So now we know. It’s to be a Fine Gael and Labour marriage, but perhaps not exactly a marriage made in heaven. In trying to come up with a programme for government in the last week, I have no doubt that both parties will be looking back on the election itself as possibly the easiest part of the whole process. The illustration on the front page of the Irish Independent last week said it perfectly: these two parties couldn’t agree on anything before the election, so what’s to say that will change now? Each party made promises to the electorate (FG’s 5 point plan was a brilliant stroke) and each has to be seen to stick to their guns. I have a feeling it’s going to be quite difficult to get anything done by this Government. Let’s see what the first 100 days bring us.
But enough about all that election and government stuff. Today, I’m here to share some positivity with you. And we all need some positivity especially when it comes to selling Ireland internationally as a place to do business. We’d all agree that our exports are doing well. Very well in fact. And the Ernst & Young Globalisation Index 2010 has ranked Ireland as the second most globalised economy in the world. Not too shabby.
But what about brining companies into Ireland? We’ve been punching above our weight on the tech front for years, all the way back to Dell and Intel, and foreign direct investment (FDI) continues to be extremely strong (we’re currently the second most attractive country in the world for FDI according to the National Irish Bank/FDI Intelligence Inward Investment Performance Monitor – quite a mouthful!). We can now claim the European headquarters of Google, Facebook, and You Tube. Siliconrepublic.com editor John Kennedy has said we have earned the right to call ourselves the ‘Internet Capital of Europe’. And he’s right. All that’s missing is Twitter and we’d have a clean sweep of the ‘Big 4’. Although given they’ve started to hire sales people in the UK already, this is looking less likely. But you never know; they might just take some of JP Morgan’s investment of $450 million and buy a building off NAMA (well if Google can do it…). And away from the bright lights of the ‘Big 4’ tech companies, there are plenty of other tech companies setting out their stall in Ireland.
And we’re no slouch when it comes to the gaming industry either. Big name companies such as Vivendi, Microsoft Games, Zynga and Activision, to name just a few, have been opening up operations in Ireland over the last number of years, and are quietly growing their presence here. It does provide a compelling argument for an international gaming centre, along the lines of the IFSC.
Why is it important to be attracting these types of companies? Apart from the much needed jobs they bring and the recognition Ireland gets as a leading country in these sectors, there’s the long term ecosystem developing here from having firms located here. And that’s exactly what is needed for start-up companies to emerge, and these in turn, it is hoped, create more employment.
So here it is; my positivity vibe for the day. You may have already seen the video below as it did the rounds a few months ago. But always worth reminding ourselves just what it is we have to offer. International journalists haven’t been doing Ireland any good with recent articles, and to read them you’d swear Ireland had turned into a barren wasteland overnight. Newspapers around the world, such as the FT and the Wall Street Journal, love a good meltdown story and have probably just been waiting to pounce once they saw the collapse of the Celtic Tiger. So let’s hope that the tough decisions that lie ahead in the next few months and years we can give them something positive to write about again.
Ireland by the Numbers