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    Global Irish Economic Forum: thoughts from participants

    By Noreen Bowden | September 18, 2009

    While the media is getting almost no access to the happenings at the Global Irish Economic Forum at Farmleigh, some of the participants have been willing to share their thoughts. Here’s a roundup of a few, all nabbed as they emerged from Farmleigh House at the close of the day:

    US ambassador Dan Rooney stressed his belief that the session was useful: “The ideas generated, and thoughts, can be used to help the public understand; when they see people from all over the world coming here, that’s a plus.” He spoke positively of Ireland’s chance for recovery: “You’ve got a good government, good people”. When asked whether Ireland’s close relationship with both America and Europe caused any tension, he said, “I think America is a great friend of Ireland and has been for years – almost before we were a country”, and indicated that Ireland’s position in the EU did not conflict with that friendship.

    Labour party leader Eamon Gilmore noted that business leaders had come from all over the world in order to give their thoughts in terms of the economy, how Ireland can keep jobs and stimulate investment. “It has to be said, sometimes we have much more negative impression than people looking in from outside would have”.

    He declined to discuss any individual ideas that had been discussed, citing the Chatham House rules in effect at the conference, but said that much of the conversation had focused on the importance of education, science and math, and investment in research and development, as well as communication infrastructure. He said, “The reason I accepted the invitation was that anything to do to keep jobs, stimulate investment, anything that can be done – we’ve got to do it.”

    Gilmore noted there’s a lot of good will at Farmleigh: “I think we’re getting a lot of friendly advice here today”.

    Thomas Corcoran of the Carlyle Group indicated his willingness to assist, and summed up the mood of the gathering as follows: “When days are dark it’s time to pull together.”

    Guillermo MacLaughlin, editor of the Southern Cross in Argentina, described his invitation to the Farmleigh event as “an honour for me”, as there were only two people in attendance from South America. He believes that the Irish in Argentina help to “strengthen the network, along with Asia and Australia and other parts of the world”. He noted that culture is a good gateway to business: “When you have an admiration for and a connection with each other, it is easier to do business. You share something.”

    Singer and philanthropist Bob Geldof spoke at length of the importance of assisting Africa, noting that Ireland is popular there and had a strong potential to influence the continent positively with aid. Of his participation in the conference he said, “If I can anyway help then I’m obliged to and I want to. Frankly, everyone is desperate.”

    Topics: Latest News | 1 Comment »

    One Response to “Global Irish Economic Forum: thoughts from participants”

    1. steve white Says:
      September 18th, 2009 at 6:35 pm

      dan rooney said we’ve got a good government what planet is he on?

      Thomas Corcoran of the Carlyle Group

      the carlyle group!

      Singer and philanthropist Bob Geldof… and business man…