Sought seat at table for Donegal

By Anthony Neeson

Three high profile Democratic members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week asking that County Donegal be included in the U.S.-Northern Ireland Economic Conference that took palce in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

Representatives Charles Murphy, Eugene O'Flaherty and Martin Walsh told Secretary Clinton that they "believe such an invitation would have added to the theme of the conference "and further demonstrate why investment in the North of Ireland is

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beneficial to U.S. companies."

They said that to include Donegal would acknowledge the cross-border collaboration that has been beneficial to the economic vitality of the area.

"The only cross-border economic development gateway on the island recognized and created by the Republic of Ireland is the Letterkenny/Derry one. Further, the Northern Ireland government's regional development strategy also gives recognition and strives to support the NorthWest cross-border co-operative efforts," the three reps. added.

And they continued: "This unique effort is recognized by both governments on the island of Ireland and as such would be greatly enhanced by the inclusion we petition you for.

"The NorthWest Development Partnership is underway and the areas of focus are tourism, information technology, renewable energies and educational opportunities to support the next generation. Certainly US companies would want to explore these

opportunities and hear of the progress to date."

The three politicians had just returned from a visit to the Ireland when they sent their plea to Secretary Clinton.

"Everywhere we went the optimism was apparent and yet the challenges remaining were spoken of honestly and in a forthright manner," they told the Secretary of State.

In the end, the conference went ahead with its focus solely on the six counties of Northern Ireland.