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Tánaiste Presents Report of the Global Irish Economic Forum

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., today made public the Report of the Second Global Irish Economic Forum, which was held in Dublin Castle on 7 and 8 October.  A copy of the report is available at http://www.globalirishforum.ie/2011ForumReports.aspx.

The Government has endorsed 12 initiatives identified in the Report which will be prioritised for action between now and March 2012.  Detailed assessments and action plans are also being prepared for the remaining initiatives contained in the Report .  

The Taoiseach, speaking at a joint press conference today with the Tánaiste and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D., said:

“The ingenuity, creativity and success of the Irish diaspora is legendary as is their desire to contribute to their homeland in times of crisis; to help turn times of crisis into opportunities for Ireland.  The Government is determined that the success of the Global Irish Economic Forum yields real results, particularly in the area of inward investment and job creation.  This report is the mechanism to deliver those results and will ensure that the energy, ideas and goodwill of those who participated in the forum is translated into a positive advantage to Ireland's economic recovery.”

Welcoming the report Minister Bruton said:

“I was pleased to see the synergies between the views of the Forum participants and the Government’s priorities.  In particular, job creation and assisting our exporters were central themes over the two days.  A number of the Forum’s priority outcomes can clearly contribute to Ireland’s growth and future prosperity.”

Commenting on the future steps the Government will take the Tánaiste said:

This Report provides a full account of the Forum and the discussions which took place across  fifteen different sectors of the economy  involving members of the Government, senior Irish business figures and some 270 members of the Global Irish Network.  It demonstrates the very substantive, serious and focussed work that was done.  The Government has agreed to a robust implementation plan to deliver progress on key areas by March of next year.” 

The 12 specific areas for early action are:

  • Visas - specific measures to improve access to Ireland for those seeking to study and do business here;
  • A World Actors Forum, ‘a Davos for the arts’, to be held in Ireland which would help to build upon the work of “The Gathering”.
  • Support by Global Irish Network members in the form of mentoring, coaching and sponsorship, to Irish companies, including from the technology sector.  Enterprise Ireland have been requested to develop a programme for approval by Government;
  • development of a scheme to place graduates in firms of strategic importance to Irish growth and also to offer, and market abroad, placements in Irish companies;
  • Support indigenous small businesses with access to capital, in particular micro-financing;
  • Síol: develop a Koret style model to encourage investment into Ireland to provide loans to small businesses from the Diaspora as a springboard for start ups.
  • maximise the potential of St Patrick’s Day abroad including by approving the details of Ministerial visits in advance of Christmas to allow maximum advance preparation of programmes of activity in each location;
  • establish a Strategic Communications Unit based in the Department of the Taoiseach and create a communications programme led by the Taoiseach.
  • establish a formal Advocacy system, appoint Advocates in key parts of the world and seek input from State Agencies in respect of targeted sectors;
  • support and participate in investment event in the US with President Bill Clinton in February 2012;
  • A series of further communications with members of the Network to alert them to the decisions taken/progress being made;
  • Formalise Global Irish Network involvement in Trade Missions.

The Tánaiste noted that in addition to these 12, many of the other ideas proposed in the report might also be advanced by the private sector.

Our primary goal is to ensure that the Forum makes a tangible contribution to Ireland’s economic recovery.  We will therefore work to ensure that in 12 months time, the post Forum process has contributed:  to the re-envisaging of Ireland;  to the restoration of our international reputation; to the re-engagement of Ireland with its friends and allies abroad;  to the re-energising of the country; and to the domestic reform process”.

The Tánaiste expressed his appreciation to the UCD Michael Smurfit School of Business for their facilitation of the working groups at the Forum and for their Report on those discussions and outcomes.  He also thanked all those who had participated in the event.

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Opening Remarks by Tánaiste at Joint Press Briefing in Government Buildings, Thursday 24 November: 

Ladies and Gentlemen

Thank you for your attendance today.

As you know, Ireland’s economic crisis has three inter-linked components

  • The banking crisis
  • The fiscal deficit crisis
  • And the jobs crisis.

None of these can be solved in isolation – we have to tackle them together.  Since we came into office, this Government has been clear that we won’t solve the banking problem or the fiscal problem unless we get the economy moving again, and unless we create jobs for our people.  At all times, our strategy has been to confront these issues in a co-ordinated way.

That is why, even in the middle of a demanding budgetary process, the cabinet has taken time out today to review the position on jobs, and to make sure that progress is made on the jobs agenda.

It is important to say that our economy is starting to recover.  We expect growth of 1% this year, and slightly more next year. Our export sector is performing extremely well. 

Our most difficult challenge, however, is in the domestic economy, where we still have some distance to travel in restoring confidence among consumers and investors.

That issue of confidence will be a key focus of the forthcoming budget, where we are making a deliberate choice to protect household budgets as far as we can. 

Since coming into Government, we have also pursued our Strategic Investment Strategy, setting up the Strategic Investment Fund and the New Economy and Recovery Authority to manage our shareholding in state companies.  These initiatives are moving ahead, and Minister Howlin recently announced the launch of a €1 billion infrastructure fund.

We also brought in the jobs initiative, which had a particular focus on Tourism and hospitality, and it is very encouraging to see the large increases in tourist numbers that are coming through in the latest statistics.