Phil Bolton for GlobalAtlanta
In an effort to further strengthen the economic ties between Northern Ireland and Georgia, Tim Losty, director of the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington, is to attend a black-tie dinner to be held in Atlanta on Friday, Sept. 29, celebrating “Irish America.”

Earlier this month GlobalAtlanta conducted a filmed interview with Mr. Losty in his Washington office about the prospects for trade and investment between Northern Ireland and Georgia. Mr. Losty is the most senior official in the United States from Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

In view of the cultural heritage of the Southeast, which includes many descendants of Irish and Scots Irish settlers, he is upbeat about the prospects of developing closer ties and is enthusiastic about tapping into established Irish American networks.

For instance, at the Irish America dinner in Atlanta, among the honorees are to be Vince Dooley, former coach of the University of Georgia’s football team; John Edwards, the 2004 Democrat’s vice presidential candidate; David Bottoms, Georgia poet laureate; Robert O’Leary, director and CFO of Cox Enterprises Inc. and Sean O’Keefe, former administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and chancellor of Louisiana State University.

The event is the first of its kind to be hosted by Irish America Magazine in the South and is titled “First Annual Stars of the South.” The New York-based magazine honors 100 Irish Americans annually.

During the interview, Mr. Losty spoke of the affinities linking Northern Ireland and Georgia as the two economies experience economic growth and provide new jobs through the development of knowledge-based industries.

He also spoke of the real estate development in Northern Ireland, especially in Belfast’s city center and at the former shipyards known as the Titanic Quarter where the Titanic and many of the British navy’s ships were built.

There also has been a dramatic surge in tourism, he said.

“Five to 10 years ago, it was a surprise to see a foreigner,” he said. Recently as many as 2 million tourists in a single year have visited the area, which has a population of some 1.7 million.

Mr. Losty said that the United States played an important role in Northern Ireland’s current development through the investments of many of its corporations and the International Fund for Ireland that has financed “enterprise centers.”

He also said that many of the area’s students who attended U.S. universities are returning now that economic opportunities are growing.

And he stressed the importance Northern Ireland has placed on supporting its educational institutions because, he said, “the greatest asset is our people.”

Mr. Losty may be reached in Washington at (202) 367-0461. To learn more about his visit to Atlanta, call Jim Gaffey of The Gaffey Group at (770) 448-0685 or send an email to