Deputy PM visits Pittsburgh to tout Ireland’s recovery, promote ties |

Deputy PM visits Pittsburgh to tout Ireland’s recovery, promote ties

Bob Bauder
Justin Merriman | Trib Total Media
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, left, and Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald, second from left, meet with the deputy prime minister of Ireland, Joan Burton, on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Downtown.

Ireland’s deputy prime minister had a donnybrook on her schedule Tuesday in addition to St. Patrick’s Day meetings with Pittsburgh’s top political and civic leaders.

Joan Burton, who met with Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in the afternoon, was slated to join former ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney and other dignitaries at Heinz Field for an annual Irish Fund dinner.

After that, she was headed to the North Side’s Priory Hotel for an annual boxing match known as the Pittsburgh Donnybrook, featuring amateur fighters from Ireland and Western Pennsylvania.

“What I’d really like to see is the Andy Warhol Museum,” Burton said. She speaks Wednesday at the University of Pittsburgh.

Burton is Ireland’s Tanaiste, Celtic for deputy prime minister, and leader of the Irish Labor Party. She and 26 other Irish ministers are visiting 21 countries to tout Ireland’s economic recovery and promote business relations. She visited Philadelphia and Boston before heading to Pittsburgh.

She said Ireland has cut unemployment by more than a third and achieved an economic growth rate of 4.8 percent last year. The country’s economy bottomed out in 2008.

“We’ve just been talking about all of the development that’s been happening here, the economic growth and recovery, and I’ve been telling them a little bit about the Irish story,” she said after leaving her meeting with Peduto and Fitzgerald.

Peduto said Ireland and Pittsburgh share similar stories of economic decline and recovery. Since the 2008 recession, Ireland has attracted American technology firms and young people from across the globe seeking opportunities, Peduto said.

“There’s a lot of lessons to be learned because we’re on a trajectory for that to start happening in Pittsburgh,” Peduto said.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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