South Tipperary Co. Council Chairman Cllr Michael Fitzgerald and County Manager Billy McEvoy appealed to US Ambassador Dan Rooney to do what he could to help save the Cordis plant in Cashel from closure during his visit to Clonmel last week.
The newly elected Council Chairman and County Manager raised the impending closure of the Johnson & Johnson owned stent manufacturing plant with Ambassador Rooney during a short private meeting they had with him at County Hall.
The meeting took place prior to the civic reception the members of South Tipperary Co. Council accorded to the US Ambassador at the County Council headquarters at Mick Delahunty Square in Clonmel on Tuesday, July 19.
Cllr Fitzgerald said Mr Rooney was very well aware of the situation and was amenable to helping them where possible.
The local authority leaders also spoke with the Ambassador about how South Tipperary could benefit from the famous American Ireland Fund of which Mr Rooney is one of the founders.
“We also used the meeting as an opportunity to highlight South Tipperary’s strong points including its attractions as a location for industry with the IDA park at Ballingarrane on Clonmel’s outskirts and the county’s tourism attractions from the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle to the Glen of Aherlow.”
Cllr Fitzgerald, who was presented with a copy of President Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope” by Mr Rooney, said it was a great honour to have the US Ambassador visit County Hall.
The US Ambassador’s main purpose in visiting Clonmel was to host an open forum at Clonmel Library to find out the issues and concerns of the local community.
During his time in Ireland, the ambassador is visiting every county to find out what the issues are on the ground and Tipperary was the 25th county on his nationwide tour.
The Clonmel forum, which was advertised in the local media, was attended by about 70 people and according to John Murphy of the US Embassy’s Press Office, the concerns of family carers and the local economy were the most prominent topics raised with Ambassador Rooney at the forum.
“The forums are the Ambassador’s way of reaching out to the Irish people and to get a grasp on what is going on in each county.
Obviously you could just talk to officials all the time but Ambassador Rooney just wants to reach out and hear from the public and community leaders what they issues are and to advise in anyway the US can help and offer any assistance,” said Mr Murphy.
Ambassador Rooney finished his whistle stop trip to Clonmel by visiting the Boston Scientific plant on the Cashel Road.