Opinion

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the great nation of Ireland in an effort to enhance tourism in Nassau County and boost economic development. You should know that I paid for the trip personally, no taxpayer funds were used. Working with County Executive Tom Suozzi we met with Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen. The Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, is the head of the Irish Government. We discussed ways to boost tourism for both Ireland and Nassau County.

While visiting the city of Dublin I also had the honor of meeting Irish author Don Mullan to discuss his book, Eyewitness Bloody Sunday: The Truth. Mr. Mullan and his book were important catalysts in both the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision in 1998 to establish a new Bloody Sunday inquiry as well as the making of the award-winning movie Bloody Sunday. Meeting with an internationally renowned humanitarian who has spent his life fighting for truth, justice and peace was inspirational.

County Executive Suozzi and I are also proud to announce that as a result of this trip, the 2010 Continental Youth Championship (CYC) Gaelic Games will be held right here in Nassau County at Eisenhower Park. The games will bring over 1,500 children from across North America, Great Britain and Ireland, competing in Irish Gaelic Football and Hurling. The tournament participants will occupy well over 1,000 local hotel rooms for a three to four-day period. Nassau County's annual Irish Night, held each year at Eisenhower Park, will be scheduled around the CYC game festivities in 2010. These games will be a celebration of Irish culture and provide a welcome economic boost to Long Island and Nassau County.

Having the opportunity to visit this extraordinary country with such a rich and deeply rooted culture that has been woven into the fabric of our own society is something I am truly thankful for. Irish-Americans have brought their work ethic, morals and love of community and friends here to Nassau County for generations. I raise a toast to Irish-Americans this St. Patrick's Day and say thank you for helping make Nassau County one of the best places to live and raise a family.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! May you and your family have a safe and happy holiday!


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