REMARKS OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR TIMOTHY P. MURRAY
Thank you very much. I’m generally a person who focuses on the work at hand, the problems we face and how we find solutions.
I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about who gets the credit or recognition when things go well.
But I do want to say sincerely, that I appreciate this award in a very special way, and I am honored to be in the company of the others receiving Golden Bridges awards at this conference.
Because I don’t see it as recognition of just one person’s efforts, but of the long-standing and collective work of so many people here today, and of those who worked for generations before us, to build the bonds that link the Irish and American people.
I am proud to be part of that wonderful tradition and to receive this award today. So thank you very much.
This February my wife and I took our young daughters to Ireland—it was their first time there, and it was such a thrill to see them taking it all in.
My wife’s family is from Ireland, and three of my four grandparents immigrated to the United States from Ireland.
Our clan may not hail directly from the North West Region, but like so many Americans of Irish decent, we feel a connection to the entire Irish landscape, not only our ancestral homes.
Centuries of history bind our communities together—Massachusetts and Ireland— and there was something very moving about bringing our family full circle…taking our daughters, who are immigrants themselves having come to us from Guatemala, taking them back to the old country of our grandparents really underscored how small this world has become—how integrated all people are, and how our futures are so clearly bound up together.
And that’s really why we’re here today. To promote the economic relationships between Massachusetts and Northwest Ireland, and the entire island, and in that effort I believe we have a clear common goal.
A prosperous and growing economic relationship between Massachusetts and Ireland can be good for all parties concerned, and that’s exactly what Governor Patrick and I have worked to foster and sustain.
Of course, we’re not starting from scratch. There is already a significant amount of business being done between companies in Massachusetts and Ireland, both in the Republic and in the North.
Looking back, we see the good work that flowed from Boston Ireland Ventures, set up by my friend Ray Flynn as Mayor in 1987 with the help of his then colleagues in government Stephen Coyle and Frank Costello, and with Phil Haughey in the private sector working with John Hume and many others in Derry and also in partnership with Galway City.
That effort lead to the formation of Derry Boston Ventures and to the evolution of Northwest Ventures.
And it gave rise, at a critical time in the history of Derry and the entire Northwest region, to valuable mutually beneficial investments such as the Foyleside Shopping Centre in the middle of Derry City headed by the O’Connell Brothers Development based here in Quincy.
It provided a classic example of a public private partnership with transatlantic roots and along with it brought Derry’s civic leadership and entrepreneurs as well as those from Galway to Boston together for four world class unprecedented trade and investment shows at Boston’s World Trade Center from 1988-1991, and to the partnership between the University of Massachusetts and Derry’s Magee College that continues to see many student exchanges.
All this started long before the dream of an “Irish Peace Process” was anything more than that, just a dream.
And I would be remiss if I did not cite the work of John Cullinane who not only started the Massachusetts Software Council but helped spawn many new software firms in Northern Ireland and the border counties by gaining the support needed for the RADIAN and RADIUS Projects at a critical time in the Irish peace process.
And while we meet today in a time of economic challenge, the history shows us that what was accomplished in harsher times can serve as a model in a time of peace.
How companies from the North West can now come to Massachusetts and build their businesses, and how firms here in the Commonwealth can continue to grow across the Atlantic.
Today in Massachusetts, we have about 6,000 people working for Irish-owned companies—that’s number one in the United States.
California is second, with about 5,000 people employed by Irish companies.
On the flip side of our relationship, as you know many Massachusetts companies have significant operations in Ireland, both in the Republic and in the North. Genzyme, Liberty Mutual, Boston Scientific, Covidien, Cognex, EMC and so many other Massachusetts companies have been investing in Ireland for years.
I live in the city of Worcester, where we have a large Abbott Labs facility in our Biotech Park, and I know that Abbott has a major presence in Ireland and in Donegal in particular with its diabetes center.
Boston-based Partners Healthcare and the Northern Ireland Department of Health recently launched the European Centre for Connected Health, to leverage technology and communications for the delivery of health services. The University of Ulster and Babson College here in Massachusetts have a joint degree program in Entrepreneurship.
The list of connections goes on and on.
The point is that Ireland and Massachusetts are already linked in vital ways, both economically and culturally, and Governor Patrick and I want those links to grow deeper and wider.
We believe that Massachusetts and Ireland are well-positioned to work together to jointly grow our economies, because when you look at the important industries for all of us, they are strikingly similar.
In the areas of software and technology, financial services, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, biotechnology and medical devices, the synergies between our economies are extensive and potent. And I haven’t even mentioned tourism, which of course we know is a very important industry for both Massachusetts and Ireland.
Even in these uncertain economic times, I believe Massachusetts and Ireland can enhance and extend all these connections to drive robust growth in the economic relationship between our states.
And if we are successful in doing so, that increased trade, investment and economic activity will benefit us all.
It’s a natural fit.
Because of our shared language,
Our shared culture and history,
And because of simple logistics, like easy air travel, and a time-difference that allows for overlaps in the work day, doing business between our states makes great sense.
Whatever we can do to bring our states, our economies and our people closer together, I think will pay great dividends for us all.
When people come together in common pursuit, with common goals and objectives, then the sum of their efforts is greater than what they could have done on their own.
That’s the power of partnership, and it makes this a compelling moment.
President Kennedy once quoted the great John Boyle O’Reilly as calling the Atlantic Ocean “a bowl of bitter tears”.
Today, we transcend the bitterness, and with the blessings of peace, we reach across the great divide—we link north and south, we extend our hands across the ocean, and in doing so, we strengthening our economic bonds, we reclaim our shared history, and we look beyond the troubles of the past to focus on a bright future for people all over Ireland and Massachusetts.