In his first trip overseas as the Mayor of Seattle, Ed Murray is traveling today to Ireland. He will speak on marriage equality in advance of Ireland’s national vote on same-sex civil marriage, as well as support continued strong business ties between the two nations.
Murray and Galway Mayor Donal Lyons will also celebrate their communities’ three-decade Sister City relationship with fresh-shucked oysters and music from Seattle Police Department’s Pipes and Drums Band.
“Seattle enjoys strong economic and cultural ties with Ireland that benefit both of our communities,” said Murray. “Whether it’s Boeing selling hundreds of aircraft to Ryanair or Seattle’s boutique hotels hosting cruise passengers from Dublin, we want to foster those meaningful, productive relationships.”
The trip is a reunion of sorts for Murray. His grandparents emigrated from Ireland in the early 20th century. Murray himself lived in Belfast in 1974.
Seattle and Galway have been sister cities since 1986. Galway, a university town on the west coast, is the fourth-largest community in Ireland. The town is also known as Ireland’s cultural heart and a major tourist destination.
Galway Mayor Donal Lyons will host Murray at Friday’s opening of the Galway Oyster Festival, where the two mayors will share the first oysters of the season.
The Pipes and Drums Band raised private funds from the Seattle Police Foundation and others to join in the Sister City celebrations. Mayor Murray and the Pipes and Drums will march in the annual Oyster Festival parade on Saturday.
During his time there, Mayor Murray will meet with Galway University law students, administrators and faculty. He will lead a roundtable discussion at the university on legislating for employment and marriage equality for the LGBT community of Ireland.
On Monday, Mayor Murray travels to Dublin to meet with the American Chamber of Commerce and speak on the well-established business connections between Seattle and Ireland. The panel will feature speakers from Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon and Sláinte Healthcare.
While in Dublin, Murray will meet with finalists of EY Ireland’s Entrepreneur of the Year program who visited Seattle in 2014. The entrepreneurs met with Murray and Seattle business and education leaders during their visit to the Pacific Northwest in May.
Mayor Murray will also travel to Leinster House, the seat of the Irish national parliament, to meet with government and legislative leaders. The Irish government has indicated that a national referendum on marriage equality will be scheduled for the spring of 2015.
That evening, Murray will speak to Gay + Lesbian Equality Network on marriage equality and the value of diversity and inclusion in the workforce.
As his trip ends on Tuesday, Mayor Murray will meet with Irish President Michael D. Higgins at his official residence in Dublin, Áras an Uachtaráin.
Most of the mayor’s travel expenses are paid by his hosts. Costs for the mayor’s official travel paid from city funds total $2020.84.