Global economic forum to focus on jobs
Some 500 people to attend two-day international event in Dublin Castle
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore speaks with Ifrah Ahmed at the Africa-Ireland Economic Forum yesterday. Photograph: Frank Miller
The third Global Irish Economic Forum which opens in Dublin Castle today will be about “jobs, jobs, jobs”, according to Glen Dimplex chief executive Seán O’Driscoll.
Some 500 people will attend the two-day event, including Government Ministers, business people from at home and abroad, academics and representatives of State agencies.
Mr O’Driscoll said there was no point in having the forum if it did not deliver. He said there was a great sense of excitement at the first forum in 2009 “but there was a lot of disappointment subsequently and certainly coming to the second forum the attitude of members would be, what has been achieved?” he said. “There is no point in coming and spending a weekend unless there is something substantial achieved out of it . . . The theme of the next two days is about three words. It’s jobs, jobs, jobs.”
He is chairing a session about competitiveness in manufacturing and retail and he said manufacturing was making a comeback in the UK and the US. “And we need to make a comeback in manufacturing in Ireland. ” Mr O’Driscoll said Ireland had regained the confidence of the world’s financial markets. “We’re not regaining it. We have regained it . . . And I have absolutely no doubt the Irish economy has more or less stabilised. The Irish economy is . . . actually recovering far, far quicker than probably most of us realise.”
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said the forum was taking place in a very different context to the first forum, which was “a cry for help” to the Irish diaspora because of the State’s economic troubles.
The second forum in 2011, which was attended by former US president Bill Clinton, was asking leaders of the diaspora to help with Ireland’s plan for recovery. Mr Gilmore said this forum was taking place as the State was about to exit the bailout programme, employment figures were improving and retail confidence was growing. “It is now about how we continue that momentum.” He said this would be the largest of the forums to date. Asked if the initiative had met expectations, he said it had exceeded expectations on a number of levels because of the business connections it had forged.
Susan Davis, chairwoman of Susan Davis International public relations firm said the forum and network was about building on the willingness of the Irish diaspora to contribute to this country. “Companies around the world that would never have thought about Ireland as a place to do business . . . are now taking a look at it, through the work of Global Irish Forum members. And then you also have people who have maybe only a smidgin of Irish heritage who have found a way to contribute and to connect through the Global Irish Network.”