Murphy to begin Irish economic development trip this weekend

Gov. Phil Murphy is set to arrive in Ireland this Sunday for a three-day economic development trip, during which the governor will meet with a number of Irish diplomats and business leaders to discuss investments in and relations with the Garden State.

The Irish-American governor, who already has close ties to the diplomatic world from his four years as the United States Ambassador to Germany, said when the trip was announced last month that he was excited to visit the country for both economic and cultural reasons.

“As Ireland continues to position itself as a global leader in key areas such as technology and life sciences, we want to ensure that New Jersey is the leading choice for companies looking to expand and flourish,” Murphy said. “As an Irish-American, I am proud to visit Ireland and showcase New Jersey as the best place in the country for business investments and growth.”

“Ireland and New Jersey are natural partners, committed to fostering innovation-driven economic growth,” added Wesley Mathews, the president and CEO of privately-funded state economic development organization Choose New Jersey, which is sending a delegation to Ireland alongside the governor. “Choose New Jersey is eager to return to Ireland with a diverse delegation to build upon our existing relationships and uncover new opportunities for collaboration.”

According to the 2020 Census, around 13% of New Jersey’s population claimed Irish ancestry. It’s not uncommon for New Jersey governors to make official visits to countries with strong ties to the state; Murphy went to India in his first term, and former Gov. Chris Christie took a tour through Israel in 2012.

“Over one million people from New Jersey are of Irish heritage and, as both Ireland and the US open up again, we are rolling out the green carpet and welcoming our diaspora and all those with an affinity for Ireland and for Irish culture,” Helena Nolan, the Consul General of Ireland in New York, said when the trip was announced.

Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy are already in Europe, having left for France on a previously unannounced personal trip that will also involve meetings with some French companies about investment in New Jersey.

The Murphys will arrive in Dublin on the afternoon of Sunday, April 24, spending that evening and all of Monday making cultural visits and economic development announcements. They will then proceed to Cork, where Murphy’s Irish ancestry lies, for a day trip on Tuesday before returning to New Jersey on Wednesday.

The gubernatorial convoy was preceded in Ireland by a group of current and former New Jersey legislators, who met with Irish legislators last week. 

That trip ended up causing problems for Middlesex County’s elections administration. Middlesex County Clerk Nancy Pinkin, a former assemblywoman, struggled to return in time for the county’s legally-mandated ballot draw and ended up canceling it entirely; her decision prompted a lawsuit that ultimately forced her to perform the draw five days late.

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