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Liffey meets Yangtze as Ireland goes to Shanghai

2009. 14 October

by Kevin Doyle

( Ireland is to spend millions bringing the Liffey and a recreation of O'Connell Street to Shanghai.

The Government is powering ahead with Ireland's participation in the World Expo 2010, despite its financial troubles.

The international event will see countries from all over the world showcase their homelands with a variety of exhibitions in China, under a theme of "Better City, Better Life".

Our pavilion will aim to show Ireland's changing cityscapes through the ages, but will come at a cost of €4.2m.

The Herald has learned that a Chinese firm has been contracted to construct an island that will "display its urban lifestyle with emphasis on the efficient use of space".

It will be built "across gentle inclines and will have five enclosed galleries, covering more than 1,500 square metres of exhibition space".

The highlight for visitors will be a walk along the River Liffey and through O'Connell, while a military barracks dating back to 1722 will help trace the capital's history.

Minister of State Martin Mansergh recently outlined in a parliamentary reply that the Office of Public Works is overseeing the procurement and installation of the exhibit within the pavilion.

Ireland confirmed its participation in the Expo in September 2006, and the Minister said: "The estimated construction cost, including related fees and charges is €4.2m."


An assessment of the benefit from taking part in the exhibition does not come under the remit of the OPW, but Mr Mansergh said the country needs to keep face by attending the event.

He said: "It has been the policy of successive Governments that Ireland should be represented at such events, and not be conspicuous among developed countries by its absence, accepting that a presence there serves to boost trade interests and has a diplomatic and cultural function as well."

According to the organisations: "Expo 2010 Shanghai China will be a great event to explore the full potential of urban life in the 21st century and a significant period in urban evolution."

So far, 242 countries and international organisations have confirmed participation in the Shanghai Expo.

Construction work has begun on 40 out of the 42 pavilions to be built by participants themselves, and half of the 42 rented pavilions have handed over to participants.

All the construction work will be completed by the end of this year.

The exhibition will run from May to October next year, with around 70m visitors expected attend at least one event.