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Irish minister visits Arab News

Jan O’Sullivan, Irish minister for housing and planning, along with Dr. Niall Holohan, Irish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Daniel Cunningham, Irish commercial attaché, paid a short visit to Arab News yesterday. Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi, editor in chief of Arab News and Sayidaty welcomed the delegation.
Al-Harthi and Arab News editors discussed housing, tourism and employment issues in Saudi Arabia and Ireland with the Irish delegation. The meeting was held at the AN Jeddah office.
This is the second visit for O’Sullivan to Saudi Arabia. She was a guest panelist at the Jeddah Economic Forum and spoke about the role of government in delivering on housing needs.
“It was a very interesting forum and I think it was very prestigious, especially when it spoke of domestic issues citing international examples,” she said. “We all have our own experiences and perspective and I was trying to give the Irish side of things because we have a large building space and consequently, have developed ample expertise in this domain. We have also learned to take into consideration the needs of the population before embarking upon building projects which may then go to waste.”
The editor in chief of Arab News asserted that there has been a significant change in the Kingdom in the last few years, as the government has refocused on tourism.
“We were very conservative about tourism and have become aware of the importance of tourism and Islamic tourism to be specific,” he said. “The tourism authority is very active and they are conveying this message to the community and trying to encourage them to explore Saudi Arabia. We shall hopefully see it opens to the public in the near future.”
O’Sullivan said that planning and knowledge of people's preferences as to where to live is the first step to solving the impending global housing crisis.
“There is a special boom in Jeddah and Riyadh where the number of projects has increased in conjunction with the number of people. This has paved the way for living preferences,” she said. “With this in mind, planning will become more systematic and better suited to meet the needs of individuals.”

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