Four members of the Irish Parliament visited the Irish Cultural Center of Western New England on Thursday, December 6, 2018. In attendance were four of Ireland’s governing body Teachta Dála (TD), including Senator Billy Lawless, and three TD members, Brendan Smith, chair of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defense, Niall Collins, and Seán Crowe.
ICC President Sean Cahillane and Executive Director Bo Sullivan hosted the visit. Co-hosts were Shane Cahill, Consul General of Ireland in Boston, and Aoife Budd, Vice Consul General. Invited guests included West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt and former Mayor Edward Sullivan, who is chair of the Sister City Committee with Dingle, Ireland, along with other local dignitaries.
The visit began with a tour of the ICC, which is in the midst of ongoing renovations inside and out. Informal discussions took place between the Irish visitors and the West Springfield officials, including officers, board members and Patrons from the ICC. A panel discussion on “Ireland in the World” began at 11:15, followed by lunch in the ICC’s Irish House Restaurant and Trinity Pub.
ICC President Sean Cahillane said the ICC is honored to continue to host prominent members of the Irish Government. “Western New England has a large, successful and robust Irish community. The Irish government recognizes this fact, which is the prime reason our regional communities are now being frequently visited in conjunction with visits to larger metropolitan areas like Boston, New York and Washington DC.”