McBride Praises Passage of Oklahoma Ireland Trade Commission Bill

Mar 06, 2024
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, today commented on the House passage of House Bill 3305 that would establish the Oklahoma Ireland Trade Commission.

The commission would consist of nine members with the purpose of advancing business and other mutually beneficial activities between Oklahoma and Ireland. The Commission would be required report any findings or recommendations to the governor and legislative leadership within one year of its first meeting and by Feb. 1 each year thereafter.

"Ireland has long been a great trade partner and an important ally to the United States and to the state of Oklahoma," McBride said. "We have many residents in our state of Irish descent, and we have a rich history of sharing resources. This will help increase our partnerships in business, culture and goodwill."

McBride is the House author of the measure, but he said it was important that it move forward as a bipartisan effort. It was carried in committee and on the House floor by Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-Oklahoma City. 

"I'm thrilled to see progress on this project," Bennett said. "Oklahoma's ties to Ireland go back many, many years, and this commission will ensure that our relationship continues and strengthens into the future. Working with Rep. McBride on this legislation has been great and reinforces the desire to forge further bipartisanship through this commission."

Bennett said the legislation was in collaboration with Mark Daly, chair of the Senate of Ireland. He said there are efforts in other states to create similar trade commissions. He also shared some statistics.

Ireland is home to 950 U.S. companies that use the island-nation as a jumping off point for the European trade market, which has 450 million consumers, and the United Kingdom market, which is 67 million consumers. Ireland is the ninth-largest investor in the United States' economy.

Bennet also made reference to an existing relationship between the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma and the Irish that has existed since members of the Choctaw Nation sent aid to the Irish during that country's devastating potato famine in the 1840s. In 2017, a sculpture commemorating the gift was dedicated in Midleton in County Cork, Ireland.

HB3305 passed the House on a vote of 88-2. It now moves to the Senate where it is authored by Sen. Greg McCortney, R-Ada. 

Oklahoma House of Representatives seal