Two winning projects set to create jobs


THE WINNING projects in the Your Country, Your Call competition will be self-sufficient by September next, with jobs following in the coming months and years, the competition organisers have said.

The two projects, a proposal for data island strategy and a plan to make Ireland a global media hub, were announced in September.

The competition was initiated by Dr Martin McAleese, husband of President Mary McAleese, in a bid to provide jobs and prosperity.

The competition received 9,000 entries, ranging from building a tunnel linking Ireland to England, to rebuilding the Titanic. The judges went for a plan from Neil Leyden to make Ireland a global media hub, and a proposal for a data island strategy from father and son duo Colm MacFhlannachadha and Cianán Clancy. Both projects won €100,000, as well as access to a development fund of €500,000 per project.

Mr Clancy said his plan for a data island strategy was very simple. “Over the next 10 years the amount of data created in the world will grow 44 times,” he said. This data needs to be stored and analysed, so his plan involves the creation of giant, environmentally friendly data centres and the setting up of an international innovation area. “Think IFSC, but for the new digital decade.”

Mr Leyden, a scriptwriter and digital media consultant, said his project involved setting Ireland up as the ideal global location for the production and distribution of digital content. This content includes film, television, animation, books, games and imagery, as well as web and mobile applications.

A core activity will be the centralising and clearance of global rights for digital content to allow it to be distributed worldwide.

Competition programme director Austin Hogan said the projects were the “game-changing” ideas sought, but it was still early days. “All we have are proposals . . . and we have to translate those into hard business plans and then translate those into hard and rapid implementation. And translate that into jobs and opportunity,” he said.

The competition has generated some strong criticism on blogs and internet chat rooms, with people questioning the motives of the organisers, its funding and the value of the winning projects.Mr Hogan said it was very easy to criticise from the sidelines without participating. “I would rather focus on the people who contributed to this process in terms of their time and energy and resources, who already work 24 hours a day in their own businesses. They don’t have time to blog.”