchants Quay, Limerick City. A traveling exhibit about the history of the Latvian Popular Front, “Dziesmotā Revolūcija. No Atmodas līdz Eiropas Savienībai” (The Singing Revolution: From Awakening to the European Union) is scheduled to open during the president’s visit.

Estimates for the number of Latvian citizens now living in Ireland range from about 13,000 to 37,000 or more, according to official Irish and Latvian government statistics.

The president will be back in Rīga by Nov. 5, where his schedule calls for dealing with paperwork.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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