US newspaper claims towns just didn’t get on - apparently

AN AMERICAN newspaper has written about the apparent dislike between Dundalk and Newry in an interview with former US Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney.

AN AMERICAN newspaper has written about the apparent dislike between Dundalk and Newry in an interview with former US Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney.

Rooney spoke about the time he spent visiting Dundalk and Newry Town Councils in 2009, but it seems the one newspaper preferred to sensationalise what a incident free event.

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the NFL chairman told the paper of a town hall visit to Dundalk, yet the paper seem more interested in a non-existent animosity between Newry and Dundalk.

According to the paper: “The Rooneys came from Newry, a Northern Ireland town in County Armagh, near the Irish Republic border town of Dundalk. As fans of the Steelers and Baltimore Ravens might say, those two towns just didn’t like each other during The Troubles, the 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland.”

Yet speaking about the meeting Rooney said: “There was always real trouble,” Rooney said of the Newry-Dundalk relationship. “In fact, there are some lingering things. The peace over there now, that was another goal [of mine] that I would say was to make things better. It is much better. The one thing that the people of Ireland, both sides, the whole island, realize that they don’t want these troubles anymore. They express themselves. It’s not like it was in the past where they would shoot people for talking. It’s really been good. There is still economic problems, but it has turned in the right direction. The problem is jobs, like here.

“The first one we had was at Newry and Dundalk. They are two pretty good cities that are doing things. That really worked out well. They were happy to see me. They were in on discussions. It was a give and take with them. In fact, the mayor of Dundalk, when he was finished said, ‘Ambassador, can you come back here every week?”

The meeting Mr Rooney was referring to occured in 2009 and was incident free. The ambassador was received by Dundalk Town Council at the Town Hall, following which he was the guest of honour at the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce at a lunch with business leaders, local organisations and charities in Ballymascanlon Hotel.

The meeting primarily focused on small and medium sized enterprises conducting cross border trade.