Saturday, 8 October 2011

Speech by Taoiseach at Global Irish Economic Forumon Friday 7 October 2011 – Dublin Castle

Silicon Ireland has been following the reports and commentary of the 'Global Irish Economic Forum' and we thought that this speech was worth reprinting on our blog for those who may not of heard reports on it or read details of it.

Speech by Taoiseach at Global Irish Economic Forumon Friday 7 October 2011 – Dublin Castle

'In the long history of this small country there has never been such an unprecedented challenge nor such an extraordinary opportunity. I’m delighted to open this Global Irish Economic Forum, here at Dublin Castle this morning. Fáilte roimh go léir – welcome to you all.

In May of this year, bealtaine, the first month of the Celtic Summer, we welcomed Queen Elizabeth II, to Ireland, in this very hall. A sight – an event- we thought we might never see. The English monarch sitting beside the Irish President.
Two words in conversation between those two Heads of State our two nations a kind of ‘healing charm’ across the centuries:“a cháirde…..

Today, those same words,that same intimacy, apply to all of you who have joined us in this gathering.

Those same words we offer to all members of the Irish Diaspora wherever they may be.
A chairde. Ar muintir.

It’s not often I get to talk to over 300 emissaries for and of Ireland…..on one occasion, in one place.

But that’s what you are here today. Emissaries, with outstanding reputation and generosity, bringing Ireland’s message of regeneration and resurgence to and from no fewer than 37 countries.

For many of you, it’s a return visit. Catching up, giving, yet again, since your first visit in 2009. You are not just giving us your time. You are giving us of yourselves. Your energy, your ideas and your passion for this country. Because you believe in Ireland and in our potential. Thank you for that.

It would be impossible to stand here today and ignore the passing of Steve Jobs.
The man who so spectacularly chose to celebrate and succeed in life and set the bar at a phenomenal level for the next generation to follow. And they will. And some of these leaders will be from this country. People of spirit, creativity and ingenuity. It is that same spirit, that same creativity, that same love of Ireland, belief in Ireland, that brings us here to Dublin Castle today.

Yes, today, we live in an uneasy and an uncertain world.

We face unprecedented challenges. But, we Irish have been and are resilient. Remarkably so. Always capable, ready to reinvent even our own ideas of who we are.
When President Obama stood in College Green in May, he told us our best days are ahead of us. I believe he is right. They are ahead of us. That is not to ignore the pain of our people. Their shock, their hurt, their sense of loss. Far from it.
It is to recognise that hurt, to respect it, to say to all our people, here at home and across the globe, that in the seven months since we came to Office, the new government that I lead has worked day and night, we have not stopped, nor will we ever, in our efforts and our intent to rebuild our economy, regain our financial independence and to restore our society.

As the elected leaders we can do no less – politically, or morally. The road is long. But we have made our start. A difficult start. But a good one.

The mandate of this new Government – a partnership between the Fine Gael and Labour parties – is the strongest in the history of our State. It is a mandate to face up to and tackle the country’s problems and to get Ireland working again. A mandate to deal with reality and not illusion.

In fulfilling this mandate, we have focussed on a small number of key priorities:
To restore Ireland’s place as a respected and influential member of the international community.

To tackle the crisis in our banks so that they will become a contributor to the economy, rather than a drain on it.

To address the fiscal crisis through reform and ensuring value for money in public spending, and to put the protection and creation of jobs at the heart of our economic plan.

We promised to take action in pursuit of these priorities.

We said we would restructure and recapitalise our banks – we have done that. We said we would seek better terms and interest rates for our EU/IMF loans – we have done that. We said we would protect Ireland’s corporate tax rate – we have done that.
We said we would introduce a jobs initiative within our first 100 days in office – we have done that too. In the very short time since we took office, there are clear signs that our plan is working.

The spread between Irish and German bond yields has more than halved since July. The budgetary situation has stabilised with tax revenues slightly ahead of target in the first nine months of the year, and spending staying within budgets;
GDP growth rates in the second quarter of this year were the second highest of the 27 EU countries, and the Central Bank has just revised upwards its growth forecast for this year;

Wednesday’s s Live Register figures showed a seasonally adjusted monthly drop of 5,400 and the first annual decrease since April 2007.
The funding situation for Irish banks has stabilised and overseas deposits are returning to Irish banks. These are positive developments but while we have much more to do, international commentary in business, in economics and politics reflect an Ireland of increasing confidence.

We will implement our plan in partnership with the people.

Yes…. this is new. This is difficult. Meeting goals. Setting targets.

Keeping faith with the people.

Restoring our country….. reclaiming its place in the world.

So yes,…. For now… you… …we… are the leaders…. in business and politics.
You bring energy, expertise and entrepreneurship… this still-new government brings a determination to listen and to engage… to develop and to follow through the concepts and ideas that are proposed.

This passion, this genius, are at the very heart of our recovery.

My vision is to make Ireland the best small country in the world in which to do business by 2016.

To make my country synonymous with genius, with entrepreneurship, with vision and innovation.

I intend to make that vision a reality.

We are glad you are here for this crucially important event. We want to hear your ideas on how together we can grow Ireland.

For our part, we are doing our level best to tackle the small things that bring big problems to your business…

For example, in improving competitiveness, reducing business costs, providing access to credit…driving productivity and innovation.

We know that despite the success of many Irish firms in global markets, we can do
much more to broaden and deepen the footprint of Irish firms in overseas markets.
We will invest more on instilling and recognizing and promoting genius….
All in the name and cause of Innovation Ireland.

Your leadership, ambition and vision are vital to this end.

These characteristics have never been lacking in the Irish people.
That is whey this weekend will see the Irish diaspora connect together in a way never been possible before.

Think about that. A tiny Atlantic island… with 70 million family members.

Colm Toibin who addresses this gathering tomorrow writes of The Empty Family.
With 70 million members worldwide, that is far from the case, when it comes to Ireland.

Right now, our stars might be difficult….., but this is not the first time.
They have been before.

But I believe that by working together, for the good of Ireland that we will prevail.
That’s why you are here, that’s why you have come here.

I believe a new age for Ireland lies ahead. The potential of this new age is there to be grasped. The people who grasp it freely will stand out from the crowd, whether that be based on the traditional strengths of Ireland or the realisation of what we can achieve in data analytics, cloud computing, the nano world and so on. It is the marriage of the old and the new that will differentiate the average from the brilliant, the stellar from the mundane.

You will be asked what it is that you want to do and you will be challenged to work with us on particular ideas. This is what you expect and that’s what you will get.
I want you to be able to tell your children…your grandchildren…you were here…right at the beginning…..

A chairde, gabhaim buíochas libh ó chroí agus guím gach rath ar obair an Fhoraim/ Thank you.

Our own friends. Our own people.'

Read More here on Global Irish Economic Forum