1. Visit from County Donegal

    Visit from County Donegal

    Yesterday, the EDC and the Greater Springfield Convention and
    Visitors Bureau coordinated a visit to Springfield by six government and
    academic leaders from County Donegal in the Northwest of Ireland. We have been
    working with economic development and business leaders from the West of Ireland
    to open opportunities between our various clusters in medical devices, IT,
    creative economy and tourism. We hosted a roundtable discussion with local
    industry leaders in some of those sectors and our guests. While immediate
    business opportunities are not typically generated at these sessions, these can
    be the first step to future collaboration. The discussion was lively and
    Springfield will certainly be remembered when they return to the Emerald Isle.

    But the highlight of their visit was the 90 minutes that we
    spent with Congressman Neal and Mayor Sarno. The conversation was a living
    history lesson as the Congressman and our guests reminisced about the Troubles
    in Northern Ireland (Donegal is just across the border from Derry in the North)
    and the positive trend since. Optimism was the word of the day as that border
    used to be clogged by checkpoints manned by British soldiers and now is open
    with commerce flowing freely back and forth. Our guests were effusive in their
    praise for the role played by Congressman Neal in finally ending centuries of
    religious violence.

    With the Troubles behind them, Donegal is now cooperating
    with Derry and its businesses are looking to Northern Ireland, Europe and even
    the US for growth opportunities. Yesterday we made the case why western Mass
    should be considered for that growth. For more information about business
    development connections to Donegal, Ireland or other international destinations,
    please contact Mike Graney of the EDC, m.graney@westernmassedc.com or

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