CURRENT ISSUE:  August 2023

Donnybrook: Biden’s Ballina

President Biden took a historic trip in support of peace to the Six Counties on the occasion of the Good Friday Agreement’s 25th Anniversary.  Biden met with U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunyak and leaders of the Unionist and Nationalist parties.

Biden urged the parties to restore the Northern Ireland Parliament to full operation. Here are a few excerpts from President Biden’s speech at Ulster University:

‘In 1998, it was the longest-running conflict in Europe since the end of World War Two. Thousands of families had been affected by the Troubles. The losses were real. The pain was personal. I need not tell many people in this audience. Every person killed in the Troubles left an empty chair at that dining-room table and a hole in the heart that was never filled for the ones they lost. Peace was not inevitable. We can’t ever forget that. There was nothing inevitable about it.

Ireland welcomes President Joe Biden

As George Mitchell often said, the negotiations had, quote, “Seven hundred days of failure and one day of success.”

Seven hundred days of failure and one day of success. 

But they kept going because George and all the many others never stopped believing that success was possible. And I want all of you to know, especially the young people in the audience today — the American people were with you — are with you every step of the way. It’s real.

Those of you who’ve been to America know that there is a — there is a large population that is invested in what happens here, that cares a great deal about what happens here.

Supporting the people of Northern Ireland, protecting the peace, preserving the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement is a priority for Democrats and Republicans alike in the United States, and that is unusual today because we’ve been very divided in our parties. This is something that brings Washington together. It brings America together.

I know the UK’s departure from the European Union created complex challenges here in Northern Ireland. And I encouraged the leaders of the UK and EU to address the issues in a way that served Northern Ireland’s best interests. I deeply appreciate the personal leadership of Prime Minister Sunak and European Commissioner von der Leyen to reach an agreement. The Windsor Framework addresses the practical realities of Brexit and the essential — and it’s an essential step to ensuring hard-earned peace and progress of the Good Friday Agreement is — that they’re preserved and strengthened.

That’s why today’s Belfast is the beating heart of Northern Ireland, and it’s poised to drive unprecedented economic opportunity and investment from communities across the UK, across Ireland, and across the United States.

The simple truth is that peace and economic opportunity go together. Peace and economic opportunity go together. In the 25 years since the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland’s gross domestic product has literally doubled. Doubled. And I predict to you, if things continue to move in the right direction, it will more than triple.

There are scores of major American corporations wanting to come here, wanting to invest. Many have already made homes in Northern Ireland, employing over 30,000 people. And in just the past decade, American business has generated almost $2 billion in investment in the region. Two billion dollars.

That is why I asked Joe Kennedy, my new Special Envoy in Northern Ireland of Economic Affairs, to help supercharge that work to bring more businesses, more investment, more opportunity here to Northern Ireland, and to help realize the enormous economic potential of this region.”

To those who continue to promote the peace on the Emerald Isle, there is great comfort in knowing we have a President who is clear about his advocacy for keeping this mission moving forward.

Cleveland Twins with Achill, Mayo
20 years ago, in the summer of 2003, Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell led a delegation from Cleveland to Ireland to celebrate Achill Island, County Mayo being a “Sister City” to Cleveland, Ohio, also known as “Twinning.” Perhaps after more than a century and a half of immigration from Mayo to Cleveland, it took Cleveland’s first woman mayor to honor these historic bonds.

Campbell was convinced of this significance and importance of these ties to Mayo after a long and hard fight by Clevelander Steve Mulloy, a native of Achill who, along with his wife, Anne O’Donnell Mulloy, also a native of Achill, advocated for this Twinning. A logical step to formally recognize that most of Cleveland’s large, vibrant Irish community came from County Mayo, and a huge number of those from Achill Island.

Achill is Ireland’s largest island and located along the scenic Wild Atlantic Way on the rugged northwest coast of Ireland. The official travelling delegation from Cleveland included Mayor Jane L. Campbell, Steve and Anne Mulloy, Judge Sean Gallagher, Craig Tame, Kevin Berry CPD, Steve Dever and John Myers. They were greeted by members of the Cleveland Ad-hoc committee who arrived earlier to make preparations. This group included Andy Dever, Cong and Kathleen Mangan, Thomas McNamara and Anne Mangan McGinty. 

Welcoming the visitors were Terrance Dever and Thomas McNamara from Achill Development; Karen Grealis, Kenny Deery and Adrian Kilbane from Achill Tourism; Dr. Bernadette O’Leary, M.D.; Father Burns from Achill Parish; Mary McNamara, editor of Achill-Link Magazine; Mary Majelle Kilbane Gallagher, Irish National Teachers Org.; Deirdre niChurraidhin; Garda Martin J Kelly; Dr. Kathleen Sweeney of the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology; Kate Gallagher, Cliff House Hotel; Des Mahon, Mayo County Manager; Frank and Phil Chambers, President, Mayo County Council; Patrick Kilbane and Frank Leneghan of Mayo County Council; Kevin Corrigan, Udaias na Gaeltachta.

(L to R) Steve Mulloy Mayor Jane Campbell Terrence Dever. Photo by Keith Heneghan.

Parma’s Colleen Corrigan Day has steadfastly worked tirelessly over the last 20 years to coordinate many exchange visits, including leading tours of students to visit Achill. Collen and the Ad-Hoc Committee invite all to continue this ongoing rapport by travelling to Achill this September (9-11th) for events recognizing these historic ties that bind. Closer to home will be a 20th Anniversary Dinner planned for the West Side Irish American Club on October 28th, 2023.  All are welcome.

Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne and Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb reaffirmed this relationship during their visit to Achill and Mayo last month upon the inaugural direct Cleveland to Dublin flights by Aer Lingus airlines. County Exec. Ed FitzGerald had previously reaffirmed the Twinning upon his official visit in 2012.

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb speaks of the significant impact the Aer Lingus Direct Cleveland to Dublin flight will have for Cleveland and for business as they gateway from here to Europe, and from Europe to the United States, as Cuyahoga Co Executive Chris Ronayne looks on.

*John Myers is an attorney in Cleveland. He can be contacted at: Ir************@gm***.com

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