TRANSATLANTIC SOLIDARITY: Zeneta Everhart (right, whose son Zaire Goodman was injured in the May 2022 mass shooting in Buffalo, NY) with Belfast Lord Mayor Tina Black , Buffalo, and Elyse Fears of Buffalo at last year's New York-New Belfast conference

NY-New Belfast transatlantic gathering will build on Biden visit

Organisers of the annual New York-New Belfast conference luncheon, earmarked for the storied NY Athletic Club on 22 June, say they will build on the groundbreaking President Biden April visit to Ireland, north and south.

And the high-powered civic delegation heading from Belfast for the 22 June gathering will also be aiming to maintain the momentum from the ten-day fact-finding mission to the North of Ireland by US Economic Envoy Joseph Kennedy III the same month.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

"The stage has been set fair for the most important collaboration yet between two cities which are, despite myriad challenges, very much on the rise," said luncheon host and former Lord Mayor of Belfast Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.

BOTH SIDES NOW: New Yorker Mark Goldstone who hails from Belfast with Margaret Molloy, who studied at Ulster University, at the NY-New Belfast luncheon in 2023

BOTH SIDES NOW: New Yorker Mark Goldstone who hails from Belfast with Margaret Molloy, who studied at Ulster University, at the NY-New Belfast luncheon in 2023

"We know that the Big Apple is still not fully back on its feet since the ravages of Covid but it continues to push forward. Likewise, Belfast is being held back by the absence of a functioning government at Stormont but after the game-changing local elections last week it's now a case of 'when', not 'if', the DUP will end their boycott of the Assembly. Bottom line: as we have demonstrated from the very New York-New Belfast conference in 2010, both cities are absolutely unstoppable."

Leading the Belfast delegation to New York will be the incoming First Citizen - whose identify will be confirmed at the Council agm on Monday 5 June - alongside the Belfast City Council Chief Executive John Walsh, Belfast Innovation District Director Clare Guinness, Belfast Harbour CEO Joe O'Neill, and Lagan Specialist Contractors' CEO Kevin Anthony Lagan - the family-owned building company recently secured a $90m runway rehabilitation contract from Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington D.C.

The luncheon-format event will also feature a panel highlighting the investment opportunities in Northern Ireland post-the Windsor Framework Agreement which allows for frictionless trade from the North to Britain and the EU — an advantage unique to the region. Andrea Haughian, Head of Invest Northern Ireland in the Americas will lead a discussion on the economic opportunities in the North alongside Ashleen Feeney of KMPG, lead sponsors of the conference.

While New York media consultant Maura Kelly will moderate a tourism discussion with Alison Metcalfe, Head of Tourism Ireland in the US, and  America-born Andrea Kieran who has just opened the latest accommodation sensation in Belfast, The Regency.

Keynoting the luncheon will be Brian Ruane, Executive Committee Member at BNY Mellon and one of New York's most respected Irish American leaders. 

Full details of the conference programme as well as information on tickets are available on the web.