Is fann guala gan bráthair/A shoulder is weak without a brother (or a sister)
Minister Derek Mackay of Scotland and Minister Mark Drakeford of Wales joined me in Newry, Co Down, right in the heart of the area where Brexit will hit hardest, for a finance ministers’ trilateral. I was also pleased that the deputy finance minister of the Basque Country Juan-Miguel Bilbao joined my officials to discuss co-operation between our ministries.
There’s no disguising the fact that when the going gets tough, we fall back on Irish America.
And there’s no shame in that either.
For the soul of Ireland rests in Irish America and in every period of crisis over a century and more, the Irish who sought a new beginning in the US have responded to the call.
So I head to San Francisco and New York next week with a investment proposition which is anchored in the opportunity the North presents in terms of its abundant talent, hunger for work and inexorable journey to a shared and prosperous future.
But I will also be asking Irish America to step into the gap at a time when the uncertainty caused by Brexit threatens to derail our job creation and economic growth.
The best antidote to the threat caused by Brexit is to insist — as the business and third sector representatives I met in a roundtable last week most certainly do — that the North retains its access to the four freedoms on which the EU is based: free movement of goods, labour, services and capital.
The British Government is resolved to deliver a hard Brexit for England and Wales but as my colleague Minister of Finance in Scotland Derek Mackay said in Newry this week, we “do not want to see people punished as a consequence of the mess that the Tory party has gotten us into, the hard-right Brexiteers.”
I have no doubt that Irish America gets it and that’s why rather than hesitating or holding back in San Francisco and New York, I will be telling business leaders and politicians that now is the time to invest. We are on the cusp of the greatest period of economic growth in the North since Partition and it is inconceivable that even the most bucaneer Brexiteer would dare sabotage our rise.
So we present a strong shoulder to the future, side-by-side with our allies in Irish America.
|Running New York|
Thanks to Irish America for responding in fine fashion as well to my New York marathon funds appeal on behalf of the crusading charity WIN which is breaking the cycle of poverty for the Big Apple’s homeless. I upped our target to $6000 and Mark Guilfoyle in Kentucky, Todd Allen in New Jersey and John Gallaher in New York were among those who got us within striking distance of home. If you want to give WIN a shoulder to lean on, you can donate here.