In accepting his award, Murray made reference to the history of that developing partnership, citing the contributions of former Boston mayor and U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Raymond Flynn and Boston-Ireland Ventures.
“That effort led to the formation of Derry-Boston Ventures and to the evolution of Northwest Ventures and gave rise at a critical time in the history of Derry, to valuable and mutually beneficial investments,” Murray said.
Murray noted that the peace process had not yet taken hold when the bold initiatives of pioneering businessmen and political leaders paved the way for the successes that are being celebrated today.
“All of this started long before the dream of an Irish peace process was anything more than just that, a dream,” Murray said.
“History shows us that what was accomplished in harder times can serve as a model in a time of peace.”
Other “Golden Bridge” honorees included state senate president Therese Murray, dancer and choreographer Kieran Jordan, Bridget Shaheen of Lazarus House Ministries, Robert Sheridan of Savings Bank Life Insurance, Bjarni Thorvardarson of Hibernia Atlantic, president of the Boston World Trade Center John Drew, and philanthropist William J. Reilly Jr.
Among the participants in the conference was Ilex chief executive officer Aideen McGinley, who told the Echo that the two-day event provided a tremendous opportunity for networking, sharing and strengthening the ties that link Irish American to Derry, Donegal and other areas of northwest Ireland.
Ilex was established to plan, develop and sustain the economic, social and physical regeneration of Derry.
“We in Derry believe it’s time to give back,” McGinley said.
“We’ve gotten a lot from the United States over the years. We now feel it is a confident, emerging, young city and that it is able to return some of the value that we’ve received from that partnership,” McGinley said.