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Clinton to Visit North at Month’s End

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Clinton’s visit will follow a trip to Dublin, and his focus will be on the current work being overseen by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In Dublin he will attend a dinner for American Ireland Fund Chairman Loretta Brennan Glucksman, and also officially open the Clinton Institute at University College Dublin.

“The president has remained keenly interested in Northern Ireland and the work we’re doing on behalf of Secretary Hillary Clinton there,” U.S. economic envoy to Northern Ireland Declan Kelly told the Irish Voice.

“He agreed to visit and I am hugely thankful to him for that.  The details are not yet finalized, but the intention is to let him see for himself some of the great things that are going on in Northern Ireland since he was last there. It’s almost the 10th anniversary of his historic visit in 2001.”

The visit comes in advance of the U.S.-Northern Ireland Economic Conference which will be held on October 19 at the State Department in Washington, D.C.

Said Kelly, “Hillary Clinton, as the former first lady, then senator for New York and now as secretary of state has consistently demonstrated her passion for Northern Ireland and everything that happens there. Over the course of the last year she has worked hard to assist the peace process, and her appointment of me as economic envoy to Northern Ireland is further proof of her commitment.

“Given Bill Clinton’s influence and the position he enjoys in the world, his participation is a huge vote of confidence in Northern Ireland and I know that everybody appreciates it very much,” added Kelly.

The October 19 conference is now in the final planning stages. “We are in the final stages of planning and preparation and we have been working on it now for about six months,” said Kelly.

“The format will be quite different to any investment conference on Northern Ireland that’s been seen before. We have been working closely with the Northern Ireland administration and with Invest Northern Ireland to host a smaller event that is targeted specifically at the CEOs of existing investors in Northern Ireland, along with potential investors and influencers who can potentially bring economic stimulus to the region.”

Several of the CEOs of multibillion dollar companies have agreed to come and spend a day advocating on behalf of Northern Ireland to their fellow CEOs who have yet to invest in the region. 

“We have been very pleased with the response we’ve received from companies we’ve targeted to come and attend,” Kelly said.

Maria Bartiromo, the anchor of CNBC’s Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo, has agreed to moderate two of the sessions at the conference.

It’s understood the current format will have existing investors talk about their experiences in one session. Potential investors will also discuss their companies’ targets and what they would hope to achieve if they invest in the region.

The conference currently has an attendee list that is running at 70 to 80 invited guests. It will be held at the State Department, where Secretary Clinton will act as host.

“We’re hopeful these initiatives will have long term impact,” says Kelly. “Already we will hear about the experiences of companies like All State, CitiBank, the New York Stock Exchange, Seagate and Caterpillar, which have enterprises in the region.

“The existing investors have already gone down the roads and see the point of investing in Northern Ireland. They will sit down with their counterparts and tell them why it’s a very good time to invest in the region.”

Northern Ireland, says Kelly, enjoys huge advantages because of its geographical position, and the fact that it has one of the most educated workforces in the world (including the highest ranking test scores in the U.K.) and the lowest operating costs in the whole of Europe.

“I think Northern Ireland has an embarrassment of riches to bring to the table at a time when many other economies don’t have those things,” added Kelly.

“There are huge grounds for optimism, and there is no reason to suspect that Northern Ireland can’t punch above its weight.”
 

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