Kenny seeks to attract Asia 'diaspora'


THE TAOISEACH told the second annual Asia Pacific Business Forum yesterday he wants to create a “new diaspora” by attracting international students to Ireland from Asia.

Addressing delegates at the GAA-sponsored event, which was held in Croke Park, Enda Kenny said several Ministers will be travelling to China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam in the coming months to promote the Education in Ireland initiative.

“Building a deep relationship with the Asia Pacific region must be a generational project for Ireland . . . That is why attracting students from the region to study in Ireland is so important,” he said.

“Last year we attracted around 7,500 Asian students to our higher education system, with thousands more studying on Irish programmes in their home countries. I want to see that doubled.”

The Asia Pacific Ireland Business Forum was set up in 2007 by Irish diplomat Peter Ryan, now deputy consul general at the consulate in New York. The forum focuses on building connections between GAA clubs and business groups in the Asia-Pacific and Gulf regions. Yesterday’s event was attended by several Irish agencies, including the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, a number of ambassadors to Ireland from Asian countries and several businesses. Among those present was Liam Casey, whose Cork-headquartered business PCH International employs more than 2,000 people in Shenzhen, China, where it manufactures consumer electronics.

Mr Kenny said it was a priority for the Government to “fully exploit” the opportunities for greater trade and investment with high-growth economies in the Asia-Pacific and Gulf regions.

“Enterprise Ireland has organised a significant number of inward buyer visits from these markets, with over 60 buyers from the region coming to Ireland so far this year to do business with Irish companies,” he said. The agency had recently added a new potential exporters division to “promote the internationalisation agenda among companies” as part of the Government’s jobs action plan.

“We will shortly have another opportunity to make a splash in Asian markets with the upcoming launch of the Bollywood blockbuster Ek Tha Tiger, which was filmed in Dublin,” he added.

“The film will be launched in August in cinemas, when it is expected to reach 100 million people in 24 countries.”