Kenny says 18,000 extra jobs can be created in 'digitisation'
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said Ireland could benefit from 18,000 extra jobs if it kept pace with the “digitisation” levels of neighbouring EU countries.
Mr Kenny was citing the findings of a report entitled Ireland’s Digital Future which was commissioned by UPC and researched and written by the chairman of Amárach Research Gerard O’Neill.
The report predicts a doubling in the “internet economy” to €11.3 billion annually by 2016 if current trends are maintained. While the “internet economy” currently accounts for about 3 per cent of GDP, this could double to 6 per cent over the next three years.
The report estimates this could translate into the employment of 18,000 people “if Irish society and industry can keep pace with the digitisation levels of our EU neighbours and particularly our UK and Scandinavian counterparts”.
Mr Kenny said the challenge for Irish companies was to get involved in internet selling.
“Seventy per cent of sales go abroad at the moment. We’re missing out on this,” he said. “Clearly there’s the potential for 18,000 jobs over the next number of years and it’s important . . . that Irish companies would realise the potential of internet sales for our own customers here and also for what we produce to be sold abroad.
“The challenge is to have the education process and young people be [made] aware of the potential of huge job numbers there over the next number of years.” He made the remarks at a Microsoft event in Sandyford, Dublin.
Earlier, at a UPC Ireland discussion forum on jobs and the economy, Mr Kenny called on business leaders to approach Government with ideas for policies that could lead to job creation. The Coalition would be open to their suggestions.
“I invite you when you leave this room, any time at all, to send your ideas crystalised into Government and say, ‘here’s three things you should do’.”
Taoiseach’s phones: New and an old reliable
The Nokia 6310i is cherished by many mature mobile phone users. Taoiseach Enda Kenny remains a fan, despite having traded up to smartphone technology in recent times.
Mr Kenny was referring to the findings of a report entitled Ireland’s Digital Future which was commissioned by UPC.
He said the report “speaks of digital leaders and digital laggards”.
“...I have an iPhone obviously but I also have a Nokia 6310 which fell into the sink recently and is out of commission at the moment,” he said. “So I’m up with the leading group but I’m also back with the others.”
The discontinued Nokia model is praised for its long battery life, its simpicity and robustness, and because it fits snugly into many early hands-free car sets.
Another 6310i aficionado, broadcaster George Hook, said he was “happy to offer the Taoiseach my 6310i if he wants it”. Hook praised the “fantastic” battery life of the hard-wearing model. “You can drop it from the top of the Empire State Building and it will survive,” he said. He expressed surprise that “the greatest phone ever made” stopped working after Mr Kenny dropped it in a sink. Hook recommended Mr Kenny take the battery out, place the phone on a piece of paper and dry it out on top of a radiator.
Mr Kenny caused some controversy when he was photographed holding his iPhone when attending an audience with Pope Benedict XVI last year. MARY MINIHAN