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Editorial: St Patrick’s Day highlights reality and benefits of soft power

Beyond the cartoonish depictions, the commemoration’s annual international exposure grants Ireland vital access to some of the world’s most powerful leaders

The St Patrick’s Day parade passes through Dublin city centre: the annual event is celebrated across the globe, giving Irish politicians access to world leaders that many other countries’ leaders can only dream of. Picture: Photocall Ireland

The annual outrage about sending our politicians abroad for St Patrick’s Day is now such a staple in the calendar that it almost deserves its own separate national holiday.

Long derided as expensive “junkets” for ministers who apparently have too much time on their hands, the media coverage of the exodus has evolved since the Green Party got into government to now include an assessment of the carbon expense of the trips too.

While this ...