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17/11/2022 - Delegates to promote NW region at Golden Bridges Conference

Delegates to promote NW region at Golden Bridges Conference image


Delegates from the North West City region who are taking part in a trade delegation to the United States will be attending the annual transatlantic Golden Bridges Conference that takes place this Friday, 18 November in Boston, United States.


The Golden Bridges Conference gives the global audience a unique insight into how those living and working in the border region of Donegal, Derry and Strabane are continuing to work in close collaboration to attract investment, create jobs and boost the economy during the current challenging economic times.


Six cross border companies are this year participating in the 2022 Trade Mission, representing technology, biotech, food and drink, creative industries and sportswear manufacturing.


They are part of a delegation led by Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council and a range of partners. The companies are - Alchemy (insurtech); C-TRIC (clinical research organisation); Wild Atlantic Distillery (spirits); Mc Daid (craft sodas); FIT PINK (active wear) and O’Reilly’s (high performance sportswear).


The Golden Bridges Conference is when political leaders, business, community representatives, tourism and education providers from Ireland North West and Boston join together to further bind their relationship.


This is the first year since 2019 that the hugely popular and influential transatlantic conference is being hosted physically after being held virtually for the previous two years. The event will feature a range of speakers and delegates from the US, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, who will discuss themes of investment, innovation, tourism, culture and education.


Among those confirmed to participate at the event are Representative Ed Coppinger, Chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses, Massachusetts Legislature; Alison Metcalfe, Executive Vice President North America and Australia, Tourism Ireland; Andrea Haughian, Executive Vice President and Head of Americas at Invest NI;  Andrew Elliott, Director of NI Bureau; Laoise Moore, Consul General of Ireland in Boston; and Martina Curtin, President of the Irish Cultural Centre in Greater Boston.  


Among the local attendees taking part are Professor Declan Keeney, Director of Research, Development and Innovation at Studio Ulster, Brendan McBride, Co-founder of Crolly Distillery, Donegal; Professor  Frank Lyons, Professor of Music and Associate Dean of Research and Impact in Arts Humanities and Social Sciences at Ulster University; Sean Flood, founder of #GotchaMobility, company builder and investor; Professor Malachy O’Neill, Director of Regional Engagement at Ulster University;  Micheal O’Duibhir, Development Officer for Digital Economy at Udaras na Gaeltachta; Dr Orla Flynn, President at the Atlantic Technological University; Paul Phelan, Vice President of Operations at Optum Letterkenny; Garry Martin, Director of Service for Economic Development, Information Systems and Emergency Services at Donegal County Council and Kevin O’Connor, Head of Business at Derry City and Strabane District Council.


Councillor Liam Blaney, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council believes the Golden Bridges Event will also allow for renewed linkages between the North West of Ireland and Boston “The world has changed so much in the last years, the Irish diaspora, something that we cherish, has been disrupted and disjointed, but we are delighted to again gather for the Golden Bridges event and recognise the importance of maintaining our diaspora links and striving to develop new and fruitful partnerships”


Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Sandra Duffy, who didn’t travel to the US but who sent a message of support to those participating in the conference says it is important now than ever for the two Councils to re-engage with partners and businesses in the United States.


She said: "This year's Golden Bridges will once again showcase the very best of the Northwest region to an audience of influential business and political leaders in the United States. Despite a number of unprecedented challenges, our region has continued to spearhead a very strong and unique strategic partnership.


“The Golden Bridges Conference is always a key date in our business diary, providing an opportunity to forge valuable business connections and augment the strong network of partnerships we have established over the years. We are delighted to get the opportunity to reconnect with our business, community and education partners to provide an update on the work we are doing and find out about new opportunities that exist for us.


The Mayor added that the Golden Bridges Conference provides the partnership with a huge opportunity to showcase these initiatives and profile the excellent work that is being done on the ground to profile our strong regional economic development offering to delegates across the Atlantic.



This year’s delegation is led by Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council in partnership with Ulster University, Atlantic Technological University, Udaras na Gaeltachta and the Donegal Local Enterprise Office.