Category: Archive

Washington business summit ‘historic’ or ‘a jolly’?

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The U.S.-Ireland Business Summit, which is scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C., from Sept. 4-6 has been attacked in Northern Ireland as a waste of time.

Northern Irish PR executive Tom Kelly said the event was basically “a jolly” in his weekly column in the Irish News.

Northern Irish Enterprise Minister Sir Reg Empey lashed out at the criticism, and agreed with the summit’s chairperson that the event was “a historic forum.”

It is believed that President Bush will address the event at some point during the three-day run.

The U.S., Ireland, and Northern Ireland governments are sponsoring the event.

Invitations to the event have been issued to more than 100 selected business leaders in Ulster representing the finance, ICT and biotechnology sectors.

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She said the event is aimed at generating significant new policy initiatives that will support economic collaboration, cooperation and business growth on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Is he seriously suggesting that the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland administrations boycott this event which is a private sector initiative backed by the United States Department of Commerce?” Empey asked. “If the U.S. government is prepared to put time, resources and considerable effort into establishing transatlantic business links, it would be sheer stupidity to turn our backs on it.”

Speakers and panel members will include Dr. John King, chairman of pharmaceuticals firm Galen; Glen Dimplex, chairman Martin Naughton, and Stephen Kingon, managing partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Northern Ireland.

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