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Craftsmen head to US on mission for exports

"FINGAL'S Finest" crafts companies hope to hit export success in New Jersey later this month.

Eight small Fingal craftmakers will travel to an Irish trade show in Secaucus in the hope of landing orders from US retailers from April 21 to 24.

With this year marking the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, Philip Gaffney's memorabilia should find a ready market.

Others include Michael Fahy with the Mullins Map of family crests in Ireland, which has sold over 100,000 copies since the 1960s, and Mary and Greg Whelan with their embroidered table linen.

Supported by Fingal County Enterprise Board, the craft makers aim to secure combined export sales of more than $200,000 (€152,000) in the next 12 months.

"This event is an opportunity for smaller companies to reach global markets they would otherwise find difficult to access," Oisin Geoghegan, chief executive with Fingal County Enterprise Board, said.

"Exposure to these influential international buyers can lead to new markets, higher sales and increased employment.

"It also improves their business knowledge."

The show in New Jersey is one of America's biggest "Irish" trade shows and is attended by hundreds of influential buyers and industry leaders every year.

The eight Fingal based companies represent the jewellery, art and design, giftware and heraldic goods sectors.

Last year, Fingal companies attending the Ireland Show in New Jersey secured $70,000 (€53,000) in direct export orders with $200,000 (€152,000) in combined export orders projected for the rest of last year.