Taoiseach to address info society summit

10 Dec 2003

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD is due to speak at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva tomorrow as the head of a Government delegation that includes Minister Dermot Ahern TD and Minister Mary Hanafin TD.

The WSIS is a forum at which heads of state, industry leaders, non-governmental organisations and civil society representatives debate trends, perspectives and challenges of the emerging information society. It is designed to provide an opportunity to develop a better understanding of new information and communications technologies and their impact on the development of the international community. Among other topics, the Taoiseach is expected to refer to the growing digital divide between rich and poor nations.

At the event, products and services in eight categories – e-government, e-learning, e-culture, e-business, e-health, e-science, e-entertainment, and e-inclusion – will be exhibited as part of the World Summit Awards (WSA) showcase. Two Irish websites – skoool.ie and Hostelworld.com – have been selected from over 800 of the world’s best products in e-content and creativity.

The projects were selected by an international jury which included Martin Casey, managing director of the Irish brand and internet consulting firm, Arekibo, who commented: “This is a wonderful platform for skoool.ie and hostelworld to showcase their work to possibly the most influential audience in the world.”

He added: “A special emphasis was put on projects which show the benefits of information and communication technology for the development of communities and help to bridge the growing content gap between developed and developing countries.

“New technologies are delivering real benefits to the every day lives of people on all continents. I believe that the cross-fertilisation of ideas and the sharing of knowledge is the most important aspect of the World Summit Awards. It would be a wonderful opportunity for Ireland’s business and technology community if, during the course of our term as EU President, we could find some way of bringing this showcase to Ireland.”

By Brian Skelly