Ferries boss takes on Irish consul role to boost links with Brittany

New post is part of push to increase trade and other partnerships; comes as new Irish consulate also opens in Lyon

Since Brexit links between France and Ireland have been getting stronger
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The president of Brittany Ferries has become an honorary Irish consul for Brittany to help form closer post-Brexit links between the region and Ireland.

Ireland has also opened a new consulate general in Lyon to boost relations with the south east of France.

A spokesman for the Brittany region said the new post was created after Irish officials visited Finistère to discuss marine renewable energy plans.

“It’s a mutual subject of interest to us. Brittany has been working on closer links with Ireland, which is, since Brexit, our closest European neighbour, in particular in the areas of culture, industry, education and energy.”

Read more: Celtic nations descend on France to celebrate shared ancestry

During a ceremony to inaugurate honorary consul Jean-Marc Roué at Brittany Ferries’ headquarters, at which the Bretons gave out pink Roscoff onions, Irish minister James Browne said there had been a “Brexit rebound”.

‘French firms are growing in Ireland’

“French firms are growing in Ireland, and France is one of the main markets for Irish goods, services and agricultural products,” he said. Trade between the two grew 18% in 2021.

The Bretons also hope the Irish will try more of their products.

Brittany’s vice-president Stéphane Perrin said they had discovered “perspectives for collaboration between our ports that we had not guessed were possible, thanks to Brexit”.

Ireland’s ambassador said shipping links between French and Irish ports have grown in two years from 12 to 50 crossings a week.

Mr Roué said passenger traffic was up 43% since 2019 and freight was up 15%.

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