Irish Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Justin Ryan said that aside from 10 Irish universities taking part in the education conference being held in Riyadh from April 17-20, a trade delegation representing 50 companies would be touring the Kingdom in October. The trade mission, headed by a senior government minister, will include companies in project management, engineering, architecture, IT and software and pharmaceutical products, and will visit Riyadh and Jeddah, Ryan told Arab News. “Some members of the delegation are already operating in the Kingdom. These include Jenning O’Donovan, PM Group and ESP International,” he said. Jenning O’ Donovan is a construction firm in Riyadh while PM Group has won a large contract from Halwani Bros. ESP, on the other hand, deals in electrical supplies and has been operating in the Gulf since 1976. “The delegation will be a follow-up to the trade mission which also visited key cities of the Kingdom last year. Most of the companies were also in engineering, architecture, IT, and project management,” Ryan said. He said that the Irish companies are training their eyes on Saudi Arabia due to its “positive economic developments.” At present, the bilateral trade between the two countries touches $1 billion, including services and has been growing from strength to strength. Ryan said that in addition to the trade delegation that will come for a trade promotion, Saudi Arabia will also set up a cultural office in Ireland soon. “The Saudi cultural office will be in charge of the promotion of education ties between the two countries. The office will be coordinating with the Saudi Embassy in Ireland and the head will be reporting to the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education,” Ryan said. He said the cultural office will be set up in view of the increasing number of Saudi students in Ireland. At present there are 2,000 Saudi students studying in seven Irish universities and 13 institutes of technology. Ryan said the establishment of the cultural office is also intended to foster cultural links since the two countries have many similarities. Ryan said that with the increase in the number of students in Ireland, Saudi nationals have also been increasingly visiting his country.