by Cathaoirleach Cllr. John Campbell
In October I led a Donegal Delegation to Massachusetts to participate in the 2014 Golden Bridges events and to engage with a range of partners to advance partnership and collaboration across a range of sectors. This formed part of a broader North West of Ireland delegation and the Mayor of Derry, Clr. Brenda Stevenson also took part.
This activity took place in the context of the Donegal Diaspora initiative and the visit further advanced cooperation and collaboration across a range of areas – economic, education, political, cultural and community. The Golden Bridges events provide a valuable platform for the North West of Ireland with Donegal County Council working in close partnership with Derry City Council and the Irish Echo Newspaper in this regard. The Golden Bridges events were opened by the Cathaoirleach, the Mayor of Derry and Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston and were attended by a broad range of business, political, educational representatives as well as representatives of the Donegal community living in Massachusetts.
Mayor Marty Walsh, Boston; Clr. Brenda Stevenson, Mayor of Derry; Donegal County Council Cathaoirleach Clr. John Campbell at Golden Bridges
The 2014 Golden Bridges Award recipients included two Donegal men, Michael McCarron from Drumfries, ex-president of the Donegal Association of the Greater Boston area and Danny Hutton from Buncrana, singer with the internationally renowned group Three Dog Night.
A summary of the trip can be found here (Appendix 1 – Detailed Itinerary). The visits and meetings that took place encompassed a wide range of activities relating to business development, cooperation and collaboration in the areas of third level education and research, consolidation of potential links, renewable energy development, ICT development, tourism and investment opportunities.
A highlight of the trip for me was the visit to the Irish Pastoral Centre (IPC) in Dorchester and meeting with a group of older immigrants from Ireland, many from Donegal. It was great to see the excellent work carried out by the IPC on behalf of emigrants from Ireland. The visit to the Irish International Immigration Center (IIIC) was also useful in this regard. The wide range of services and supports for immigrants provided by the IIIC were outlined and the ongoing cooperation between IIIC and Donegal County Council highlighted by the management and staff of the centre.
At the Irish Pastoral Centre, Dorchester with Chaplain Fr. John McCarthy; Sr. Marguerite Kelly and Director Megan Carroll
We were grateful for the reception provided for the Cathaoirleach and the Mayor of Derry by the Massachusetts State Senate President Murray and the Chancellor of UMass Lowell, Marty Meehan, at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and which was attended by a broad range of UMass faculty and Senior Executives from other agencies with which, we and LYIT are working in close cooperation.
It was useful and enjoyable to meet with members of the Donegal community in Boston, including those working for the undocumented and also to attend the AGM of the Donegal Boston GAA Club which works to support all of our community, especially our younger immigrants in the Boston region.
Monday, 6th October
9.00am – Mass Technology Collaborative, Boston
Meeting with Mass Technology Executives to discuss areas of partnership and collaboration between Mass Tech Collaborative and Donegal (LYIT, ERNACT) and possibilities for engaging in a number of collaborative projects relating to ICT.
11.30am – Cambridge Innovation Centre, Boston
Meeting and tour of facilities. Areas for partnership and collaboration explored (LYIT, Colab, ERNACT, Donegal Enterprise Centres). Cooperation to take place on adopting this model for use in a Donegal context.
2.00pm – M2D2 Project, Lowell
Meeting to discuss ongoing collaborative work with M2D2 Medical Science Research and Development Centre project which has now established a base at LYIT (Colab) in Letterkenny. Presentation on plans for development of M2D2 operation in North West of Ireland.
3.00pm – Centre for Irish Partnerships, UMass Lowell
Meeting to discuss ongoing partnerships with the Centre for Irish Partnerships at UMass Lowell. Areas of ongoing and potential future collaboration explored in areas of mutual interest. Centre to continue to link Donegal in to various relevant University facilities throughout the UMass system.
6.00pm – Reception, UMass Lowell
Reception for the Cathaoirleach and the Mayor of Derry hosted by Chancellor Marty Meehan and State Senate President Therese Murray. Attended by UMass Faculty, Mass Life Sciences, Mass Technology Collaborative and others involved in partnership with Donegal/North West of Ireland.
Tuesday, 7th October
8.30am – West Massachusetts Economic Development Council (EDC), Springfield
Meeting to discuss ongoing partnership with West Mass EDC – Ann McFarland Burke, Dawn Creighton, Western MA Director, Associated Industries of Massachusetts. West Mass EDC meeting to support Donegal in terms of enterprise, tourism and creative industries.
10.00am – Valley Mentors, Springfield
Presentation by Paul Silva, Valley Mentors on innovation business monitoring model developed in Springfield. Support to be provided to adopt and replicate in Donegal context.
12.00Noon – Worcester State University, Worcester
Reception hosted for Cathaoirleach and the Mayor of Derry by University President Barry Maloney. Attended by College Faculty, local government, business, Chamber CEO Tim Murray, Senator Michael Moore and others.
1.30pm – Worcester Chamber of Commerce, Worcester
Meeting with Tim Murray, CEO Worcester Chamber of Commerce to discuss ongoing partnership re presentation of businesses and other links between Donegal and Worcester.
3.00pm – Worcester Planning Institute
Presentation on strategic planning process being introduced for Worcester and surrounding region across all sectors. Discussion on areas for shared learning and cooperation.
4.30pm – Becker College / Mass Digi, Worcester
Discussions with Becker College President and with faculty at Mass Digi. Partnerships between Becker, Mass Digi, LYIT and ERNACT being developed for promotion of Creative Industries through transatlantic partnership and collaboration.
Wednesday, 8th October
9.00am – Irish International Immigration Center (IIIC)
Presentation on work of the IIIC on behalf of immigrants to Boston and Massachusetts. Presentation on work of the IIIC across a range of areas and discussion on ongoing partnership between Irish International Immigration Center and Donegal County Council.
11.30am – Irish Pastoral Centre (IPC), Dorchester
Presentation on work of the IPC and meeting with a range of older immigrants. Discussion on areas of cooperation and mutual support between IPC and Donegal County Council.
5.30pm – Golden Bridges
Golden Bridges Showcase and Tourism Presentations
(See programme attached – Appendix 2 – Golden Bridges Agenda 2014)
Thursday, 9th October
8.00am – Golden Bridges Economic Seminar
(See progamme attached – Appendix 2 – Golden Bridges Agenda 2014)
With Congressman Richie Neal and John Cullinane of Cullinet
12.30pm – Golden Bridges Awards Lunch
Showcase awards lunch with participation from a range of political and business interests. Awards presented to Donegal recipients Michael McCarron from Drumfries and Danny Hutton from Buncrana.
With Michael McCarron, Former President Donegal Association of Greater Boston Area
3.00pm – Boston City Council
Round table on cooperation in the fields of Tourism and Enterprise development with executives from Boston City Council.
5.30pm – Irish Consul General, Boston
Reception for Cathaoirleach and Mayor of Derry attended by Irish community Boston and various political, business, education, etc, partners.
Friday, 10th October
8.00am – New Bedford Fish Market
Visit and tour of New Bedford Fish Market and Auction.
At New Bedford Fish Market and Auction
9.30am – University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
Meeting with UMass Ocean Marine Science and Technology Centre (Ocean Marine Research) re collaboration on ocean development in Donegal. Collaboration to take place on development of Killybegs as a Marine/Energy Centre of Excellence.
With Director of UMass Marine Science & Technology Centre
11.30am – Meetings took place with a range of stakeholders in New Bedford
New Bedford Offshore Wind Terminal
New Bedford Wind Energy Initiative
UMass Dartmouth (President)
Tour and meetings in relation to mode of best practice developed in New Bedford for Ocean energy. Potential for collaboration in a Killybegs/Donegal context explored.
With John Quinn, UMass Dartmouth and Matthew Morrisey, New Bedford Wind Energy Initiative
UMass Dartmouth Centre of Ocean and Marine Resources, New Bedford
3.00pm – New Bedford Whaling Museum
Meeting with New Bedford Whaling Museum, a key tourism facility in Massachusetts. Discussions on areas of cooperation.
Saturday, 11th October – Donegal Boston GAA AGM
Attended Donegal Boston GAA AGM in Dorchester, Massachusetts.