Taoiseach Enda Kenny is departing for the Gulf later as part of an Irish trade mission in the region.

He will be accompanied by Minister for Jobs and Enterprise Richard Bruton.

The trade mission, which lasts until 9 January, will include visits to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as part of the ongoing efforts to improve international linkages and boost trade and investment.

As well as political and business engagements, Mr Kenny will also meet with representatives of the Irish communities.

Mr Kenny said: “This visit will strengthen our economic, political and cultural ties with these key priority markets for Ireland as well as providing an opportunity to explore new commercial opportunities and build on the strong educational links that exist between Ireland and the Gulf States."

Mr Bruton said: “The Gulf offers huge opportunities for Irish business and this mission of 87 companies led by the Taoiseach demonstrates our commitment to delivering on that.”