The Mayor of Boston is to arrive in Donegal and Derry later this month before his hometown hosts delegates from both counties at a major trans-Atlantic conference.
Marty Walsh will arrive in Derry on September 24th ahead of the Golden Gates conference and a wider programme of events which has been lined up for the visit to Boston.
While here, he is also expected to visit Donegal, where he has family connections.
The visit was revealed this week at the September meeting of Derry City Council’s Development Committee.
It was recommended at the meeting that Mayor Brendan Stevenson and a senior council official artend the conference, and that a pledge £5,000 towards sponsoring the conference be made.
The conference takes place on October 8th and 9th at the World Trade Centre and at the Seaport Hotel in Boston.
There will be a strong focus on economic partnerships, with 150 leaders from both sides of the Atlantic attending.
A report presented at the meeting stated that Donegal has developed considerable political and business networks, and recommended that the conference be viewed as a “starting point on a medium to a long-term investment strategy that will lead to tangible job creation and inward investment.”
The committee was told that Donegal County Council has a dedicated liaison officer based in Massachusetts, and that the local authority has offered their Derry counterparts the chance to partner on a week of networking visits to American colleges, councils and economic bodies.
Sinn Fein Councillor Eric McGinely said the report- produced at the request of the council to ensure value for ratepayers’ money- presented a clear rationale for going. “We are happy to support the recommendation,” he said.
SDLP Councillor John Boyle said this was “ a great opportunity for our city to once again link up with Boston and New England where there is a great Irish Diaspora and great connection. There is also a great opportunity to work with our sister council in Donegal.”
Mayor Stevenson said the Mayor of Boston saw real potential in the partnership and had arranged to visit Donegal and Derry, where there will be an event in his honour in the city’s Guildhall.