As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares to visit Northern Ireland next week in a bid to shore up the peace process, leaders from Ireland and Massachusetts will gather in Boston for a major conference to forge mutually beneficial transatlantic links.
The Gateways To Tomorrow luncheon will take place at the World Trade Center on 7-8 October and is being hosted by the Irish Echo newspaper. Among key speakers from Massachusetts will be Treasurer Timothy Cahill, State Senate President Therese Murray, Rep. Gene O'Flaherty, and entrepreneur John Cullinane while leading a strong delegation from Ireland will be Conor Murphy MP, Minister for Regional Development in the fledgling powersharing government in Belfast and a member of Sinn Féin.
He said: "Since the restoration of our political institutions in 2007, much has been done to develop and sustain the Irish Peace Process and to realise the socio-economic benefits for the people of Ireland. The US has played a central role in this effort over the past decade and more. In fact the recent appointment of the US economic envoy to Ireland, Mr Declan kelly reaffirms that strong link and demonstrates the continued support of the US in building the peace and economic growth based on equality and fairness. This Conference is of significant importance also in this broader effort. Our focus is centred upon investment and co-operation now and in the time ahead. It is about creating new opportunities, new partnerships between Boston and North-West Ireland."
Welcoming the conference, Congressman Richie Neal, President of Friends of Ireland in the House of Representatives, said:
"I have no doubt that American companies will find enormous opportunities in the northwest of Ireland. Similarly, our world -class universities in Massachusetts look forward to creating mutually beneficial alliances with theUniversity of Ulster at Magee, Derry.
"The personal commitment of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the peace process, and the recent appointment of Declan Kelly as Economic Envoy, underscores America’s determination to support efforts to stabilize and underpin the peace by creating jobs and growth for communities which suffered the most during the Troubles."
The Conference will be followed by the Golden Bridges Awards luncheon (hosted by Irish Echo and Boston Irish Reporter) on Thursday at 1pm in the World Trade Center when chief honoree will be Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. Full details of the conference and luncheon are at www.irishecho.com/conference.