Joe Swail and Mark Allen have become ambassadors for Northern Ireland Connections, a network for those with a link to Northern Ireland to share and showcase their positive stories around the world.
Pictured (L-R) are Mark Allen, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster, Andrew Cowan, CEO, NI Connections, and Joe Swail.
World number six Allen said: “We were approached by NI Connections to become ambassadors because of our high profile role in World Snooker and also because we still both live in Northern Ireland. We are able to travel all over the world with our profession, and NI Connections has provided us with a new way to share stories about the home that we love.
“We want to tell people that this is a changing country, and a country which is looking towards the future with confidence and optimism.”
Swail, who has shown a return to form in recent weeks, added: “It was a real honour for us to be asked to become ambassadors. We frequently travel across the world to snooker events, particularly in China. We want to raise the profile of the level of snooker that is played in Northern Ireland. The country has produced some incredible snooker players, including Alex Higgins and Dennis Taylor.
“We are both involved in cross community work to improve Northern Ireland and to make it a better place for future generations. We work with children from disadvantaged neighbourhoods and share our experience with them by teaching snooker.”
Andrew Cowan, CEO, NI Connections, said: “We want to tell the world that Northern Ireland is changing, that we have confidence in ourselves, in the success and the talent of our people, and in our future.”
Allen and Swail are both competing in the Coral UK Championship today.