Tuesday 12 December 2017

Chairman and officials head to USA for week-long St Patrick's visit

Anne Campbell

Louth County Council chairman Cllr. Paul Bell jetted to the United States on Monday, along with four council officials, for a week-long St Patrick's Day-related programme.

The Drogheda-based Labour councillor will be in New York for the first part of the week, and will also visit Pikeville, Kentucky, which is twinned with Dundalk before returning on Saturday, March 18.

And Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams will be the only Louth TD to go to America this year, with a packed schedule over 36 hours from Wednesday.

In response to a query, the council said: 'The Cathaoirleach of Louth County Council, Cllr. Paul Bell will be travelling to New York, along with four officials from the council on Monday March 13 and returning on Saturday March 18.

'In the course of the trip there are a number of engagements scheduled involving IDA Ireland, Tourism Ireland and the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland exploring opportunities for inward investment to County Louth. During the trip there will engagement with the Louth diaspora along with a meeting with representatives of the city of Pikeville, Kentucky, which is twinned with Dundalk, to progress a joint action plan. The delegation will also be participating in the St. Patrick's Day parade'.

Mr Adams has been invited to meet the Congressional Friends of Ireland group on Capitol Hill on Thursday morning, the Speakers' lunch at noon and an invite to the White House in the afternoon.

He will also be meeting congressional leaders on the margins of these meetings. After arriving in New York on Wednesday Mr Adams will attend an event organised by Niall O'Dowd and travel to Washington DC that evening. He is expected to be back in Ireland on Friday.

He said: 'I understand that all of this is happening at a time of deep concern in Ireland and globally at the actions of Donald Trump since his election. Sinn Féin has been to the fore in opposing these measures. '

Declan Breathnach TD says he will be attending the parade in Dundalk and hopes to make it to the Ardee one at 3pm. He said: 'It is a day for communities to demonstrate great pride in their achievements and provide a great fun family day for all'.

And Fergus O'Dowd hopes to get along to parades in Dundalk, Ardee and Drogheda with his family.

Drogheda Independent

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