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Maskey Travels to US for First ever Irish Diaspora Conference

5 November, 2007

Sinn Féin South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey will travel to the US tomorrow, Tuesday 6th November, to attend the first ever Irish Diaspora conference in New York on November 7 and 8.

The conference is being hosted by the Irish America magazine, the American Ireland Fund and University College Dublin.

Keynote speakers include Economics Nobel Laureate James Heckman.

Speakers include Niall O'Dowd, Publisher Irish America magazine; Michael Collins, Irish Ambassador to the US; Gara LaMarche, Chief Executive of Atlantic Philanthropies and Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Chair of the American Ireland Fund.

Speaking ahead of the conference Mr Maskey said:

"The role of the Irish Diaspora in America is hugely significant. Equally they have played an important role in the Irish Peace Process and in supporting economic development, the social economy and in seeking to address inequality and discrimination.

"This conference is the first ever of its kind and brings together key players from the Irish Diaspora in America and from Ireland to discuss the relationship between Ireland and America.

"There are questions that the conference will hope to address including questions about the future of the Celtic Tiger; the development of Social Capital and the role of culture in fostering links between the Irish and the Irish abroad.

"The peace process and the progress of the last 6 months has created huge opportunities to explore this relationship and particularly from our perspective to secure investment." ENDS

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