British and Irish Trading Alliance represented at Georgia's National Day of Independence in Ireland

Images clockwise starting from the left: 

Image 1 L to R: Mr. Chris Davies (Managing Director DRS Bond Management, London), Mr. Paul Whitnell (President of the British & Irish Trading Alliance, London), Dr. Michael Casey (Fellow of the Irish State).

Image 2 L to R: Mr. Chris Davies (Managing Director DRS Bond Management, London), Dr. Mary Honan (Academic, Researcher and Cultural Commentator) and Mr. Paul Whitnell (President of the British & Irish Trading Alliance, London).

Image 3, L to R: Dr. Michael Casey, Fellow of the Irish State and Mr. George Zurabashvili, Chargé d’affaires of Georgia, the State Apartments, Dublin Castle

Dr. Casey notes that Georgia is a country at the intersection of Europe and Asia, a former Soviet Republic that is home to Caucasus, Mountain villages and Black Sea beaches. The republic is celebrated for its early Christian churches, monasteries and fortifications, and, of course, the ancient wine-growing region of Kakheti. The Capital, Tbilisi, is famous for its folk music, cuisine and diverse architecture - late medieval, classical and contemporary - and maze-like, cobble stoned streets in the old town. Dr. Casey is a great admirer of the late 19th/early 20th century Georgian artist, the primitivistic painter, Niko Pirosmani (1862 – 1918) who posthumously rose to prominence.

Indeed, as part of B.I.T.A.'s international programme on Education, Research, Innovation and Culture (E.R.I.C.), Dr. Casey has initiated/proposed an Irish/Georgian "working dialogue/cultural exchange" (2016) with, for example, the Kill Railing Project, Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry (Ms. Noelle Campbell-Sharp, Director) and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, Co. Monaghan (Mr. Robert McDonald, Director), Ireland. Whatever the current and ongoing outcome will be, a cultural seed has, nonetheless been planted for future generations of Irish and Georgian cultural figures in the world of music, literature and the visual arts.

Moreover, historical and archaeological research demonstrates that the Independent State of Georgia has been involved in trade/commerce/diplomacy with many lands and empires since ancient times, largely due to its location on the Black Sea and laterally on the historical Silk Road from the Imperial capitol of Beijing, China (India, Persia and Northern Arabia). Today, Georgia is one of the fastest growing economies in Western Europe, a major exporter of medications, vehicles, mineral water and wine as well as nitrogen fertilizers, crude oil, and minerals: gold, copper and ores. Whilst Georgia does not have any official status as a candidate for future enlargement of the European Union; Dr. Casey does however, hope that one day the country will become a fully integrated member. This, on reflection, would allow Georgia to move away from a Russian sphere of influence – one of domination, intimidation andaggression.

Finally, on behalf of the British and Irish Trading Alliance, both President Whitnell and Dr. Casey would like to thank H.E., Mr. George Zurabashvili and his charming wife, Irina (Bochorishvili), for the very warm welcome extended to them on Wednesday, May 30th, 2018 to mark Georgia’s national day of independence - a centenary - in the State Apartments, Dublin Castle, Ireland. In terms of Irish/Georgian relations, Dr. Casey acknowledges this historic event as “triumphantly successful and highly memorable for all those concerned”.