independent

Sunday 24 September 2017

NYC Council trip has Brexit in mind

Chief Executive Ciaran Hayes
Chief Executive Ciaran Hayes
Council delegation will enjoy the festivities of the St Patrick’s week in New York

Paul Deering

County Council Chief Executive Ciaran Hayes and Cathaoirleach, Councillor Hubert Keaney will be in New York for the St Patrick's Day festivities.

Cllr Keaney will be in the Big Apple at the invitation of the County Sligo Social and Benevolent Association and says he welcomes the opportunity to strengthen relations with the emigrant community in the city.

He said: "Particularly at this time, these organisations provide an invaluable resource and network for Sligo people living and working in New York, and I look forward to conveying my gratitude to them on behalf of families with loved ones in New York. I believe official visits on St Patrick's week represent an important civic link with their home county."

He will be accompanied by the Chief Executive Ciarán Hayes, who the council say has organised a packed itinerary in advance of the main celebration on St. Patrick's Day.

The Council's Head of Enterprise John Reilly will also travel with the delegation. The itinerary begins with the formal opening of the Ireland West International Trade Centre in Providence, Rhode Island by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny on the March 14th.

"This is an innovative project', said Mr Hayes, "where a number of Local Authorities have come together to provide opportunities for local Irish companies to expand their markets abroad."

According to the Cathaoirleach: "Our efforts will be focused on promoting and marketing Sligo. Sligo has certainly benefited from positive global media coverage in recent years through the successful hosting of a number of showcase events, and it is imperative that we capitalise on this exposure at every opportunity."

While meetings are also arranged with the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, the opportunity is also being taken to establish a relationship with the influential Port Authority of New York and New Jersey where a meeting has been arranged with the Executive Director, Mr. Patrick Foye, whose family hails from South Sligo.

The Cathaoirleach will also attend a working lunch with Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes in the Congressional Buildings in Washington.

In February 2017 the Port Authority adopted its largest ever Capital Plan, providing for the creation of 235,000 jobs and generating $54 billion in overall economic activity.

It has responsibility for the network of Airports including JFK, Le Guardia and Newark, the 3rd largest sea port in the US, tolls on the bridge and tunnel network and PATH rail services.

Mr Hayes explained that in organising the meeting, he was anxious to build relationships between the North West and New York and to position the region to take advantage of Brexit, when Ireland becomes the only English speaking country in the EU.

He also wants to explore opportunities for additional transatlantic routes and is being joined at the meeting by the Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Mr. Peter Hynes and Mr. Joe Gilmore, Managing Director of Ireland West Airport, Knock.

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