SOURCE: City of San Jose, California

City of San Jose, California

City of San Jose, California

March 04, 2010 18:07 ET

San Jose and Dublin, Ireland Today Kick Off the 24th Anniversary of Their Sister City Relationship at Irish Week Welcome Breakfast

Business Development, Film, Sports and Cuisine Highlight Delegation's Visit; Founder and Executive Director of San Jose Conservation Corps, Robert Hennessy, to Be Honored at Irish Week Finale: the Annual Spirit of Ireland Gala

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - March 4, 2010) -  The 24th anniversary of the sister city affiliation between San Jose, California, and Dublin, Ireland, began today with members of the San Jose/Dublin Sister City Program and San Jose Vice Mayor Judy Chirco hosting a celebratory kick-off welcome breakfast for the Dublin Lord Mayor Emer Costello and members of the Dublin Sister City delegations.

Established in 1986, the San Jose & Dublin Sister City Program relationship was initiated by then Mayor of San Jose, Tom McEnery, and the former Prime Minister of Ireland, Bertie Ahern, then Lord Mayor of Dublin. The program, known as "twinning" in Ireland, has thrived throughout its two-decade existence and develops cultural, economic, artistic and sporting ties between San Jose/Silicon Valley and Dublin.

"We want to again welcome our friends from Dublin to San Jose. For nearly a quarter of a century our sister city relationship, both Dublin and San Jose have transformed into global innovation centers with diverse populations from all over the world and creative entrepreneurs and companies," said Vice Mayor Judy Chirco.

Emceed by KRON-TV anchorwoman, Catherine Heenan, the welcome event, a traditional Irish breakfast, was held at the Capital Club, high above downtown San Jose. The welcome breakfast was followed by a flag-raising ceremony held a few blocks away on the plaza of the San Jose City Hall. Designed by Richard Meier, the 18-story building served as a contemporary backdrop to the annual ceremonial proceedings that included the San Jose Police Department Color Guard, and the student choir from San Jose's St. John Vianney Catholic School.

"By developing partnerships between Dublin and San Jose, providing opportunities for their city officials and citizens to experience community partnerships, the San Jose-Dublin Sister City Program strives to create an atmosphere in which economic and cultural development can be implemented and strengthened. Through reciprocal cultural, educational, municipal and business exchanges and projects, we look to continue the significance and relevance of the relationship between San Jose and Dublin," said San Jose Councilmember Nancy Pyle, who is also the current president of the San Jose-Dublin Sister City Program.

According to Paul Krutko, chief development officer, City of San Jose, Silicon Valley mainstays, such as Adobe, Cisco Systems, eBay, Flextronics, IBM and Xilinx, have an Irish presence. 

"Global innovation regions understand that a positive business climate and a strong, well-educated talent pool are necessary to produce high value, forward-thinking products and services," Krutko said. 

Since the delegation visited in 2009, plans have been announced for the Irish Innovation Centre, located in the Linden Building at 177 W. Santa Clara St. The facility is expected to house as many as 35 cleantech and software communications companies looking to build a presence in the United States. Trinity College-Dublin is backing the innovation center, as is University College, two of Ireland's top schools.

"Dublin has been able to create a conducive environment, with a high-level of quality-of-life amenities, that attracts talent and keeps companies thriving. These attributes have brought the world to Dublin and is maintaining the city's status as being a top technological center within the European Union. Likewise, this recipe has kept San Jose tops in talent attraction and company incubation and retention. We think the upcoming opening of the Irish Innovation Centre will play a key role in maintaining a strong collaborative spirit between our two cities," Krutko said.

To further that spirit of innovation and deepen economic and cultural ties, the Dublin delegation was also part of San Jose Premier of Academy Award Nominee Irish Film "The Secret of Kells," that took place March 2 at Camera 12 Cinema. 

For the remainder of their stay, they will also meet with board members, management and performers of Ballet San Jose, tour the IBM Almaden Research Lab, co-host a special luncheon with Dublin Tourism and take part in a ceremonial stick exchange with San Jose Sharks President & CEO Greg Jamison during tonight's San Jose Sharks-Montreal Canadians hockey game.

The visit will be capped by the Spirit of Ireland Award Dinner, 6:30 p.m., Saturday, March 6, at the Dolce Hayes Mansion, 200 Edenvale Ave., in San Jose. The Dinner honors those individuals and/or organizations whose accomplishments have exemplified the relationship between San Jose/Silicon Valley and Ireland. This year's recipient of the Sister City Committee's Spirit of Ireland Award will be Robert Hennessy, founder and executive director, San Jose Conservation Corps. 

Born in Glen of Aherlow in County Tipperary, Hennessy became a priest and later immigrated to Folsom, Calif., in 1972. He then joined with California Governor Jerry Brown to establish the California Conservation Corps (CCC), opening camps throughout the state where thousands of young men and women received education and job training. In 1987, Hennessy established the San Jose Conservation Corps -- recognized as the largest job training Corps in the US. In 2001, the Corps added a charter school, allowing young people to complete their education to receive a diploma or GED. In addition, Hennessy was involved in an exchange program with students from North and South Ireland. These students spent their summers at the Corps and at San Jose State University.

Hennessy was also instrumental in the creation of the Dublin Park exhibit in San Jose. Located in Discovery Meadow, it includes the Dublin flag, a Dublin city light pole and a specially carved bench.

Other recipients of the Spirit of Ireland Award have included T.J. Rogers of Cypress Semiconductor, Gordon Moore of Intel, John Lewis of Amdahl, Nobel Peace Prize recipient John Hume, and President Bill Clinton as well as The National Theatre of Ireland (The Abbey Theatre) and the San Jose Repertory Theatre. 

About the City of San Jose's Office of Economic Development
The City of San Jose's Office of Economic Development (OED) is committed to a vital, competitive San Jose economy that increases prosperity for people and companies and enhances City revenues. The Office guides the City's economic strategy, provides assistance for business success, helps connect employers with trained workers, and provides art, sporting and cultural resources to our community. For more information, please visit,

About the City of San Jose
From its founding in 1777 as California's first city, San Jose has been a leader, driven by its spirit of innovation. Today, San Jose stands as the largest city in Northern California and the Capital of Silicon Valley -- the world's leading center of innovation. The city, the 10th largest in the U.S., is committed to remaining a top-ranked place to do business, work, live, play and learn. For more information, visit,

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