I am delighted to launch the Succeed-in-Ireland initiative here today.
I would like to particularly congratulate Terry Clune for being selected to run the initiative.
Meeting people like Terry makes me confident for Ireland’s future.
Terry is a creative, successful entrepreneur who wants to give something back to his country.
I have always said that Government’s door would always be open to hearing new ambitious, practical and workable solutions to Ireland’s problems. I’m delighted that Terry has grabbed this opportunity with both hands.
Special credit is due for IDA Ireland for their contribution in transforming this interesting concept into the exciting initiative being announced today. It is great to see other agencies of the State, such as the Local Authorities, also getting behind the initiative.Economic context and upcoming visits
It is close to a year since I travelled to the White House for the traditional
St. Patrick’s Day celebrations having just had the honour of being elected Taoiseach.
The challenges facing my Government at that time were unprecedented.
But I believe in our first year in office, we have met the challenges facing us with determination and honesty.
Yesterday we launched the Government’s first progress report which highlighted all work undertaken in the past year to bring a new sense of stability to Ireland.
We have recapitalised and reformed the banking system with deposits now flowing into the country.
We have gone a long way towards restoring our damaged international reputation. Through a proactive programme for re-engagement with our European colleagues, the United States and other countries we have seen Ireland being clearly differentiated from other countries facing economic difficulties. This has resulted in rising international and investor confidence leading to a strong flow of investment decisions by multinational companies which create real jobs for Ireland.
Ireland is well and truly open for business. That we are going to make Ireland the best small country in the world to do business by 2016.
This is the message we will be conveying as we depart for the St. Patrick’s Day programme to promote Ireland abroad.
Myself and other Ministers will be working hard to ensure every minute available on these visits is used to promote Ireland culturally and economically.
Always mindful of our underlying goal: more jobs for our people.Succeed-in-Ireland
This brings us to why we are here today.
The Succeed-in-Ireland scheme is a valuable addition to our job creation toolkit as we go out and sell Ireland.
It allows us to use to the full one of our very significant resources: our highly successful and well connected Diaspora.
I have met so many of our Irish abroad since I was elected and they ask me "what can I do to help?"
This scheme provides a very simple mechanism for them and others to do just that.
The IDA has been very successful at bringing hundreds of major multi-nationals here.
However, we need to supplement this success by identifying and attracting smaller and emerging firms to Ireland who might not have previously been on our radar.
The Succeed-in-Ireland programme, delivered by Connect-Ireland, provides a simple but innovative way to achieve this.
How it works is we essentially recruit and incentivise people around the world, including our Diaspora, to be eyes and ears for us and tell us about companies who are expanding internationally.
Connect Ireland then links up with those companies with a view to hopefully creating some of these jobs in Ireland.Conclusion
As we work hard to repair our international standing there is visible goodwill towards Ireland around the world.
Not just amongst those who have Irish roots but many more who are not Irish by descent but have a grá for Ireland based on our heritage, our culture and of course our biggest asset, our people.
In advance of his visit here, Vice President Xi Jinping said of the Irish:
"The sons and daughters of Irish descent enjoy the great admiration of the Chinese people with their enterprising spirit and enormous contribution to development around the world."
Before that President Clinton said "you’d be nuts not to invest in Ireland."
Succeed-in-Ireland will provide our champions all over the world with an opportunity to find more badly-needed jobs for our people.
I wish Terry, Barry and Connect- Ireland every success with the initiative.
I am confident of its success.