Big Apple Here We Come
The idea was simple: put bright, ambitious, action-orientated people together in the Big Apple to discuss ways in which they could boost Belfast and build Irish America.
Since then, the New York-New Belfast summit has become the single biggest initiative by any Irish city to engage the Irish American diaspora.
It has become a fixed date in the calendar for political, business, cultural and community leaders from both Belfast and New York who enjoy the hospitality of Fordham University and its dynamic President Fr Joseph McShane.
Each year, we bring some phenomenal ambassadors for the New Belfast to our Big Apple audience. But this year, we’re hitting our highest note yet by bringing the sensational Belfast Community Gospel Choir to New York. I am a big fan of Belfast’s biggest choir — in their diversity and joy, they really do represent the new Belfast — and I’m delighted 64 members (half) of the choir will perform at our conference before undertaking a mini-tour which will take them to New Brunswick, courtesy of Mayor James Cahill, and Harlem.
But the focus of the conference will remain on business and I’m delighted as Mayor to be bringing ten business leaders on a parallel trade and investment mission around the summit. Those leaders will include Peter Fitzgerald, founder of Randox, and Philip Cassidy, VP of Concentrix, and they will rub shoulders at conference with political leaders from New York including State Reps Mike Cusick and Mike Fitzpatrick before joining Irish American business chiefs at dinner in the boardroom of the New York Stock Exchange.
I look forward to meeting many old friends at the New York-New Belfast Conference and am pleased that a strong Belfast delegation, including political representatives of both traditions, will join Justice Minister David Ford at the summit.
Finally, thanks to all those closer to home who made it possible for me to come in at the head of the poll and be elected ahead of quota on the first count in the Belfast City Council elections this week. It iwill be a great privilege to continue to serve the people of the district of Balmoral and the city of Belfast after I step down from the office of Lord Mayor on 2 June.
Tá neart oibre le déanamh againn uillig le todhchaí gheal a thógáil dár muintir, luímís isteach ar an obair sin.