Business leaders paid part of $84,000 tab

Governor Maura Healey’s June sojourn to Ireland for her first trade mission cost $84,000, new data show, with business and tech leaders covering nearly half the costs for airfare, food, and other expenses for Healey and roughly a half-dozen staff and appointees.

Healey’s five-day trip to Dublin last month coincided with the 30th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in the country, and included a series of meetings and roundtable discussions with business and education leaders. The Cambridge Democrat also addressed the Irish Senate, which according to disclosures Healey and others filed, covered at least $1,400 in estimated costs for the governor and staff at a post-address dinner.

Karissa Hand, a Healey spokesperson, said the $83,835 trip was an important chance to “establish and grow relationships” in the country, as well as “to advocate for why Irish companies should expand activities here.”

Hand said several companies have since indicated interest in expanding to Massachusetts, though she would not identify them. She also said that state officials are interested in collaborating on ways to increase development in the clean energy sector with Ireland.

“There are many synergies and shared values between Ireland and Massachusetts, in addition to proximity, which make for a great opportunity for business development,” Hand said.

Most of the trip-related costs for Healey, two of her secretaries, a state undersecretary, and staff were paid for out of the state-funded Massachusetts Tourism Trust Fund. The fund, which allocates money to the state’s Massachusetts Marketing Partnership, paid $49,418, leaving it with about $4.3 million, according to the Healey administration.

The rest was covered by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a quasi-public agency that spent $21,719 for the state officials’ travel, and the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, which spent $12,697. Each of the entities’ current leaders — Carolyn Kirk of the MassTech Collaborative and Jay Ash of the Mass. Competitive Partnership — traveled with Healey in Ireland.

The Mass. Competitive Partnership is a coalition of top executives at some of the most prominent employers, including Brian T. Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, among others.

Ash said in a phone interview that the partnership has been impressed with Healey’s “we-can-win attitude” and wanted to be supportive of her efforts to promote the Massachusetts economy.

“There were no business deals signed that day,” he said. “But I know I had conversations — and the governor talked to me about conversations she had — which are going to lead to additional conversations, which ultimately should bear some fruit around our joint economic agendas.”

Ethics disclosures filed by Healey and others show that the Mass. Competitive Partnership covered an estimated $600 in meals per person for the governor and others, and an estimated $900 per person in ground transportation. The costs were slightly higher for Healey’s director of operations, who traveled to Ireland days ahead of her boss in preparation for the trip.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland also paid several hundreds of dollars for Healey and others to attend a celebration marking the 60th anniversary of former president John F. Kennedy’s 1963 state dinner in Dublin.

Healey’s mother, Tracy Healey-Beattie, also attended the trip, and paid her own way, according to a Healey aide.


Matt Stout can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @mattpstout.

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