Minister Hanafin Addresses major gathering of Global Irish Network in New York12 November 2010
Mary Hanafin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, on behalf of Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs, hosted a major gathering in New York today (Thursday 11 November) of leading Irish connected business people from the United States and Canada.
The meeting at the Irish Consulate of some 60 North American based members of the Global Irish Network was the largest in a series of regional meetings of the Network held around the world in 2010 and was convened to discuss proposals on the topic of ‘Ireland- returning to growth’.
The Minister was joined by Dr Alan Ahearne, Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance, and by the Ambassadors of Ireland to the USA and to Canada, Michael Collins and Ray Bassett.
In her opening address to the meeting, the Minister outlined in detail the Government’s integrated economic strategy designed to stabilise the public finances; repair the banks; and to improve competitiveness in order to foster sustainable employment. Despite the considerable challenges faced by Government, she noted that the most recent figures on tax and spending show that the public finances are broadly in line with projections and that the economy has stabilised after a sharp contraction last year.
The Minister also emphasized the strength of the export sector and the recognition of Ireland as a world class destination for investment. She encouraged participants to work with IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Tourism Ireland in driving economic growth.
Minister Hanafin highlighted the fact that implementing a strong international communications strategy was critical to ensuring a balanced, more positive and forward looking assessment of Ireland among the international media and business community.
Addressing a key objective of the meeting, the Minister stated that:
“At the outset today we asked you for a critical assessment of the policy direction we are taking and where we can improve. We also asked you to consider ways in which you can make contributions as individuals or as part of the Network. I am encouraged by the frank and honest exchanges we have heard today. I am also grateful for the commitment of practical support that has been pledged.”
During the meeting, participants agreed to work with the Government, through our Embassies in Washington and Ottawa, on a number of practical initiatives relating to driving our economic growth, harnessing our cultural identity, restoring our reputation and promoting confidence in our recovery.
Participants also welcomed the role being played by the Global Irish Network in developing greater strategic engagement between Ireland and influential members of the Irish community in North America.
In closing, the Minister reiterated the Government’s view that the Global Irish Network offers Ireland an important competitive advantage in the modern globalised world and that the network forms “an essential element in our strategic engagement with opinion formers that will play an important role in the longer term in enhancing our reputation”
NOTE FOR EDITORS:
The Global Irish Network includes some of the most influential Irish and Irish-connected individuals abroad and provides Ireland with an invaluable resource of international expertise from which we can draw as we work towards economic recovery. This direct access to key private-sector decision makers across the globe has the potential to deliver real, tangible economic benefits for the Irish at home and abroad. In addition, the Network also serves as an additional resource for the Government in promoting Ireland’s economic, cultural and tourism messages in key markets and offers a formal forum through which members can exchange views and take forward practical initiatives. There are currently over 300 members of the Network, based in 37 countries. The establishment of the Network was identified as an important objective by participants in the Global Irish Economic Forum held at Farmleigh in Dublin late last year. Previous regional meetings of the Network have taken place in 2010 in Britain, France, Germany, Australia and China.
Information about the Farmleigh Forum, including progress reports, is available at www.globalirishforum.ie