Taoiseach attends Irish Business Organisation, New York
Speaking at the Irish Business Organisation of New York yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny paid tribute to the role that that organisation has played in bringing together Irish and American business people:
At this challenging time for both Ireland and America, groups like the Irish Business Organisation and others in this city and across the United States play an increasingly important role in connecting business people to one another, and I am convinced that the coming period will be one where we will achieve even more together to promote our mutual business interests.
The Taoiseach updated his audience on the progress made in tackling the economic challenges faced by the country:
We have met all of our targets for the first four quarterly reviews under our Programme of Assistance. We have succeeded in securing a reduction in the cost of the EU funding to Ireland. We have got the public finances back on target. We have also restructured the Irish banking system and attracted new private investment. Our banks have also successfully re-entered the market and raised funding late last year at the height of the recent crisis.At the same time, we are very encouraged that the Irish economic performance has been strong, powered by our competitive export sector.
He looked forward to an participating in an investment roundtable, hosted by President Bill Clinton that would allow him to set out the countries competitive advantages:
Our indigenous companies are continuing to forge new markets for their products and at the same time the US and multinational companies with operations in Ireland are reporting excellent results. Last year, as many of you will be aware, was a standout year for investment in Ireland, with 148 greenfield projects secured. So the international community has given Ireland a real vote of confidence to bounce back from the difficult place in which we found ourselves. Similarly, the performance of our tourism sector has been excellent with strong growth last year, including in terms of American and Irish-American tourists. We are very confident looking ahead for the tourism sector as we improve our product offering and offer even better value for our visitors.
Summarising, the Taoiseach noted the need to translate this progress into jobs:
We believe that the pillars of our economic success remain sound and that there is tremendous scope to build on the achievements in our export, inward investment and tourism sectors. We need to translate this into the creation of new jobs and… also to protect as many existing jobs as possible.Read the full speech here.