TheFiscal Yearstate budget process in Massachusetts begins with the release of the Governor's budget in January and continues with the release of the House Ways and Means budget in April. TheMassachusettsHouse Ways and Means Committee (HWM) has released its spending recommendations for Fiscal Year 2013 coming in at $32.3 billion. There are some stark comparisons between this proposal (House 4100) and the Governor’s budget (House 1) that was released in January. The major difference is an increase in funding to municipalities across the Commonwealth (local aid) including funds for municipal services (fire and police), so-called Chapter 70 - pursuant to the education reform law of 1993,special education funding, and school transportation costs among others. The HWM budget fully funds capacity for Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) providing local officials with a realistic view forward to assist with budget preparations. Many localities have been hit hard with the downturn in the economy and services over the past 4-5 years have been reduced considerably in many communities. The HWM budget reflects an increase in local aid over FY 2012. Highlights of local aid funding:
Unrestricted General Government Aid fully funded - no reliance potential, one time, funding sources - at $898M;
Increases Chapter 70 to $4.15B (a $163M increase) for local, regional and voc schools;
Special Ed “circuit breaker” funding increased to $221.5 (an $8.4M increase);
Homeless student transportation for the first time in state history at $11.3M;
Increases funding for regional school transportation by $2M ($45 M total).
The HWM budget does not include a proposal included in House 1 to increase taxes on cigarettes and candy which would have brought in an estimated $260 M. This initiative was proposed in the FY 2012 Governor’s budget as well and met a similar fate. The HWM budget also did not include the administration’s proposal to adjust the corporate excise tax factor which would have brought in an estimated $10 million in new revenue. House leaders thought the this would send the wrong message to businesses given the current state of the economy. Other highlights of the HWM FY 2013 budget include:
Electronic benefit transfer cards used by public assistance recipients;
Close a mental health hospital in Taunton,
Repeal the ban on gifts to doctors from pharmaceutical companies;
Adoption in part of Gov’s initiative (as highlighted in his State of the Commonwealth Address) to change the governance of the community colleges and improve curriculum coordination between the community colleges. The Globe editorialized on April 18th “ Wisely, the new House Ways and Means budget protects the administration’s efforts to require the two-year colleges to play a stronger role in economic development. (Boston Globe Editorial April 18, 2012).
Formal debate on the FY 2013 House budget will begin on Monday April 23, 2012 at which time House members will consider and debate some 870 amendments that have been filed with the House Clerk’s office.
The House budget document, amendments and additional information can be foundhere. The Governor's budget can be foundhere.
The Irish Echo published its 2012 “Irish Small Business 50” which recognizes entrepreneurs and business leaders who form the backbone of the American economy. Attorney Sean P. Moynihan of The Moynihan Group was among the “doers and risk-takers” who have ensured that where business is being built and wealth created, you will find the Irish.
“We are honored to be recognized by the Irish Echo,” stated Moynihan. “Small businesses are the life blood of our economy in Massachusetts and that of the entire country. We are very excited about our continued work with the Irish business community both in Ireland and here in Boston.”
The Irish Small Business 50 list includes business professionals, start-ups, and fast-growing companies that are driving the economy forward. The honorees were feted at a gala dinner at the Manhattan Club in New York City on Thursday April 12, 2012. Full list of recipients here.
Moynihan pictured here with An Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny on a recent visit to Boston
IRISH ECHO | NEWS AND VIEWS | BY PETER MCDERMOTT | FEBRUARY 15TH, 2012
Sean P. Moynihan speaking at the Northwest Ireland Conference in November
“Patience and perseverance,” said John Quincy Adams, “have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”
Sean P. Moynihan agrees with that piece of wisdom from a Boston lawyer of another era. Indeed, he has the quote on the homepage of the Moynihan Group, a legal and consultancy firm with a particular focus on nurturing links between Massachusetts and the island of Ireland.
“With a certain amount of time, frustration can creep in as well,” Moynihan conceded, but he has seen patience and perseverance get results in Northern Ireland.
“Belfast has come an awful long way. I remember when I was first there in 2001, there was still a sense of sectarianism just driving through the various neighborhoods,” he recalled. “And when I was there in 2009, it was pretty dramatic, from an American’s perspective, how much that had changed.
“The grassroots effort was impressive.
“Unfortunately that’s not what you always read about,” he said. “There’s something to be said for people like me to actually get over there and to see what’s happening in the communities and all the organization that’s going on.
“I think tapping into the diaspora is essential,” he said. By that he doesn’t simply mean in places like New York, Boston and other cities with well-established ties to Ireland. “You have pockets of communities throughout the United States that are interested in what’s happening not just in the Republic and in Dublin, but with what’s happening in Northern Ireland as well.”
On his first trip, he said, he fell in love with Derry City, although his own family roots are in Counties Clare and Kerry. He is enthusiastic about its selection as UK City of Culture for 2013, seeing it as a huge opportunity for the entire northwest of the island.
Moynihan is not naïve about the challenges facing the North’s economy, however. He said that the task of reducing dependence on government money – 70 percent of Derry jobs are in the state sector – is a difficult one. It would certainly help Northern Ireland’s cause if it had a corporate tax rate close to or the same as the Republic’s, but he pointed out the immediate downside of lowering it: “A considerable amount would be lost in terms of revenue to Northern Ireland.”
He attributes his prioritizing the question “where will that money be made up from?” to his experience as counsel for the House Committee on Ways and Means in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
“A new program, a new initiative — you’ve got to find the money some place,” he said.
“It was a great experience,” Moynihan added about that particular job, but he has had other roles that have built his political resume in the 20 years since he graduated cum laude from Providence College (he’s also a 2001 cum laude graduate of Suffolk University Law School’s evening division program).
He’s worked on campaigns, been chairman of the Northboro Democratic Town Committee, volunteered for the party at the state level and been counsel to the Massachusetts House majority leader.
His job at the House Committee on Way and Means, in particular, gave him a familiarity with a wide variety of policy areas. So he was well qualified when he branched out with the founding of the Moynihan Group, which helps companies and non-profit groups negotiate the political system.
“Sometimes they wouldn’t know what the first step would be,” Moynihan explained about clients, “and they’d talk with me and I’d provide them with a roadmap, if you will, on how to get done what they needed to get done.”
Moynihan is not at all squeamish about the word “lobbyist.” He is one, he said. “In some circles that’s become a dirty word,” he added. “And it’s unfortunate, because people need advocacy and everyone has a right to be heard before their government, just like they have a right to be heard in court.”
His consulting and volunteer efforts beyond Massachusetts’ shores have included working with Derry City Council, the William J. Clinton Center in Enniskillen, Fermanagh College, also in Enniskillen, and Mary Immaculate College of Limerick.
Moynihan is vice-president for global partnerships with the Boston Irish Business Association (www.bibaboston.com) and he’s the vice-chairman of Irish Network Boston (irishnetworkboston.org).
The latter organization will host Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a function in Boston on Friday night. “It will be interesting to hear from him and what he has to say about what’s happening,” Moynihan said.
Somehow he also finds the time to coach his 6-year-old daughter Maeve’s soccer team. He and his wife Lynn also have a son, Declan, who’s 2½.
“Having kids gives you a new perspective on everything. We have a lot of fun with them,” Moynihan said. “It’s hard to imagine life without them and it’s hard to remember life before the kids came along.”
Ireland and its struggling economy have taken center stage over the past week providing journalists with filler for major publications throughout the Globe.
Here's a quick sample from a Google news search: "Bailout Friday?", "Markets recover on Irish bailouts talk", "EU bail-out for Ireland", "EU urges early Irish bailout", "Ireland Crosses Fingers To Avoid Bailout", "Ireland Denies Bailout Rumors."
Ireland's Fate Tied to Doomed Banks - a Nov 10th article provided a particularly sobering view by Charles Forelle and David Enrich of The Wall Street Journal. Despite WSJ's assertion that "the unpopular government (Ireland's) is bracing for collapse" and that the Government has (allegedly) as recently as yesterday engaged in bailout talks with the EU, the Irish government contends that the situation is over exaggerated and that they have not and have no plans to formally engage in availing themselves of a "bailout" from the EU. A good thing? Depends on your perspective. To their credit, Ireland tried to preempt such action by enacting major spending cuts and raising taxes - unlike the situation in Greece - but it may have been all for naught as the total amount of toxic debt is arguably not yet realized. It appears that - not surprisingly given the reprehensible behavior of Irish bank executives - the actual figure of bad debt Ireland now holds is an illusive figure. Translated - the country is still suffering from a debilitating hangover from which the fog is continuing to lift. Whether loans were granted based upon inaccurate/unverified collateral or future would be returns, the amount is staggering and a final number is a matter of dispute.
In addition to the ever growing injection of public money into the country's banks to cover losses - the latest estimates around €46 Billion - bond ratings are accordingly suffering which has led to the current "he said she said" accusations of formal bail out talks. According to reports by the Irish Times and RTE News, both Finance Minister Brian Lenihan and International Monetary Fund [IMF] chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn have denied talks of a bailout. Strauss - Khan said yesterday that Ireland can manage its fiscal affairs well, and the fund has had no request for aid. Lenihan went further saying, "It doesn't seem to me to make any sense ... It would send a signal to the markets that we are not in a position to manage our affairs ourselves." There are other reports that talks have taken place but are only "technical" in nature.
Whether talks are happening and the government is keeping mum or whether, as Minister Dermot Ahern has contended, the talks are "fiction" will invariably come to light in time - probably sooner rather than later. The insatiable appetite of today's media only makes the problem much worse. Chicken Little scenarios have become their bread and butter. The bigger issue here is what happens to the country. High unemployment and massive emigration was supposed to be a thing of the past - not to recur. But taxes are up, services are down and the public is justifiably outraged. The Irish people are both pragmatic and reasonable but the lack of accountability and the lack of justice that has been served unto the perpetrators of this fiasco is maddening for them. In chatting with family and friends it appears that many folks have lost all faith in their elected representatives in Dublin due to an apparent inability to represent the average citizen. Notwithstanding the above, I take issue with economist Morgan Kelly's position that civil unrest is inevitable in the country - If you thought the bank bailout was bad wait until the mortgage defaults hit home In particular his prediction that "Within five years, both Civil War parties are likely to have been brushed aside by a hard right, anti-Europe, anti-Traveller party that, inconceivable as it now seems, will leave us nostalgic for the, usually, harmless buffoonery of Biffo, Inda, and their chums" is self destructive, self serving, incendiary and on a positive note - far fetched at best. Worthy of a read that paints a different picture is Donal O'Mahony's retort - Now is the time to pause the national self-destruct button
On a separate note and from a political perspective, I certainly do not envy the position Brian Lenihan finds himself in. Notwithstanding the numerous personal attacks he has sustained, I think history will prove that Lenihan performed as well as could be expected as Finance Minister. Despite his intelligence, the challenges he faces are virtually insurmountable and the blame finger has invariably been pointed at him. Add to that the fact that he is currently suffering from pancreatic cancer, I have to admire his decision to continue on in this role.
The government's initiatives that began with meetings at Farmleigh in 2009 makes good sense and will hopefully equate to a boost for the country's economy. There is a sobering realization that Ireland cannot appear to be asking for a handout from the United States [we have our own problems] or anywhere else for that matter. But a harnessing of the Irish Diaspora, a by product of the Farmleigh talks, is an integral piece of the recovery initiative.
Meanwhile back in America ...
In the midst of all this, a third meeting of The Global Irish Networktook place for the first time on American soil in New York city last week with Minster for Tourism Mary Hanafin - in my opinion another star in Cowen's cabinet - representing the Irish Government. According to Lara Marlowe of the Irish Times the mood of the meeting was somber with one participant "privately suggesting that there was nothing left to do but send food parcels."Postmortem for Celtic Tiger predicts Ireland can Rise Again
During the gathering, Minister Hanafin urged attendees not to be swayed by the propensity of the media to portray an apocalyptic Ireland but rather stressed the government's mission "to promote Ireland's economic, cultural and tourism messages in key markets. No government has a monopoly on good ideas. Maybe rather than just having talks about the difficulties we're facing we could also take a minute and look at the strengths that we have." Skilled Irish diaspora focus on recovery
Such is a view and attitude that, although challenging, must be embraced and shared by the Irish in Ireland and abroad. One way to highlight such strengths is a coordinated effort to harness the Irish diaspora.
In addition to the Global Irish Network, another initiative that was born out of the Farmleigh talks was the establishment of a a network of Irish and Irish Americans in the United States and throughout the Globe. Irish Network USA (IN USA) is the national organization encompassing member organizations in key cities throughout the United States. The networks charge is to "provide an inclusive environment that facilitates effective coordination and collaboration, on a global stage, of Irish and Irish Americans from all vocations, with the goal of strengthening the economic, social and cultural ties between the U.S. and Ireland." The end game here is to harness the creativity and experiences of Irish born and Irish Americans in a way that will not only re-ignite America's connection to Ireland but to also establish mutually beneficial links bearing both economic and cultural rewards for both countries. The response to date has been phenomenal. INs have been popping up throughout the US - Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, California's Bay Area, San Diego, Washington DC, and Seattle.
As a board member of theIrish Network Boston (IN Boston), I have been impressed with the rate at which the various city networks have gotten off the ground and the number of people here in the States that are anxious to get involved. Does it change the situation in Dublin - no - but it provides a forum for opportunities. Some cynics fed by ignorance may rhetorically inquire "what can a bunch of 'plastic paddys' do for us?" Such attitudes however only perpetuate a doom and gloom outlook that in the end is self- destructive. Rather, these initiatives should be viewed as a means by which American interest in and love for Ireland can be used to achieve a win win endeavor for all - whether it manifests itself in business dealings or cultural initiatives. Our launch on 3 November saw the support of local businesses, the Irish and United States Governments - Ambassador Michael Collins and Congressman Bill Delahunt - and was attended by 300 people all of whom want to see prosperity return to Ireland. I look forward to our continued efforts to increase fruitful links between the two countries.
The financial crisis is still affecting us all and unfortunately there is no going back. There is plenty of blame to go around for the collapse of the markets we have collectively been suffering from. As far as Ireland's future, key elements will most certainly be a renewed commitment to creative economic policies and a renewed partnership with Irish America and the entire Irish diaspora.
This week in Massachusetts politics brings to mind a quote from Wall Street by Martin Sheen that has some staying power - "I guess if a man lives long enough he'll see everything and I do mean everything? What else you got in your bag of tricks Mr. Gekko?"
Except in this case Mr. Gekko was Mr. Brown and it wasn't a bag of tricks but rather, in many respects, a perfect storm for Martha Coakley and the Democrats (myself included here) which culminated in a resounding loss of the seat held for 47 years by Ted Kennedy - whom I memorialized here not long ago. Republican Senator Elect Brown ran a good, grass roots, and effective campaign which was helped in no small part by the currentapprehension over the health care overhaul, the state of the economy, and people's dissatisfaction with President Obama's performance - despite the fact he has only been in office for 1 year.
What was thought not long ago to be an impossibility is today a reality. How? In addition to the above, it appears that the electorate felt Coakley's campaign took the race far too lightly and that because she won the primary, the general election was almost nothing more than a formality. Part of the reason being that this was Ted Kennedy's seat for 47 years, held by his brother JFK before that who unseated Henry Cabot Lodge - a Republican. This, however, made no difference to the electorate who responded positively to Scott Brown, particularly in rural MA, as an agent of change who presented himself as a regular guy who wanted to get down to Washington and represent the average person. Another issue of course was that the turnout in the cities from traditional Democratic strongholds went for Coakley but in significantly smaller numbers. Brown's campaign furthermore made good use of not only the traditional media but capitalized on the recent surge in use of social media - facebook, twitter etc. They further enlisted the support of local sports figures and celebrities - Doug Flutie, Lenny Clark and John Ratzenberger, among others. By the time the Democrats pulled in the big names - Clinton and Obama visited last weekend - it was too late. Brown came back from a 30 point deficit to win by 5 points.
So what happens now? Per today's Globe the Republicans are targeting several incumbent congressmen as well as considering runs for state legislative seats. Per a twitter text moments ago Joe Malone is being "prodded" to run and is apparently seriously considering a go at the 10th congressional district. Begs the question - will opponents be recycled candidates from years ago or can new faces be found - stay tuned. Worth mentioning as well that this was a race for an open seat not one currently held by a popular incumbent.
It will be important for the Dems not to waste time pointing fingers and playing a blame game for this loss - there are much larger problems looming. Also worth noting - a lot of blue in John Olver's district in Western Mass - this should not be overlooked! Worth some analysis and certainly some consultation with folks just west of central MA - God's country!
Finally, a lot of commentators are indicating that change is the reason for the loss here. Ironically, as pointed out today by the Globe's Yvonne Abraham, change was the reason Obama won so handily - but apparently unless that change is effectuated within a year's time we need to change again to "the party that blocks his (Obama's) every move".
BOSTON - The Irish Echo Boston-Northwest Ireland Gateways to Tomorrow Conference takes place in the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center on October 7-8 2009 (including the Irish Echo/Boston Irish Reporter Golden Bridges awards luncheon).
The conference will turbo-charge links between Northwest Ireland and the USA by bringing together some of the prime movers in economic development in both the Derry region and New England, led by Northern Ireland Minister for Regional Development Conor Murphy and Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.
“We are very excited at the prospect of reigniting the Boston-Northwest Ireland linkages at a time when the city of Derry and surrounding region is being transformed. Further, the conference provides us with the opportunity to showcase the attractions of Massachusetts as a business location and to learn from the Irish peacemaking experience,” commented TMG Principal Sean P. Moynihan.
Moynihan will address the conferees on Thursday morning to address the next steps needed for achievement of the goals and objectives set forth during the two-day initiative.
See Moynihan’s Page on the conference website here.
The following is an entry by TMG’s Principal Sean P. Moynihan expressing his appreciation of the life and work of Senator Ted Kennedy. While in many respects it is not a unique story, it is significant as it represents Mr. Moynihan’s respect for a man who, from the time Sean was born up until a few weeks ago, served tirelessly on his behalf in the United States Senate.
It was shortly after the 1992 Clinton/Gore campaign took off that I realized I had a strong interest in and passion for politics. Until that time, public policy matters and the political arena were considerations I gave very little thought or time to - as I suppose was the case for many adolescents. I held such ambivalence despite the fact that my father, a former public school teacher and union representative on behalf of public school teachers, had always been an outspoken advocate of liberal politics and that my family had always been strong and vocal supporters of the Kennedys - which was readily apparent by the photographs and books of Jack and Bobby as well as numerous dinner table discussions at my home. I remember my mother – also a public school teacher - commenting on how the Clinton/Gore ticket reminded her of JFK in 1960 and how hopeful and excited she was at that time with the prospect of a bright, young Irish Catholic from Massachusetts assuming the presidency of the United States. My experiences in volunteering for Clinton/Gore as well as those of my first job out of college – working for the United Way of Central Massachusetts in Worcester, MA – stirred, or perhaps awakened, a strong interest in public service. I soon realized that I had strong opinions about the role of our government and that those opinions were indeed of the liberal persuasion – in no small part I am certain due to the influence of my folks. But more significantly, I realized that my ideals and vision for government was shared by my Senator in the United States Congress – Ted Kennedy. From that time forward, he became a true inspiration to me - not merely because of the policies for which he supported and fought, but also because of the extent to which he fought for them. I found myself inspired but also intrigued that a man who came from such privilege and good fortune would dedicate - in some cases sacrifice - his personal and professional life to others who couldn’t advocate for themselves. His efforts in this regard rang true with so many teachings of my family and my faith that I hoped for an opportunity to someday acknowledge my appreciation and perhaps work on his behalf.
Such an opportunity came in 1994 when a young and successful republican business man named Mitt Romney decided to challenge the Senator. That campaign was significant in two ways: first, it provided me with an opportunity to indeed acknowledge and thank Senator Kennedy in a tangible way; and second it baptized me into the world of politics. I remember feeling rather skittish before attending my first campaign meeting at Mike Donoghue’s house in Worcester. What in the world could I, a virtual political neophyte, bring to the table in support of Ted Kennedy? I quickly learned that in campaigns - no matter how small the effort – there is always work to be done and there can never be too much support – particularly in this case as there was a theory espoused by some, soon to be debunked, that Teddy had become what one pundit charged, “Jurassic” and “out of touch” with the people of Massachusetts and their needs in Washington. As someone in his early 20s, it was a message that I vehemently disagreed with and one that would soon galvanize Kennedy supporters and lead him to a resounding victory.
During that campaign I was impressed with how accessible the Senator and his campaign staff were. I had the opportunity to meet him several times and there was always a firm handshake and a sincere expression of thanks for my efforts. That campaign was also significant as it introduced me to another candidate at the time – Harold Naughton of Clinton, MA – who was running for State Representative from my hometown’s district. I would work extremely hard on this campaign as well and soon join the new state representative in Boston.
During my years at the State House, there were many times when I needed to reach out to Senator Kennedy’s offices in Boston and in Washington. Without exception, the issues facing the constituents on whose behalf we were calling were successfully addressed within a 24-48 hour period. The expediency with which the Senator’s office addressed the needs and interests of the people of Massachusetts was truly remarkable and consequently my support of him only magnified. Again in 2000, although unopposed, and this time as chairman of my hometown’s Democratic committee, I worked on the Senator’s campaign and that of Vice President Al Gore and again my efforts were acknowledged by the Senator.
Although it has been referenced numerous times over the period of the past few weeks, I always found Ted Kennedy’s ability to continue on in public life despite the numerous tragedies that had befallen his family truly remarkable. Further, his critical support of his nieces and nephews in times of need clearly made a difference in their lives, as many of them have so acknowledged. Perhaps Vice President Joe Biden summarized Senator Kennedy’s life best when he said, “… the unique thing about Teddy was it was never about him. It was always about you. It was never about him.”
On Friday morning August 28th, my 3 year old daughter Maeve and I paid our respects to Senator Kennedy as he lay in repose at the JFK Library and Museum in Dorchester. When the inevitable time came to explain why we were there, the challenge of an explanation to a 3 year old stumped me, but to my surprise my wonderful wife had already anticipated the moment and Maeve told me we were there to say “thank you and goodbye”. My pride could not be put into words. As she and I entered the library she intuitively knew … “Daddy, we have to be quiet”. As we entered the Smith Center we encountered the changing of the guard and stopped close to the casket. Maeve didn’t utter a word. When I told her it was time to continue on, she looked up at me and smiled. Unwittingly she put me at peace and put into perspective, in many respects, what Ted Kennedy stood for. We paid our respects and I thanked God for the gift of my little “pumpkin” who was there for me.
Ted Kennedy bore the burden of his father’s ambition, his brothers’ legacies, a nation’s hopes, and a Commonwealth’s needs, and in my estimation, we are all the better for it. As we look to an uncertain future without the guiding hand of Senator Kennedy in Washington, it is my hope that the example of his life as a true advocate will continue to serve as an inspiration to others as it did to me. It is with these thoughts that I believe “the dream lives on.”
We are pleased to announce that our firm's Principal, Attorney Sean P. Moynihan, was recently recognized as one of the Irish Echo Newspaper's top 40 under 40 for 2009.
Of the 40 recipients, Mr. Moynihan was one of five who received a Young Leaders Award. The award - a beautiful Cavan Crystal vase - was sponsored by both the Irish Echo and the Presidents' Club of Belfast, Northern Ireland and was presented to Mr. Moynihan by Deputy General Counsel for Ireland Mr. Breandán Ó Caollaí. A “2009 Top 40 Under 40” special supplement to the Echo can be found at: 2009 Irish Echo Top 40 Under 40
Moynihan also attended Belfast Media Group’s "Belfast Top 40 Under 40" recognition ceremony at Queen's University in Belfast while participating in the Ireland Chamber US-New England Chapter’s recent trade mission to Belfast, Derry and Dublin. [See Blog Post From June 4, 2009]
BOSTON – “Ireland is open for business” was the recurring theme of the 2009 Ireland Chamber United States – New England Chapter [ICCUSA] Trade Mission to Belfast, Derry and Dublin.A 25 member delegation crossed much of the island to strengthen current ties with Massachusetts and to pursue new business opportunities.
“This trade mission was extremely important given the current challenges facing the global economy.Now is the time to do all we can to strengthen our economy – one of the means by which is to work even harder to facilitate international trade and investment,” commented Attorney Sean P. Moynihan of The Moynihan Group [TMG], who served as a delegate to the trade mission.The Moynihan Group is committed to facilitating an on-going engagement between Massachusetts and the island of Ireland in an effort to strengthen the political, business, educational, and cultural links with both countries.
A highlight of the trade mission for The Moynihan Group was a series of successful meetings in Dublin which led to a formal contract between TMG and KECO Limited of Ennis, County Clare.The firm will assist KECO with its mission to attract American companies to launch or expand their operations to Ireland.Despite the severe economic times that have fallen upon Ireland, the country still maintains one of the most competitive corporate tax rates across the entire globe and remains the gateway to Europe for many international businesses.TMG will work with company executives to identify companies that are in a strong position to launch operations or expand their efforts to Ireland.
ICCUSA was thrilled to welcome the addition of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment [MOITI] to the trip as both co-sponsors and attendees.The addition of MOITI was of particular significance as the quasi-public agency is often the first contact and line of communication for Irish companies interested in doing business with the Commonwealth and vice-versa.
The delegation arrived in Belfast and spent the following 5 days on a whirlwind tour packed with business development meetings, briefings/tours, receptions and formal dinners.The delegation represented a cross section of the economy including the life sciences, bio-tech, travel and tourism, financial services, real estate/mortgage, entrepreneurial, non-profit, and legal sectors.
A highlight of the Belfast portion of the trip was the Belfast Media Group’s 2009 40 Under 40 award ceremony which took place at Queen’s University Belfast.Mr. Moynihan andPaul Dwyer, President of ICCUSA were special guests at the event.The event was of particular interest to Moynihan as he was recently honored in New York by Belfast Media’s US publication The Irish Echo as one of its Top 40 Under 40 for 2009.The keynote speaker of the Belfast event was former Massachusetts Congressman and current Chancellor of UMass Lowell Marty Meehan who was on a separate visit to strengthen the new formal linkage between UMass Lowell and Queen’s University Belfast.Also on hand from the Belfast Media Group was Máirtín Ó Muilleoir – CEO of the Irish Echo newspaper. See above photograph
“I commend organizations like Belfast Media Group who work tirelessly to bring together the political, business and educational communities to enhance the quality of life for the people they serve.Events such as these not only honor those deserving of recognition but just as importantly they bring together community leaders to network and strategize on what is best for the community and how to effectively proceed forward – particularly in times such as these,” commented Moynihan.
Additional highlights of the Belfast portion of the trip included:
A briefing and tour of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter and the massive development project underway that will attract all sectors of the economy to the area.
A briefing from the West Belfast and Greater Shankhill Enterprise Council on the Shankhill Road with special guest MP, MLA, and Minister of Finance for the NI Executive Mr. Nigel Dodds. The council is working with public officials, area businesses, and the local community to put people to work and continue the effort to break down historic societal barriers with a focus on economic development and jobs.
A dinner followed that evening with the West Belfast and Greater Shankhill Enterprise Council and local entrepreneurs with special guest Gerry Adams MP for West Belfast and leader of Sinn Fein.Mr. Adams thanked the delegation for making Northern Ireland a focal point of its mission and emphasized the importance of continued links with Massachusetts, New England and the entire United States.
A visit to Andor Technology – Belfast’s world class digital camera manufacturing business which was established in 1989 out of Queen's University in Belfast. Andor employs 190 people in 15 offices worldwide and distributes its products to 1,200 customers in 55 countries.
A tour of Delta Point and Packaging which provided the group with an opportunity to see first hand the process by which packaging for dry goods such as cereals are created – from original design and print through quality control, packaging and shipping.The company has production plants in both China and India and employs 135 people.
Delegation pictured at the Delta Point Plant
A reception at the President’s Club of Belfast hosted by Belfast entrepreneur and CEO of Barnabus Ventures Mr. Mark Finlay, followed by a dinner with local business executives hosted by the Academy Restaurant of the University of Ulster’s Culinary School which provided the delegation with an intimate setting by which to meet and greet Belfast counterparts and discuss possible trade opportunities.
Mr. Moynihan with Mr. Mark Finlay of the Presidents’ Club, Belfast
The group also visited the University of Ulster – Magee College in Derry and the University of Ulster’s Center for Molecular Biosciences at Coleraine.Highlights of the visit in Derry included presentations of the incredible advances in community development, alternative energy, and robotic technology at Magee College; a visit with the Lord Mayor of Derry Gerard Diver at University of Ulster’s Office of Innovation; and a briefing and tour of a state of the art facility in Coleraine that could become a model for advances in health and biomedical sciences throughout the entire island and beyond.
Mr. Moynihan pictured with Derry Mayor Gerry Diver
“When I left Belfast 15 years ago, there was a Cathedral but no Quarter [referring to what is now known as the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast – one of the 7 quarters or districts of the city] and to see how Belfast has regenerated is quite something. The cross-community endeavor that is developing here is very encouraging and it is time to get focused and continue the investment plans for West Belfast and Greater Shankill,” said Paul Dwyer, President of ICCUSA New England.
The Dublin portion of the mission focused on travel/tourism, international trade, and biotechnology.Highlights included:
A reception at the Dublin law firm of Dillon Ustace which included a briefing and discussion of the current real estate and financial markets in Ireland and the economic outlook for the foreseeable future.
A tour of the Dáil [Irish Parliament] during which delegates had the opportunity to view Dáil deliberations and meet several TDs.
Dublin City University(DCU) hosted the delegation for a plenary session which provided a unique forum by which representatives of Ireland and Massachusetts provided presentations in their respective fields.MOITI’s Executive Director Ted Carr and Business Development Director Pat Bench spoke about the unique position Massachusetts offers to Ireland and to Europe as the point of entry to the United States for international trade due to the specialized and well established network of business, political, and higher education communities in the Commonwealth.
ICCUSA member Mr. Frank Reynolds, CEO ofInVivo Technologies of Cambridge, MA gave an incredible presentation highlighting cutting edge R&D the company is engaged in for the treatment of acute and chronic spinal cord injuries.Invivo’s medical breakthroughs may very well prove life changing for many individuals with limited mobility due to spinal cord related injuries.
A formal reception at the US Ambassador’s Residence at Phoenix Park in Dublin.Although President Obama’s nominee for Ambassador to Ireland, Mr. Dan Rooney, was not in attendance, the group was hosted by the professional staff at the residence.[Rooney’s nomination has yet to be confirmed by the United States Senate].Cllr. Eibhlin Byrne the Lord Mayor of Dublin, several business executives and entrepreneurs attended the event which provided an excellent networking opportunity for all.
A visit to Ulster Bank for a presentation of the global economic outlook with specific detail to Ireland – south and north – by a noted Irish economist Pat McArdle.
The delegation was hosted by the Hibernian Club at St. Stephen’s Green for a reception honoring the Special Olympics Massachusetts and Special Olympics Ireland.Former Boston Police Commissioner and current Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate – the auditing unit of Ireland's national police force the Garda Síochána - Kathy O’Toole was in attendance at the event.Bob Johnson, ICCUSA member and CEO of Special Olympics Massachusetts gave a moving presentation which highlighted the organization’s achievements on both sides of the Atlantic.Special Olympics Ireland was well represented at the event and all attendees were interested in further substantive discussions regarding the proposition of an on-going partnership between Massachusetts and Ireland.
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PLEASE NOTE: The Ireland Chamber US – New England is now the Boston Irish Business Association [BIBA]. For more information please go to: www.bibaboston.com