We're still on our way to San Jose, say councillors
TRIP: Paddy's Day celebration in sunny California
DO you know the way to San Jose? Well, Dublin city councillors certainly do.
The council has confirmed a St Patrick's Day trip to the Californian city is going ahead, despite the difficult economic conditions.
A delegation of two councillors and two officials will make the journey to America's sunny west coast next month.
It comes as the local authority has had to implement severe cutbacks to its budget. The trip, which is an annual event, is usually attended by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and the city manager.
But this year, the manager, John Tierney, is unable to go and Mayor Gerry Breen (FG) said he had yet to decide whether he would join the delegation. The bill for Irish taxpayers to cover one of the recent San Jose visits came to €7,105.75.
A council spokesman strongly defended the trip.
"This is the 25th anniversary of the twinning (between Dublin and San Jose)," said Hugh Fitzpatrick of the council's office of international relations and research.
"We would see it as a very valuable connection and one that needs to be nurtured and maintained," he told the Herald.
"They (City of San Jose) are very enthusiastic and supportive of it."
Mr Breen, who is running in the Dublin North West constituency in the General Election, told the Herald he had yet to decide if he would go.
"If it's good for the city, I'll go. The fact is that Dublin has a serious relationship with many internet and many new-tech companies that are based in Silicon Valley.
"Obviously, everything has to be looked at on a value-for- money basis. San Jose is the best twinning Dublin has had.
"It may be very important that we keep up the relationship." However, if Mr Breen is elected to the Dail on Friday, he would have to resign as Lord Mayor and therefore would not be part of the delegation.
Limerick man John Hartnett, chief executive of the Irish Technology Leadership Group, is to be presented with the Spirit of Ireland award in San Jose.
"We are trying to promote investment from Silicon Valley into Dublin and Ireland in the context of innovation," Mr Fitzpatrick said.
Representatives from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, NovaUCD and the Digital Hub will also be going.
"We're always trying to promote investment into Ireland.
"A new Irish innovation centre in San Jose was set up last year on land that was donated by Tom McEnery who was mayor of San Jose in 1986," Mr Fitzpatrick said.