NYSE rings in St Patrick's Day celebrations in grand style
INFLUENTIAL business and cultural leaders from Ireland came together to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange ahead of St Patrick's Day.
The NYSE played host to the third annual 'Ireland Day', an initiative run by Ireland Inc, a private-sector group that aims to advance trade between Ireland and the US.
Over 300 senior executives from international firms attended Ireland Day. Discussions focused on developing Ireland's 'knowledge economy' and promoting its arts and culture internationally.
There are about 700 US firms operating in Ireland, directly employing around 115,000 people, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland, which says this represents 8pc of all US investment in the EU.
Irish investors are also important to the US economy. The Chamber of Commerce says Irish companies employ 120,000 people within 227 companies at more than 2,600 locations in all 50 states.
US Senator George Mitchell was recognised for his outstanding contribution to Ireland at the event, an award launched by former US president Bill Clinton in 2010.
Mr Mitchell was special adviser to Mr Clinton on Ireland during his presidency. From 1996 to 2000 he served as independent chairman of the Northern Ireland peace talks, helping to secure the Good Friday Agreement.
Mr Mitchell is a past recipient of the United Nation Peace Prize as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honour given to civilians by the US government.
High-profile speakers at Ireland Day included Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, billionaire Bank of Ireland director and shareholder Wilbur Ross, former Taoiseach John Bruton and Digicel boss Denis O'Brien.
Mr Bruton, a former EU ambassador to the US, also spoke to 300 members of the US funds industry gathered at the New York Athletics Club earlier last week. He said Ireland was the best location for the servicing of funds.
This is partly due to the availability of skilled, flexible labour in Ireland and that "you will not find anywhere in the world with our experience and can-do attitude".