Tánaiste addresses business leaders as private and public sectors meet to develop strategies for future success, competitiveness and sustainable growth.
A number of senior executives from the business community met today at the Ireland INC Summit in Dublin Castle. The Ireland INC Summit, in association with eir, saw prominent figures in the Irish business community come together to discuss the challenges facing the global business community and how best to maximise on potential opportunities.
The Summit was established to assess the current state of Irish business – both at home and abroad – and to identify how best to facilitate accelerated growth for those businesses in the future.
An Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton gave a keynote opening address highlighting the progress that has been made in the last number of years as Ireland emerges from recession and returns to growth.
“I am delighted to be with you this morning”, the minister said. “The history of the this building in Dublin Castle was once the home of the planning tribunal so its interesting to see that something that went on for decades is now available to be used to talk about the Ireland of the future.”
The minister also said it was timely that the theme of the Summit is ‘embracing challenge and maximising potential’ as this sums Ireland up. “We faced difficult times and made tough decisions,” she said. “It hasn’t been easy but the country is in a much better place. We rolled up our sleeves and although it required many sacrifices, we have shown great potential by working together.”
The minister said the recent performance of the economy was testament to this with the economy growing 4.8% in 2014, unemployment has fallen and consumer confidence has improved.
Minster Burton did warn that there are still challenges to overcome but these can be achieved by working together. “Ireland as a country needs to stay competitive. The global economy is constantly changing and we need to be ahead of the curve and embrace new initiatives to stay competitive and at the forefront of innovation.”
Prominent figures in the Irish business community such as Patrick Coveney, Kenny Jacobs, Bill Archer, Cathriona Hallahan, Nick Ashmore and Frances Ruane discussed topics ranging from the importance of increased funding channels for SMEs and the increasing importance of technology in Ireland’s emerging status as an ‘Innovation Nation’.
The theme of technology, and its role in allowing Irish business and entrepreneurs to thrive, was also raised. Bill Archer, managing director of eir Business, acknowledged that access to high speed connectivity is a continuing necessity for start-ups, and discussed eir’s role in offering that connectivity to businesses at all level, citing their recent role out of fibre powered broadband as part of a national investment of almost €3bn.
The Summit provided a valuable forum for discussion across a broad spectrum of topics, all of which will contribute to Irish businesses across the globe.
Ian Hyland, CEO of Ireland INC, said of the Summit; “The Ireland INC Summit is a statement that, as a business community, we are stronger working together through a range of partnerships between public, private, and community stakeholders. The success of today’s summit reflects that spirit of collaboration given the active role eir Business play in hosting this key platform. To have so many distinguished figures from the business community present illustrates the collective desire to help Irish businesses grow, and the summit has provided a valuable platform to influence how those businesses can compete at both a domestic and global level beyond 2020.”