Hong Kong inspires shortlisted idea for 'Your Country, Your Call' contest


SOME 21 ideas have been shortlisted in the “Your Country, Your Call” competition, including a plan to turn Ireland into a European equivalent of Hong Kong and a proposal to set up the world’s best English-language school.

The competition, which is seeking innovative proposals to generate prosperity and jobs was initiated by Dr Martin McAleese, husband of President Mary McAleese.

It was launched in February and will end in September when it awards two winners €100,000 each, as well as a development fund of up to €500,000 each to implement the ideas.

One of the 21 shortlisted entries – Warehouse Ireland – suggests establishing nine extra-territorial free zones at air and maritime ports where materials from around the world would be stored and inventoried for delivery to Europe. “This concept would place Ireland in the forefront as a trader nation – a European equivalent of Hong Kong,” the proposer says.

O’Brien’s Sandwich Bars founder Brody Sweeney has been shortlisted for his plan to develop a new “super-brand” to market premium Irish food and tourism.

Two shortlisted entries suggest establishing Ireland as an online gaming jurisdiction, while another aims to turn Ireland into a global media hub for the creation and distribution of content such as videos, music and games.

Another entry suggests making Ireland a centre of excellence for content for the mobile devices sector. The judges also shortlisted a plan to create a “District of Communications and Knowledge” (Dock) on the south side of the Liffey to mirror the IFSC on the north side of the river.

One shortlisted entry proposes setting up an “IFSC-like” services centre specifically dealing with exporting healthcare services overseas.

Another proposal suggests setting up the Yeats Institute of Language and Culture, which would aim to be “the best English-language school in the world”.

A green energy proposal suggests installing large-scale photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation on existing wind farm sites, to maximise the amount of green electricity from such sites. PV technology produces electricity directly from sunlight.

Another proposal involves establishing an intellectual property-backed financial securities market in Ireland.

The judging panel will select five finalists in August and the two winners will be announced on September 17th.