US Envoy visits Jackson Centre

Gary Hart, US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland (centre) with East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs and Ulster Unionist leader  Mike Nesbitt at the Andrew Jackson Centre, Boneybefore. INCT 50-709-CON
Gary Hart, US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland (centre) with East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs and Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt at the Andrew Jackson Centre, Boneybefore. INCT 50-709-CON

A senior American politician has taken time out from overseeing the latest all-party talks at Stormont to visit Carrickfergus.

United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland Gary Hart toured the Andrew Jackson Centre and was later hosted in the Town Hall by the Mayor, Alderman Charles Johnston.

Mr Hart, who served as Senator for Colorado and twice ran for the presidential nomination, travelled to the ancestral home of the seventh American President, where he was joined by Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt and Roy Beggs MLA.

Mr Beggs said: “Former Senator Gary Hart is a senior influential figure within the Democratic Party. I was pleased that he took up Mike Nesbitt’s suggestion to visit the Andrew Jackson Cottage, at Boneybefore, Carrickfergus.

“I was very struck by his interest in the Jackson family origins. Andrew Jackson is held as an iconic figure by many Americans involved in the Democratic Party.”

Jackson was born a few years after his parents left Carrickfergus. He worked as a labourer on the railway, but then studied law and went on to become a founding father of the Democratic Party and President of the USA.

Mr Beggs added: “With so many American presidents and citizens with Scots/Irish and Ulster origins it is important that we maintain cultural linkages and grasp tourism and any potential business opportunities from our American cousins who hold many similar values to ourselves.”