Ahern cites growing optimism in Irish tech sector

28 Apr 2004

Communications minister Dermot Ahern TD (pictured) claimed today that there is an upswing in business in the ICT sector in Ireland.

Ahern’s claims come on the heels of news reported earlier today by siliconrepublic.com that IDC has forecast that Ireland’s growth would outstrip that of our European partners. Against European annual average growth of 5pc in the coming years, the Irish IT market’s growth figure would be in the low teens.

Minister Ahern was speaking at the official opening of ICT Expo in Dublin’s RDS. He said that the market was emerging from three years of a downturn, which overshadowed Ireland’s achievements in the tech sector.

The sector, he said, employs over 93,000 people in Ireland in over 4,000 companies, compared with 1993 when the industry employed 47,000. Foreign companies provide over 55,000 of Ireland’s technology jobs. Ahern added that Ireland is the third largest exporter of software in the world and seven of the world’s leading software companies have a base in Ireland. As well as this one-third of PCs sold in Europe are manufactured in Ireland.

Ahern told visitors and exhibitors at ICT Expo: “The ICT sector has been great for Ireland and Ireland has been good for the sector. The very fact that one in three of all our exports comes from the ICT sector speaks volumes about its strengths. We have people and companies with flair, innovation and enthusiasm operating in this sector. That is evident on the world stage.”

Total exports of ICT products and services amounted to €31bn in 2001, representing 33pc of all exports. According to the CSO, turnover per employee in the ICT sector is higher in Ireland at €489,000 than in any other member state in the EU. Turnover per head is 40pc ahead of its nearest challenger – Finland – and more than twice that of our nearest neighbour, the UK.

By John Kennedy