Top-ranking officials from Ireland’s Donegal County visited UMass Lowell on Nov. 5 to talk about potential partnerships for education and research designed to expand learning and job opportunities in both places.
The delegation was welcomed at a reception at UMass Lowell’s Allen House by Chancellor Marty Meehan, representatives of the Center for Irish Partnerships and other faculty and staff.
“We live in a global society and UMass Lowell must be part of that. International partnerships will help us contribute to and compete in the global knowledge economy,” said Meehan, who noted that with the large number of local residents with Irish ancestors, forming the Center for Irish Partnerships was a natural. Since it was founded in 2009, the center has forged agreements with Queen’s University in Belfast and Dublin City University, and hosted the U.S.-Ireland Emerging Technologies Conference.
“Our partnership with Ireland gives our students and faculty a much greater appreciation of the global aspect of business and research,” said Prof. Stephen McCarthy, co-director of the center, which organized the recent archeological dig at St. Patrick’s Church in Lowell that uncovered many relics of the lives of the city’s early settlers.
The visiting delegation was led by Donegal Mayor Cora Harvey and included Dessie Larkin, chairman of the Donegal County Development Board; County Manager Seamus Neely; and Michael Heaney, the Donegal County Council’s director of community, culture and planning and the CEO of the development board.
The county, located in the northwest region of the Republic of Ireland, has a population of approximately 150,000 and is home to a technical institute.
Because a large percentage of the county’s workforce is 25 years old or younger, Donegal officials want to establish connections abroad to ensure that population is getting the best possible education and training, according to Prof. Frank Talty, co-director of the center.
“The mayor of Donegal’s visit is a sign that the word is out in Ireland that UMass Lowell is a welcoming and interested partner,” said Talty.
Harvey said that Donegal is also interested in forming partnerships in Massachusetts, both with the university and with businesses. “We want to get Donegal on the map.”