A fourteen strong delegation comprising of the County Mayor and Deputy Mayor as well as councillors and officials is being sent by Cork County Council to the US for a three city tour during St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
hile not all the members of the delegation will be in the US for the ten day trip which takes in Chicago, New York and Detroit, the cost for the entire mission, entitled a Government, Trade and Tourism mission, will come to €33,474, according to details furnished by The Corkman this week.
The mission will also include the Chief Executive of Visit Cork and the representatives of the Irish Hotel Federation who will be present during the Chicago leg of a trip which also includes visits by Cork County Council delegations to Detroit and New York.
The trip is being viewed by Cork County Council as a ‘unique opportunity to promote the Cork region from both a tourism and investment perspective’ given the huge levels of publicity and media attention which it feels will be generated during the St. Patrick’s Festival.
According to a statement issued by Cork County Council, the focus of the mission will be both ‘to promote Cork as an attractive destination with top class visitor attractions, conference facilities and amenities as well as continuing to strengthen the connections between County Cork and the United States, such as building upon existing agreements between Cook County (sistership agreement) and the City of Detroit (friendship agreement), aimed at fostering international cooperation programmes together with exploring the significant potential to boost tourism, investment and trade through collaboration between both regions.
During the Chicago leg of the trip, Mayor Danny Collins and Deputy Mayor Cllr Deirdre O’Brien will be accompanied by fellow councillors, Ben Dalton O’Sullivan, Patrick Gerard Murphy and Michael Hegarty. The officials travelling to Chicago include County Council CEO Tim Lucey, Senior Executive Officer Mairead Lucey, Communications and Marketing Manager Lisa O’Riordan and Senior Staff Officer Mary Hickey.
On their itinerary will be a meeting with President Preckwinkle, the President of Cook County Board of Commissioners. SInce 1999 Cook County Council has a sister-ship agreement with Cook County, the most populous county in the US with a population of 5.2m people, On Saturday, March 11, the St Patrick’s Festival parade will be preceded by the Greening of the Chicago River, when green dye is poured into the river turning it a bright shade of green in honour of the strong links between Ireland and the Illinois super city.
“Over the last two decades, the Cook County Cork County agreement has served to foster international trade and develop and strengthen relations between companies, institutions, organisations and individual entrepreneurs, particularly in the Information Technology, Biotechnology and Tourism sectors,” Cork County Council said in a statement which said one of the key fruits of this collaborative partnership was the establishment of the Cork Convention Bureau in 2007.
On Monday, March 13, Cllr Collins, the County Mayor will journey on to New York for that leg of the trip while the rest of the delegation will head back to Ireland. In New York Mayor Collins will be joined by Cork County Council deputy mayor, Cllr Deirdre O’Brien, Clodagh Heneghan, a Divisional Manager with the Council and Director of Services Kevin Morey.
There events include attendance at meetings with Tourism Ireland and the IDA as well as participation in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and attendance at the Cork Association Dinner that evening.
Prior to her arrival in New York, Cllr Deirdre O’Brien will have spent a number of days in Detroit where she is scheduled to meet Michael Duggan, the Mayor of the City of Detroit. as well as participating in the St. Patrick’s Festival Parade which will take place on Sunday, March 12.
During Deputy Mayor O’Brien’s time in Detroit, she will be accompanied by Cllr Mary Linehan Foley and Cllr Kay Dawson as well as Mags Donovan, a Senior Staff Officer with Cork County Council.