Ireland’s commitment to creating an inclusive digital future has come under the spotlight lately with two major international events, the Digital Ireland Forum (September 2011) and the Future Forum: Towards Ireland’s Digital Horizon (Farmleigh, November 2011).
The Digital Ireland Forum, hosted by Siliconrepublic.com, and the Future Forum, co-hosted by the European Economic Social Committee, Dublin City Council and the EU EGOV4U project, included internationally renowned keynote speakers, Irish Government ministers, Ireland’s technology and business leaders, and activists from education, community, sporting and political areas from across Europe.
The Boston Consulting Group presented its new research at the Farmleigh event, showing Ireland ranks 22nd out of 50 countries when it comes to digital inclusion.
Ireland is 16th out of 50 countries regarding the willingness of consumers, businesses and governments to use the web.
The country ranks 38th out of 50 countries with respect to the availability of internet access in schools.
Ireland does not compare well to its neighbour, the UK.
International keynote speakers provided compelling arguments as to why digital inclusion can create economic growth. What does Ireland need to do to create a sustainable economic recovery?
Ireland needs to put in place policies in education and skills, digital infrastructure and social inclusion. All of this and a more concerted effort to mobile citizens to engage digitally are essential to this recovery. It is also intended to build home-gown digital industries that are dominated by small operators, as well as partnerships with international venture-capital firms.
More than 60pc of those present at the Future Forum committed to working on a Roadmap for Digital Dublin that will be published by the end of February 2012.
Leaders at the Future Forum have committed to act as a think-tank and to set an action agenda. This action agenda, to be implemented Dublin City Council, will concentrate on four main areas:
- Strategy: the creation of a digital strategy for Dublin
- Purpose: providing the motivation for people to ‘get online’
- Access: providing the infrastructure to enable people to connect online, faster, easier and cheaper
- Skills: developing programmes to enhance the digital skills of all
Dublin City Council has already begun to address digital inclusion by participation in the three-year EGOV4U project.
The EGOV4U partners will work together and with other local organisations to develop new approaches, new channels and new concepts, to ensure that socially or digitally disadvantaged citizens can use existing technology to access Government e-services.
Citizens can get involved, too, by joining the discussion and influencing the development of the digital society in Dublin. Email your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org
In advance of Dublin City of Science 2012, Siliconrepublic.com is hosting Science November, a month dedicated to news, reports, interviews and videos covering a range of Irish science, research and innovation.