Robinson, McGuinness meet potential NI investors in US

First and Deputy First Ministers pay tribute to outgoing chair of American Ireland Fund, Loretta Brennan Glucksman

Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who is on a visit to New York with First Minister Peter Robinson. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who is on a visit to New York with First Minister Peter Robinson. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Wed, Sep 11, 2013, 08:54

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness ended the first day of their New York trip among friends.

Speaking to the Irish Times at a cocktail function in the Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel’s Liam Neeson penthouse, after off-the-cuff speeches had been delivered and formal media interviews were completed, the ministers reflected on their relationship with the woman in whose honour the party was thrown, the outgoing chair of the American Ireland Fund, Loretta Brennan Glucksman.

“This evening is some time off from the hard work, if you will,” Mr McGuinness smiled, adding how it was a “great end” to what he described as a fantastic day of meetings with key American investors.

Against a backdrop of a skyscraper-engulfed terrace and a warm, windless night sky, Mr McGuinness said that apart from “saying goodbye to Loretta” this evening was a chance to once again recognise the important role of the American Ireland Fund in contributing to Northern Irish life and society.

“For example, Loretta has worked on the peace process, given to the arts, to Limerick University,” said Mr McGuinness.

“A great end to a great day,” Mr Robinson added. The men had previously met in private with New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“We’ve invited him to come to Northern Ireland when he leaves office,” said Mr Robinson. “Maybe we’ll be seeing him in the New Year.”

They also visited the New York Stock Exchange, a “third or fourth” visit for both.

“But it was a good day for the market today, so it was fun,” joked Mr Robinson.

The ministers five-day-long visit to New York comes in advance of the October Investment Conference in Belfast, aimed at showcasing Northern Ireland and its business opportunities.

Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness will continue to meet existing and potential investors, including US diplomat and former special envoy to Northern Ireland Richard Haass today, at the Council on Foreign Relations building.

Following a visit to the regeneration project at the Brooklyn Navy Yard the Ministers will address a business audience at the sixteenth Annual Irish America Wall Street 50 Awards ceremony.

The event recognises the accomplishments of Irish-American and Irish-born leaders of the financial industry.

Mr Robinson previously told the press: “We will take every opportunity in New York to promote Northern Ireland as an excellent location for new investors.”