Council to extend invite to Biden to visit Mayo again

The elected members of Mayo County Council have congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden on his victory in last week's US Presidential election.

At their monthly meeting this week, the Cathaoirleach of the council, Cllr Richard Finn wished the President-Elect well and also told the members that it had been agreed that the council would issue an invitation to him to visit Mayo after his inauguration, to be their guest in the county.

President-Elect Biden, who has strong links in the Ballina area, visited Ballina in June 2016 when he was the Vice-President to President Barrack Obama and he visited Mayo again in September 2017, when he turned the first sod at the new Mayo Roscommon Hospice facility in Castlebar.

Ballina based Cllr Annie May Reape, congratulated President-Elect Biden on his victory and also congratulated Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris, who is set to become the first woman to hold the office in January next year. Cllr May Reape added: "It has sparked celebrations all over the world and in Ballina in particular, in his ancestral home town. He has very strong connections in the Ballina and Knockmore area with the Blewitt and Burke families - this is cause for personal celebration for them and for all Mayo families. I would propose we write to him to formally congratulate him and to invite him at the first opportunity possible."

Cllr Reape went on to say that: "We need to also be strategic to maximise the potential benefits for out county, a great opportunity for us. I would ask that a report be prepared for our next meeting on how we would professionally do this - we can get get a big input from businesses and groups within the county who have active business and commerical links to the USA.

"There are tourism links to be exploited, but we also must think of those people from Mayo who are undocumented in the USA on this day. We must do everything we can to highlight and seek a resolution for them."

Fine Gael Cllr Jarlath Munnelly added that the council should explore places like Douglastown in Wexford, that have established and maximised their links to former US President John F Kennedy as a tourist attraction and take a long-term view of the possibilities that can be explored. He also added that Ballina will be celebrating its 300th birthday in 2023 and it might be an idea to plan a visit around this.


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