The warmth of the welcome the U.S. emissaries received from First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness reflected the belief of both leaders – and former adversaries – that the war is well and truly over and the work of peace must be underpinned with jobs.
And there was a sense of vindication too for the comptrollers of New York State, Tom DiNapoli, and New York City, William Thompson, whose offices championed the MacBride Principles campaign on fair employment, as they were given the red carpet treatment by underserved communities who will benefit from the pledge to target U.S. investment funds at the areas which suffered most during the Troubles.
On their travels off the official conference circuit and into areas like north and west Belfast and Derry, the comptrollers and their delegations saw the enormous opportunity which exists now to get a return on investments in areas which, due to lingering discriminatory practices, have not enjoyed their fair share of the economic peace dividend.
And, of course, by profitably investing in such neighborhoods they will be boosting the type of American, can-do entrepreneurship which can truly transform economic fortunes for everyone in Northern Ireland.
New York City Comptroller William Thompson, stands commended for entrusting $150 million to the Emerald Development Fund and its $750 million total investment kitty.
If New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli were now to make a similar commitment, Irish America really would have cause to hang out its brightest colors.