State gave €614,000 to expats' tech group

 

THE DEPARTMENT of Foreign Affairs gave $772,648 (€614,000) to the Irish Technology Leadership Group in the period from 2009 to 2011, the Dáil Public Accounts Committee has been told.

The money was paid from the Emigrant Support Programme run by the department, according to a letter to the committee by secretary general David Cooney.

According to the department’s website, the programme provides financial support to organisations engaged in the delivery of services to the Irish community overseas.

In recent years it has expanded to support capital, community and heritage projects which foster a greater sense of identity and strengthen links with Ireland.

Mr Cooney noted how the ITLG had been established in 2007 by Irish and Irish-Americans based mostly in Silicon Valley who wanted to promote Ireland as a location for technology companies. It now has a membership of about 4,000.

In 2009, the group was given grants of $50,000 to develop and maintain its website and $251,324 to fund its secretariat.

In 2010, it was given $175,224 towards secretariat costs, $39,600 for utilities and other expenses, $7,200 for IT and accounting, $5,300 for computer and telephone equipment and $24,000 for website matters.

In 2011, it was given $105,000 towards secretariat costs, $39,600 for utilities and other expenses, $24,900 for website reasons, $28,000 for networking and $22,500 for marketing and mentoring programmes.

Among the events organised by the group is an awards dinner in Silicon Valley held jointly with The Irish Times.