By Kieran O’Mahony
FOLLOWING last year’s Cork County Council trip to the Jiangsu province in China, the Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr John Paul O’Shea is once again leading a business and tourism delegation abroad.
This time the Council trip is a three-city programme of events which will include visits to Chicago, Detroit and New York, to capitalise on the opportunity that the annual St Patrick’s Day period offers to promote Cork.
The County Major will be joined on the trip by the Council chief executive Tim Lucey, and two other Council officials.
The delegation will participate in a series of cultural and business events and meetings that will address food, tourism and IT opportunities for the Cork region.
Trade and political visits between Cork and Chicago to date have focused primarily on tourism, IT and biotechnology, and the relationship has resulted in many Cork businesses being introduced to the US market, including a Cork software development company who are now working with leading US companies Abbot Laboratories and Astellas Pharma.
‘The success of the relationships forged in the last number of years through the work undertaken by previous St Patrick’s Day business and tourism delegations is obvious,’ said Cllr O’Shea.
‘I am privileged to lead a delegation to the United States on behalf of the Council. Cork County Council has a long association with Chicago and in particular Cook County,’ he said.
‘This year’s visit is comprehensive in scope. I will also address the Irish American fellowship and the Cork New York association and tourism and our 1916 commemorations will also feature highly on the agenda.’
Tim Lucey said the visit is part of an ongoing Cork County Council programme of maximising exposure for the Cork Region internationally, through utilising the unique opportunity that presents at this time of the year to deepen business, cultural and tourism links for the county.
Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber of Commerce is also participating on the Chicago leg of the visit, and said the links between Cork and Chicago have grown significantly in recent years, further to previous visits of this nature and have considerable scope for development from a trade, tourism and investment perspective.
‘Of particular relevance on this occasion is the participation of the Cork delegation in an Agrifood focused investment event with the Irish Consulate and Chicagoland Chamber which will highlight opportunities across this key sector of the Cork and US Mid-Western economies,’ said Mr Healy.