U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin has pledged to refresh relationships between America and Ireland. In a video message to the 14th annual Golden Bridges conference luncheon in her native Boston, she stressed the importance of reminding young people of their strong bonds between both countries.

"I'm sorry, I can't be back home in Boston to celebrate with you." she told the full house in the city's Seaport Hotel. "But I can assure you that I am busy here in Ireland working hard to strengthen the close bonds between the people of our two countries."

 

The Ambassador expressed solidarity with victims of the Cresslough gas explosion on 9 October which claimed ten lives. "Our hearts go out to the families, friends, neighbours. Indeed every person in County Donegal. 

BRIDGE-BUILDERS: Boston political leaders including American Irish Caucus Chair Rep Ed Coppinger and Councilors Frank Bakre and Erin Murphy with Andrew Elliott, director of NI Bureau and Laoise Moore, Irish CG in Boston
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BRIDGE-BUILDERS: Boston political leaders including American Irish Caucus Chair Rep Ed Coppinger and Councilors Frank Bakre and Erin Murphy with Andrew Elliott, director of NI Bureau and Laoise Moore, Irish CG in Boston

"In Ireland, everyone knows everyone, which makes it a very special place. But it means that tragedies like the one in Creeslough, touch all of us. I also want to pay tribute to the first responders who were on the scene. It was heartening to see such close cooperation of the emergency services north and south of the border on that dark day."

The Ambassador, who took up her posting at the start of the year, recounted her recent visit to Donegal to visit the townland her grandfather had left to start a new life in the United States.  

"I was thrilled to see how new businesses are thriving in parts of that rural community, like the Gtech business park in Gaoth Dobhair," she said. 

And she urged Irish American business leaders to seize the opportunities in Ireland Northwest.  "To my friends in Massachusetts, take this opportunity to learn more about the northwest of Ireland, you will not be disappointed. I'm happy to know that so many prominent business community and political leaders from both the Irish Northwest and greater Massachusetts have gathered with you today."

Ambassador Cronin told the Golden Bridges gathering that the was determined to connect with the younger generation to ensure the strong transatlantic ties endure. "As ambassador, I have made it a priority to connect with a wider array of various people, including the next generation," she said. 

"This is important because we cannot take for granted the deep and trusting relationship between our two countries, it should grow and change with every generation. Such a strong and positive bond deserves and requires fostering and nurturing. Brexit, the COVID pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine have taught us that the only consistency is change. And that is exactly why we need to continue to engage with the next generation of Irish leaders so that we are always prepared to meet global challenges together."

In closing, she had a special word of praise for the organisers and Honorary Chairs of the first in-person Golden Bridges conference luncheon since 2019. "I also want to pay tribute to the honorary chairs including my very good friend Eugene O'Flaherty and Martina Curtin, President of the Irish Cultural Centre of Greater Boston."

The Golden Bridges initiative was sponsored by Derry and Donegal councils, Ulster University, Babson College, Invest Northern Ireland and NI Bureau.