Irish business diaspora to attend Dublin forum


MORE THAN 150 members of the Irish business diaspora will attend the Government’s economic forum at Farmleigh later this month, according to Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin.

The Minister yesterday published new details of the event, which will take place on September 18th-20th, and “aims to explore how the Irish, at home and abroad, and those with a strong interest in Ireland, can work together to contribute to our overall efforts at economic recovery”, he said.

Restoring the reputation of Ireland as a business-friendly State after the No vote to the Lisbon Treaty, the Anglo Irish Bank affair and the sharp reversal of Ireland’s economic fortunes will be top of the agenda.

Confirmed guests include Bob Geldof; Craig Barrett, the retired chief executive and chairman of Intel; Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce; chairwoman of the American Ireland Fund Loretta Brennan Glucksman; and Dennis Swanson, president of Fox television. A number of Irish-based business executives and members of the Opposition have also been invited to the event, with the total number attending expected to exceed 180.

The Minister said the overseas guests were travelling to the event at their own expense.

The Taoiseach will be the only keynote speaker at the event, which opens on September 18th with an address on the so-called smart economy. This will be followed by a panel discussion on “the global economy: positioning Ireland for the upturn”.

Other panel discussions include “Ireland – the innovation island”; “promoting brand Ireland through our global cultural profile”; “Ireland’s image abroad: what is it now, how can it be improved and what role can new media play”; and “Ireland and its diaspora: harnessing a unique resource”.

The programme also includes a reception hosted by President McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin, a dinner at Dublin Castle hosted by the Tánaiste, Mary Coughlan, and attendance at the All-Ireland football final at Croke Park.

“That was a piece of opportunistic planning by yours truly in anticipation that Cork would reach the final,” Mr Martin said.

It is hoped the event will strengthen relationships between prominent Irish business people working abroad and the Government. It was developed from an idea by economist David McWilliams, who proposed that the Government should hold an economic conference similar to the one held every January in Davos, Switzerland.

A website to promote the event has been launched at