Delegations from Cork County Council and Kerry County Council visited Boston this week to celebrate 300 years of Irish contributions to Massachusetts and to promote cultural, political, and economic exchange.
The Irish delegation included Frank O'Flynn, the Mayor of Cork, and Jim Finucane, the Mayor of Kerry, as well as their respective Chief Executives, Councilors, and staff, a statement from Boston City Council said.
Boston City Council President Ed Flynn hosted a brunch reception welcoming the Irish delegation to Boston City Hall on Wednesday, September 20.
During the reception, Council President Flynn also recognized a distinguished Irish American guest, Kelly Sullivan, whose great-grandparents hailed from Co Cork and whose family sponsored the US Navy destroyer, USS The Sullivans. Council President Flynn was a Sailor aboard USS The Sullivans on a historic visit to Cork and Kerry during his service with the US Navy.
After the reception, Council President Flynn formally welcomed the Irish delegation at the weekly Boston City Council Meeting, where the Mayors of Cork and Kerry provided formal remarks about the deep historic ties and friendship of Ireland and the United States, especially of the regions of Cork, Kerry, and the State of Massachusetts.
Speaking during Wednesday's Council meeting, the Mayor of Cork noted how Boston and Massachusetts were "where so many Irish called their new home in the 19th and 20th century."
He continued: "As a famous son of Massachusetts, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy once said of Ireland: 'This is not the land of my birth, but it is a land for which I hold the greatest affection.'
"It is that affection that has not only united our past but continues to unite us and to unite our future."
Mayor O'Flynn added: "We seek to share knowledge, opportunity for innovation, and sustainability at a time of great change.
"Today's challenges require global thinking and a global perspective built against the unifying willingness to succeed together.
"The Atlantic Ocean is no longer a barrier, just a bridge."
O'Flynn added that Cork County Council plans to continue building upon the "mutually beneficial" economic partnership and relationships it has established with Boston.
O'Flynn presented Flynn with a special painting from his hometown.
Mayor of the County of Cork Clr Frank O’Flynn addresses Boston City Council with President Ed Flynn & Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council Jim Finucane— Cork County Council (@Corkcoco) September 21, 2023
Mayor O’Flynn spoke of the shared history between Boston and Cork and of future economic opportunities that can be explored. pic.twitter.com/2BDS1Bfzgn
The Mayor of Kerry spoke about the Irish contributions to the US and the "tradition of service" and "sense of justice" that persevere.
Finucane received a round of applause after saying that immigrants and the sense of justice that they bring to the US is "an inherent treasure that no other nation in this world has."
Finucane also invoked JFK, reflecting on the President's comments in which he said 'the inherent quality of the Irish to see things that never were and say, why not?'
"So I'd appeal to young people to seek out public service, to seek out public life, to make a contribution because the leadership and the people that have contributed to this great nation - we stand on the shoulders of giants."
After speaking about his own father's experience emigrating to the US, Finucane concluded his remarks by saying: "The Irish contribution, I hope we're an example, a shining light for other communities, other cultures, when they come to this country, there is an onus on us and a responsibility to be humanitarian, to care for our fellow man, and to strive to create a future for all."
You can watch Mayor O'Flynn and Mayor Finucane's remarks in Boston City Council here:
Afterward, Council President Flynn said he was "honored" to have hosted the Irish delegation.
"Many of the Irish American community in Boston and in Massachusetts, including my family, have deep familial ties to this region of Ireland," Flynn said.
“We must recognize the tremendous contributions that Irish and Irish Americans have made towards building the social, economic and industrial engine of America, and how they continue to contribute to our city and country in all aspects from government, politics, business, public service, the US military, building trades, and organized labor.”
On Thursday, members of Cork County Council met with community members from Scituate, which is twinned with Cork City, and representatives from Cork Boston Gaelic Football Club.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Frank O’Flynn, together with delegation, met with representatives of Scituate, Massachuestts, which is twinned with West Cork MD, and GAA Cork Boston GFA, continuing to build the relationship and ties between both regions. pic.twitter.com/Zp7iRJMs5d— Cork County Council (@Corkcoco) September 21, 2023