Irish and UK business leaders opened trading at the London Stock Exchange today, as Ireland INC hosted its third annual 'Ireland Day'. 

The theme of this year's Ireland Day is "Growth 2020: Embracing Challenge-Maximising Opportunity". 

The event focuses on increasing economic ties between Ireland and the UK, increasing finance to SMEs and the importance of the UK's membership of the European Union.

Ian Hyland, the president of Ireland INC, was joined at the London Stock Exchange by political and business leaders including the British Ambassador to Ireland, Dominic Chilcott, and the Irish Ambassador to Britain, Dan Mulhall.

Mr Hyland said that Ireland Day is vital in terms of progressing the unique economic relationship between the UK and Ireland.

"Today's summit builds on the outstanding achievements following the the historic visit to the UK of President Michael D Higgins last year, and Queen Elizabeth’s State visit to Ireland in 2011. The presence of both nations ambassadors at this morning's market open also exemplifies the strength of ties between the two countries in trading and cultural terms," he added.

There are over 50 Irish companies listed in London, more than any other country outside the UK. 

Axel Kalinowski, the Business Development Manager at the London Stock Exchange, said this is testament to the unique relationship between the UK and Ireland. 

"We look forward to building on these strong foundations and based on the continued Irish recovery, expect to see a healthy pipeline of Irish businesses float in London in the next year," he added. 

Ireland INC says that the economic link between Ireland and the UK is further illustrated by the fact that there are some 55,000 Irish directors of British companies.

The trade between Ireland and the UK amounts to more than €1 billion a week. The Dublin to London route is also the second busiest