CLEVELAND, Ohio – In town as part of a larger St. Patrick’s Day publicity tour for his country’s government, Ireland’s top health official visited the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland on Monday morning.
Irish Health Minister James Reilly was the guest of Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald for a tour of the center, which remains closed to the public despite a ribbon-cutting ceremony last October as construction in tenant areas wraps up. FitzGerald said the center is 80 percent occupied and is poised to be the "flagship" of Cleveland's healthcare industry.
FitzGerald said that on a day that celebrates the island nation’s cultural past, he hoped to emphasize the possible future economic ties between the Cleveland’s healthcare industry and Ireland. Reilly was accompanied Monday by Frank Dolphin, the chairman of Irish businesses services company Rigney Dolphin, which announced a joint venture with the Cleveland Clinic last summer.
Meanwhile, Reilly touted his government’s efforts to reform Ireland’s healthcare system to provide universal health coverage, as well as the Ireland’s recent $1.4 billion bond sale, the first the country has issued since it received an international economic bailout.
Reilly was among the eight Irish government ministers, including Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, who were scheduled to visit the U.S. on Monday, according to the Irish Times.
Other Cleveland stops on Reilly’s Monday agenda: the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and an audience with Mayor Frank Jackson, he was overheard saying.
“I think this is a case of where old bonds and tremendous connections can lead to new opportunities for people of Cleveland and for the people of Ireland,” Reilly said. “And I’m really thrilled to be here today.”