Ireland seeks stronger business ties with Western Pennsylvania
Ireland government minister Denny McGinley has a message for Pennsylvania companies: “Ireland is back in business!”
McGinley attended a gathering hosted by the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh on Wednesday, looking to build on longtime business ties with Pennsylvania. The minister's trip is part of an American tour to raise awareness that his country is once again ripe with opportunities after several years of economic decline that nearly led to bankruptcy.
“We want to strengthen and expand the trade between us, to both of our advantages,” said McGinley, the country's minister of state for the Gaeltacht, or Irish-speaking region. “We went through a difficult time … but we can now after five years go back to the international money markets again and get whatever we require at favorable interest rates.”
Ireland's economy expanded 1.5 percent in the third quarter of last year. Employment is steadily climbing, particularly as it manages to lure multinational companies such as Google Inc., Facebook and Twitter, the latest social media giant to open a European headquarters in Dublin.
The country's improving economy means more trade and investing opportunities. And it is looking at Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh area with its strong Irish connections.
Ireland is Pennsylvania's 14th-biggest export market, with about $550 million in exports last year, mainly in chemicals, pharmaceuticals and fertilizer. The state is a big consumer of Irish goods: $811 million in 2013, according the state Department of Community and Economic Development, with pharmaceutical products topping the list around $432 million. Imports from Ireland also include medical devices, organic chemicals and essential oils.
“Ireland has a lot of entrepreneurship and sees (Pennsylvania) as a welcoming environment,” said Joseph Burke, international marketing executive at the Department of Community and Economic Development.
The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh, established in December, works to bring young people to Pittsburgh from Ireland and Northern Ireland for job training and other professional development skills. It is sponsoring a trade mission to Ireland in August in conjunction with a Penn State vs. University of Central Florida football game in Dublin.
“We realized that we would be helping that population by working to create jobs in Ireland,” said Jim Lamb, president of the institute. “We started connecting Irish companies and Pittsburgh companies to develop partnerships so that jobs could be created in Ireland as well as Pittsburgh.”
There are 154 companies with Ireland connections in Pennsylvania providing about 6,980 jobs — mostly in manufacturing, according the Department of Community and Economic Development.
In Pittsburgh, the Irish connection goes beyond business. Nearly 11 percent of Pittsburgh residents claim some Irish blood, according to the census bureau, making it home to the ninth-largest population of residents listing Irish as their primary ancestry.
The state provides grants to help small- to medium-size companies looking for trade opportunities with countries such as Ireland. The money can be used to offset a portion of expenses associated with export promotion activities, including the trade mission to Ireland the week of the Croke Park Classic football game.
The trade mission is scheduled from Aug. 22-31, with the Penn State game set for Aug. 30. The Irish government will host an international economic forum on August 28.
Vivian Salama is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Energy sector adjusts to global oil plummet
- New York farmers lament lost opportunity for gas riches
- U.S. coal mines nearing record low in worker deaths
- ‘Staff Pick’ is golden ticket on Kickstarter
- Lending crisis reforms fading as risks rise?
- Drought opens Texas ranchers’ eyes to income options
- 8 Western Pennsylvania hospitals penalized over infections
- Kim Komando: Can you get a virus on your smartphone?
- ExOne Co. moves solidify authority under CEO
- EPA says it won’t regulate coal ash as hazardous waste
- Natural gas groups says increase in Pennsylvania taxes would bring dire results for economy