Cities stand shoulder-to-shoulder to count cost of pandemic and plan for bright future

The first opportunity to take stock of transatlantic relations since the Covid-19 storm hit will come next month at the — virtual — New York-New Belfast conference.

A who’s-who of leaders in business, politics and civic life from both cities will line out online on  June 12 to assess the horrific human cost of the crisis — especially in the Big Apple which has been pummelled by the coronavirus — and take the first tentative steps toward recovery.

Taking the theme of REBUILDING, the annual summit will also feature video messages from Belfast ambassadors abroad and uplifting film shorts spotlighting the fightback against Covid-19.

Among those taking part will be New York Congresswoman Kathleen Rice, Michael Dowling, a Limerick native who employs over 75,000 healthcare workers and is heading up Governor Cuomo’s Medical Response team,  Alison Metcalfe who leads Tourism Ireland in the US, the Comptroller of New York State Tom DiNapoli and Stormont Finance Minister Conor Murphy.

Among business partners at the half-day event will be KPMG, Belfast City Council, Belfast tech company Options, New York fintech firm Cboe Hanweck, Invest NI and the Irish Business Organisation of New York.

While registration is free, delegates are being urged to contribute to two pioneering funds set up to provide immediate support to healthcare workers – the Meitheal project in the Big Apple and the Options Robin Hood Project.

“This will be our eleventh annual summit but it sure to be like no other,” said Máirtín Ó Muilleoir (above), director with organisers Aisling Events. “Irish America and Belfast have been separated by Covid-19 like never before but the work of rebuilding that crucial international bridge to the USA starts now with the New York-New Belfast conference.”

You can see the draft programme for the New York-New Belfast Conference and book your place at