Ireland’s internet industry is key to the country’s economic recovery and will play a vital role in growing the country’s reputation internationally, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD told the Irish Internet Association’s annual conference yesterday.
The theme of the Irish Internet Association’s (IIA) annual conference was targeting opportunities in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries and the event featured numerous speakers discussing exports, regulations, localisation and recruitment.
Also present was RTE Dragon’s Den star Sean O’Sullivan, managing director of SOS Ventures and Avego.
O’Sullivan is currently spearheading the Open Ireland campaign to create up to 100,000 jobs for Ireland’s domestic economy by filling the existing and upcoming vacancies in the high tech sector by allowing top English-speaking tech talent to get work visas in a quick and transparent process.
Part 1 – Taoiseach Enda Kenny talks about export opportunties to BRIC countries
Ireland: the gateway to Europe
The Taoiseach told the internet industry that the combination of Ireland’s tax record, track record in the technology industry and its talent pool make it exactly the kind of country industries such as digital media and ICT should be investing in.
He said that this year there have been trade missions to each of the BRIC countries. Referring to the State visit to China the Taoiseach said that some 90 Irish companies accompanied him. Kenny said he was struck by the cultural connections. "Like us they are nationalistic, family oriented and want to know the real depth of people."
Kenny added that across the world there is a serious interest in Ireland as a gateway to Europe. "My message is that we are open for business and offer brand quality and competence that would stand the test of any world standard."
He said that the presence of companies like Google and Facebook puts Ireland in pole position when it comes to creating the future.
Kenny said that gearing up to serve the world’s biggest countries is vital and pointed out that the strategy partnership agreement China granted to Ireland isn’t given to every country.
He added that in terms of the digital industry mistakes of the past such as delayed broadband infrastructure rollout need to be avoided. "Improving ICT infrastructure is a priority. We messed around for too long and we’re not where we should be, but we will be where we want to be."
Part 2 – Taoiseach Enda Kenny tells the Irish internet industry that the digital economy is key to Ireland’s future economic wellbeing
Pointing to the report of the Next Generation Broadband Taskforce and the publication of a definitive national strategy in July he said: "I want this to happen and I will see that it will happen."
He referenced EMC’s Bob Savage – ‘will the person who intends to create the next Facebook step forward’ – and said: "When we are challenged and given direction we perform best."
Our course is set
He continued: "We need more dynamic digital enterprises and can show other countries across Europe that we have a dynamic, flexible environment that delivers innovation."
The key he said is to continue the investment momentum in terms of global companies locating in Ireland, open the doors of opportunity for young entrepreneurs and ensure Ireland’s future economic fortunes and wellbeing.
He added that there’s a message that should be sent out to the world "that now in critical times for Europe here is a small country that has moved a long way."
He concluded by saying he is sticking to his objective of making Ireland the best small country to do business in globally by 2016. He also cited the pragmatic nature of Irish people and our ability to understand the depth of a problem.
“We know the challenges we face," he told the internet industry. "You are fundamental proof that this economy has the potential to grow and you can add to our reputation internationally."
It was apt therefore that he included in his speech a line from Northern Irish poet Louis MacNeice: "By a high star our course is set."