Ireland Gateway to Europe – A Tale of Two Cities

On Tuesday 10th April The Panel was delighted to travel to Washington DC and Boston for the annual “Ireland Gateway to Europe” trade mission, together with a delegation of business professionals from across Ireland. Ireland Gateway to Europe is a self-funded initiative that aims to highlight & enhance the strong bilateral trade connections between the US and Ireland, as well as selling Ireland as a key location for foreign direct investment and also selling Ireland as a gateway to internationalise into Europe.

Representing The Panel on this trip was Alan Bluett (Partner, Banking & Treasury) and Fergal Keys (Partner, IT & Business Change).

Washington DC

In Washington the delegation was lead on tour of Capitol Hill which included a visit to a live sitting of the Senate and later a very generous welcome in the Congressional Offices of Congressman Richard Neal. After lunch the delegation attended closed session at The DuPont Circle Hotel where the EU Ambassador David O’Sullivan gave an exhilarating talk on the existing trade/political connections between the EU and the US and what opportunities and issues the future may hold.

In the evening the Gateway Delegation were invited to a specially convened drinks reception held at the Irish Embassy in Washington and hosted by the Irish Ambassador Dan Mulhall and his wife Greta. Ambassador Mulhall gave the guests an insightful and heart-felt talk on Ireland current position in transatlantic trade and the challenges/opportunities that the future holds.


During the second leg of the trip the Gateway Delegation travelled from Washington DC to Boston. During their first day in Boston they visited Boston College Campus and that evening were invited to attend the Boston College Ireland Business Council Global Leadership Symposium (#bcibc). 

The Global Leadership Symposium was opened by Dr Robert Mauro, Director, Global Leadership Institute, Boston College, followed by individual speakers and panel discussions, which were moderated by Robert Mac Giolla Phadraig (Co-founder Boston College Ireland Business Council) and featured:

Minister Michael D’Arcy TD (Minister of State)
Ambassador Dan Mulhall (Irish Ambassador to the US)
Neil Naughton (Deputy Chairman, GlenDimplex)
Polina Raygorodskaya (Co-Founder & CEO, Wanderu)
John Harthorne (Founder of MassChallenge)
Gregg Adkin (VP & MD, Dell Technologies Capital)
David Cancel (Co-Founder and CEO, Drift)
Dr Robert Mauro (Director, Global Leadership Institute, Boston College)

On the last day of the trade mission delegates were invited to the Boston Society of Architects, where they listened to two special panel talks under the umbrella name of “Bridging the Atlantic – Peace to Prosperity over 20 years”. The panels covered the evolution of US Irish relations since the Good Friday Agreement and Ireland, the new Economic Atlantic Bridge.  

Panel 1:  Ireland, the New Economic Atlantic Bridge   

Featuring Minister Michael D’Arcy TD (Minister of State), Megan Greene (Chief Economist & MD at Manulife Asset Management), Ryan Patel (CNN Contributor & Former VP at Pinkberry) and moderated by Robert Mac Giolla Phadraig (Co-founder Boston College Ireland Business Council). 

Panel 2: The evolution of US Irish relations since the Good Friday Agreement

Featuring Mary Sugrue (CEO, The American Irish Partnership), Shannon Quinn (student from Ulster University), Mark Durkan (Irish SDLP politician) and moderated by Kevin Cullen (Journalist, The Boston Globe).

The trade mission was ended up with participants being invited to attend a Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles baseball game which everyone enjoyed. 

All the delegates on the trade mission were a credit to Ireland and it is uplifting to work so closely with such a cohesive and unified group (often direct competitors), all wearing the Irish Jersey. Represented on Gateway 2018, along with The Panel, were Sigmar Recruitment, FKM, The HR Company, AIB, BOI, VHI, Irish Life, Acumen, Reddy Architecture, Irish Relocation Services, Tomkins, The Sunday Business Post, DeCare Dental and BDO.

The Panel would like to congratulate the Gateway to Europe organisers on yet another well planned and executed event and we look forward to Gateway 2019!

Images below, unless otherwise stated, comes courtesy of Gateway to Europe/Sigmar Recruitment.


Boston College Ireland Business Council Global Leadership Symposium

Bridging the Atlantic – Peace to Prosperity over 20 years

Fenway Park welcomes Gateway 2018 – Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles Baseball Game