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Boston conference hailed as a success

Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans was the recipient of the Heart of Irish America Award at the seventh annual Golden Bridges conference hosted by the Irish Echo in Boston this week. Presenting the award were the Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Elisha McCallion, and the Mayor of Donegal, Ciarán Brogan.

By Irish Echo Staff

It was indeed a magnificent seven.

Some of the most prominent figures in Irish America gathered in Boston with business and political leaders from Northwest Ireland Wednesday and Thursday of this week at what was the seventh annual Golden Bridges Conference.

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A strong delegation from Ireland’s Northwest, most especially Donegal and Derry, but also delegates from Tyrone and Belfast, met with Irish American leaders during two days of activities which included a reception at the Massachusetts State House, and a gala luncheon addressed by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Golden Bridges promotes transatlantic partnerships and this year’s gathering featured contributions from the recently-appointed president of the University of Massachusetts, Marty Meehan, as well as Mayor Walsh.

Heading delegations from Ireland were Mayor of Donegal Ciarán Brogan and the Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Elisha McCallion.

“I am pleased to see our links with Ireland, north and south, growing in strength and am pleased to welcome strong delegations from Derry, Donegal and Belfast to Boston for the annual Golden Bridges conference which has, for almost a decade now, been the catalyst for powerful transatlantic partnerships,” said Mayor Walsh.

The conference plenary on Thursday morning focused on investment and trade with contributions from, among others, MassBio and Northern Irish life science company Randox.

Among the honorees at the luncheon were founders of two U.S. companies which have recently invested in Derry, OSV of Texas, and Metaverse Mod Squad of California.

A new generation of entrepreneurs also got to pitch their start-up companies to an influential business panel during the conference.

Sponsoring business partners at the Golden Bridges Conference were led by Liberty Mutual, Invest Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland and the councils of Donegal and Derry.

Said Mayor McCallion: "I am delighted to be taking part in this year’s Golden Bridges conference as part of the Northwest delegation.

“The conference is a great platform to promote the city and regions as an investment proposition to a range of key companies, organizations and entrepreneurs," she said.

The Golden Bridges Conference at the Seaport Hotel in Boston is an initiative of the Irish Echo.

“U.S. foreign direct investment in Ireland has transformed the economy across the island, feeding into our burgeoning innovative industries and making this country the envy of our European partners,” said Irish Echo publisher and conference convener, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.

“Traditionally, the Northwest of Ireland, Donegal and Derry, haven’t done as well as other regions from foreign direct investment, but that is starting to change,” he said.