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Gov. Phil Murphy toasts over a pint of Murphy’s in Cork. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

Murphy’s Irish trip concludes with clean energy panel, pint of Murphy’s

Governor has spent three days touring Ireland with economic development focus

By Joey Fox, April 26 2022 4:08 pm

CORK – Gov. Phil Murphy’s economic development trip to Ireland ended this afternoon with one last flurry of events, including a tour of University College Cork, a panel on wind energy hosted by energy company Ørsted, and a final toast of Murphy’s Irish Stout at a pub in Cork.

Press play to hear a narrated version of this story, presented by AudioHopper.

After a morning train ride from Dublin, the governor’s day began at Cork City Hall, where he and his family were presented with the Murphy family crest. Murphy’s Irish ancestors hailed from Cork County, and his third cousins were in attendance at the event.

“This is quite a day,” Murphy said at the presentation ceremony. “For we Irish-Americans, there is always a sense of homecoming that comes from a recognition that this is where your family’s story is rooted.”

Murphy and his accompanying delegation from economic development nonprofit Choose NJ then attended a lunch hosted by the Cork Chamber of Commerce, after which the governor visited University College Cork. First Lady Tammy Murphy, meanwhile, made the rounds with a STEM school group and a maternal health research institute.

The delegation reunited for a panel discussion on wind energy; construction has already begun on the New Jersey Wind Port in Salem County, and Murphy and New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan touted the state as a leader in the field.

“Offshore wind is something we are 1,000% committed to,” Murphy said. “We aim to be nothing less than America’s headquarters, ground zero if you will, for offshore wind.”

“To be there, helping build … a brand-new, significantly sized industry – it’s extraordinary,” Sullivan added. “An industry that will create, in New Jersey, tens of thousands of jobs.”

The day, and the trip overall, ultimately ended in the Shelbourne Bar, where Murphy led a delegation-wide toast over pints of Murphy’s, a beer brewed locally in Cork (and by brewers with no relation to the governor).

“We put runs on the board,” Murphy said in his toast. “We worked our asses off, which is the way it should be. If you’re going to do this, you can’t just put your feet up. So, onward and upward.”

Tomorrow, the governor will head back to New Jersey, while some members of the Choose NJ delegation will remain in Ireland for one extra day to hold further meetings with Irish companies. An earlier Choose NJ delegation is responsible for the trip’s biggest announcement: that Irish company Applegreen will base its U.S. operations in Glen Rock, a deal in the making since Choose NJ last visited the country in 2019.

In an interview this morning, Murphy said that though some back home may doubt the utility of the trip – a perennial complaint when governors travel abroad – he believes the trip’s tangible and potential economic gains made it more than worthwhile. 

“At one level I can understand [complaints about cost], but when you look at the facts, it’s overwhelmingly a great return on investment,” he said. “We’re not over here just for the heck of it. We’re here to work.”

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