Tanáiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore begins a three-day visit to France today, aimed at promoting trade and investment opportunities.

Mr Gilmore will also hold talks with French President Francois Hollande on the situation in Ukraine and also the progress in Europe on a banking union.

Ministers are departing to various destinations around the world over the coming days for the St Patrick's Day festival and to promote trade.

France is one of Ireland's largest export markets and the Tanáiste will attend a number of events to support Irish companies seeking business opportunities there.

Mr Gilmore will also meet French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. 

On Saturday, he will represent the Government at Ireland's crucial Six Nations rugby match against France at the Stade de France.