Cathaoirleach does North West proud in promoting investment & trade links in US

Golden Bridges Conference
Golden Bridges Conference

Donegal County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr Terence Slowey says promoting the Ireland North West region in partnership with Derry City and Strabane District Council in Massachusetts during their recent visit was significant in promoting investment and economic development and making real inroads to helping local firms towards market entry in the United States.

Here he talks about the visit and the good work that was done by the local team to promote business and education links and believes that by working with Derry City and Strabane District Council and other partners including the Local Enterprise Office, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and Udaras na Gaeltachta we can achieve great things for the region.

“I was very privileged to be part of the delegation and to represent Donegal, Derry and Strabane in the US last week.  The welcome we received was phenomenal, everyone was so positive about what we are doing and about our region and what we have to offer.  We travelled to Worcester, Springfield and Boston and it was evident that so many people have a close affinity to Donegal, Derry and Strabane.  Everyone was so positive and supportive and keen to do whatever they can to help us get the message out that we are ready for business and investment and that the North West region is on the up in terms of success for the future”.

“Among the many highlights for me was meeting the Ireland Consulate General Fionnuala Quinlan and her counterpart the British Consulate General Harriet Cross who are both very supportive of the work we are doing to promote and develop our region. It was hugely significant that the Mayor of Boston Martin Walsh, also took time out of his hectic schedule to meet us and show his support”.

“What made our delegation particularly strong was our united message selling and promoting the region as a single entity.  We were very proactive in getting across our key message that Ireland North West is unique because of its close connectivity to the UK and the Eurozone, its digital connectivity, it’s skilled and well educated workforce, the competitive business operating costs, as well as excellent educational and business linkages”.

“Business leaders and politicians we met in Boston were hugely impressed with what we have to offer. Our region was very much promoted as a great location to live, work, go to college and do business”.

“Among the places we visited was Harvard University where we received a talk from Carndonagh native Gareth Doherty who is working there as a Professor of Landscape Architecture.  Gareth talked to us about the exciting projects he is working on and the opportunities that exist for students. We also visited the We Work innovation building on site and saw at first hand some of the innovative projects they are involved in and the opportunities that exist for us in terms of key partnerships including faculty and student exchanges, exploratory projects on life sciences and digital and creative projects”.

“Mayor Sarno from Springfield and Mayor Joseph Petty from Worcester also took time out to come meet with us while several high profile State Representatives and Senators came to speak with us during a very impressive tour of the Boston State House. Our attendance and participation in the Golden Bridges conference was very useful and was attended by so many Donegal, Derry and Strabane Diaspora, all keen to hear about how things are back home and how they can help us secure investment and help tell our story”.

“I particularly enjoyed meeting and engaging with the companies who travelled with us to develop links towards market entry into the US. Over 17 companies travelled with us, most of them from Donegal including Hanna Hats from Donegal Town, SLM Ireland from Letterkenny, Donegal Socks from Glenties, Irish Fish Canners from Dungloe, Kelsius from Falcaragh, Irish Gap Year from Bundoran, Gartan Technologies from Letterkenny, O’Donnell’s Bakery from Laghey, Consilium Education from Letterkenny, Sendmode from Letterkenny and Kinnegar Beer from Rathmullan, who all made business linkages that, over time, will see real results”.

“Another key success of the trip is the increase in educational linkages with colleges and universities in Mass including Harvard where our local representatives Paul Hannigan and John Andy Bonner from the LYIT with representatives from the Ulster University, and the North West Regional College in Derry making a strong case to promote our education offering and skilled and educated young people available for employment.”

“I was very particularly pleased that one of our local companies, Gartan Technologies, who travelled with us announced during our visit announced details of a joint partnership between with US firm Adashi Systems. I know from speaking with many of the companies that were with us that they made many positive leads and connections with companies and distributors who are interested in their products and services and I sincerely hope we get some good news stories on these in the coming weeks.”

“I formed a very good working friendship with the Derry City and Strabane District Council Mayor Alderman Hilary McClintock who was very positive about the entire region and we worked very well together promoting our region by being strong and united in our message that we are open for business and have something very unique and special.”

“I enjoyed being part of the delegation, meeting new people and getting the opportunity to tell Americans how great Donegal is. I was very impressed with Boston, it’s a lovely city, the people are warm and friendly and very similar in their outlook to Donegal people. I felt very privileged to represent the county and to tell the people of Boston about the work we are doing and to encourage as many of them as possible to come see for themselves what we have to offer.”

“Looking back on the five day visit, while it was exhausting and very demanding, it was hugely beneficial for all parties and I am sure the people of Boston are still talking about Ireland North West and what we have to offer.  Let’s hope that over the weeks and months to follow we will see the fruits of our labour when Ireland North West reaps the benefits of the positive connections and linkages we have made.”