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John McGuinness ‘surprised’ at letter from Ceann Comhairle telling him not to engage with Taiwan

Carlow/Kilkenny TD John McGuinness says he has no intention of stopping his trips to Taiwan – despite a letter from the Ceann Comhairle.

Deputy McGuinness chairs the Taiwan Ireland Parliamentary Friendship Association and says he was told in a letter by Seán Ó Fearghaíl that Taiwan shouldn’t be engaged with.

He says it’s because it could damage Ireland’s relationship with China, who still see Taiwan as part of their territory.

John McGuinness says his group’s trips there are about building and maintaining business links, not political ones.

And he says he will be going ahead with a planned trip in January:

“The relationship is like any other relationship that countries have. And it’s true to say that America has a sizeable relationship with Taiwan and so have many other countries.

“Who is to dictate who we should speak to and who we should trade with?

“We have an obligation in a new, emerging world in the context of trade to do our best with every single country while maintaining strong relationships with the ones we already do business with, like China.”