SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. What a pleasure for me to welcome the Tánaiste here, our good Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore. Thank you very, very much. He was kind enough to come all the way to Shannon Airport the other day to meet me when I was coming back from the Middle East. And we had a wonderful -- I can't even remember, it was early morning or late afternoon, it was such a mix. But we had a great visit.
It's my pleasure now to welcome him here. He's come in to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and we're very happy to wish all the people of Ireland a Happy St. Patrick's Day. You know what Ireland means to America, and particularly to those of us from Boston. So it's great to welcome you here. We are so appreciative for the partnership for the EU presidency and the agenda of Ireland right now as the EU president. And in addition to that, the trade initiatives, the economic initiatives, their leadership on human rights and other issues, and the process that continues to bring peace to Northern Ireland.
We're very, very appreciative, so welcome.
FOREIGN MINISTER GILMORE: Thank you very much, indeed, Secretary Kerry. And it's a great pleasure to meet you again, and in particular, to meet you on -- we no longer say St. Patrick's Day. It's kind of more St. Patrick's week now, but -- (laughter) -- we're here for St. Patrick's week.
And I want to, first of all, emphasize again the very close cooperation that exists between Ireland and the United States. We're hugely appreciative of the support that the United States and successive administrations have given to the efforts to bring peace to Northern Ireland and to maintain the peace in Ireland. We have a particular relationship now because Ireland holds the presidency of the European Union at this critical time when we are beginning the process of developing a trade and investment partnership between the United States and the European Union, which I believe will be to the mutual benefit of both the U.S. and Europe, and particularly Ireland because of the large amount of direct investment that we got from the United States.
And of course, we work in cooperation in a number of areas internationally. We -- our aid programs, for example, we work together in Africa, the Thousand Days Initiative, the Scaling Up Nutrition addressing world hunger. And we are now both members of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, where we give high priority to a range of human rights issues.
So it's a great pleasure to meet you here again. I'm glad to meet you on home turf. And again, I remember very fondly the discussions that we had in Shannon. I can't promise that I'll meet you every time that you pass through Shannon. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Promise me my Guinness? (Laughter.) I had a wonderful half-pint.
FOREIGN MINISTER GILMORE: Very moderate.
SECRETARY KERRY: Very moderate.
FOREIGN MINISTER GILMORE: Thank you.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Great to see you. Thank you. Thank you all very much.