DUBLIN — Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey kicked off her first international trade mission Monday with a business roundtable hosted by Enterprise Ireland, a governmental organization that helps Irish companies seeking to expand abroad.

The meeting — which included several Healey administration members, business leaders from Massachusetts and Ireland, and U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin — was closed to the press. But afterward, Healey said one thing she and her fellow participants discussed was how shared political sensibilities might make Massachusetts an especially attractive destination for Irish businesses.

“Right now, when companies are looking to set up, they want … environments where there is an appreciation for diversity, and just a spirit of working together,” Healey added. “That’s something we do really well in Massachusetts. It’s something that is done here in Ireland, and appreciated.”

As those comments suggest, there’s a moral undercurrent running through Healey’s ongoing trip to Ireland, which concludes Wednesday. In addition to pushing for expanded trade ties, Healey, who is Massachusetts’ first openly LGBTQ+ governor, will also address Seanad Éireann, the Irish Senate, on the 30th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in that country. Before her trip started, Healey said she would use that speech not just to push for closer economic collaboration but to highlight “the importance of … standing up for our values and protecting the rights of everyone in our communities.”

In effect, Healey seems to be urging Irish stakeholders to weigh political values while making economic choices — an argument she’s been honing at least since taking office earlier this year. Since then, Healey has repeatedly suggested that, as tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents leave the state, the exact opposite should be happening. Instead, she says, residents and businesses in other states should be coming to Massachusetts because of its political culture, including strong commitments to LGBTQ+ rights and reproductive freedom.

Now, halfway through her first year in office, Healey is taking that same message to a country where her pitch may resonate strongly because of rapid political and cultural shifts.

In 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by a popular vote, with 62% of voters backing a proposed amendment to the Irish Constitution. Leo Varkadar, who is currently Ireland’s Taoiseach, or prime minister, is the first openly gay person to hold that role.

Irish attitudes on abortion have also transformed radically in recent years. While abortion had been banned since Ireland gained independence from Britain in 1922, that ban was removed from the Irish Constitution after a vote in 2018. Nearly twice as many people voted in favor of the repeal as those who wanted to keep the ban in place.

Greg Bialecki, who served as secretary of housing and economic development under former Gov. Deval Patrick and accompanied Patrick on several trade missions, said that while Patrick sometimes referenced Massachusetts’ ethos in his own trade pitches, Healey is going notably further.

“Even ten years ago, when we were doing these missions, you clearly saw that there were people from other countries who were concerned about things they were seeing in the U.S., and worried that it was not as welcoming and inviting a place for people to move to, to immigrate to, or to do business in,” Bialecki said. “In a quiet way, Gov. Patrick was saying, ‘Hey, we do want to remind you that Massachusetts is a place that’s very welcoming and very inviting.' … Gov. Healey is doubling down on that message.”

Peter Ubertaccio, a political scientist and vice president of academic affairs at Stonehill College, said Healey’s nuanced economic pitch makes her something of an anomaly in her own party.

“She’s doing something that Democrats for a long time have been reluctant to do, which is to make values-based arguments,” Ubertaccio said.

“The party kind of ceded that language to Republicans many years ago — and Republicans, of course, have been pushing it in a very different way,” Ubertaccio added. “And it’s fascinating to hear a Democrat push back and use values-based arguments to make a pitch for the politics of Massachusetts, or the business climate of Massachusetts. … She is one of the few very high-profile Democrats making that argument.”

Both men agreed that, in addition to similar political sensibilities, other notable ties made Ireland a natural choice for Healey’s first trade mission. According to the U.S. Census, for example, Massachusetts has a higher percentage of residents who claim Irish ancestry than any state except New Hampshire. And U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin is a former Massachusetts legislator with a deep network of local relationships.

Healey’s visit also coincides with the 60th anniversary of former President John F. Kennedy’s famous trip to Ireland, which shaped both Irish and Irish American self perception, and which Healey will discuss in a panel event Wednesday.

In addition, Massachusetts and Ireland already boast strong trade ties. In 2022, Ireland was Massachusetts’ 15th-largest export market, with shipment of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and other products totaling about $756 million. Ireland, in turn, shipped nearly $2.7 billion worth of imports to us, again including pharmaceuticals and medical equipment — the fifth-highest total of any country importing to Massachusetts.

Even so, Bialecki has a word of caution for anyone expecting quick, tangible results from Healey’s trip. For economies like those of both Massachusetts and Ireland, he said, deals that ultimately offer clear financial benefits can take years to come together., he said.

“[Gov. Patrick and I] went twice to Israel,” Bialecki said. “When a promising young startup … starts to get big in Israel, they often want to come to the United States to continue to grow. And we said, ‘When you open your first U.S. office, make it in Boston.”

A decade later, Bialecki said, that pitch has paid off, with Israeli companies in fields like cybersecurity and healthcare using Massachusetts as their U.S. base.

“Those are the kinds of successes that we look for,” Bialecki said.