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Illinois delegation in visit to Banner County

Forty key members of the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives are in Clare this week to explore new business and nurture tourism links between the US and Irish Mid-West regions.

The visit, organised by Clare County Council, brings the US delegation to meet two Shannon-based Illinois firms, local business representatives and regional development agencies, such as IDA Ireland, Shannon Development, the Mid-West Regional Authority and Enterprise Ireland. They are also visiting West Clare and the Cliffs of Moher, as well as attending functions at Dromoland Castle and Bunratty Castle.Senator Louis Virido shares a joke with Tony Mulcahy, Mayor of Clare, at council buildings during the reception for members of the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives. Photograph by Declan Monaghan
The trip was initiated by the former Mayor of Clare Madeleine Taylor-Quinn, who met with senators and house representatives during a business and tourism promotional visit in Chicago.
Senator John Cullerton, president of the Illinois Senate, and Michael Madigan, speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, are leading the US delegation, which comprises numerous Irish-American politicians and lobbyists. They include Senators M Maggie Crotty (D) and Daniel Cronin (R), Representatives Daniel J Burke (D) and James Brosnahan (D) and lobbyists Robert F Ryan and Erin Kathleen O’Brien.
According to Tom Coughlan, Clare county manager, “The delegation’s decision to visit Clare is not just a vote of confidence in the region but it also sends out a clear message to the wider business community that Clare and surrounding counties can and do offer real opportunities for investment”.
Mr Coughlan noted that the principal factors for attracting new business to the region were already in place.
“Shannon Airport, with its many links to Europe and North America, offers internationally trading companies quality connectivity. Furthermore, improvements in our transport infrastructure, such as the Shannon Tunnel, the Atlantic Rail Corridor, the new US pre-clearance facility at Shannon and the N19 motorway provide ease of access to the rest of the country.
“The University of Limerick and the Limerick Institute of Technology are valuable sources for highly educated graduates, while they also support research and development for many multi-national companies. And the provision of high-bandwidth broadband enables companies to conduct business with international markets,” he stated.
He said that these significant factors combined make Clare an attractive location for investment and that this is a landmark visit for the entire region, presenting an opportunity to develop new and existing links with Illinois, a state with almost 13 million citizens.
Meanwhile, Councillor Tony Mulcahy, Mayor of Clare said, “Considering the present economic circumstances, we must step up our efforts to increase awareness of Clare and Mid-West Region’s attractiveness as a tourism destination and an investment location for business.
“An essential part of this process is engaging with key decision makers and Government representatives in lucrative markets like the United States.”


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