Members of the Crossmaglen steering group before boarding their transatlantic flight.
By Barbara Collins
A group from the South Armagh border village of Crossmaglen are landing in New York City today as part of a mission to secure business for the area.
The visitors are also working to twin with a U.S.-based sporting organization, this to augment their multi-cup winning GAA club, Crossmaglen Rangers.
“There were promises made in the Good Friday Agreement that deprived areas would see economic benefits from the peace process” says Tony Brady from Crossmaglen Rangers.
“That never happened with Crossmaglen.
“Companies have invested in Newry, Dundalk, Carrickmacross and other nearby towns, but we have never seen any business come this way, despite us being very well-placed in terms of a skilled workforce, fiber-optic broadband and accessible transport links.
“We are going to New York with the aim of attracting businesses to South Armagh.
“We think that it would be of particular interest to software and service industries. The local landscape is stunning. It is steeped in history and mythology. Tourism is really starting to take off here. There is just so much potential but it needs to be harnessed. ”
The steering group is comprised of four people who are self-funding the trip. They include the former Armagh GAA manager and present club chairman, Joe Kernohan, and former chairmen Gene Duffy, Tony Brady and Eddie Hughes.
“We want to build those international connections with sporting clubs that will benefit Crossmaglen Rangers club in the long-term,” says Joe Kernohan.
“Due to the British army barracks on our ground during the Troubles, our club could have folded, but we were determined not to let that happen and we went on to win multiple All-Ireland titles,” says Kernohan.
“We are a very determined people and we know that any business which invests here will benefit from that determination.”
The group will be in New York from today until Sunday, May 8.
New York Irish and business community representatives are invited to Rosie O’Grady’s on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan on the evening of Wednesday, May 4, for a reception and information evening.
The gahtering will run from 6.30 until 8.30 p.m.
“We are crossing the Atlantic and we sincerely hope to be bringing home good news on both the business and sporting fronts” says Tony Brady.
“Our mission is to make Crossmaglen the very best it can be.
“Anyone who wants to arrange a meeting with us will be welcomed with open arms. We have emerged from the Troubles, now it is time to build for the future.”
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