‘Digital Island’ remains key policy objective of Govt – minister

25 Jul 2011

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Developing Ireland as a ‘Digital Island’ as a key policy objective, with specific commitments in relation to cloud computing, e-government and the upgrading of ICT across education, healthcare and other sectors, has been confirmed by Minister John Perry, TD.

Perry, who is Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, with special responsibility for Small Business, today highlighted the importance for Ireland Inc of sustaining momentum in relation to the digital agenda.

Addressing a special Science Foundation Ireland-hosted digital workshop attended by digital researchers and industry leaders, Perry said: “In a relatively short space of time, Ireland has built up a very credible scientific research base here that is now internationally recognised. A particular strategic strength lies in our ICT sector, for which much of the research funding is provided through my department via Science Foundation Ireland.”

While acknowledging Ireland’s progress, Perry added: “Just as there are a multitude of opportunities in relation to tools, content and digital architecture, there are now also abundant challenges that we collectively need to work through in order to realise the undoubted potential of Ireland in becoming a global digital leader.”

Perry identified the Government’s pledge to developing Ireland as a ‘Digital Island’ as a key policy objective, with specific commitments in relation to cloud computing, e-government and the upgrading of ICT across education, healthcare and other sectors.

“By delivering results on many of these challenges we will enhance our potential to create high quality jobs by both small business and large-scale employers,” he added.

SFI’s Digital Workshop was hosted to address the most pressing needs of companies operating in the tech/digital arena, with issues such as accessibility, speed, capacity, identity, privacy, trust and security now focal points for businesses in their day-to-day operations.

Perry concluded by praising the endeavours of leading SFI-funded research teams working in the digital arena, such as DERI, CNGL, CTVR and CLARITY centres and also via the telecommunications software and systems and 4Cs groups. Perry also highlighted the considerable financial, advisory and collaborative contributions of industry partners in such research activity.

Opening the Workshop, Dr Ruth Freeman, director of Enterprise and International Affairs at SFI, said: “It is essential that the upwards trend of collaboration between academics and industry across the sciences also occurs in the area of digital research. We have a large number of the world’s largest technology companies on our doorstep, employing thousands of highly-skilled personnel and working closely with our higher education institutions, so the context for engagement, dialogue and progress is ideal.

“While all stakeholders in the scientific and technological sphere have an ongoing role to play in addressing the well-documented ‘digital divide’ in society, we must be mindful, too, of the existence of ‘digital divisions’ within the wider technology industry.

“These digital divisions manifest themselves when resources, expertise and policies are not pooled or where duplication and other inefficiencies are allowed to become part of daily routines," Freeman said, adding that today’s digital workshop seeks to determine and deal with these divisions.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com