On Wednesday, April 15, 2015, New York State Assemblyman, Michael Kearns, announced that links have been established between Irish Network Buffalo, and Mayo County Council Enterprise, and Investment Unit. Assemblyman Kearns was very jubilant announcing the creation of new links between Western New York, and Ireland.
Assemblyman Kearns, whose roots trace back to Westport, Co. Mayo, is a member of the New York State Assembly. Kearns represents the 142nd Assembly District, which spans South Buffalo, half of the city of Lackawanna, West Seneca and Orchard Park, all within the state of New York.
“With our region experiencing significant investment, and our young entrepreneurs evolving and being creative, the time could not be better to establish solid links with an international partner such as Mayo County Council,” Kearns said this morning, “to acknowledge this connection through Irish Network Buffalo, it is with great pleasure that I announce Niagara Falls will turn the green and red of Mayo in celebration of the first ever International Mayo Day on May 2.” “What better way to celebrate than by turning one of the natural wonders of the world, Niagara Falls, to the county colors of our new international partner.”
Kiltimagh native, and Chairperson of Irish Network Buffalo, Padraic Walsh, also attended this morning’s announcement. “What fantastic news that Niagara Falls will be illuminated in the green and red of Co. Mayo so to help us celebrate our connections with Mayo County Council. There are 9.3 million people around the world with Co. Mayo roots, with many of them arriving into Western New York, and Southern Ontario. For Niagara Falls to recognize the contribution of these men and women by lighting up in green and red for Mayo Day is a credit to the Irish Diaspora from around the world. Where would Mayo, and Irish people be without the tireless work of Assemblyman Michael Kearns? He embraced this project from the very beginning. For our own economy to remain strong, and to grow, we need to be reaching out across the Atlantic to our friends in Ireland. With links established between Mayo County Council, and Irish Network Buffalo, it is a leap in the right direction, and we look forward to many years of international collaboration between Western New York and Co. Mayo,” Walsh said this morning. Irish Network Buffalo is the local chapter of the umbrella group, Irish Network USA. Built through volunteers to allow members of the networks connect with their peers and to develop relationships that will foster success in their business, economic, cultural and sports ventures.
Many well-wishers have contacted Assemblyman Kearns and Padraic Walsh to congratulate them on the official announcement that Niagara Falls will turn green and red for International Mayo Day.
Among the well-wishers was Senator Paddy Burke, Cathaoirleach of Seanad Eireann. Senator Burke said that “It really is a great honor for my home county that a site as magnificent as Niagara Falls will proudly display the green and red of Mayo to mark Mayo Day 2015. The lighting of the Falls will speak volumes for the strength of the bonds between Mayo men and women in Ireland and Western New York and will symbolize the warmth of the relationships the Mayo diaspora has built up with their friends and neighbors in the United States. Well done to Assemblyman Michael Kearns for his success in bringing about this great tribute to our shared Mayo heritage!”
Martina Hughes, from Mayo County Council welcomed the exciting news, saying “Mayo Day is a unique concept for Mayo People around the world to recognize their culture, heritage and all that is great about the County and its people. The opportunity to turn Niagara Falls red and green for the occasion is excellent news and I would like to acknowledge Assembly man Michael Kearns and Padraic Walsh in their efforts in this regard.”
Local Mayo TD, Michelle Mulherin sent along her congratulations this morning, “‘to have the iconic Niagara Falls flowing green and red on May 2nd has to be a dream event to celebrate the inaugural Mayo Day 2015. To all our Mayo and Irish diaspora and friends in Western New York and to Assemblyman Kearns thanks for making it happen! And come visit Mayo soon!”
Another local Mayo TD, Dara Calleary is quoted saying “I am thrilled that the iconic Niagara Falls will be decked out in the green and red of Mayo for the first Mayo day. This is a wonderful acknowledgment of the great contribution made by the Mayo diaspora to the state of New York and to the USA for many generations and an endorsement of the strong ties that exist today. Well done to all involved!”
Tony Hennigan, director of Mayo Manchester, said this morning that “it’s fantastic to see our friends in Buffalo spearheading the Mayo Day celebrations by getting Niagara Falls turned Green and Red. I would like to congratulate Padraic Walsh and Assemblyman Michael Kearns in making this happen. We now look forward to seeing New York and the rest of the world following their example.”
In summing up at this morning’s event, Assemblyman Michael Kearns, and Irish Network Buffalo Chairperson, Padraic Walsh, acknowledged that “what started as a simple tweet from Tony Hennigan, Mayo Manchester, has quickly grown into a solid international partnership.” The City of Buffalo, and the greater Western New York region is excited for the future through this new international connection. Irish Network Buffalo is looking forward to hosting many Mayo events in the future, while helping promote Mayo Business, and Mayo Tourism. Our group is also looking forward to welcoming Co. Mayo dignitaries, businesses, colleagues, friends, and hopefully an Taoiseach, Enda Kenny to our region in the future.
Assemblyman Michael Kearns, and Irish Network Buffalo would like to wish all Mayo people worldwide a happy and safe Mayo Day 2015.
For more information:
Irish Network Buffalo
122 North Pearl Street
Buffalo, New York 14202
Several Irish Network USA members have had their passports stamped in the past month while participating in various trade missions and conferences in Galway, Dublin and Belfast.
Assemblyman Michael Kearns said it was an honor to have Peter Ryan, Deputy Consul General of Ireland, in his office on Monday to discuss sister city relations with Ireland and Western New York.
“We have to get Upstate New York, Western New York, and Buffalo better known to Ireland. We have a lot to offer, we have a lot that we can partner in and I think any type of relationship begins with a handshake and friendship and that’s what we are looking to do through sister cities,” said Kearns.
Kearns and Louise Simon Schoene, NYS Coordinator of Sister Cities International, greeted Ryan with Buffalonian gifts to remind him of Western New York.
Among the gifts he received was a book about Buffalo, a sister cities pin, a Buffalo statue, and more. Ryan was elated with his welcome and promised to spread the good word of Buffalo to those in Ireland.
“The warm welcome here reminds me very much of being back home,” said Ryan. “It’s more important than ever that we reach out to our wonderful Irish American community to try to understand them a little bit better and listen to them a little bit more. And as well as having these ties of heritage and culture with our Irish dancing and our parades and sports, let’s see if we can do business together because who better to tell us how to do business in the United States than Irish Americans?”
Ryan’s mission with the Consulate General of Ireland was to create an Irish network called Irish Network Buffalo (IN-Buffalo). The goal of the network, which launched Wednesday, is to make connections with Irish and Irish American professionals and let people know that there is a commonality.
“Buffalo is a very unique place because of the links with Ireland historically, which includes the invasion of another country. Every Irish child learns about
Buffalo because it is part of our history,” said Ryan.
The meeting also emphasized the importance of educating those in Ireland about Western New York. New York State is ranked number two for international students and having Ireland students come to Buffalo for internships and studies abroad is essential for international relations, tourism, and economic development.
“It helps so many people here and abroad,” said Schoene. “It’s good for the state. It’s good for the community. It’s good for the country and it’s good for the world.”
“Our goal is to attract businesses here and develop some bilateral relationships,” said Kevin Kearns, Vice President for Engagement and Economic Development at SUNY Fredonia. “We want to take advantage of our natural resources and our strategic opportunities to bring in businesses and create jobs. And from a university perspective, we want to try and keep our graduates here contributing to business, to starting new businesses and basically to revitalize the area with the universities anchoring that effort.”
Ryan is hopeful that IN-Buffalo will bring entrepreneurs, successful business people, teachers and community leaders from Ireland to be champions of Buffalo.
Buffalo was a well known destination for a lot of Irish economic immigrants. They came after the Great Famine to work in the steel mills and large factories that were prevalent in the area. Today Buffalo boast a popular Irish feis and most recently is the place where the latest chapter addition to the Irish Network USA. This revitalized network spearheaded by Steve Lenox, Deirdre Woodbyrne and John Murphy is taking the US by storm.
Buffalo is the second most populous city in New York state, Buffalo is an architectural gem. Over 12% of its population claims Irish heritage.
“Buffalo has been a destination for Irish immigrants since the founding of this nation, and we have continued to build the Irish community throughout the region,” said Donall O’Carroll, Irish Network Buffalo President. “With such a proud Irish tradition in Western New York, we are hoping the launch will bring out our existing friends and introduce us to new faces as well.”
Irish Network Buffalo joins Irish Network USA to bolster business opportunities and economic development between the United States and Ireland, to support and encourage Irish Arts and Culture through film, literature, theater, dance, and language; to encourage and promote Irish sports through the States; to support the efforts of local Irish organizations and associations; and to serve as a conduit between newly arrived Irish immigrants and their communities in member cities and states.
“The excitement we have seen in Buffalo is contagious and we are excited to officially get Irish Network Buffalo off the ground,” said Steve Lenox, Co-President of Irish Network USA. “Irish Network USA was founded to help Irish, friends of Ireland, and Irish American professionals across the United States connect with peers and to develop relationships to foster success in business, economic, and social ventures. We are excited to now have Buffalo a part of this ever expanding network.”
Irish Network USA is the national umbrella organizations integrating the Irish networks that exist in various cities across the United States. Irish Network Buffalo is the 18th chapter to be launched, with a 19th expected this October in Houston. Currently, Irish Network chapters can be found in Seattle, Bay Area (California), San Diego, Nevada, Phoenix, Colorado, Austin, New Orleans, Chicago, Minnesota, Cleveland, Washington DC, Delaware, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York City, Delaware and Boston.
Irish Network USA is launching its 18th chapter on June 4, 2014, with an event for Irish Network Buffalo onboard the U.S.S. Little Rock at One Naval Park Cove.
The launch will begin at 5:30 and tickets will cost $50.
Posted by Stephen Smith (@StephenJPSmith) of Irish Central.
Association will establish Buffalo chapter to boost cultural ties
By Anne Neville, News Staff Reporter & Matt Glynn, News Business Reporter
The Buffalo News
More than 100 people from all over the region who share a common interest in Ireland and the Irish turned out for a reception Friday night to hear about the launch of a new Irish Network USA chapter in Buffalo.
The people in attendance, mostly Irish and Irish-American, whose interests in Ireland ranged from sports, theater, music, arts, literature, academics and culture, mingled with two Irish dignitaries – Liam O’Neill, president of the Gaelic Athletic Association, an Irish sports and cultural organization with a worldwide presence, and Peter Ryan, deputy consul general for economic and public affairs for the Consulate General of Ireland in New York City.
In addition to athletics, the athletic association’s clubs are a way for Irish people to connect and support each other in countries around the world. “It reflects the very best of Irish society,” said Ryan. Irish immigrants, including Mayo man Padraic Walsh, have joined with Irish-Americans to establish a local GAA-affiliated Gaelic football club here called the Buffalo Fenians.
The new chapter of the Irish Network being established here intends to further capitalize on the links between people in Ireland and Western New York.
“It is about promoting economic development and business relations, between cities and states across the United States,” said Deirdre Woodbyrne, executive director of the Irish Network USA, which is based in New Jersey. “It’s about promoting Irish heritage, culture and sports.”
Seventeen other U.S. cities, including New York City, already have Irish Network chapters. Buffalo’s chapter won’t be officially launched until the spring, but representatives were in town on Friday to share their plans, while lauding the city’s Irish ties and influences.
Irish Network chapters in other U.S. cities serve as a conduit between the American and Irish business communities, Woodbyrne said. “We are hoping to go from 17 chapters to 30,” she said.
The local chapter will likely be established in April or May, run by a board of directors consisting of about a dozen people, Woodbyrne said.
Irish Network’s chapters aim to attract Irish-Americans as well as Irish new to the United States who are trying to get themselves established, she said. Along with commerce, the chapters also work to promote Irish sports in the United States.
At the reception, people lauded the links already in place between Buffalo and Ireland.
“This is not my first visit to Buffalo, and every time I visit, or every time I read something about Buffalo, I think of the depth of the relationships between Ireland and here,” said Ryan. “This is an Irish town.”
Conor Hawkins, manager of D’Arcy McGee’s Irish Pub, is often the first point of contact for newly immigrated Irish people. “It’s OK to meet people on St. Patrick’s Day or on parade day, but this would go far beyond that,” he said of the Irish Network.
“This is tying the Irish and the Irish-American community together strongly,” said Steve Lenox of New Jersey, president of Irish Network USA. “We want to work together and build bridges and, with this organization, get a cross-section of the community and bring everything together under one roof.”
Patrick F. McDevitt, an associate professor in the history department at the University at Buffalo, was particularly interested in a push by the Buffalo Fenians to host the Continental Youth Championships for athletes age 6 to 18 in such Gaelic sports as hurling and Gaelic football. The annual event draws 12,500 people from the United States and Canada, including competitors, family members and spectators. Supporters of the idea say the economic impact of attracting so many out-of-town visitors would be considerable.
The competition has rotated between big cities like New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia. O’Neill said UB is providing some support in the drive to make Buffalo a host city. The soonest the event could be brought to Buffalo probably would be 2017, based on the schedule already set for the coming years, O’Neill said.
“I’d love for the games to come here,” said McDevitt, whose book on sports in the British Empire includes a chapter on the founding of the Gaelic Athletic Association. The organization, founded in 1884, was not only the earliest part of the Gaelic Revival, but also the most successful and longest lasting, McDevitt said.
Members of the Amherst Gaelic League, which supports the Buffalo Fenians, turned out to support the enterprise. “It’s a good partnership,” said League President Dennis P. Lennon of the league’s association with the team. “We especially like that it offers programs for children and gives young people an opportunity to participate in the games.” Bill Cleary, another league official, said, “Promoting Irish culture is one of the cornerstones of the Amherst Gaelic League.”
Ryan said Ireland and the United States already have strong business connections to build on. Irish companies are investing in the United States, while Ireland is home to the European operations of companies like LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon, Google and Facebook. “This is a two-way exercise,” he said.
An Irish Network chapter can help cultivate more of that activity in a place like Buffalo, Ryan said. For instance, he said Buffalo, due to its growing medical corridor, would be a good fit for the many companies in Ireland that work with life sciences and medical devices. Ryan said the message to those Irish companies would be: “If you go to Buffalo, you don’t need to be a stranger in Buffalo. The Irish people have been there for 200 years. There’s a Gaelic club in Buffalo, there’s an Irish Network there.”
Now, Ryan said, Buffalo is most famous in Ireland for being the site of the 1866 Fenian invasion of Canada, a military strike designed to pressure Britain into freeing Ireland — “which we are very proud of, actually,” he added.