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Leading Irish economist says Chinese VP's visit landmark for Ireland (3)

(Xinhua)

10:22, February 18, 2012

After suffering from a damaging international financial crisis, Halligan said Ireland now has a better insight into how to maintain financial stability. He said China may be interested in an exchange of information with Ireland to prevent further economic disasters in the future.

"We've got to ensure that the unexpected, which always happens politically, doesn't catch us unawares, that we monitor certain flashpoints together and, to the extent that one can, prevent a flashpoint in the global economic international sphere becoming a dangerous crisis, then we should exchange information," said Halligan.

"So, I think it's question of mutual understanding, mutual comprehension and mutual respect. That's absolutely important. And I think that the dialogue which is now going to be intensified and brought to a high level between Ireland and China would help in that direction."

Halligan said the Irish government was strongly considering the possibility of introducing Mandarin as a second language in second level education. He said this action would make a real statement about Ireland's dedication to developing relations with China.

"I know that our Minister for Education is very seriously considering this issue of Mandarin at second level and as one of the most important languages to be taught at second level," he said.

"We understand the difficulties that we would have here. First of all, we'll be getting the teachers for a start, also the resources that would be involved particularly at a time when we're suffering from cutbacks and engaged in an austerity program. But nonetheless I can tell you that he is actively considering this matter in a very positive way."


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