1,750 ways to boost economy


THE FIRST suggestions arising out of an online campaign aimed at kick-starting the economy through innovation and social awareness have been published.

Included among the 1,750 ideas received during the first week of Ideas Campaign, www.ideascampaign.ie, are the development of nationwide allotments where people could grow their own food, a music and dance Olympics in Ireland to boost tourism and a national policy to force all businesses and services to reduce costs to the consumer by 10 per cent.

Aileen O’Toole, co-founder of the Sunday Business Post and managing director of internet consultancy Amas, is behind the campaign which went live last Thursday after Ms O’Toole appeared on television appealing for emphasis to be placed on finding innovative solutions to the financial crisis.

She said last night that the campaign was “absolutely flying”.

An advisory group set up to develop a plan to ensure that recommendations are pragmatic and achievable has been announced.

Among the 10-person panel are Riverdance producer Moya Doherty, Ian McShane from Behaviour and Attitudes, developer Frank Gormley, and Seán Gallagher from Smarthomes and TV programme Dragons’ Den.

Earlier this week the campaign received the endorsement of the Taoiseach, who described it as “a perfect example” of “people helping each other out”.

Mr Cowen said that he would ensure that ideas given the green light by the advisory group would be “fast-tracked to the Cabinet sub-committee on economic renewal for assessment”.

Some ideas which may make it include a non-profit plumbing and heating service to provide assistance to the “less fortunate”; and the re-introduction of a betting tax.

Another more ambitious notion has Dublin Port being transformed into “a major European hot spot for leisure and tourism” modelled on Sydney Harbour.