VISION 2030 Ireland
Innovation Foreign Direct Investment Research & Development
Green Tech Multinationals Education
Exports Tourism The Arts 2011
Contents Vision 2030
The Elder Statesman
The International Perspective
Interview with Dr. Garret FitzGerald, Former Taoiseach of Ireland
Interview with Peter Sutherland Chairman of Goldman Sachs International
Foreign Direct Investment
Investing in “Innovation Ireland”
The Transformative Environment
High Value Manufacturing
Why do the big names choose Ireland?
Internet giant happy with Irish Talent
Challenges & Opportunities
Transforming Dublin Airport
Barry O’Leary, Chief Executive, IDA Ireland
Interview with Peter O’Neill, Country General Manager, IBM
Interview with Eamonn Sinnott, Country General Manager, Intel Facebook, Google, Microsoft
Interview with Dan McCarthy, VP, Finance - Controller, EMEA, Yahoo Eoin O’Driscoll, Chairman of Forfás
World demand for Irish Innovation set to grow
Interview with Frank Ryan, Chief Executive, Enterprise Ireland
Irish company excels in Medical Devices
An Irish Success Story for over 40 Years
Operational Excellence in Ireland
Helen Ryan, Chief Executive, Creganna Tactx Medical Myles Lee, Chief Executive Officer CRH plc Geoff Beggs, Chief Executive, Front Square
Research, Development & Innovation
The Incubation of Innovation
Powering the Smart Economy
Science Foundation Ireland
Trinity College Dublin
University College Dublin
University College Cork
Enterprise Platform Programmes for Start-Up Businesses
Dr John Hegarty, TCD Provost Dr. Hugh Brady, President
Dr. Michael Murphy, President
The Green Economy
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
Prof. Owen Lewis, Chief Executive Officer
Powering the Transition
The Smart Grid Test Bed Opportunity
Harnessing the ocean
Software for the Green generation
Green Economic Zone
Interview with Dr. Eddie O’Connor, Chief Executive, Mainstream Renewable Power
Andrew Parish, Chief Executive, Wavebob Limited
Donnie Maclean, Chief Executive, CarbonRoute Ltd
An tSlí Ghlas – The Green Way
The International Financial Services Centre
Food Harvest 2020
Interview with William Slattery, Executive Vice-President and Country Head, State Street
Interview with Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bía
The Convention Centre Dublin
Go where Ireland takes you!
Shaun Quinn, Chief Executive, Fáilte Ireland
Interview with Dermod Dwyer, Chairman of The CCD
Interview with Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland
Arts & Culture
History, Arts and Culture
Head of Design:
Victoria Kelly Geoff Beggs Eoin O’Driscoll Yaqoub BouAynaya
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number of small countries in Europe whose position had become unsustainable. In late 2010, bond markets drove up the interest rates for Ireland to such an extent that the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) presented Ireland with a loan package in order to stabilise the situation.
John FitzGerald Kennedy, on his visit to Ireland in 1963, quoted the words of the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, who observed that some people, “…see things and say, ‘why?’ But I dream of things that never were; and I say, ‘why not?’” The 35th President of the United States went on to say, “It is that quality of the Irish, that remarkable combination of hope, confidence and imagination, that is needed more than ever today”. John F. Kennedy’s words resonate today. Ireland as a nation, is fortunate to find itself in possession of these intrinsic faculties, as they will be called upon time and again over the course of the coming years. The turn of the century was a time of massive change throughout the world. The dot-com bubble burst, the events of 9/11 shifted the international dynamic and the Euro was introduced. The early years of the 21st century were also characterised by low global interest rates. The monetary union that introduced the single currency throughout the Eurozone meant that small nations were subject to the same interest rates as larger nations, even if that might not be the best fit. Irish banks borrowed heavily from European banks. The majority of the loans drawn down as a result were taken out by Irish people who purchased property at ever-increasing prices. Banks lent irresponsibly. One bank in particular became a rogue lender. By 2007, the construction sector had grown to account for 23% of the entire economy. The national fascination with property reached the point of delirium, but crucially, no authoritative institution shouted stop. Then the credit dried up. The crisis that wrought havoc on international financial markets exposed the unhealthy way in which Ireland’s banking system had indulged in the over-inflated property market. Ireland was one of a
It was a low moment for a country that fought so hard for its independence. It puts the country in a difficult position. Ireland, however has found itself in difficult positions before. To write Ireland off is to disregard Ireland’s greatest asset – its people. The 4.4 million people who inhabit Ireland are among the best-educated in the world. The Irish school system has long been one of the most wellrespected globally, presiding over an extremely competitive exam system that tests students in at least seven different subjects. Perhaps one of the most important things to note is that the country is consistently ranked as one of the most developed countries in the world. Ireland comes in at 5th place in the world in the United Nations Human Development Index, 2010. “The Land of Saints and Scholars” has produced some of the globe’s foremost experts throughout all fields of academia and business. The pragmatic dynamism of Irish people throughout a wide range of areas, from science to literature, has engendered a nationwide spirit of entrepreneurial innovation that will serve it well in navigating the rough seas ahead. In addition to ‘hope, confidence and imagination’, the road back to prosperity will require strategic planning and hard work. The young people of Ireland are now awakening to new political realities. With a newly elected Government, the country is set to re-establish its rightful place on the world stage. Ireland’s ability to adapt quickly to new realities, pioneer new areas of industry and spearhead international innovation is the subject of this report. These are the tools with which the Emerald Isle will carve out its new destiny. Go n-éirí an bÓthar leat. Is mise le meas, Grant St.John Leech Editor
Key Points: »» 5th place in the world in the United Nations Human Development Index, 2010 »» 12.5% corporate tax rate »» Proven destination for investment based on Track Record, Talent, Tax Regime, Technology & Transformation »» Ireland’s infrastructure provides proven access to the EU market of 500 million people »» According to the IMD World Competitiveness Report, Ireland has one of the world’s best educational systems »» 25% Research & Development (R&D) tax credit refundable over a three year period »» Ireland has regained cost competitiveness »» Ireland’s skills availability has increased »» 10 of the Top 10 Technology companies in the world are in Ireland »» 8 of the Top 10 Pharmaceutical companies in the world are in Ireland »» 15 of the Top 25 Medical Device companies in the world are in Ireland »» More than 50% of the leading financial services firms in the world are in Ireland »» The Irish Games industry grew by 400% in just 7 years
Vision 2030 Ireland
Ireland’s Position in the Global Rankings • 2 nd most globalised economy in the world – Ernst & Young Globalisation Index, 2010
• Ireland is forecast to overtake Hong Kong to become the most globalised economy in the world by the end of 2011 – Ernst & Young Globalisation Index, 2010 • 1 st in the world for highly-employable graduates, according to international recruiters – European Commission study of third-level education • 1 st in the world for jobs by inward investment per capita – IBM Global Location Trends Annual Report, 2009
• 1 st out of 36 developed economies for access to skilled labour – Grant Thornton
• 1 st in Europe for ease of paying business taxes - World Bank, IFC & Pricewaterhouse Coopers
• 1 st in the world for real corporate taxes - World Bank, IFC & Pricewaterhouse Coopers
• 3 rd in the world for flexibility and adaptability of people - World Bank, IFC & Pricewaterhouse Coopers • 3rd in the world for being open to new ideas - World Bank, IFC & Pricewaterhouse Coopers
• 4 th in the world for labour productivity - World Bank, IFC & Pricewaterhouse Coopers
• 5th in the world for protecting investors - World Bank, IFC & Pricewaterhouse Coopers
• 7 th in the world for export earnings of creative industries - World Bank, IFC & Pricewaterhouse Coopers
The Elder Statesman Interview with Dr. Garret FitzGerald Former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland
Garret FitzGerald was the seventh Taoiseach of Ireland. He led the country for two terms: July 1981 to February 1982 and December 1982 to March 1987. Widely regarded as the greatest leader of the Fine Gael political party and one of Ireland’s great statesmen, he successfully navigated the country through one of the toughest economic periods in its history. A fact very relevant for this publication is that Dr. FitzGerald actually wrote the first IDA publication that promoted Ireland in the international marketplace fifty-two years ago. I asked the former Taoiseach about the differences between the financial reality as it exists now in Ireland and the situation with which he was faced as leader of the country during the 1980s. “There are a number of differences between the situation in the early 1980s and the current economic crisis that Ireland faces.” “First of all, in the 1980s, the situation did not involve the banks. They were solvent, working well and did not pose a problem. In addition, no housing boom preceded those difficulties. The previous government had increased public spending by 2.4 times, thus trebling the national debt. The situation had spun out of control, such that we had to announce two very severe budgets, the first in July 1981, followed by another in January 1982”, explains FitzGerald, “My concern was that the less well-off would not suffer. Inflation was rampant at that time, at about 20%, so I increased social welfare by 25% and those on social welfare were actually better off by the end of that year, as inflation came down”.
“In the States, Henry Kissinger, at no cost to us, had determined that financial circles in New York expected us to run up a deficit of IR£900 million, so we decided that the figure that we aspired to reduce the deficit to (IR£750 million), was not in fact expected of us.” “I remember at around that time, asking the Central Bank for an overdraft, to which they replied ‘no’. It just goes to show that at that time the Central Bank was very independent.” “By 1989, our financial situation had been sorted out, but it had taken eight, nearly nine years for that to happen. I think that a similar amount of time will be required this time around as well. One important difference however is that I do not think that we will come out of it in as good a situation as we did in 1989 – as growth prospects post-2011 are not quite as good as they turned out to be in the 1990s”. One of the key cornerstones of Ireland’s economic policy is its low 12.5% rate of corporation tax. As a crucial component of Ireland’s foreign direct investment strategy, it has been made clear that this rate is not to be changed. In times of economic turmoil, taxes are often raised to provide governments with more working capital and Garret FitzGerald, in a recent article in the Irish Times, outlined the fact that Ireland can no longer afford to maintain its previously low rates of income tax.” “Yes, for the higher tax bracket, I think the level is about right. You cannot raise it too much because this section of people might leave the country and take their money with them. It is the middle income that are currently paying only a quarter or a half of
what they might pay elsewhere, that must bear the burden unfortunately.” Budget 2011 intoduced the rate of 41% as the highest rate of income tax. FitzGerald makes an interesting point about Ireland’s finances that must be recognised by international markets. “The markets do not have dedicated experts on Ireland because we are too small a country. But we are a complex economy and they do not understand the dynamics that operate here.” “There are large outflows of profits and royalties from international businesses based here. In many situations, rather than focusing on GDP (Gross Domestic Product), as is normally appropriate elsewhere - GNP (Gross National Product) is the figure at which they should really be looking.” “Moreover, there is a margin of error of up to 3% in our quarterly GDP figures. Markets can have a quite irrational reaction when they see a 1% change in a GDP figure that could be incorrect by up to 3%!” “What we pay to the EU is based on our GDP, when in fact it should be based on our GNP – we are paying more than we should. I don’t think that the Department of Finance has done as good a job as it could have done in communicating all of this. This is a crucial point”, asserts the former Taoiseach. Throughout his career, FitzGerald has always been a champion of European integration. His role as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1973 – 1977 came at the dawn of Ireland’s entry into the European
Economic Community, now the EU. “I became Minister for Foreign Affairs ten weeks after we joined the EEC. My view was that this was something that we should embrace as a combination of the EEC agricultural policy and its social policy meant that we would be the biggest beneficiaries. We were maintaining our neutrality and therefore did not contribute to defence, but we would be benefiting more from membership than any other state, so we would not have been very popular within the Community if we were not seen to be very positive and enthusiastic Europeans. My policy therefore was to be as positive as possible regarding the EU and to make use of Presidencies to gain credit and goodwill. We did this and were very successful at it.” Ireland’s success in attracting foreign direct investment from the United States however, became one of the areas of contention within the EU. “We had a lot of goodwill from France and Germany, as long as we were poor. Later they began to resent the fact that we started attracting a great deal of Greenfield investment from the US in the late 1990s, so we lost some of that goodwill. 25% of the total number, (as opposed to the value) of investments in Europe from the US in 1999 ended up in Ireland. Ultimately, though, the access to markets was the most beneficial aspect of the EU to us. The removal of obstacles to trade had a profound impact and allowed us to increase our exports substantially.” So, where does FitzGerald see the sources of economic growth for Ireland in the future? “If you look at the numbers, the rapid growth has not been in goods, it has been in services. Ireland provides 3% of the services delivered worldwide, yet we only have 0.07% of the world’s population. This is clearly an area that we can focus on and develop”. Given his extensive experience in navigating the national economy through rough seas, is FitzGerald confident that Ireland can turn the tide? “I think that what has been done will ultimately pay off. Of course, the four year budget was crucial. It is necessary we commit to that and see it through.”
The International Perspective Interview with Peter Sutherland Chairman of Goldman Sachs International Chairman of The London School of Economics
Peter Sutherland is one of Ireland’s most accomplished figures. A barrister by profession, Sutherland was appointed to the position of Attorney General in both of the governments led by Garret FitzGerald in the 1980s. He was subsequently appointed to the European Commission and became responsible for competition policy. This was a defining role in his career which opened the way for him to play a number of very important roles on the international stage, not least of which was his success at concluding the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade (GATT), the predecessor of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), of which Sutherland went on to become Director General. These high profile accomplishments did not go unnoticed, and led to him taking on a variety of positions, one of which was the role of Chairman at British Petroleum (BP). Currently, he is Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, a member of the Board of Allianz and is Chairman of the London School of Economics.
What do you think of the EU/IMF package? Leaving aside the issue of interest rates, which is a substantive issue that I won’t address here, the terms do not seem particularly surprising. It is absolutely inevitable that when assistance is required from the IMF and the EU, it won’t be provided unconditionally. The budget deficit is our responsibility as a member of the Eurozone, and it’s been made abundantly clear that the precise make up of how the budget deficit will be addressed, whether through expenditure cuts or taxation and where precisely expenditure cuts will take place or
where taxation will be imposed, is a question for the government of the day to propose and to negotiate with the lenders. So I’m not surprised by where we are.
What do you see as a worst case scenario? I don’t see a worst case scenario. We have been looking for worst case scenarios too much. One has to look at what one sees as likely to happen. I think the outlook is better than the worst case scenarios constantly advanced. The reality is that inward investment has accelerated and our cost competitiveness has improved. The budget deficit has improved over the last 6 months. Taxation receipts are up. Expenditure cuts are biting, and it seems to me that while there is a hard road ahead, the downside prospects have been overstated to an extent that is damaging both in terms of the internal and external perspective of where we are. I spent the morning recently addressing the staff of Google. All you have to do is look at Google or Facebook and look at what is happening in that whole space, in which we are now a significant player, as indeed we are in the pharmaceutical sector and IT more generally. I think that there are major positives going on in this country which are being ignored. Our exports are up by 5.4%. Our total manufacturing increased by 12.5%. Last year there were 72 new foreign direct investments, which is up 50% on the preceding year. US investment in Ireland is greater than US investment in the entire BRIC group of countries. This is a small country
and we are still doing well in important respects. Tax returns are positive, with a deficit forecast from 2010 of 11.5%, whereas only 2 or 3 months ago, it was forecast at 11.9%. There is a momentum of positive change. Also, IBM’s Global Locations Trends predictions for 2010 have Ireland ranked number one in the world for inward investment.
In your experience, how is Ireland perceived by international business leaders? Well, the best evidence of that perception is the fact that there are 960 foreign companies that have invested in Ireland. They have all done so and persist in doing so because they have a positive view of Ireland. I think that that’s generally the impression I get everywhere. Our previous deficiencies in areas like infrastructure have improved greatly in recent years. The reality is that our infrastructure is now reasonably good, in terms of airports and roads and increasingly in telecoms. I think the overall view is demonstrated by the fact that IBM has us ranked number one. They must be following a trend that they’re being told about.
What advantages are there for companies investing in Ireland? The obvious advantages to investment in Ireland are an educated labour force, English speaking, we are part of the EU, and more particularly – part of the Eurozone, which distinguishes us, for example, from Britain.
All of those are important, as well as our beneficial tax rate, which I believe will be maintained.
So, you see no threat to the corporation tax rate, even over the long term? “We made our position absolutely clear at the time of the Lisbon Treaty referendum and it was accepted by our partners.” Our biggest advantage however, of all the things that I’ve mentioned is our young people. They are dynamic people who think laterally, who are not constrained by any perceptions of class. They do not believe in glass ceilings. They all feel up to taking on challenges. They are extremely good. The image I have with regard to employing young Irish people is that they have a very good reputation abroad as well. I think that we have the added advantage of years of FDI in Ireland that has seen a number of Irish executives going up the corporate ladder in multinational investors and now being in positions of influence.
Ireland has a high number of college graduates entering the workforce. What do employers look for from this category of applicant? I’m a great believer in the conclusion that whilst a skills-based economy, with an adequate number of people qualified in mathematics and science, for example is an important component of the mix required to support internal investment, most employers abroad are often less influenced than you would think with regard to more
general employment in the type of degree you have, as opposed to the quality of the degree you have. In other words, if I was taking on a young person in investment banking or in my previous experience of an oil company - of course I would need geologists, mathematicians and engineers, but for the development of general management and entrepreneurial capacity, I might be just as well advised taking on a law graduate, an economics graduate or even a philosophy graduate - if they got a really good degree. So it’s the quality of the degree that often determines one’s views as to application and essential brain power. Often people who have done unusual things are attractive in the employment context. For example, two of the personal assistants that I had in Goldman Sachs when I first joined – one was a former commando who studied law first and the other was a former Irish army officer. They were employed by probably one of the most difficult companies to get employment from. They weren’t employed by me, but they were available and they were very good. To me, you don’t stereotype a role on the basis of a degree of a certain kind. You need engineers in oil companies and you need mathematical whizz kids in banking and so on, but you need other qualities too.
What do you think those qualities are? The capacity to think clearly, objectively, ethically and to take decisions. To have the capacity for lateral thinking. To avoid being intimidated by structures. To be able to play your own role within a structure and to have enough self confidence to do so, rather than simply being a cog in a wheel.
Some employers can lay a dead hand on the initiative and individual ability of employees – they’re clearly not desirable. In contrast, the successful companies of the current era seem to mostly do the opposite - they empower and enable initiative for young people. I think that in the Irish context that those information based companies, Google, Facebook and so on, are taking a lead in this regard. A point that is highly relevant in Ireland – the multinationals that have invested here are successful companies, otherwise they wouldn’t be investing and they have imparted their skill sets, and enabled Irish workers to go off on their own and create new businesses that are flatter and less hierarchical than traditional companies. That’s already evident in young people who have created their own companies here in Ireland.
In his autobiography, Garret FitzGerald stated that two of the traits you demonstrated were energy and enthusiasm. How important do you consider them to be to any career? Absolutely vital. Not just energy, enthusiasm (and I’m not attributing this to myself) but – positivism. Nobody ever achieved anything with a negative approach. You always have to look to the bright side and also have to have the capacity to take risks – career risks.
With regard to the things that you have accomplished in your career, what are you most proud of? The things that I’m proudest of are, as European Commissioner for Competition: the liberalising of telecoms, air transport and being part of the team that brought about the completion of the single market (the “1992” project). Subsequently I was asked by the EU Council of Ministers to do a report on the internal market – the Sutherland report. I had one year as education commissioner in which I introduced the ERASMUS student exchange programme – which I am very proud of. I see the WTO as being an extension of precisely the same integrationalist logic that drove me to a passionate belief in the European Union, except it went from regional integration to global integration. So the big achievement of my life was the completion of the Uruguay Round and setting up the WTO. That undoubtedly was the highlight for me in what I’ve done. So it was the public part of my life that gave me the most satisfaction and it continues to do so now in various areas.
Is international trade liberalisation an area that you are still involved in? Yes it is. I have recently been appointed by Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Cameron, the Prime Minister of Turkey and the President of Indonesia to co-chair a committee – a high level working group on the completion of the Doha
Round. We are currently working on an interim report that will be released at the World Economic Forum in Davos by Merkel, Cameron and the Indonesian President. We’re hoping to galvanise and push the Doha Round over the line.
The Doha Round has taken ten years so far. What are the major challenges in bringing it over the line?
You are also the UN Special Representative to the Secretary General with regard to migration and development.
There are final compromises required by virtually everybody. Many are holding rigid positions, even though the current state of the negotiations, i.e. what’s already on the table is sufficient to provide significant positives for everybody, both developing and developed economies alike. But people are holding out for more than they should demand and looking to try to achieve that little bit more at the perceived expense of somebody else. It’s political will that is required now – the absence of political will and global leadership is the problem. I think that Merkel and Cameron are trying to give that through this initiative. There has to be a deadline. We are arguing that the deadline should be the end of this year, and should be rigidly enforced. That recommendation will be in the report that’s coming out at Davos.
Yes, Kofi Annan, when he was Secretary General of the UN, asked me to take on the role. He was concerned that there was no forum for dialogue with regard to issues of migration in developed and developing countries. The process is concerned with how developing countries can be helped, not merely by the remittances that are sent back which have been so important to development everywhere, even in Ireland during the 1950s, but also issues like the Diaspora affecting home development and investing at home.
When the Doha Round is finalised, what effect will it have?
Over 100 countries have been engaged. We have tried to develop issues too around circular migration. How to improve remittance flows, reduce the cost of remittances, how to deal with the human rights of migrants in the countries of destination and so on. I found that extremely interesting and enjoyable, and will continue to do so for some time. I have just been reappointed by the current Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to continue this work for another year.
On the positive side, it will immediately bring an addition to the global economy of something in the order of $700 billion per year through additional trade flows. It will create a positive dynamic that will combat the negative protectionism that is becoming prevalent in some parts of the world. It will reinforce the rule based system that the
WTO represents. If it fails, it will have the opposite effect. We won’t have the opportunity to make the profits which I’ve referred to and the damage to the multilateral system will be serious.
In 2006 I spoke at the UN General Assembly on the topic – I have a small secretariat working for me in Geneva and Brussels, and in New York. We’ve had successive conferences in Geneva, Athens, Manilla and in Mexico.
Foreign Direct Investment
Investing in “Innovation Ireland” Barry O’Leary, Chief Executive, IDA Ireland
IDA Ireland is the Irish Government Agency responsible for securing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for Ireland. The Agency is universally acknowledged as one of the most proactive and successful organisations in this global sphere. Since the 1950s, the semi-state agency’s enviable record at soliciting multinational companies (MNCs) to use Ireland as their headquarters for European operations has meant that IDA Ireland’s model has been used as the benchmark that other economies have come to emulate. From Malaysia to Abu Dhabi, from Malta to Oman, IDA’s policies and procedures have been studied and replicated and have come to represent the international model of best practice in the field of attracting inward investment. IDA has continued to win significant FDI for Ireland despite the recent challenging global economic conditions. At the recent launch of IDA Ireland’s End of Year Statement 2010, IDA CEO Barry O’Leary said, “Ireland continued in 2010 to win significant foreign direct investment. Most encouraging is the substantial increase in the scale of these investments from many of the world’s leading companies. In the past year the job numbers within investments secured show a marked increase, with the average employment per investment double the 2009 level. Export led growth is feeding through in the employment portfolio of IDA’s clients, which created almost 11,000 new jobs in 2010, significantly up on the previous year’s total of 4,615.” Every success however, brings with it, its own challenges. The international adoption of IDA’s pioneering methodologies has meant that the incentives that provided Ireland with an advantage
Intel Ireland, Leixlip, Co. Kildare
over its competition in decades past, now occupy the place of entry-level requirements in the increasingly competitive international market. In the current global climate, international FDI flows overall have been reduced by 40%, requiring investment promotion agencies globally to continually adapt and add value in order to attract new investment projects, and equally importantly, to keep existing ones in place, lest they decide another destination can offer them greater advantages. It is in this regard that the real ingenuity of Ireland as a country, and the IDA as a first port of call for the international foreign direct investor, really comes into its own. Ireland’s most inherent advantage is the small size of the island, and the innate ability of its people to adapt dynamically to new realities. It has done so before in the past, moving entirely from an agricultural society, to a manufacturing economy, and again to a knowledgeintensive national ecosystem. It is this unmatched vibrancy of the country as a whole that will serve as the bedrock for the speedy evolution of Ireland into a smart, green, innovation economy, based on the twin pillars of foreign direct investment and exports.
Transformation Cognizant of this fact, IDA Ireland’s mission at this crucial juncture in the nation’s history, is to exploit this inherent advantage by communicating this message to the country’s international partners and would-be investors. Over the last three years, the nation has regained its cost competitiveness and the availability of skills has increased.
To date, the incentives of Track Record, Talent, Tax Regime and Technology have attracted nearly 1,000 MNCs to Ireland. Transformation will be the factor that retains them, and serves to attract more. Transformation lies at the very heart of what “Innovation Ireland” is all about. A geographical base of 70,273 sq km, the country is inhabited by 4.4 million people, 34% of whom are under the age of 25. Located at the crossroads of transatlantic business, Ireland’s infrastructure provides proven access to the EU market of 500 million people. According to Barry O’Leary, “IDA clients consistently face internal competition for additional investment and new mandates from their parent groups. The Irish operations need to be involved in a process of almost continuous transformation if jobs are to be maintained and losses minimised. To support this transformation agenda, IDA has developed incentive programmes to encourage and drive investment in areas such as technology and skills uplift; product and process development through Research and Development (R&D) supports; and energy efficiency investments.”
Research, Development & Innovation A central column of Ireland’s transformation agenda is Research, Development & Innovation (RD&I). There has been an average increase of 10% per year in investment in knowledge and higher education. This compares to an average of 3% in the EU and the OECD. IDA client companies spend nearly €1.2 billion per annum on RD&I, accounting for nearly three-quarters of all RD&I monies spent in the country by business.
As part of “Team Ireland”, IDA works extremely closely with its sister-agency Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), to ensure that a collaborative and ever-evolving science and engineering agenda underpins the Smart Economy in the areas of greatest strategic value to Ireland’s long term competitiveness and development. Working intimately with Higher Education Institutions in a spirit of industry-focused “Open Innovation”, it is this joined-up thinking that serves to present the foreign direct investor with an astute blend of the commercial and the creative.
The IDA works with client companies continuously throughout the entire duration of their investment in Ireland. The feedback that client companies have communicated directly to the author in the production of this publication regarding IDA’s performance in this regard, has been consistently excellent. The IDA works directly and pro-actively with client companies to make sure that their needs are met, and that they are constantly adding to the value of the Irish operation. This has meant that many initial investments have grown considerably in importance to the particular company. In addition to RD&I, two important areas that stand out in this regard are: 1)
High Value Manufacturing
Global Business Services
High Value Manufacturing Ireland has established an international reputation as a centre of excellence when it comes to knowledge-intensive manufacturing. Advanced manufacturing management processes that incorporate Lean and Six Sigma are manifold. A strong technical base, solid infrastructure, and long experience in international supply chain management mean that the IDA’s strategic serviced site solutions offerings have been taken up by companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Liebherr, Medtronic, Millipore, Pfizer, Merck, Genzyme, Apple & Intel. Intel’s massive investment in Ireland is an excellent example of how the IDA works closely with client companies in the high value manufacturing sector that will be explored later in this volume. “Manufacturing continues to remain a core strategic pillar of the Irish economic landscape with IDA persistently seeking new strands of high-value manufacturing to add to Ireland’s FDI portfolio. A strong base of many of the world’s leading multinationals have significant manufacturing operations in Ireland. With our improving competitiveness, Ireland continued to attract manufacturing investments during 2010 including Warner Chilcott, Merit Medical and Hollister,” said Barry O’Leary.
Barry O’Leary, CEO, IDA Ireland, The President of Ireland, An tUachtaráin, Mary McAleese, Liam O’Mahony, Chairman, IDA Ireland
Global Business Services IDA Ireland has also facilitated the creation of best practice “Business Service Centres” (BSCs). These centres provide international companies with a base from which they can be confident that their Irish operation will have the ability to adapt and innovate with changing business needs. One of the key advantages for an international company in working with a BSC is that it can devise a “Global Earnings Mobility Strategy” (GEMS) with regard to its tax affairs. Many companies locate the principal business entity in Ireland to avail of the 12.5% corporate tax rate, with the BSC alongside to coordinate supply chain management and handle international relationships, for maximum synergy. In this way Ireland has become recognised internationally as a proven location for companies to maximise the higher elements of the business value chain.
Corporation Tax in Ireland • 12.5% corporate tax rate •
one of the lowest ‘onshore’ statutory corporate tax rates in the world
not an incentive regime – it is Ireland’s standard tax rate applicable to ‘trading income’ from any sector
an attractive holding company regime, including participation exemption from capital gains tax on disposals of shares in subsidiaries
an effective zero tax on foreign dividends (12.5% tax rate on qualifying foreign dividends, with flexible onshore pooling of foreign tax credits)
Double-taxation agreements with 51 countries
Key FDI Impacts on the Irish Economy •
€110 billion exports
240,000 jobs in total
50% of corporation tax
€19 billion in expenditure
€7 billion in payroll
73% of business RD&I expenditure
The Transformative Environment Interview with Peter O’Neill, IBM Country General Manager How IBM’s Irish operation reinvented itself with the help of Irish dynamism
IBM – a name synonymous with cutting edge technology throughout its history, first established an entity in Ireland in 1956 to serve the local marketplace. Since then of course, times have changed on multiple occasions. The story of IBM in Ireland represents for many, what the social, governmental and business ecosystem of the nation is all about – the ability to adapt and transform to meet changing needs in changing times. Peter O’Neill, Managing Director of IBM Ireland, explains the Irish experience from IBM’s point of view, “One of the earliest missions that we had here in the Irish office, was to establish a call-centre that provided support services for US customers. We had 90 days to find a location, hire and train staff and get the whole show up and running. The IDA and Fingal County Council worked closely with us, demonstrating a “can-do” attitude and a lot of flexibility. The mission was a success and the entire centre was fully operational within the allotted time-frame.” “We couldn’t have done it without the support that we received. It was then that the message went out throughout the whole corporation – Ireland is a great place to do business”. Of course, the global and domestic environment went through a complete transformation throughout the ‘90s, and IBM with it. “IBM as a whole became a more streamlined operation, aligning its various components with the strengths of the various markets it operated in, thus becoming the globally integrated enterprise it is today. As a corporation, we had to ask ourselves, ‘where are we going?’, and so we got out of the consumer PC business, the low - end
printing business, the low-end chip business and concentrated on software and services, which remain our main areas of focus today.”
The concept of convergence is also something with which the higher echelons of IBM’s management are very familiar.
“We secured major investment here in Ireland from the corporation, re-skilled our staff and moved up the value chain. Today for example, what was the consumer support call-centre, is now a highly skilled sales and marketing centre. The Irish office now actually leads the way globally in many areas, guiding and advising the corporation regarding software and development. This is a significant transformation”, asserts the managing director, “we are very active in the research space and this is something that Ireland facilitates because it is such a good environment to test-bed new models”.
“With the rapid onset of technological advances and the areas that IBM is active in, convergence with other industries has become a necessity. Our interest in smarter cities and smarter energy means that we have to collaborate with utility companies such as the ESB, in order to have access to their information flows – this is another area in which the Irish ecosystem has facilitated us.”
“Ireland has all of the complexities of a sophisticated market”, determines O’Neill, “but the difference here is that it is smaller in scale. This means that on any given project, you can get all of the relevant stakeholders around the table quickly, and test pilot schemes in the marketplace quite easily.”
“Medical devices, another field that Ireland is strong in, is a sector with which we converge also – and the future benefits of combining advanced technology with medical devices is clear.” So, how would O’Neill ultimately sum-up Ireland as a base for a multinational company?
One such project is IBM’s “Smarter Cities Technology Centre”, an innovative series of projects concerning the allocation of resources in accordance with information. It concerns millions of tiny internet-connected sensors that monitor information flows in real time throughout an increasing number of facets of daily life. Smarter energy, smarter water, smarter health, smarter transport and smarter education are the five key areas of this extensive programme that is set to change the way urban centres are developed in the future.
“Ireland as a whole? I think its big plus is its people. The fact that they are open to change is of real benefit to a major corporation. Of course, we’ve eroded some of our price competitiveness over the last five years, and as a result, there are some missions that will never come back to Ireland, but I think that the competitiveness issue is fixing itself now, and we as a country are set to move higher up the value chain. The skilled, educated and English-speaking workforce, along with the attractive tax regime and stable political climate are all positive factors. For a corporation, the importance of knowing that even if there is a change in government, there will not be any major changes to policy, cannot be underestimated”.
The sophisticated but small environment that Ireland provides enables open collaboration with the universities, which facilitate the development of these state-of-the-art programmes. This is an area in which IBM is active, going as far as to assemble a venture capital team who bring projects over the line from incubation stage.
“In terms of the support that we have received, I can say unequivocally that our experience with IDA Ireland has been superb. Locally, we hold them in the highest esteem and I know that that is a feeling that is shared throughout the corporation as a whole. We have worked with them a lot and it has been uniformly positive.”
A Supportive Environment for High Value Manufacturing Interview with Eamonn Sinnott, Country General Manager & Vice President, Technology Manufacturing Group, Intel Corporation
When one considers something so pervasive as the computer chip, its ubiquity means that it is sometimes possible to overlook the complexity of its creation. It wasn’t until I was taken on a tour of Intel Ireland’s massive manufacturing plant on the outskirts of Dublin, that I stopped to consider the ironically enormous job that it is to create something so small, and yet so powerful. The thumbnail-size semiconductor is the ‘brain’ of the computer. Billions of tiny connections within these silicon wafers facilitate the transfer of information so instantaneously that they have given birth to that most essential of all modern conveniences - the computer. The little “Intel” sticker on your laptop indicates that the semiconductor that runs it was manufactured in either Oregon, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Arizona, China, Israel or … Leixlip, Co. Kildare. Upon entering the gargantuan facility, the true meaning of “high value manufacturing” became clear. The processes that utilise nanotechnology to produce the crucial components take place in an environment up to ten thousand times cleaner than an operating theatre. Eamonn Sinnott, Intel Ireland’s new Country General Manager is in buoyant mood, having spent the preceding evening at an event with Bill Clinton. Like Clinton, he is cognizant that the country faces fiscal problems, but steadfast in his opinion that these are challenges that can be overcome by the dynamism of the Irish people and the facilitative environment.
“The outward looking perspective of the nation has ensured that we have a vibrant environment here. I don’t know of any multinational that has failed here or not delivered on its mandate. We have the benefit of having seen Ireland develop over the last twenty years. Intel Ireland was a cornerstone client of Ireland’s development throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. It’s always been dynamic because of the people. Many people from this Irish operation have gone on to become leading lights at Intel internationally, running factories from New Mexico to Arizona.” Intel first set up in Ireland in 1989 and, after gaining confidence in the environment that exists to facilitate growth, has increased its presence steadily ever since with a series of large investments. “Over twenty years, Intel has invested a total of $7 billion in Ireland. When I think back to the work that IDA Ireland did to attract Intel initially, I think that they did a really great job. The foresight that they demonstrated was quite remarkable. It took a lot of courage and they should be justifiably proud. IDA Ireland helped us every step of the way, from identifying and acquiring the land, ensuring the right infrastructure was in place, providing grant support and guiding us through the planning process.” “In fact, the former CEO of Intel, Craig Barrett at one point spoke about IDA Ireland, along with Singapore’s development agency, as the two exemplars he had come across internationally. That goes to show the esteem in which they are held globally.”
Intel was drawn to Ireland, not only because of the endeavours of IDA Ireland, but also because of a multitude of factors that remain in place today. Attractive financial incentives such as employment grants, capital grants and research and development grants, combined with a low corporation tax rate meant that Ireland looked after the company’s bottom-line. Access to the EU market via good infrastructure and a well-educated, English-speaking workforce that included strong management and operational personnel, contributed to ongoing increased efficiencies to the point that the Irish operation stood out from the pack. “Just a couple of weeks ago, we received the ‘Intel Quality Award’”, explains the Country Manager, “this was in recognition of the fact that Ireland is at the forefront of problem-solving globally and has therefore made a huge contribution to the corporation as a whole.” In closing, Sinnott is very clear, when it comes to his opinion of the Irish workforce, “In terms of the requirements of a large multinational, the people here in Ireland are as good as you’ll find anywhere on the planet. We are passionate about our work here. We run a 24/7 operation that is very demanding in terms of brain power. We have created a really collegiate atmosphere where people with advanced degrees are working together to solve problems. You will find it hard to find another environment that can rival what Ireland has to offer.”
Why do the big names choose Ireland?
Ireland has attracted some of the world’s best known names in the hi-tech sphere. Google, Facebook and Microsoft are three household names that have all availed of Ireland’s favourable track record, talent, tax regime and technology base in order to grow their business with the aid of the Irish workforce and access to the European market. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, states very clearly the advantages that Ireland has been able to provide to the search engine giant, “This is still a very good place to be hiring on an incremental labour costs basis and I would prefer to have people here. I’ve got the workforce. They are well-educated. I’ve got the management team and I’ve got the infrastructure here already. We actually do the math very carefully”. That mathematics that Schmidt has been going over carefully have led Google to employ over 1,600 people from 65 different countries in their Dublin office on Barrow Street. As the headquarters of Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA), the Dublin office shoulders a great deal of responsibility for the company. This is not too great a responsibility to bear, according to Nelson Mattos, Vice-President of Engineering, “If the lights were to go out in California, Dublin would maintain Google worldwide”. This goes to illustrate the trust that the corporation as a whole puts in their team in Dublin. John Herlihy, Google’s Vice-President of Global Ad Operations, speaks in a complimentary way about the work of the IDA. “I am very pro-IDA. I’m very biased John Herlihy, Vice-President, Global Ad Operations, Google
Colm Long, Director, Online Operations, Facebook
in their favour”, he says, “They’re incredible and they don’t get the credit they merit”.
wLong declares that there is “great potential here, given the team that we have built”.
He echoes Schmidt’s sentiments regarding Ireland as a headquarters for the European market,
In terms of longevity in the global information technology sector, Microsoft is always the stalwart. The company has been running its EMEA hub from Ireland for more than 25 years. Having made the transition from manufacturing centre, to a hub that adds value with a fully fledged R&D centre, a sales and marketing centre and an operations centre, Microsoft’s Dublin office in Sandyford is responsible for virtually the entire supply chain management across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“There are 60-plus languages spoken here in Google. Ireland is good at multi-lingual, multicultural, multi-currency business. As long as we continue to do well, we’ll continue to expand. We hire new people here every month”. Herlihy is also bullish about Ireland’s potential to develop the sector further, “Ireland is the perfect place to be. How do you protect companies and IP and manage the growth of that industry? Ireland could become a centre of digital media … digital and web are huge opportunities to play for”. Facebook is another example of a cutting-edge company that is surfing the crest of the information technology wave, having created a platform that is now in use by over 600 million customers. According to Colm Long, Director of Online Operations, “Through our last year we have realised growth and this has justified increased investment from Facebook in the Dublin office. We have doubled our targets”. As a result, Facebook are set to add another 100 faces to the 200 people that already staff its EMEA headquarters in Hanover Quay.
Paul Rellis, Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland noted that, “Dublin has become more diverse. It is very connected to the EU. It is at the heart of what makes the EU tick”. The games industry has grown by 400% in the last 7 years and is an area that has attracted many of the world’s leading games developers. One such example is Riot Games. While the company was establishing its EMEA headquarters in Ireland last year, the CEO, Brandon Beck stated that, “When making the decision on where to locate our European headquarters, we were attracted to Ireland by its reputation as an emerging hub for online game servicing. We’re aware of the success that other gaming companies have had in Ireland and of the highly creative, talented workforce available here”.
A variety of critical functions are handled from Dublin, ad support, user support, finance, HR, legal, product marketing and engineering.
Internet giant happy with Irish Talent Interview with Dan McCarthy VP, Finance - Controller EMEA Region
What were the factors that lead Yahoo to decide to establish an office in Ireland initially? The reputation of the Irish market as being business supportive, an experienced and educated workforce, an open economy, a competitive corporate tax environment, flexible entry and exit mechanisms, the considerable presence of US multinationals and the long and successful experience they have had from being located in Ireland and operating across Europe, Middle East and Africa.
What incentives were provided to Yahoo by the Irish Government and the IDA? An impressive suite of incentives were provided by the Irish Government, ranging from employment grants to a competitive corporation tax environment. These incentives are provided to most companies deciding to set up and operate from Ireland within the context of the European Union, hence we now have a considerable number of industries that avail of these incentives, and this is particularly so in relation to companies like Yahoo!, where most of the companies in our industry segment are based in Ireland.
What has Yahooâ€™s experience been since establishing the Irish office? Yahoo! has operated very successfully from Ireland over the years and within many areas of expertise would be seen as a centre of excellence in the innovation and support it provides to the business across EMEA. The talent pool available, the
On the hallowed turf of Lansdowne Road stands the new Aviva Stadium
stability of this environment and the support that we have received, all have very much added to our success story.
Which what Government bodies has Yahoo interacted, and what was the experience like? We have dealt with pretty much all government bodies. In every case dealings have been excellent, very supportive, effective and efficient.
What message would you convey to companies that are considering Ireland as a destination in which to establish an office? Look at what your competitors are doing, compare the flexibility and commitment of the employees, the talent of the workforce available, the supportive business culture, common sense fiscal approach and policies, effective and efficient regulation, considerable financial incentives that are available and a guaranteed corporation tax of 12.5%.
How did Yahoo find the calibre of employees available? What is your experience of the Irish labour force? Is there anything that stands out in this regard? Employees are outstanding, highly educated, very committed and always very flexible. We also have a very good demographic in Ireland that supports an EMEA business environment arising from the high number of Europeans now based in Ireland, with relevant experience, qualifications and languages.
Have the expectations that Ireland offered corresponded with the reality? Very much so, they have exceeded them in fact. We have leveraged the skills base to develop a solutions orientated culture specialising in the more tertiary value add environment.
Challenges & Opportunities By Eoin O’Driscoll, Chairman of Forfás Ireland’s policy advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation.
While the Irish economy faced unprecedented economic challenges in 2010, Ireland continues to show significant competitive strengths. Last year saw a sustained recovery in Irish exports on foot of a return to growth of international markets and Ireland’s improving cost competitiveness. In recent years, technology and globalisation have moved Ireland from the periphery to the centre of activity. The country is now better positioned to take advantage of the resultant opportunity than ever before. Ireland has a strong export performance, an articulate, well-educated and flexible workforce, over 1.8m people in employment, significant recent investments in hard and soft infrastructure and the country still enjoys a standard of living that ranks among the highest in the OECD. After a difficult couple of years, Ireland is now taking on the thorny tasks of balancing the books and rescuing its banking system. Rather than being paralysed by past failures, the country is now re-energising to take its future into its own hands and focus on growth and jobs. Ireland’s potential for growth remains strong due to its much improved infrastructure, stock and skills base and in November 2010 the European Commission projected that the economy will return to moderate growth in 2011, with an acceleration projected from 2012 onwards. Sustainable and competitive enterprises will be central to Ireland’s future growth and the means by which the economy’s potential is realised. Governments themselves do not actually create jobs. They can provide the supportive business environments but ultimately it falls on those involved in companies to show the necessary leadership and commitment.
Growth in Ireland requires an enterprise approach that places competitiveness, productivity and innovation at the centre of what we do. Ireland will make it happen by building on our strengths, tapping into emerging opportunities and revitalising our mature sectors. In looking at the opportunities for growth we can classify Irish companies into four broad categories.
1. Areas of Strength Ireland has a strong position in high growth sectors like ICT, Sife Sciences, Agri-Food and internationally traded services. These sectors export a staggering €130bn annually. Ireland is home to all 10 of the world’s top 10 ICT companies, 8 of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies and 9 of the top medical technology companies. In addition to the leading global players we are seeing the emergence of strong Irish companies like Creganna in medical devices, Curam in Internationally Traded Services and Norkom in software. These companies are leading the drive to increase exports by Irish companies by 33% over the period to 2015. Export opportunities exist beyond Ireland’s traditional markets of the US and the UK and the state enterprise development agency, Enterprise Ireland, is supporting efforts to increase our share of Eurozone markets and to tap into the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China. Our science and technology research activity is increasingly underpinning the performance of our strong sectors and can lead to the creation of exciting new opportunities in areas of converged technologies. At the Competence Centre for Applied Nanotechnology some of the world’s leading IT and pharmaceutical companies, such
as multinationals Intel, Seagate, Medtronic and Analog Devices, and Irish companies Aerogen, Audit Diagnostics, Creganna and Proxy Biomedical are collaborating in integrating electronics with the bio industry in pursuit of breakthrough applications in the field of nanomedicine. In a world where food security, quality and convenience are increasingly important, Ireland’s agri-food industry, which employs over 135,000 people and sells its products in over 170 markets, will achieve growth and add value as it moves to a brand-centred consumer focus.
2. Emerging Opportunities In addition to building on Irish enterprise’s areas of strength we will generate growth and jobs by increasing focus on areas of emerging opportunities and untapped potential. Ireland has some of the best wind and wave resources in the world. Leading companies like NTR plc, Mainstream Renewable Power and SWS Energy have emerged over the past five years. Exciting new start-ups, like Wavebob and Open Hydro are attracting significant capital and are creating interesting partnerships with leading energy utilities. The Belmullet wave energy test site and the Smartbay project in Galway provide the necessary infrastructure to allow Ireland to develop a leadership position. The potential for jobs is illustrated by the recent announcements by GE, Siemens and Gamesa of plans to create 4,400 UK jobs in the UK, manufacturing wind turbines, following the commitment by the UK Prime minister David Cameron to invest £60m in related port infrastructure.
Ireland has a long tradition in the creative industries. New digital technologies now allow us to tap into this potential and revolutionise the creation, storage, dissemination and trading of creative content. This will provide growth and jobs across a diverse range of activities from games, animation and film to publications and media. The lessons that Ireland is learning from the presence here of companies like Google, Facebook, Havok and Big Fish Games are helping us to exploit further areas of untapped potential.
3. Mature Sectors Ireland’s mature sectors such as tourism, retail, transport and construction employ approximately 600,000 people. We are bringing a renewed focus to these sectors; re-skilling, adopting technology, dramatically reducing costs and improving quality so that we are internationally competitive. Measures announced in the Irish Government’s 2011 Budget will help facilitate this. Irish companies like Ryanair and next generation web based car hire company Car Trawler show how innovative business models can revitalise and disrupt mature sectors. The current difficult economic environment can be an opportunity for innovation in the tourism sector, improving accessibility, cost and quality. Construction jobs, the area where Ireland has seen the greatest loss over the past three years, are unlikely to return to previous levels. However the sector still employs over 125,000 people in Ireland today and construction firms and related professional service firms are now winning business abroad by marketing their services in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.
4. Locally Traded Activities The opportunity to export presents itself for all sectors of the Irish economy but many firms will continue to focus exclusively on the domestic market and to trade locally. These firms are an essential part of Ireland’s economic fabric – contributing to its attractiveness as a location in which people desire to live and work, international firms want to invest and in which new firms can be established and grow. Locally available, competitive and efficiently produced goods and services can stimulate increased expenditure in Ireland by exporting firms, which in turn contributes to greater employment.
Ireland’s success requires a focus on four complementary critical success factors - the pursuit of productivity gains, embracing innovation, the relentless pursuit of cost competitiveness and developing the right mix of sectors and markets. As the actions and difficult choices taken by the Irish Government in the four year national recovery plan are implemented, these will deliver the best environment in which companies can establish and thrive and compete internationally. Firms managing their costs and enhancing productivity will see their efforts served well. Businesses now investing wisely in innovation and innovative practices will be well prepared to take advantage of the opportunities as they arise. As all of these efforts come to fruition, Ireland’s offering as an investment destination will continue to grow in attractiveness.
The International Content Service Center
Between the 6th and 9th centuries, Ireland became a “knowledge economy” through the painstaking and disciplined work of the disciples of St. Patrick who transcribed the scriptures and ancient classical texts, ensuring that all the great learning of the Roman age did not irretrievably vanish. Now over 1,400 years later, as we move swiftly from the analogue to the digital age, Ireland has the opportunity to re-define itself as a “knowledge economy”. Piracy, ubiquitous internet access, multiple devices and foundering business models have thrown the traditional media industry into crisis globally. What are required are integrated services that can bring efficiency to the distribution of digital content across territories. The International Content Services Centre (ICSC), a concept developed by the entrepreneur Neil Leyden, was one of two proposals that won Your Country, Your Call, a nationwide competition run in 2010 to find two ideas that when implemented would create opportunities for employment and prosperity. The ICSC aims to create an internationally-focused content cluster located in Ireland that will act as a gateway between the US and Europe for the distribution of digital content - films, television, games, music, mobile applications, etc. The ICSC aims to provide content holders and digital content services companies with the ideal environment to offer a range of end-toend services to help exploit and distribute their content and intellectual property globally. This is predicated on creating a positive and pro-business legislative, regulatory and fiscal environment for digital content, as well as for innovative services and technology companies, both in Ireland but also in Europe where barriers still block the free flow of online services and entertainment across national borders. With the ICSC, Ireland aims to become the ‘test - bed’ for Europe’s Digital Agenda, which given the size of our population and the inherent flexibility that offers, is a tantalizing opportunity for Ireland and Europe alike. This will be a magnet for foreign direct investment as well as a boon for the indigenous content and technology industries, with the prospect of creating high value jobs and increased trade revenue for the exchequer.
Transforming Dublin Airport Terminal 2 delivers a radically improved passenger experience
The opening of Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport marks a major milestone in the overall transformation of the airport’s passenger facilities. This €1.2 billion investment programme – half of which related to Terminal 2 and its associated facilities - was solely geared towards the radical improvement of the travel experience for all Dublin Airport customers. Terminal 2, which opened in November 2010, is the centrepiece of the Dublin Airport Authority’s major investment programme to expand, improve and upgrade all the key facilities at Dublin. Dublin Airport’s development plans had for many years envisaged the need for a second passenger terminal on the existing eastern side of the airfield, to enable managed growth in traffic to upwards of 35 million passengers per annum. The decade from 1995 to 2005 witnessed a near 8% compound increase in average passenger volumes per year. This growth reflected the very strong expansion of the Irish economy during the period. By the early years of the current century, this growth, allied to historic under investment in Dublin Airport’s infrastructure and facilities, led to congestion at peak travel periods and to poorer than desired levels of customer service in some areas. But the opening of Terminal 2 has removed these historic constraints and Dublin Airport now delivers a passenger experience in line with the best airports in Europe. Terminal 2 was planned and built for the long-term and it ensures Dublin Airport will continue to be Ireland’s key gateway to the world for many decades
to come. The new terminal provides a strong platform for future growth and has already attracted new services to Dublin Airport. It is a facility that will enhance the experience of all airport users and visitors to Ireland for the next generation. T2 is at its heart, a vital and vibrant public building. Designed with the passenger in mind, it makes wonderful use of natural light. It offers passengers fantastic views of Dublin Bay from Howth in the north to Dalkey Island in the south. From the departure lounge and boarding gates, there are fantastic views beyond Dublin city to the Dublin and North Wicklow mountains. The opening of Terminal 2 has delivered benefits to all users and passengers of Dublin Airport. Crucially it has brought more space, comfort, speed of processing and choice for all passengers, regardless of which terminal they use. Terminal 2 is now home to Aer Lingus, American Airlines, Continental, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, and US Airways, and will cater for about 40% of Dublin Airport’s traffic this year. Transferring almost half of the airport’s traffic to Terminal 2 has also radically improved the experience for passengers using Terminal 1 at Dublin. The new terminal handles all flights from Dublin to the United States and contains a new facility enabling US-bound passengers to clear all customs, immigration and agriculture controls at Dublin prior to departure. This facility, which arises from a formal agreement between the Irish and US governments, is operated
by the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agency. Passengers availing of the CBP service in Dublin can clear all US entry requirements in Dublin and simply collect their luggage when they land in the US before continuing directly onto the next leg of their journey. Ireland is the only European country that offers CBP and this enables Dublin Airport to offer passengers a seamless connection to the United States if they decide to transit through Dublin. Using CBP means that upon arrival in the US, the only queue a passenger will face having collected their bags is the queue for the taxi or bus into the city. CBP also enables airlines operating between Dublin and the US to fly to less congested and cheaper domestic terminals at major US key airports and to fly to large non-international airports throughout the United States. This facility will lower airlines’ costs and also help offer passengers a wider range of new US destinations from Dublin. Terminal 2 maximises the use of light and space and the latest technology to ensure the passenger journey is as comfortable, safe and as efficient as possible. Effective design and way-finding ensures that passenger journeys to and from the aircraft will be as easy and intuitive as possible. Arriving passengers for example will rise one level by escalator or lift from the airbridge to the arrivals floor of Pier E. They will encounter no other change of level on their in-bound journey, providing a seamless and pleasant journey through the baggage reclaim area and beyond to the new T2 multi-storey car park.
For departing passengers, there is an intuitive journey from check-in to the departures floor and through security into the departures lounge, which contains the most of the retail and food and beverage outlets in Terminal 2, and beyond into the boarding gate pier. Passengers have an excellent choice of retail outlets, cafes and bars in Terminal 2, with a portfolio of outlets that showcase both Irish and international brands. The design and materials used in Terminal 2, notably marble floor tiles, hardwood surfaces, stainless steel and back-painted glass finishes, enhance the light and space created by the glass exterior of the building, while also keeping maintenance costs to a minimum. The white, fabric-coated ceiling panels serve to reflect the smooth external curves of the building. Terminal 2 has its own departure set down and arrivals roads, which have been designed with the customer in mind. Transferring to the ground transportation or to Terminal 1 is a seamless and efficient process. The new terminal also benefits from its own, linked short-term car park, and vehicles from the main car hire firms are conveniently located here. Although it is only been in service for a few short months, Terminal 2 has already won several construction and architectural awards. But more importantly, it has also been highly praised by its most important target audience â€“ its customers. DAA looks forward to welcoming you to Terminal 2 for many years to come.
Your new terminal is ready and waiting to welcome you
Terminal 2, a â‚Ź600m investment in Irelandâ€™s future, offers new facilities and improved comfort and space for all Dublin Airport customers. More than 500 new staff members are trained and ready to assist you from check-in to your departure gate. With full US Customs and Border Protection Pre-Clearance, a new car park and a whole range of new shops, restaurants and services, travelling from or connecting through Dublin Airport has never been easier. DAA looks forward to helping you reach the world.
Visit dublinairport.com for more information
World demand for Irish Innovation set to grow Interview with Frank Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Ireland is the State agency charged with the task of supporting indigenous Irish companies in developing and promoting their offerings in world markets. C.E.O. Financial spoke to Chief Executive, Frank Ryan to discuss the role that the agency plays and the progress that is being made.
How would you describe the role that Enterprise Ireland plays in the national economy? Enterprise Ireland are responsible for assisting indigenous Irish companies in tackling international markets. Promoting Irish exports of products and services is our core remit. We have a total of 850 staff, 150 of whom are based throughout our 31 offices around the world. We also have 9 satellite offices around Ireland. Enterprise Ireland works with 6,000 Irish companies on an annual basis. We are very thorough when it comes to figures and like to base all of our communications on proven statistics. Based on a mid year survey of our clients in 2010, their responses would suggest that Irelandâ€™s indigenous exports will reach approximately â‚Ź13.7 billion for 2010. The country has shown continuous export growth for 18 months in a row. This means that we have the 2nd best export growth in the EU, with only Germany performing better than Ireland in this regard.
We are expecting even further export growth in 2011, and I believe that this gives Ireland the potential to become ‘the come-back economy of Europe’.
What markets is Enterprise Ireland most concerned with at the moment? World growth for 2011 is expected to be approximately 4-5%. Our main export markets, the UK & the USA are both out of recession. Increasingly, our attention is being drawn to the BRIC countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and also Japan and the Middle East – Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in particular. These are growth markets in which many Irish companies have already earned success, and we see more potential there in the future. The key sectors that Enterprise Ireland concentrates on are Life Sciences, including Medical Devices, Education, Software, including E-Learning and Financial Software, Food, Green Tech, Internationally Traded Services, such as Finance and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). The figures that were included in our end of year statement for 2010 were that Irish exporting companies had regained 70% of the exports that had been lost since the dawn of the global recession in 2008. I am confident that, given the indicators at the present time, by the end of 2011, our exports will be higher than they were pre-recession.
What factors contribute to that view? There are a number of factors. At the moment, we have more and more companies that are exporting. We also have a very high volume of business startups and a strong entrepreneurial culture. Established entrepreneurs count for more than 9% of the population of this country. That is more than the USA. It is also more than Germany, which stands at 4%. Every year, there are more companies investing in research and development. Even in 2009, the worst year of recession in our nation’s history, investment in R&D rose by 2%. That is how Ireland has got to where it is today in terms of ICT and hi-tech, for example. We focus on producing very sophisticated products and services. Ireland is the second largest exporter of software in the world. Both India and Ireland compete for that second spot, (behind the US), each year. Sometimes it’s India, sometimes it’s us. For a small island, that’s an impressive achievement.
How is the ‘Innovation Ireland’ agenda coordinated between the various State agencies concerned? Enterprise Ireland and our sister agencies; the IDA, the Sustainable Energy Authority, Science Foundation Ireland and Forfás, the State agency responsible for economic planning, all report to the same government department – the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Innovation. The Department therefore has a controlling influence on how innovation is carried out in Ireland. We see innovation not just in terms of research and development, but right across the value
chain – from logistics and supply chain management to the business model itself.
How innovative are the products and services that are coming out of Ireland?
Enterprise Ireland co-operates with our sister agencies in a variety of ways across the spectrum. For instance, a lot of the indigenous Irish companies identify major sales opportunities when US companies make a foreign direct investment here. So Enterprise Ireland coordinates with the IDA to make sure that market entrants have all of their needs serviced by local companies. Overseas, IDA and Enterprise Ireland offices are located side by side where possible.
Irish innovation is truly a global phenomenon. For example, when you arrive in the United States, you will have your eyes and finger prints scanned by US Immigration. The technology that is used there comes from an Irish company – Daon. This technology is also used in all airports in Australia and in Narita Airport in Japan.
There is also an initiative whereby the IDA and Enterprise Ireland have co-funded 7 “Competence Centres”, staffed by and located in Irish Universities. These are industry-focused research centres that concentrate on key areas such as bioenergy and bio-refining, IT innovation, applied nanotechnology, microelectronics and composite materials. These centres are used as a conduit for academia and industry to collaborate in specific fields. Science Foundation Ireland is also very much involved with these projects that serve to compliment their Strategic Research Clusters (SRCs) and Centres for Strategic Engineering and Technology research (CSETs).
What recent developments have there been in key sectors? As a country, we also have deep competence in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, construction services and food. Danone recently invested in a €50 million expansion at its facility for the production of baby infant formula in Macroom, Co. Cork. This project, taken in conjunction with Pfizer’s plant that it recently acquired from Wyeth, and the production facility that belongs to Abbot, will mean that, globally, 1 in 5 babies are drinking infant formula that has been produced in Ireland. The complete traceability of our grass-fed cattle system and our growing international reputation in the area of food security means that Ireland has become a lead player in the sector. In terms of medical devices, Creganna acquired Tactx Medical last year. This is an example demonstrative of Irish ingenuity in the field. If you were to undergo a medical procedure anywhere in the world, in which a stent is implanted in your body, there is an 80% probability that Irish technology from Creganna will be used to insert it.
Operating in these state-of-the-art spheres, Irish companies will pull this country out of recession faster than many commentators expect. We are a very open economy, so we go into recession faster than others, but we will also come out of it faster. Our export performance for 2010 has been remarkable, growing 7% in a difficult global climate. This is the message that is not getting out there – it has been missing from the international dialogue – but it is a fact based on evidence from solid data.
How does Enterprise Ireland view the clean tech sector? We have seen a lot of growth in the clean tech sector. In time, we believe clean tech will end up being called “Green Tech”. In the same way that, to some extent, every industry is dependent on oil, and more recently, most industries have in one way or another have come to be dependent on software, we believe that Green Tech will come into play in a similar way. Every company subscribes to the green agenda and wants to make their company green. We look after 23 industry sectors, so rather than risk focusing on a niche and missing the big picture by dedicating a department to Green Tech, which itself involves so many disparate sectors – we decided to integrate the green agenda into every department.
How does Enterprise Ireland add value to companies involved in high-value manufacturing? In the sector of high value manufacturing, the entire area of Lean and Six-Sigma has been a real gamechanger for us. Lean has delivered real competitive advantages to many Irish companies, and we have seen remarkable results in terms of efficiency gains in the region of 10-15%.
At Enterprise Ireland, we are currently providing three major lean programmes: 1) LEAN Start – a week long, consultant based programme for companies new to the area. 2) LEAN Plus – Lean principles are applied to specific projects that will be evaluated on the basis of proven metrics. 3) LEAN Transform – this is for large manufacturing companies with a turnover of over €30 million. The programme is benchmarked against that of the likes of Toyota and General Electric.
What is the venture capital landscape like in Ireland for mobile entrepreneurs and start-up companies? Funding assistance is increasingly coming from the venture capital community and Enterprise Ireland has made a very positive commitment to fostering and developing venture capital in Ireland. Since the mid 1990s the State, through Enterprise Ireland, has committed investment of over €325 million, as a limited partner, into over 40 seed and venture capital funds in Ireland with a total fund size of over €1.2 billion. Over 1,200 investments have been made in companies in that period. Enterprise Ireland’s funds have been invested, on a fully risk sharing basis, with other national and international investors such as pension funds, large enterprises and financial institutions. This year, the Innovation Fund Ireland has developed a partnership with top tier VCs and there is €500 million available for innovation projects across Ireland and the EU.
Enterprise Ireland invests and takes equity in companies as part of some of its funding mechanisms. This has made Enterprise Ireland the top VC in Europe in terms of the numbers of projects in which it is involved. We also work with private equity in supporting start-up companies to become world class players. This has yielded considerable success, • • •
Recently, Norkom was sold to BAE Indigenous games developer Havoc was purchased by Intel Changing Worlds, a product of a Science Foundation Ireland CSET, was recently acquired by Amdocs, the Israeli company
These are the examples that show that Ireland’s indigenous industry really is world-class. Ireland is a highly entrepreneurial society, and the support structure and funding environment for new businesses are amongst the best available anywhere. There is also an important point to be considered about FDI: Although US companies in Ireland employ 90,000 people here, it must be remembered that Irish companies in the US employ 80,000 people there. It’s not just a one-way track. This is a balanced relationship.
What is the overall message that Enterprise Ireland would like to convey? The message to the international community is that they should expect Ireland to be the comeback economy of Europe. The message to Irish companies is that now is the time to dream big dreams. There is no reason whatsoever for them to limit their ambitions.
The Life Sciences Sector Irish company excels in Medical Devices Helen Ryan, CEO, Creganna Tactx Medical
Ireland boasts the second highest concentration of medical device firms anywhere on the planet. 95% of this hi-tech industry is export oriented. The sector as a whole grew 9% last year. Creganna Tactx Medical, an indigenous Irish company with its headquarters in County Galway, is at the forefront of the industry. Originally active in the computer and electronics sector, Creganna exhibited the definition of the principle of convergence when it successfully managed the transition of the enterprise from one sector to another. It now specialises in the supply of minimally invasive medical devices to the global market. Helen Ryan, Chief Executive of Creganna, describes how the company managed the transition into an entirely new sector, â€œAt the time, the electronics industry was leaving Ireland, whereas the medical device industry was in its infancy. It was very opportunity driven. The founders were very entrepreneurial and were looking for new avenues to explore. An opportunity arose to solve a problem in the medical device sector and it turned out that we had the technical knowledge to solve it. We took an end-to-end supply chain view of the solution, which was common in the electronics industry, but not so much in medical devices. The founders secured a global supply agreement and it became obvious that this was the sector we should operate in. That first project posed a lot of risk. We basically bet the company on successfully making the transition - so it took a lot of gutsâ€?. The hi-tech nature of the Life Sciences industry necessitates that constant innovation be a cornerstone of the company culture. This is an area in which Creganna excels.
“We have an Innovation Centre, which is basically our internal R&D facility, in which we focus on new technologies and advanced processes”, explains Ryan, “To me, innovation is anything that will improve our competitive advantage. It is not necessarily restricted to R&D, rather it is any improvement throughout the entire organisation - it can be a business process or any other activity that adds value. We want all 1,000 of our employees to constantly be thinking of how to make improvements in their areas”. In 2010, Creganna acquired Tactx Medical, making the company a truly global supplier to the minimally invasive medical device industry. The acquisition meant that locations in Singapore, California, Minneapolis were added to the Galway and Massachusetts bases that Creganna already operated. “We identified a number of technologies that we wanted to expand into in line with our global supply agenda. We were actively looking for an acquisition that would fit, and when Tactx came on the market, it happened to be a perfect fit”.
introductions and hosting events. This gives us a consistent stream of potential new customers”. The R&D assistance that Enterprise Ireland provides to client companies is also something that the Chief Executive is very positive about. “Enterprise Ireland have also assisted us with our own internal research and development efforts. They have provided introductions to companies that been able to provide us with new technologies, and also, very importantly, they have provided us with grant aid for our R&D. This has been a longrunning arrangement. We are net beneficiaries of the work of Enterprise Ireland”. “Ireland overall is an excellent place for the Life Sciences sector in particular. The European CE mark means that Europe has become the best place to start in the sector. Going to the EU market first therefore, has become the norm in Life Sciences. Ireland’s particular advantages in delivering access to the EU market make it an ideal location for a business like ours. There is already a very significant cluster here and the country’s future as a med-tech hub looks very positive”.
Creganna is a client of Enterprise Ireland. Helen Ryan is very definite in her praise of the State Agency. “I have to really compliment Enterprise Ireland on the work that they do. They have a very significant network of international offices and they provide excellent support. A lot of their people have very specific local market knowledge and this is something that greatly helps us to tap into new international markets. They assist with research, identifying potential customers, facilitating
An Irish Success Story for over 40 Years Myles Lee, Chief Executive Officer, CRH plc
CRH plc, the international building materials group based in Belgard Castle in Dublin, was founded in 1970 following the merger of two leading indigenous Irish companies, Irish Cement Limited and Roadstone Limited. Over the past 40 years, CRH has grown from its Irish roots to become one of the world’s leading integrated building materials companies. Today, CRH employs approximately 75,000 people at over 3,600 operating locations in 34 countries and directly benefits each and every community in which it operates. CRH’s strategic vision has been clear and consistent – to be a responsible international leader in building materials delivering superior performance and growth. In applying this vision, CRH has delivered superior and sustained shareholder returns, while reducing its dependence on individual markets and achieving a balance in its geographic presence and portfolio of products. CRH’s foundations in Ireland have been built upon over many years. Following its first acquisition in 1973 in mainland Europe, the 1970s also saw CRH begin its expansion into the Americas. Operating as Oldcastle, CRH is now the leading integrated building materials company in the US with operations in all 50 US states and in 4 Canadian provinces. CRH also continued to expand in Europe, including the newly emerging Eastern economies. Today, CRH has key market leadership positions in many European countries in primary building materials businesses, value-added building products and building materials distribution. In the developing economies of emerging regions, CRH’s strategy is clear: to target premium assets as an initial footprint, usually in cement and often in partnership with strong local established businesses. CRH identifies entry platforms that have
well-located quality operations and good regional market positions with the potential to develop into integrated building materials businesses over time. In the mid-1990s, CRH applied this approach to its entry into the Polish market where it is now the leading integrated building materials company. In 2007 and 2008, CRH established two new platforms in China and India to ensure it is well placed to capitalise on economic growth in these key developing economies. While developing its business interests in emerging markets, CRH fully maintains its focus on the areas where it has long been a leader. In developed-world economies, CRH’s strategic focus is to continue to reinvest in its established platforms for operational efficiency, product quality and customer service, and to develop these businesses further. In Ireland itself, CRH’s commitment to world class operating standards is symbolised by the recent multi million euro investment at the Irish Cement plant in Platin, Co. Meath. Significant energy efficiencies, clinker factor improvements and emissions reductions are being achieved at the plant, which now produces lower carbon “green” cements. Corporate Social Responsibility is fully embedded as an integral component of CRH’s performance and growth strategy. This commitment is focused on four specific areas of business: corporate governance, environment & climate change, health & safety and social performance. In each of these areas, CRH has clearly defined Group policies, objectives, implementation programmes, review procedures and reporting mechanisms. CRH’s proven commitment to managing all aspects of operations relating to its many stakeholders in this ethical and responsible manner has resulted in its high ranking by leading Socially Responsible Investment rating agencies. CRH believes that
meeting the expectations of stakeholders across the broad sustainability and corporate responsibility agenda is positive for its business and enhances its strong corporate performance. As regards climate change, CRH has committed to a 15% reduction in specific CO 2 cement plant emissions by 2015 compared with the 1990 specific emissions for the same portfolio of plants. In addition, many of CRH’s products are ideally suited to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The success of CRH is founded on the exceptional commitment and capability of its management and staff together with the culture of performance which characterises CRH throughout its widespread operations. With its geographic spread and a federal organisational structure, there is strong management commitment to both the local company and to the CRH Group. This is supported by best practice teams that share experience and know-how across products and regions. Such a “global but local” management philosophy motivates local entrepreneurship, while maintaining and benefiting from Group synergies. As an Irish success story, CRH takes pride in applying its strong corporate identity and culture across its operations and provides significant opportunities for Irish graduates to develop skills in the global market place. Ireland has proved to be the ideal base for CRH. As Ireland moves forward in the years ahead, CRH will maintain its focus on management development, operational excellence and commercial delivery to ensure its businesses throughout the world are strongly positioned to continue to deliver value for all stakeholders.
Operational Excellence in Ireland By Geoff Beggs, Chief Executive, Front Square
front square A successful Lean programme can halve costs and double productivity, while at the same time improving customer satisfaction. Lean has its roots in the manufacturing industry. However, over the past decade, Lean cultures have been successfully implemented across almost all other industries, from financial services to pharmaceuticals. Due to the openness of the Irish economy and the large number of multi-nationals operating here, there is a mature continuous improvement culture within the workplace. Irish people are resourceful and adaptable and are thus a good match for Lean cultures. The Irish Government realises this, and through Enterprise Ireland, can provide state aid to companies who want to become Lean. To compete in todayâ€™s global market; companies need to focus on their operational processes. Processes need to be aligned to corporate strategic objectives. In addition, they should be customer centric and be executed in the most efficient and effective way possible. An operational excellence, or â€˜Op Exâ€™ programme, is a proven way of achieving this.
A company with an Op Ex mindset is one with a focus on continuous improvement. ‘Lean’ is a very successful approach to Op Ex, which aims to eliminate “muda”, the Japanese word for waste. All organisational waste can be classified into 7 different categories:
• • • • • •
Transport – unnecessary external movement of goods or people. Inventory – all unfinished parts of a product or service. Motion – unnecessary internal movement of goods or staff. Waiting – where a person or a product is idle, waiting to be processed. Overproduction – making too much of a product. Overprocessing – too many unnecessary steps involved in delivering the product or service to the customer. Defects – a defect is an error or mistake that gets accidentally baked into the product or service.
Every step within any process is classified as either value-add or non value-add, all from a customer’s perspective. If a step is deemed to be non-value add, then it is waste and should be eliminated. All waste within an organisation adds to the operating costs, which in turn must be passed on to customers in order for the business to be profitable. Therefore, when a business reduces its waste, it can either increase its profit margin or reduce its selling price in order to become more competitive.
When problems do arise within a Lean organisation they are found and fixed quickly. Problem solving involves a standard, simple methodology that any employee can follow in order to first focus on the problem itself, then identify and eliminate the root cause. There is also a big emphasis on the use of data in decision making. It is important that people do not just act on gut feeling or let emotions bias their decisions. In order for a company to become Lean, it is not about changing how management thinks; it is about changing how the whole organisation thinks - from CEO down to the shop floor level. As a result, it often requires a change in culture, something that takes time. Implementing Lean is a daily job that requires the engagement and understanding of the entire workforce. The suitability of Irish companies and their workforces for Lean will make it a key strategic tool for the revitalisation of the Irish economy and ensure our future competitiveness in the global market place. Front Square enables accelerated and sustained Lean transformation programmes through social media technology. Using online simulations, employees learn how to improve processes through experimentation and collaboration. This pioneering solution is both engaging and scalable across large numbers of employees simultaneously, thus facilitating the spread of Lean across the organisation. The result is an engaged workforce, an effective programme and a fast return on investment.
Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) is the national foundation for excellence in scientific research. SFI invests in academic researchers and research teams who are most likely to generate new knowledge, leading edge technologies, and competitive enterprises. SFI makes awards based upon the merit review of distinguished international scientists.
To find out more about the research SFI supports in Ireland view:
Research, Development & Innovation
Key Points: »» Ireland in Top 20 countries in terms of quality scientific output - Thomson Reuters »» State agency, Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) is dedicated to building and strengthening scientific and engineering research in collaboration with industry and Higher Education Institutions »» Highly- networked culture lends itself particularly well to “Open Innovation” between industry and academia »» The “Open Innovation” dynamic is complemented by the increasing convergence of industries, brought on by technological advances »» Ireland’s size means that it is an ideal market to use as a “Test-Bed” for new products and services »» Strategic Research Clusters (SRCs) and larger-scale Centres for Science, Engineering and Technology (CSETs) are based in the nation’s Higher Education Institutions and are at the core of over 400 collaborations between SFI researchers and industry
Vision 2030 Ireland
Research, Development & Innovation
• 25% Research & Development (R&D) tax credit which may be refundable over a three- year period, in addition to tax deduction of 12.5% for R&D expenditure in Ireland • Available to Irish resident companies and branches on the incremental cost of in-house, qualifying R&D undertaken within the European Economic Area (EEA), provided such expenditure is not otherwise eligible for tax benefits elsewhere within the EEA • The Intellectual Property (IP) regime provides a tax write-off for broadlydefined IP acquisitions for expenditure incurred on the acquisition of intangible assets allows for qualifying acquisitions to be written-off over a fixed period of 15 years • Includes patents, copyright, registered designs, design rights, inventions, trade marks, trade names, brands, brand names, domain names, service marks, publishing titles, know-how, software, costs associated with applications for legal protection • Scientific Research is allowable as a trading expense • Software used for business purposes can be written-off over eight years
The Incubation of Innovation How ‘Team Ireland’ facilitates Research, Development & Innovation By Grant Leech
In its Annual Competitiveness Report 2010, Ireland’s National Competitiveness Council (NCC) determined that, “while the Irish economy faces unprecedented challenges, we continue to have significant competitiveness strengths and opportunities. Our competitiveness has improved significantly. Costs have fallen, skills availability has improved and the pressures on infrastructure have eased”. It continues, “the outputs of investment in Research & Development (R&D) are an important driver of innovation. It is critical that actions to unify R&D funding streams and deliver higher economic returns on R&D investment are progressed”. The arena of Research, Development & Innovation has been - and even in these difficult economic times, continues to be - a sphere of major importance to the Irish Government. Evidence of this was seen when, in the most austere budget in living memory, additional funding of €11 million was allotted to Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the State agency charged with the mission of, “building and strengthening scientific and engineering research and its infrastructure in the areas of greatest strategic value to Ireland’s long term competitiveness and development”. The NCC also stated that, “Ireland’s steady increase in educational attainment has been an important factor behind our recent success”.
While economic constraints have left Ireland’s Universities and Institutes of Technology – the “Higher Education Institutions” (HEIs), with less funding than was enjoyed in previous years, the institutions themselves have become world-class in a number of areas. The areas of greatest importance from the point of view of Research, Development & Innovation are of course, science and engineering. It is in this space that Government policy, industry and academia converge to make Ireland a destination that excels as an “incubation of innovation”. The size of the island of Ireland and the highly educated nature of its workforce confer on it two distinct advantages that are particular to the country. The two primary advantages that serve to engender a culture of cutting-edge research with a view to commercialisation are, 1)
The Test Bed Model
1) Open Innovation “Open Innovation” is the synergy created by the convergence of academia, industry and government policy. The small, highly-networked island of Ireland facilitates a cross-pollination of ideas across a number of sectors. The social, numerate and pro-business nature of the people that populate Ireland has given rise to many examples of “Open Innovation” that greatly distinguish the country
from many other jurisdictions. This entrepreneurial spirit has seen competitors identify mutual interests to create joint-ventures. It has seen students identify market opportunities and exploit them with the assistance of multinational and government funding. The innate curiosity of the Irish workforce makes it naturally disposed to innovation and creativity. Thus, the concept of “Open Innovation” is alive and well in the Ireland of today. Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) is one of the nation’s most important facilitators of the “Open Innovation” paradigm, as it is the body that funds cutting-edge research, with a view to making Ireland a “global knowledge leader”. There are myriad examples of how industry-focused academic projects that have received SFI funding via Universities and Institutes of Technology, have attracted the attention of multinational companies that have supported, funded and participated in the projects with a view to commercialisation. Ireland’s well-reputed intellectual property laws have facilitated this openly- innovative environment. SFI is supporting over 500 research groups, comprising over 3,000 researchers engaged in high quality international peer reviewed research. SFI oversees a multitude of initiatives that bring industry and academia together over a vast spectrum of areas. Many of these projects are found in SFI’s Centres for Scientific, Engineering & Technology (CSETs) and Strategic Research Clusters (SRCs). SFI researchers are now engaged in over 600 academic-enterprise collaborations. In addition academic-academic collaborations have increased to 1,967 (24% in Ireland, 32% rest of EU, 44% outside EU).
Director General of SFI, John Travers identified the next phase of SFI as “one of continued progress, where new opportunities are created and where promising talent is unearthed and cultivated in our Higher Education Institutions. Our endeavours in attracting international researchers to our shores and in promoting our domestic capabilities to a global audience will also be prioritised in the year ahead.”
Convergence The “Open Innovation” concept also embodies the principle of “convergence”, whereby the confluence of ideas and technology leads to the convergence of formerly disparate industries in order to exploit market opportunities. Ireland’s “Innovation Task Force”, which published its findings in March 2010, stated, “With our strong base of companies and research capabilities across a number of sectors, Ireland has a perhaps unique opportunity to take advantage of the increasing convergence of technologies. This convergence is leading to new opportunities, new types of business, new products and services, an increased blurring between formerly discrete sectors and new customer markets for many of the more traditional sectors”. IDA Ireland illustrate the point further:, “Companies that once exclusively thought of themselves as ICT firms such as IBM now develop solutions in applying that technology to promote better healthcare. Companies working at the
forefront of nanotechnology and micro-electronics are developing applications in Life Sciences. Even building materials are being embedded with sensors connected to wireless networks to create smart buildings. These innovations require an approach to project development that stretches across firms in previously unrelated sectors. The IDA is already a pioneer in bringing such projects to fruition”. Life Sciences, a sector in which Ireland has excelled and now boasts a most proficient research, development and commercialisation base, has seen first-hand the benefits of convergence. The convergence of micro-electronics and the medical device industry is an ideal case with which to illustrate the point. “Creganna-Tactx Medical” is a company that serves as a fitting example. First established in 1980 to provide services to the microelectronics industry, the company utilised its skillset to enter the field of medical device technology. Based in Galway, “Creganna-Tactx Medical” is now one of the world’s top ten providers of technologies and services to minimally invasive medical device companies. There are also a multitude of examples whereby multinational companies resident in Ireland, through the social and business networks of their executives, engage individuals, indigenous companies and even other multinational firms directly to create new products and services. The ICT sector has taken a lead in this area, with Google’s “Code Jam” project and Facebook’s “Developer Garage” programme serving as two pertinent examples. For the past five years the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI) SFI CSET has been working on
the development of technologies which will enable cost effective early diagnosis of illnesses such as cancer, meningitis and cardiovascular disease and is now moving on to translate these novel diagnostic devices into clinical and commercial reality. The main academic partners are Dublin City University, National University of Ireland, Galway, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, and the Tyndall National Institute, Cork. The six companies involved are Analog Devices Inc, Becton Dickinson and Co, Biosurfit S.A., Inverness Medical Innovations Inc, J&J OrthoClinical Diagnostics, and Millipore. BDI is seeking to develop what might be termed smart one-stopdiagnostic-shops for use at point of care or near point of care by healthcare professionals. The concept is of a single, easy to use device which will take the sample, perform the test and deliver the result in what is effectively a single action.
2) The Test Bed Model Ireland was the first country in Europe to introduce a Government-levy on plastic bags, thus sparking a green revolution in supermarkets throughout the rest of the continent. Ireland was also the first country to introduce a smoking-ban in workplaces, another pioneering initiative which proved to be a success that was subsequently replicated throughout the EU. This rubric of Ireland as a test bed is also readily transferable and every bit as applicable to the commercialisation of new technologies. Ireland’s size and infrastructure lends itself incredibly well to proof of concept when it comes to rolling out new ideas.
The IDA describes in its “Horizon 2020” strategy how Ireland is an ideal “low-risk location from which to establish and develop an international presence”, as companies can test new technologies in Ireland before releasing them in other markets. According to the strategy document, “Ireland is one of the world’s best laboratories for companies to ‘develop, test bed and internationalise’ a new technology, service or business process”. With the country’s superior wind and wave resources, the area of clean tech is of particular interest with regard to the test bed model. This is equally applicable in the “Smart Grid” arena, a topic that will be explored further in this volume.
Competence Centres As the Innovation Task Force astutely observed, the “Innovation Ecosystem” benefits hugely from “increasing complementarity between strategies for FDI and indigenous industry based around the idea of making Ireland an Innovation Hub”. The primary policy focus with regard to indigenous Irish industry is exports. As the world’s second most open economy, with a limited consumer market, Ireland’s future is dependent on both exports and FDI as the engines of growth. IDA’s sister agency, Enterprise Ireland, is the State agency charged with the task of promoting internationally, the export of Irish goods and increasingly importantly, services. The aforementioned complementarities between FDI and indigenous industry has seen the sister agencies undertake combined initiatives, in alliance with the HEIs, to form seven industryled applied research “Competence Centres”. These centres are staffed by highly-qualified researchers from industry and academia working on market-focused RD&I in specific industry areas, including manufacturing technologies and productivity enhancement. Current projects are in technology areas such as applied nanotechnology, energy efficiency in manufacturing, advanced manufacturing productivity, bioenergy, composites material and advanced CMOS circuit design.
Mobile Entrepreneurs Another area of collaboration between IDA & Enterprise Ireland is found in the area of “mobile entrepreneurs”. Globalisation has shifted the tectonic plates of international business to the extent that “Foreign Direct Investment” is no longer just a case of large multinational companies building a factory in a particular jurisdiction as a result of a tax break. Rather, it has meant that there are a great number of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), led by entrepreneurs with a mobile phone and a laptop. Many of these SMEs have vast potential for expansion following the information revolution, and even more potential still when considering the opportunities that will come into play in the green revolution over the next decade. When these businesses reach their inflection point, they need a base from which to expand, to set up offices, to hire staff and to engage government. The IDA’s strategic priorities mean that it is concerned with the FDI projects that can yield the highest number of jobs for the country, both directly and indirectly. Enterprise Ireland, therefore, is taking up the mantle to attract these mobile entrepreneurs, be they members of the returning Diaspora, or simply international entrepreneurs looking for a base from which to tackle the EU market. Enterprise Ireland’s extensive international network, including offices 31 offices throughout the world, in addition to their 12 national offices, means that these international entrepreneurs can avail of all of the services and support that has facilitated indigenous Irish companies in tackling world markets so successfully. We asked Enterprise Ireland CEO Frank Ryan why a mobile entrepreneur should set up shop in Ireland? “Ireland is an excellent location for overseas entrepreneurs to base their businesses, due to the ease of doing business here. The fact that we are English speaking, have a highly educated workforce and a proven track record of leading the globe in the hi-tech sphere means that Ireland is a logical choice for those mobile entrepreneurs that are looking for a base of operations for their European initiative.” “Overseas entrepreneurs can also avail of the same excellent grant assistance that Enterprise Ireland provides to indigenous Irish companies to gain traction and succeed in international markets. The overseas entrepreneur is a category of client that we are increasingly accommodating as a priority.”
Powering the Smart Economy through Research, Development & Innovation Science Foundation Ireland
The Emerald Isle has a rich history of scientific discovery. All digital computer logic is derived from Boolean Logic, conceived by George Boole of County Cork. Wind is measured by the Beaufort Scale, originated by Francis Beaufort of County Meath. The Kelvin Scale was developed by William Thomson of County Down. The spiral nature of galaxies was first discovered by William Parsons of County Offaly. Another County Offaly man, John Tyndall, is responsible for greatly enhancing our understanding of the nature of light. County Offaly was also the birthplace of the man that first coined the term, “electron” – George Johnson Stoney, while his nephew, - George Francis FitzGerald of County Dublin, first discovered an important result of Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. These historical achievements are not destined to be Ireland’s last. The field of scientific discovery in Ireland today is one that is being nurtured and studiously developed as a matter of government policy. Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), is the State agency that facilitates scientific funding throughout the Republic of Ireland. The mission of the Foundation is: “to build and strengthen scientific and engineering research and its infrastructure in the areas of greatest strategic value to Ireland’s long term competitiveness and development”. Academic research projects in the nation’s Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) - the Universities and Institutes of Technology, - receive considerable funding from SFI. Research, Development & Innovation has been prioritised by the Irish government, as evidenced by the fact that SFI
received additional funding of €11 million, -in what was an otherwise draconian Budget 2011. Commenting on Budget 2011’s allocation for science, John Travers, SFI’s Director General said “During this intense period of economic difficulty, this clearly highlights Ireland’s commitment to investing in high-quality scientific and engineering research to support long-term, sustainable economic development. The SFI research community continues to enhance Ireland’s international reputation in science and engineering, enabling increasing levels of high tech foreign direct investment and indigenous innovation. The budget allocations will allow third-level institutions to foster emerging talent and continue to build partnerships with industry so that innovative research can continue to flourish for years to come.” In light of the aforementioned mission statement of SFI, a conscious effort is made to ensure that funded projects have a certain degree of commercial viability, and because of this, there is a lot of participation from multinational companies in the projects that are on-going. SFI is, however, cognizant of the fact that the nature of progress itself dictates that sometimes, the inadvertent discoveries made in the course of scientific research, can sometimes prove to be the most important ones – so a very broad mind is kept by SFI when evaluating proposals. The three major areas of interest for SFI are: 1. Information & Communications Technology (ICT) 2. Life Sciences & Biotechnology 3. Sustainable Energy & Energy Efficient Technologies
In true scientific spirit, however, SFI insists that it must not be pigeon-holed into narrow definitions, and so there is also a “Research Frontiers Programme” that facilitates cutting-edge research that happens to fall outside the boundaries of the core areas identified above. SFI works to power the Smart Economy on the basis of the intelligent utilisation of human capital and knowledge transfer across academia, industry and government. SFI does this in order to facilitate the production of quality output with a view to enhancing Ireland’s global reputation as a knowledge leader in the scientific and engineering research, development and innovation. In the eleven years since SFI was first established, it has contributed significantly to Ireland’s scientific stature on the global stage. In 2008, Ireland entered the Top 20 countries in terms of quality scientific output, according to Thomson Reuters. It has remained there ever since. Such rankings are calculated on the basis of citations in established international scientific journals of repute. This international standing, accompanied by state-of-the-art facilities, and a focused, funding regime has meant that Ireland has also been able to attract some of the world’s top international experts to contribute to the nation’s body of research. In terms of immunology, in particular, Ireland has excelled, becoming the third best country in the world in terms of its research in the field. Professor Luke O’Neill and Professor Kingston Mills of the Trinity Immunology Research Centre, are the people behind the endeavours and articles that have put Trinity College Dublin in the top 1% of institutions in the world in this field.
This led Thomson Reuters to declare Ireland an “outstanding” location for immunology research and rank the country third in this field.
Strategic Research Clusters (SRCs) & Centres for Science, Engineering & Technology (CSETs) The success of the SFI’s sister organisation, IDA Ireland, in attracting successive waves of FDI and focusing them into highly-dynamic and innovative clusters, such as medical technologies, digital media and games has been highly admired internationally. Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has also utilised a similar model in the formation of their Strategic Research Clusters (SRCs). These SRCs are based in and around the nation’s Higher Education Institutions, and are accompanied by area-specific Centres for Science, Engineering & Technology (CSETs). Many of the CSET projects are part-funded by and heavily involved with large multinational companies that are seeking to commercialise aspects of the research. For example, the IBM Smart Cities programme is involved with the hi-tech CLARITY CSET based in University College Dublin (UCD), while both Intel and Hewlett-Packard are founding participants in the nanotechnology-focused CRANN CSET in Trinity College. Other examples of industry-focused RD&I projects that are funded by SFI include Intel’s involvement with TRIL & the Tyndall Institute in UCC.
Some particularly interesting projects originating from SFI groups include: Treemetrics, a Cork company, worked with the Cork Constraint Computation Centre (4C), University College Cork (UCC) – on a project that utilises laser technology to scan trees in order to determine optimal ways to harvest a forest to enable less wastage, better distribution and better use of timber resources. (Prof. Eugene C. Freuder) The Neonatal Brain Research Group, UCC – a project that has developed innovative tools to detect seizures in newborn babies, enabling immediate evaluation and treatment to prevent long term brain injury. (Dr. Geraldine Boylan & Dr. Liam Marnane) Equinome, UCD – a project that has identified the “speed gene” in thoroughbred horses. This first known characterisation of a gene contributing to a specific athletic trait in thoroughbred horses has the potential to transform the decision-making process in the global bloodstock industry, capitalising on Ireland’s international standing in the equestrian industry. (Dr. Emmeline Hill)
Intel & Hewlett-Packard’s collaboration with the CRANN CSET The Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices, or CRANN, is an SFI-funded CSET. CRANN is made up of academic and industry partners from Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, Intel, Hewlett Packard and a number of small-to-medium -sized enterprises. Both Intel & Hewlett-Packard were founding members of CRANN in 2004 and continue to play a major part in the centre’s success. CRANN is based in a 6,000m2, five storey building on the Trinity College campus. It provides stateof-the-art nanoscience laboratories, together with a public science gallery. The world-class scientific leadership in CRANN is provided by 16 principal investigators who conduct the work of 130 scientists and students. Irish Government investment in CRANN since 2001 has been €140 million. A further €24 million has been awarded for 2009-2014.
being recognised within HP as a provider of important technology solutions for the organisation globally – enabling the growth of the research mandate locally. CRANN is now well-integrated into HP and has developed a new and more extensive research programme to continue into the future. Ireland is now associated with creative research and innovation, a recognition that is critical for Ireland as it demonstrates a capacity to deliver real value to industry, aiding the attraction of new foreign direct investment and the further embedding of existing industry and the associated jobs.
Research carried out in CRANN includes: alternative patterning techniques using self assembly; new memory structures using advanced magnetic layers; breakthrough methods for creating contacts to silicon; and applications for carbon nanotubes in interconnect technology. Over the last four years, the researchers in the centre have collaborated with Hewlett-Packard (HP) in the joint development of flexible, transparent and highly conductive thin films. The research programme receives additional funding from IDA Ireland in supporting technology development within HP Ireland. The collaboration has produced outstanding results, leading to HP Ireland now
Trinity College Dublin By Dr John Hegarty, TCD Provost
At the heart of Dublin City is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Trinity College Dublin. As you enter the cobble-stoned campus you cannot help sensing the impact of its four centuries of existence. Nor, can you help feeling that Trinity’s students and academics of today are taking the university to a new level of intellectual energy, innovative initiative and connectivity. The statistics speak for themselves – Trinity is in the top 1% of universities internationally in fifteen fields of research, it is in the top 100 overall by a number of rankings, graduates are highly sought after by employers and 10 companies were spun-off in 2009 alone. In 2001 when I became Provost of the University, my plan was to take Trinity into the top 50 universities internationally. In 2009 we achieved that goal. But since rankings are quite crude measures, it is worth probing a little further to find out what makes Trinity so distinctive. First is its history. Founded by Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1592, for over 400 years Trinity has produced some of the world’s great minds across the sciences and the humanities, including two Nobel Laureates, Samuel Beckett in literature and Ernest Walton in science. Literary greats such as Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett are joined by the creative genius of more recent graduates, such as writers, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Anne Enright and Sebastian Barry. Philosophers such as George Berkeley and Edmund Burke are joined by more contemporary alumni such as former UN Human Rights Commissioner, Mary Robinson. Trinity graduates and scholars keep Ireland firmly at the forefront of science. Past discoveries still relevant today include Sir William Rowan Hamilton’s mathematics, Ernest Walton’s splitting of the atom, Denis Parsons Burkitt’s
Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) at TCD
discovery of a form of lymphoma named after him, Vincent Barryâ€™s cure for leprosy in 1954, and the development of a prototype for the nicotine patch in 1990. These have been magnified in recent times by, for example, breakthroughs in alzheimerâ€™s disease, malaria and multiple sclerosis, as well as the recent identification of the first three human-specific genes in 2009. You can get a sense of what is happening today in Trinity by browsing through our new strategic plan. Contrary to many universities across the world, teaching and research hold equal respect. You will find that freshman students are taught by the most senior academics on the basis that it is at this stage that students need to be exposed to the passion and wisdom of the most experienced and inspirational teachers. Trinity expects a lot of its students in terms of critical and imaginative thinking, as well as mastery of a discipline. All students are expected to engage in a research project before they finish their studies so that teaching, in effect, is strongly research-driven. It is not easy to get into Trinity but those that do, emerge with the capacity and confidence to be leaders and innovators. Trinity has also made a special effort to make its educational experience accessible to talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as to students with intellectual disabilities. Trinity made a conscious decision, a number of years ago, to prioritise areas of research on the basis that no university can do everything well. This strategy has proven effective, since it can now boast of having critical mass and quality in several areas of research which in turn have a direct impact on the curriculum and the creation of intellectual property. It has done this by recruiting only the best
in the world but also by encouraging connections across disciplines as well as with industry, policy developers, and cultural institutions. Immunology is a case in point. Ireland is ranked number three in the world by citations and this is mostly down to Trinity researchers like Professors Luke Oâ€™Neill, Kingston Mills, Dermot Kelleher and their colleagues. They transcend disciplinary boundaries, working with industry and spin off companies such as Opsona Therapeutics. These researchers and others from medicine, pharmacy, chemistry, bioengineering, and biochemistry will shortly move into a state-of-the-art Biomedical Sciences Institute which represents a new paradigm of research, and is the biggest single development in the history of this University. Close in terms of excellence of research is neuroscience, involving many disciplines from psychology to genetics. Trinity originated the field of genetics in Ireland and Ireland was recently ranked first in Europe on the basis of citations. Another example is nanoscience, and the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) at Trinity is also highly ranked. This large initiative spanning several disciplines, headed by Chemist, Professor John Boland, has a very strong connection to Intel, HP and other companies and is housed in a purpose built, state-of-the art facility. Industry researchers work side by side with academics so that students are exposed to a wide array of viewpoints and interests. They subsequently find the experience very engaging and stimulating. In addition, several campus companies have been created.
The Trinity Long Room Hub, TCDâ€™s Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Another interesting example is in the telecommunications area with a multi-disciplinary, multi-university consortium, the Centre for Telecommunications Value-Chain Research (CTVR), headed by Engineer, Associate Professor Linda Doyle. It has a close partnership with Lucent Technologies which set up in Ireland specifically to engage in this type of research. Across the social sciences and humanities there are a number of very unusual developments that bode well for Irelandâ€™s future. One very large scale initiative is the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing headed by Gerontologist Professor Rose-Anne Kenny, which brings together medics, geneticists, social scientists, engineers and statisticians in several universities and also partners with Intel and its technology capability. These examples give a flavour of the quality and scale that characterises Irish research, as well as the collaborative and partnership approach taken. Along with research, Trinity has been developing its intellectual property policy for some time and now has an industry-friendly, open innovation policy that has seen the number of quality patents, the number of engagements with industry, and the number of spin-off companies all increase. As part of the drive to increase effectiveness in business development, Trinity has joined with UCD in an Innovation Alliance to pool efforts in the deployment of intellectual property for job creation and to instill a stronger sense of entrepreneurship and innovation in all of our students. The Alliance is a landmark development in Irish higher education. But Trinity is pushing the concept of connections even further. I have been spearheading a new initiative in the Creative Arts, Technologies and Culture. This is connecting the University
and the cityâ€™s nearby high concentration of cultural and performing institutions by the joint development of the practitioner aspect of the arts and humanities. It is also connecting the sciences and the arts in a special way, especially in the area of digital media with its strengths in engineering and computer science. A consortium of poets, dramatists, composers, computer scientists, engineers, economists, linguists and historians, has been plotting a city centre porous network of education, scholarship, performance, exhibition, and job creation, with Trinity as the catalyst. It has the potential to be an outstanding example of creative connectivity on the world stage. The new National Academy of Dramatic Art, the Lir, and the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish writing are important elements of this initiative and the newly built landmark building, the Trinity Long Room Hub, will be the nerve centre of digital humanities and international connectivity. Finally, located at the Pearse Street entrance to the campus is perhaps one of the most unexpectedly successful initiatives in the country, the Science Gallery, of which I am very proud. The Science Gallery is a conceptually new space to interface the scientist and the citizen through the medium of the arts, including exhibitions, talks, encounters of all types, and good coffee. It is quite unique as a concept and in two years over 700,000 people have visited. It is aimed at young people in the 15-25 year old bracket, an age when decisions to pursue or drop science are taken. The Science Gallery and all the other extraordinary developments at Trinity College Dublin are worth visiting. They represent a university that continues to draw on its rich tradition of innovation to set the pace for change locally, nationally and internationally.
At the Cutting Edge of Innovation University College Dublin Interview with President, Dr. Hugh Brady
University College Dublin, an academic institution of the highest calibre, has a long track record of innovation. At the forefront of the development of Ireland’s hi-tech ecosystem for decades, the University has established a recognised name on the international stage synonymous with creativity and commercialisation throughout the spectrum of industry sectors. As a member of the Innovation Task Force that produced the Department of An Taoiseach’s “Innovation Ireland” report in March 2010, Dr. Hugh Brady, President of UCD is one of the country’s foremost proponents of the culture of innovation. The President describes the internal structure of the University that fosters the growth of this marketapplicable branch of academia, “Here in UCD, we have a number of ways in which we nurture innovation. ‘Nova UCD’ is the name given to our centre for technology transfer and commercialisation. It serves to engender a spirit of innovation and acts to protect the intellectual property of the University. Through the support of university start-ups and collaboration with various “spin-in” companies that have engaged us from the outside, UCD has delivered a great deal of benefit in bringing innovative solutions to market. A example of this is ‘Changing Worlds’, a personalised mobile technology company that was sold recently for €60m”. As one of Ireland’s flagship academic institutions, UCD is actively engaged with the private sector throughout the multitude of industries that form the basis of the modern Irish economy.
“We have about 200 partnerships with private business. Some of these partnerships have been developed through direct links with the companies themselves, whereas some have come about as a result of SFI (Science Foundation Ireland) funded projects. These partnerships span a broad range of sectors, from ICT and Biopharma to Financial Services; from Agri-food and Energy to Medical Devices”. Given Ireland’s natural advantages in the areas of wind and wave energy and the Government’s stated objectives in the “Developing the Green Economy” report (by the High-Level Group on Green Enterprise), the university-affiliated energy projects are of particular interest to many. “Yes, we have the UCD Energy Research Centre”, explains Dr. Brady, “This centre houses projects that explore many aspects of the burgeoning green economy, such as grid connection, the smart grid and solar power generated from chemical compounds that absorb low-intensity light. There are over over 25 energy companies involved with the centre, which is also working with SFI and the public sector energy companies, such as ESB and Bord na MÓna”.
programmes with a view to enterprise development. This is a significant step that enables us complement one another”. The Report of the Innovation Taskforce, entitled ‘Innovation Ireland’ is a crucial document for the future of the Irish economy, as it maps out the actions that must be taken in order to put Ireland at the forefront of innovation internationally, with a view to correcting the current fiscal imbalances and returning the economy to growth. As a member of the taskforce, Dr. Brady was heavily involved with this project. I asked the President about the mechanisms that have been put in place to ensure the implementation of the report’s recommendations.
The collaborations that UCD is engaged in are not confined simply to government and industry. It seems that the university has joined forces with another esteemed academic institution in the city of Dublin.
“Most of the recommendations of the ‘Innovation Ireland’ report have in fact already been implemented. There is a monitoring group from the Department of An Taoiseach in place that oversees the implementation. This ensures that the various government bodies charged with responsibilities in their respective areas are held to account. With regard to education for example, the decision to re-introduce bonus points for honours maths in the leaving certificate (the national school-leaving examination) has already been taken. This will go a long way to increasing the numbers of students concentrating on maths and science subjects at third level. This is a factor that is crucial for a innovationled economy”.
“Another important point to mention with regard to innovation is the alliance that has been made between UCD and Trinity College. We are working together with regard to main-streaming our PhD
The ‘Global Irish Forum’ - a ‘think-in’ at Farmleigh House that engaged the country’s Diaspora by bringing together over 200 of Ireland’s brightest sons and daughters from all over the world with a
view to plotting the way forward for the national economy, was also an event attended by Dr. Brady. “I thought Farmleigh was an excellent event. It harnessed the best thinking, not only from the leaders of business and academia here in Ireland, but also those Irish people that have become highly successful in other countries as well. I understand that this is a project that the Department of Foreign Affairs is seeking to expand upon, so I think that there is further potential for the development of innovation in Ireland as a result of this forum”. According to IDA Ireland, there are currently two sides to the story of the Irish economy, one that is over-projected – the debt-fuelled property bubble and consequent banking crisis, and one that is under-projected - the fact that flows of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) have actually gone up since 2008, and Irish exports have actually remained higher than the average of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). This is a point that Dr. Brady seizes on and expands upon, “I am actually very optimistic with regard to the Irish economy. Even in recession, Irish exports held up remarkably well in comparison to the rest of the world. While international exports suffered a 10% drop, Ireland’s exports only suffered a drop of 4%. In terms of our strengths, we are still very solid in pharma, ICT and medical devices – that hasn’t changed. Last year, 50% of FDI was hi-tech manufacture and research & development based. The ecosystem that exists within Ireland for start-ups is very conducive to the development of successful innovation-led enterprises”. So, as President of University College Dublin, what is Dr. Brady’s message to those companies that are currently considering Ireland as a base for their European headquarters? “From the point of view of companies that are considering locating in Ireland, I think that it is very important to recognise that, despite the changes that have taken place in the national economy over the last two years, the conditions that led to the world’s top ICT and pharma companies establishing their bases here in Ireland still exist. We still have an extremely low corporation tax rate of 12.5%. We still have a highly educated and very adaptive workforce, and we still provide an excellent entry-point from which to access the entire European market. This is a country that is highly networked internationally and has seen the growth of an extremely vibrant research culture.
Another point to take into account is the increase of our competitiveness of late. Costs have come down across the board, while the hi-tech side of our economy has held up and remained intact throughout the recession”. Of course, as an academic centre of excellence that is striving to increase its already considerable innovation credentials, UCD is open to collaborations with hi-tech foreign companies that are establishing a presence in the country and are looking for an academic innovation hub. “Partnership with business is an area that we have a proven track record in, and one that we will continue to expand in. We are very much open to collaborating with industry in this regard”.
University College Cork President, Dr. Michael Murphy
UCC was established in 1845 as one of three Queen’s Colleges at Cork, Galway and Belfast. The site chosen for the college, on the banks of the River Lee, is particularly appropriate given its connection with the patron saint of Cork, St. Finbarr. The University’s motto is ‘Where Finbarr Taught, Let Munster Learn.’
Please could you tell us about the Tyndall National Institute at UCC and some of the projects ongoing there? Tyndall National Institute is a semi-autonomous Institute within UCC. This is an innovative structure within the Irish University system allowing greater flexibility and responsiveness to industry in the critical ICT sector.
Nanotechnology Tyndall has world leading expertise and results in nanotechnology. Its nanoelectronics expertise is centred-around the development of materials, processes and techniques that will be used to fabricate tomorrow’s electronic devices for healthcare, energy, communications and the environment. It has recently built a major new cleanroom for flexible semiconductor device fabrication, clean space for device packaging and test facilities to industrial standards and a new set of nanomaterials capabilities. Tyndall represents a key nanotechnology resource, for both its world-class facilities and the experts who use them. World renowned expert Prof. Jean-Pierre Colinge and a team of scientists at Tyndall, UCC have designed and fabricated the world’s first junctionless
transistor that could have a significant impact on microchip manufacturing in the semiconductor industry. The Tyndall junctionless devices have near ideal electrical properties and behave like the most perfect transistors, and have the potential of operating faster while using less energy than the conventional transistors used in today’s microprocessors. This means that it hardly suffers at all from current leakage – the bane of conventional devices – and so could potentially operate faster, using less energy. The publication of the invention of a major new development in transistor technology in Nature Nanotechnology was a major accomplishment for the Institute during 2010. In 2010 Intel Corporation announced details of a 3 year, $1.5million advanced research collaboration signed with Tyndall. The agreement is the first of a kind for Intel in Ireland and establishes a direct collaboration between Tyndall and the heart of Intel’s technology research group in the US. Intel has only one other such agreement in Europe. Under the research agreement Tyndall and Intel researchers are set to investigate next generation materials, devices and photonics technologies. Another idea that could gain traction with Intel is that photonics could be used for on-chip high-speed interconnect. The agreement will provide Intel with a commercial exploitation license to technology created through the collaboration with Tyndall.
Photonics The photonics systems group at Tyndall, UCC is considered amongst the best photonic systems groups in the world.
Tydall demonstrated a ground-breaking advance in fibre-to-the-home networks within the EU FP7 PIEMAN project. By increasing the network span from around 20km, which is typical today, to as much as 100km, these new networks will potentially be much simpler and easier to manage with significantly lower equipment and operational costs.
Health The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) Colles Institute and Tyndall combined their respective strengths, synergies in ICT design hardware, clinical trial and market validation through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in April 2010. This MOU facilitates the full set of building blocks which allow an idea to be taken from concept right through to ICT design, to pre-clinical, clinical trial to market realisation. The collaboration is a national initiative which encourages both academia and industry from Ireland and internationally to access the combined infrastructure. The RCSI Colles Institute -Tyndall collaboration will provide the structure to develop technology solutions for the global biomedical device and surgical markets. Translating research, development and innovation into commercialised products will fuel Ireland’s economic growth. Tyndall and RCSI Colles Institute clearly understand that Ireland needs to make its own opportunities, create its own jobs and companies, if we are to sustain economic recovery. Tyndall has a number of leading capabilities in health, spanning Wireless Sensors, Diagnostics,
Therapeutics & Monitoring which are targeting the medical device industry through the convergence of ICT technology platforms in microneedle transdermal drug delivery, cancer treatment, prosthetics, chemical sensing, biophotonics and specialised conformal coatings in new areas of medical device innovations.
- Convergence and co-existence of Energy Information Networks
Given that the energy agenda has now taken pride of place in the public consciousness, the newly opened International Energy Research Centre is of particular interest. What kind of projects are set to be undertaken and how will industrial entities partner with
- Energy storage challenges
the centre? A new International Energy Research Centre (IERC) has been established at Tyndall, UCC. This centre will be an industry-led collaborative entity working with leading Irish and international researchers in the area of integrated sustainable energy systems. It will be a platform for innovation in the commercialisation of technologies created through the convergence of ICT and Energy research across Ireland. Tyndall is a leader in European ICT research and is ideally equipped to facilitate the convergence of ICT and energy necessary to deliver the novel energy systems that will drive Ireland’s Green economy. Some of the themes being examined are:
- Factory optimisation using local smart grids - Home area energy networks
American multi-national, United Technologies Corporation (UTC), has located a new research facility at Tyndall, UCC. UTC is the first company to locate a research facility in Ireland as a direct result of the IERC’s establishment. The company has established a unique energy and security research centre in Ireland employing 7 people and expecting to employ up to 37 people over the next four years through a €15m investment.
Maritime Energy The IERC is complemented by UCC’s flagship Maritime and Energy Research Campus and Commercial Cluster (MERC) project, which focuses on marine renewable energy (offshore wind, wave and tidal energy). The MERC collaboration copper-fastens UCC’s excellent relationship with the Cork Institute of Technology, and uniquely involves the Irish Naval Service. Together this tripartite will deliver a new campus in Ringaskiddy, Cork, featuring the National Maritime College of Ireland, the Irish Naval Service and UCC’s new National Marine Renewable Energy Test Facility. A critical mass of expertise will be brought to bear on the key areas of energy
engineering, maritime operations, maritime technology and ecosystem governance. The expertise within the partnership provides a unique mix of academic, end user and professional expertise focused on the offshore environment.
UCC has many industry-focus innovation projects, from which start-up companies are brought into existence. Can you give some examples of work in this regard?
MERC has been initiated at the dawn of a new era for maritime Ireland, stimulated by the growing realisation of the economic opportunities around maritime energy, and in particular with regard to marine renewables.
UCC is a lead partner in the development of Ireland’s first Science Park. The Cork Science Innovation and Technology Park is being developed in collaboration with Cork County Council, Cork Institute of technology, IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.
This awakening is being transformed into action through a number of complementary, strategic national marine initiatives. These include Smart Bay, the full scale offshore marine energy test site in Belmullet, and MERC. Similar to the IERC, MERC provides for an industry-led approach to research and development. This will be used to develop an ecosystem of innovation that will yield intellectual property, high potential start-up companies and jobs in the Ireland’s Smart Economy. Examples of projects include Innovation Partnerships to develop technology to stimulate the deployment of wave energy devices off the West Coast of Ireland, and to improve the ability to access offshore wind turbines. industry partners range from multinational corporations such as Transas Ltd, to SMEs such as Seftec Offshore Ltd.
The University established its Office of Technology Transfer in 2007 to drive the commercialisation of UCC and Tyndall research into the economy. Over the past two years UCC has formed 7 companies across all major disciplines: Software, ICT Hardware, Food and Med-Tech. The pipeline for the coming year indicates this flow will continue.
Together, the IERC and MERC form part of UCC’s energy alliance, and represent UCC’s strategic approach to Ireland’s energy opportunity.
Enterprise Platform Programmes for Start-Up Businesses
Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of any economy. There are over 250,000 SMEs throughout Ireland. Many of the new start-up businesses are becoming increasingly innovation-led and export driven. This is as a result of two factors; (a) a blossoming entrepreneurial culture base and a solid educational foundation, and, (b) government policy as implemented by State agencies, in collaboration with local authorities and higher educational institutions. Ireland is a place that fosters innovation in startup companies by providing the infrastructure in which they can flourish. Once again, the themes of open innovation and convergence are encouraged as entrepreneurs, inventors, academics and financiers all interact at innovation hubs throughout the country. Entrepreneurs that are launching a business in Ireland have two initial ports of call. Firstly, Enterprise Ireland, the State agency responsible for promoting Irish products and services throughout international markets. In order to work with Enterprise Ireland, a company must be exportorientated and demonstrate the potential to create real employment. The second port of call is the local County Enterprise Board. These more localised institutions provide mentoring and funding to startup companies in the form of employment grants and capital expenditure grants. In order to stimulate the innovation culture throughout the nation, Enterprise Ireland funds the Institutes of Technology, who provide collaborative incubation centres for entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses.
Purpose built office buildings such as the Synergy Centre at the Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT) house a multitude of dynamic start-up companies that have the added advantage of working alongside the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), offering the opportunity for mutually beneficial project collaboration.
According to Nick Mernagh, Manager of the Synergy Centre, ITT Tallaght,
Many of the successful new businesses that emerge from these centres have done so on foot of the Enterprise Platform Programme (EPP), funded by Enterprise Ireland.
• • • • • • •
In order to be eligible for the EPP, entrepreneurs must have a well-thought out innovative business idea or technology that has the potential to be developed into a High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) company. In order to become a HPSU and avail of Enterprise Ireland’s excellent HPSU supports, a company must demonstrate, through an investorready business plan, the capacity to generate either €1 million in revenue or 10 jobs within 3 years. They should also produce innovative products for export or be involved in trading an international service.
“Innovation is a real driver of growth in Ireland. The Institutes of Technology are playing a leading role in nurturing innovative start-up projects”. EPP programmes are administered in
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The Synergy Centre, ITT Tallaght The Create Programme, IADT The Hothouse Programme, DIT The South East EPP, Waterford IT The LEAP Programme, Limerick IT The Genesis Programme, Cork IT The Ceím Programme, IT Sligo & IT Letterkenny Midlands Innovation & Research Centre, Athlone IT & Galway-Mayo IT The Carlow EPP, IT Carlow The Novation Programme, Dundalk IT The Endeavour Programme, IT Tralee The LINC programme, IT Blanchardstown
The access to training, incubation units and the support networks of mentors, venture capitalists and academics, that the EPP programmes in these incubation centres provide have given rise to a number of internationally successful Irish businesses.
Our Mission To play a leading role in transforming Ireland into a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices www.seai.ie
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland is financed by Irelandâ€™s EU Structural Funds Programme co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union
The Green Economy
Key Points »» Ireland has some of the best natural resources on the planet for wind and wave power »» Highly successful wind energy infrastructure already in place »» Irish private sector is at the forefront of the development of wave energy technologies »» Clear policy targets have been set:
- 40% of all electricity generated from renewable sources by 2020
- a 20% energy efficiency improvement by 2020
- a penetration rate of 10% for electric vehicles by 2020
»» 2010 saw the establishment of IBM’s first Smarter Cities Technology Centre in Dublin to better understand, interconnect and manage core operational systems such as transport, communication, water and energy »» Dublin City will collaborate with IBM as a ‘Test bed’, positioning Dublin as a Smarter City, embracing technology to meet the challenges of a globally competitive, sustainable city for the future »» Green Economic Zone established - The Green Way »» International Green Financial Services Centre framework in place
Vision 2030 Ireland
The Green Economy • Clean tech is now one of Ireland’s fastest growing sectors • Over 240 companies in the sector employing 5,900 people • The sector’s total export sales in 2009 were €120 million • An extensive assessment of Ireland’s employment requirements in the sector was carried out as Forfás produced a 162 page report entitled ‘Future Skills Needs of Enterprise with the Green Economy in Ireland’ • Forfás conservatively estimated the overall value of the Irish market at €2.8 billion in 2008 • The potential exists to create 80,000 jobs in the sector
Leading the Green Revolution Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Prof. Owen Lewis, Chief Executive Officer Dr. Brian Motherway, Chief Operations Officer
First there was the Industrial Revolution, which changed the way that humans lived entirely, and began the migration from rural areas to cities that continues today. More recently, it was followed by the Information Revolution which has fundamentally changed the way that we communicate with one another. The wheels of the next seismic shift in human development are currently in motion. Driven partly by necessity, partly by the profit motive, the “Green Revolution” is set to change the way that we consume energy, with a view to putting the future evolution of humanity on a more sustainable footing. This necessarily involves, as Al Gore’s clean tech-focused investment firm, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield put it, “nothing less than the reindustrialisation of the entire planet”. Professor J. Owen Lewis is the Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI), the state agency charged with the tasks of advising government and determining strategy with regard to reducing energy demand and promoting national uptake of sustainable energy products and services with a view to reducing the nation’s carbon footprint. It envisages Ireland becoming a global leader in the area, with a society fully engaged with the green agenda and an economy fully exploiting the global opportunities that it gives rise to. Prof. Lewis believes reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and their associated carbon emissions and improving our resource efficiency, are global trends that are already starting to define the future of technology and business - a future in which Ireland can be at the forefront.
Prof. Owen Lewis, Chief Executive Officer, SEAI
“One of the major shifts that has taken place over the course of the last few years”, explains Dr. Brian Motherway, Chief Operations Officer of SEAI, “is that energy is not a peripheral issue anymore. Now the issue of energy has become central to both government and business. The language has changed also. It is no longer about what must be done, but what can be done. The language of opportunity has become part of the dialogue. That is how the issue must be viewed, as an opportunity. Right now, Ireland has a tremendous opportunity. Globally, the shift is underway to reduce carbon emissions by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. At this time, any country in the world can act accordingly. Ireland is acting. Why might we win?” Dr. Motherway explains that there are three reasons: 1) This area plays to Ireland’s skills in ICT & Hi-Tech “We have always been very strong in the ICT, knowledge and high-value sectors. The entire green space is particularly tech-driven. As the world’s 2nd largest exporter of software, with a track record of innovation in this area, we are equipped with the skills to innovate on this side. An example of an Irish company doing so currently in this area is ResourceKraft, a Limerick-based company that tracks energy data using advanced IT”. 2) The agenda is about change and adaptation – Ireland is the ideal Test-Bed “Change and adaptation is something that Ireland has consistently proven to be particularly good at over the course of its recent history. The small size of the island makes it an ideal location for
companies to test-bed, develop and internationalise products and services in order to prove their offering in a real-world environment before bringing them to larger markets. A current example of this is the roll-out of electric cars in Ireland by Renault and Nissan. On January 1st 2011, grants and tax rebate schemes were introduced in order to encourage uptake in this area. We expect 2,000 electric vehicles to be on the roads by the end of the year. Electric vehicles are also very IT intensive machines, so that is another area in which Irish companies are already adding value. Irish companies are developing next-generation touch screen GPS systems specifically for electric cars – they inform the user as to how much life is left in the car’s battery and communicate remotely with units in your house when you are arriving home, in order to notify them to prepare the battery charger.” 3) Ireland’s Ocean Resource is second to none “Ireland’s sea territory is ten times the size of its land territory. That is equivalent to a country the size of Germany. This gives us a massive advantage when it comes to wave and tidal energy. We already have two companies that are leading the world in this area, Open Hydro and Wavebob. Both have been successful in winning international business.” “This is a small and fluid country, so with the right planning and grid development, particularly in moving to a Smart Grid system, we have the capacity to excel. Of course, we are facing very strong competition in this area from the likes of Scotland and Portugal. We must act now, because it is a race that could be lost by the end of 2012, but we will not know if we have won before 2030”. “Ireland also has superior wind resources and this
has meant that our wind farm sector has developed very rapidly, now accounting for 10% of our electricity usage. Offshore wind is more productive, and our excellent ocean resource is there to exploit in this regard also, although this is a more capital-intensive exercise”. So, what are the ingredients that are required in order to make sure that Ireland rises to the challenge?
“Well, there are two key questions I believe, and they pertain to two key challenges: 1)
The extent of the change required
The extent of the leadership required
It is the mission of SEAI to quantify the challenge that we face, to make recommendations on what policy should be, and then to implement our portion of that policy when it comes back down. We see ourselves as a broker”. In addition to the considerable accomplishments of Irish wind companies like Airtricity, many SMEs have had success in the wind sector in Ireland. Wind developer, Richard Walshe of Alternative Renewable Technologies (ART) Generation is based at the Synergy Centre in ITT Tallaght. Having developed 10 wind projects throughout the country since 2002, as well as a bio ethanol project in the works, Walshe is in a position to appreciate the progress that Ireland has made over time. He is of the opinion that, “All stakeholders are now actively pursuing wind farms. Previous bottlenecks have been overcome and there is now a concerted approach to meeting our renewables targets. Ireland is well advanced and will become a world leader.” SEAI’s Brian Motherway monitors Ireland’s progress towards these targets on a macro level, “The starting point for us has always been the reduction of current energy usage. At the moment, Ireland imports 90% of its energy needs. We are already using this energy, so the first question to ask ourselves is: how can we use it more effectively and efficiently?” “SEAI’s grant schemes enable the public to avail of favourable financial incentives with regard to insulation upgrades to their homes and the installation of new energy-efficient boilers. The Home Energy Saving scheme was introduced 18 months ago, and already 60,000 homes have been upgraded. At the moment, there are 1,000 homes being upgraded per week, generating over €1 million per day for the wider economy. The programme has had a 98.5% approval rating. It has saved energy, reduced emissions and lowered bills. Most importantly, it has created jobs – and these are clean tech jobs”. “SEAI works very closely with the stakeholders that have an interest in bringing the Smart Grid to fruition. This will be crucial for Ireland. We have the ideal environment for it here because we can serve as a test-bed for integrating the disparate concepts that form the Smart Grid vision. Of course, in terms of our goal of becoming an energy exporter, the finalisation of the interconnector
Dr. Brian Motherway, Chief Operations Officer, SEAI
between Ireland and the UK is of paramount importance. This whole area is one in which we must pick up the pace. The markets for applications in this area are truly global”. The prospect of the Smart Grid concept coming to fruition in Ireland is also something that Richard Walshe of Alternative Renewable Technologies (ART) Generation is positive about, “I think it will happen. I think Ireland is making significant advances. We are well on our way to meeting our renewables targets”. Dr. Brian Motherway, COO, SEAI is very enthusiastic about the prospect of the Green International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), “We think that it is an excellent idea to position Ireland as a centre of green finance. We have all of the relevant expertise already here in the current IFSC, so re-tooling the skill-set to accommodate the green agenda is a natural progression”. “The export opportunities that are available for Irish companies in the clean tech sector, particularly with regard to ICT are not always straightforward. The biggest day for any such company is the first day of export. The government has a role to play in nursing this nascent sector. Very often, when a client in another market is considering a product, it will want to see references from clients in their country of origin. Green public procurement has been introduced in Ireland in order to enable these clean tech start ups to sell directly to our own public sector, thus giving them a foot up the ladder. It of course is beneficial for the public sector as well, as it reduces our energy costs. Energy audits are carried out on each public building, so this measure
has provided many indigenous companies with their first customers. Changing our lighting system to a more energy efficient one was one of the first things that we did at SEAI – you have to practice what you preach. Very often, the initial costs may be greater, but the money that is saved over the long term in terms of reduced energy bills more than compensates. You must always take a long term view when it comes to energy”. “Some years ago, Ireland developed IS393; the Irish Energy Management Standard. We only the 4th country in the world to do this, and the first in the EU. Since then, big business has adopted the standard, through which companies such as IBM, Eli Lilly and Heinz made very considerable cost savings. This standard formed the basis of the EU standard that is currently in place and led to the adoption of the global standard; ISO 50,000. This demonstrates again how Ireland is an ideal place to make sure a system or product works, before bringing it to larger international markets”. “Over the last 5 years, we as a country have made tremendous progress. Driven by gains in wind, renewable energy output has grown by 28% yearon-year. 15% of Ireland’s overall electricity usage is now from renewables. Of course, our target is the biggest target in the world, 40% by 2020 – so we still have a lot of work to do. The entire Irish system consists of 6,000 MW, so although it is a big task, it is achievable. SEAI’s mission is to make sure it happens”.
Powering the Transition Interview with Dr. Eddie O’Connor, Chief Executive, Mainstream Renewable Power
Dr. Eddie O’Connor, founder of Airtricity which sold for €1.8 billion in 2008, is still hard at work, as Chief Executive of his new venture, Mainstream Renewable Power. The week before I met him he had been invited to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron in order to discuss the Supergrid in the North Sea that is to connect Ireland with Britain, enabling crossborder transfer of electricity. I asked Dr. O’Connor why he considered the supergrid concept to be so crucial, “We invented the concept of the European Supergrid in 2001. Wind is variable. It never blows consistently in one place. In order for wind energy to become mainstream, we must somehow cope with this variance. We have studied wind and storm patterns extensively. Over a large area – say 5,000 km, the wind will always be blowing in some places when it is not in others. The conclusion that we have come to is that, if you can connect the mechanics of electricity distribution over this large area – wind powered electricity can even itself out, thus leading the way to wind energy becoming mainstream. We are getting real traction now. Being part of the EU has really helped in terms of bringing it forward. Joining the EU was the single biggest decision in modern Irish history.” “In terms of why the Supergrid is needed, you have to look at the current situation, assess what’s happening, and see where we can go from here.” “Brent crude oil is currently trading at $98 per barrel. China has added an additional demand of one million barrels per day to the overall demand for oil. We are either at the peak or past the peak. There is a shift to gas, but ultimately, that is in limited supply as well. If we want to have a system
of commerce based on energy by 2030, we need something new.” “There is also the environmental reason – the biosphere is heating up because we continue to burn carbon. In order to tackle it, the EU’s target is to reduce carbon emissions by 90% by 2050. This will be achieved through a combination of wind, solar and nuclear, in order to bring about a sustainable system. When other forms of energy are declining in output, electricity is the natural alternative.”
to lead the world towards the total sustainable generation of electricity from renewable sources. Sustainability is about living in the now. We don’t want to keep digging up fossils that have been forming for millions of years. Sustainability is about recycling what we use. Making energy from the wind and the sun makes a lot of sense. The world will have a population of 9 billion by midway through the century. Energy is the major issue of our time. “ I asked Dr. O’Connor how he sees the Smart Grid,
“Electric vehicles are certainly the way of the future. I was recently in Shenzhen, China visiting my friend Liam Casey, the Irish entrepreneur over there. I was pleasantly surprised to find that all of the city’s taxis are electric. Inducements have been introduced in London to encourage taxi drivers to adopt electric vehicles. It’s certainly the direction we are heading in. I think the traditional car battery has had its time. It’s just as well also because we simply have to stop burning carbon. Carbon is one of the Earth’s most amazing molecules. It’s so symmetric that the molecules in crude oil can be used to make carbon fibres, which are very strong and can be used in construction. Carbon can be soft, as in the lead in your pencil, or it can be the hardest substance on Earth – a diamond. The idea of burning it offends the natural order.” “Mainstream Renewable Power will be a major force in tackling the challenges by bringing wind energy into the mainstream. We are active in Europe, the US, Canada, Chile and South Africa. In Europe, we are a purely offshore play. Our goal is to be one of the biggest offshore companies in the world. We are also branching out into solar photovoltaic. “ “The world is on a once-off transition to sustainability. We set up Mainstream in order
“The Smart Grid to me looks like a distribution level phenomenon. There will be real interventions on the demand side which will stabilise the electricity usage. It will reduce costs for users as they receive more information about their usage in real time, and can adjust accordingly. This reduced usage will be an essential component in bringing wind energy to the forefront of the entire system.” Dr. O’Connor takes a refreshing perspective when highlighting the benefits of working with an Irish workforce, “We have a lot of young people here. I speak to the guys from Google and Facebook regularly and they seem very happy with the standard of work that the young Irish graduates are contributing.” “Irish people make great managers. It’s because we are mostly from small communities, so you have to be a generalist from day one. Irish people get along with anyone, and that’s what makes them great managers. You’ll never see race riots or anything like that in Ireland because we are a soft people. You have to be able to get on with everybody, from all walks of life, so we do. You can’t be an elitist in Ireland – you’ll soon be cut down to size.”
The Smart Grid Test Bed Opportunity
“On Saturday the 15th of January this year, Ireland established a new wind energy record. At 4.00pm in the afternoon, there was 1,254 megawatts of wind-generated electricity exported to the national transmission system.” This was enough power to supply the needs of more than 800,000 homes and represented nearly one third of all electricity being used in the Republic of Ireland at the time - something that would have been inconceivable 10 years ago. In many ways we should not be surprised by this achievement as Ireland has ambitious goals in the area of renewable energy. Ireland has the best wind resource in Europe and wind farms in Ireland have a higher average output than those on the continent. This is reflected in the Irish Government’s mandate that 40% of all electricity consumption in the country must be met from renewable sources by 2020, the highest such target in Europe. As January 15th demonstrated, there is great progress being made. However, progress presents its own challenges. One of the most important being – how do you manage an intermittent power source such as wind on the electricity transmission grid? Irish consumers have come to expect electricity to be available literally at the flick of a switch. But how can that be achieved when the wind does not blow? The operation and control of electricity generation and network assets is a critical element of the country’s electricity system. EirGrid is developing
The Smart Grid is a nationwide network that uses information technology to deliver electricity efficiently, reliably and securely.
As the electricity transmission system operator, EirGrid is also playing a leading role in the development of the Smart Grid. Ireland’s transmission network is ranked as one of the most advanced systems in the world; however it will have to become smarter and more adaptable to deliver on the coming challenges.
It represents a major step forward from a legacy system of disconnected power suppliers to a twoway, digital, interoperable national network. And it is a more efficient way to distribute and diversify Ireland’s power sources, including environmentally friendly ones like wind and solar.
EirGrid has completed a study to examine the potential impact of high instantaneous shares of wind power within the island’s electricity system. This is one of the first studies to significantly model grid behaviour at very high levels of wind penetration.
Quite simply, the Smart Grid will fundamentally change the way we generate, distribute and use electricity.
Crucially, the research shows that with a combined installed capacity of just over 6,000 megawatts, the all-island system can reach the 40% target.
Because the Smart Grid will touch so many aspects of life in the 21st century, it involves a wide range of stakeholders - national and international, private and public, large and small. They include electricity generators, distributors and suppliers; appliance and consumer electronics providers; the Government and regulators.
EirGrid has also begun work on Grid25, a major investment programme aimed at upgrading the transmission network.
smart operational strategies to meet this challenge, which in turn will form a key component in the evolution of Ireland’s Smart Grid.
A new, independent organisation, SmartGridIreland, has been established to exploit new commercial opportunities in the Smart Grid sector locally, nationally and internationally. SmartGridIreland is a network of organisations across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland - drawn from industry, research bodies, universities and government agencies.
Other EirGrid initiatives include the deployment of a Wind Security Assessment Tool to help grid controllers manage the increasing level of wind generation in real time. EirGrid is a key partner in an EU project to develop Anemos, a next generation wind forecasting system. A key part of the Anemos system is the use of highresolution meteorological forecasts and the software is currently being trialed in Ireland.
Elsewhere, the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), in association with ESB Networks, is conducting a national trial of Smart Meters. From 2009, 6,500 residential and commercial customers began using the meters. Last year a number of incentives were introduced to the participants, including various time of use prices, and new smart bills containing detailed consumption and cost information. A sample group will also receive In Home Displays and a small proportion of all participants will have â€œSmart Webâ€? access. This is one of the largest and most comprehensive trials of its kind in the world. The trial is also reviewing Smart Meter pre-payment options with the objective of agreeing a pre-payment market model. Electric vehicles will also play a key role and a grant scheme has been introduced to accelerate their deployment. From this year, car buyers can get a grant of up to â‚Ź5,000 for the purchase of an electric vehicle, which will be exempt from vehicle registration tax for the first three years. The scheme aims to get 6,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2012. ESB Networks, in association with the Electric Power Research Institute and University College Dublin, is conducting a detailed study on the level of electricity charging that can be accommodated on the low-voltage networks.
By the end of the year, there will be 1,500 publicly accessible charging stations and 2,000 domestic
charging points installed across the country. ESB Networks is currently testing a smart home-charging system for electric vehicles in advance of the rollout. Ireland has put in place a solid foundation for further Smart Grid developments. Recognising the need for a strategic approach to further work, a Smart Grid roadmap working group has been established to identify and address critical needs. This is key to the successful evolution of the Smart Grid. Ireland has already begun to play a leading role in the development of the Smart Grid. Pivotal research is taking place, new skills are being developed, and new technologies are being created. All of these make Ireland the perfect test bed and places it far ahead in the Smart Grid journey. Ultimately, the Smart Grid will play a critical role in underpinning the energy needs of the revitalised Irish economy. It will lead to the creation of significant employment opportunities, it will amplify the capabilities of indigenous firms and multinational organisations, and it will generate new leading-edge products and services.
Harnessing the ocean Andrew Parish, Chief Executive, Wavebob Limited
Another company whose approach has gained international acclaim is Wavebob, which is recognized as a global leader in the development of commercial ocean wave energy systems. Wavebob is a world leading, privately owned, technology company, with headquarters in Ireland and subsidiaries in the UK and the USA. The company was established in 1999 to develop innovative technologies for the conversion of ocean wave energy to useful power. Following substantial investment in research and development, Wavebob is now considered the ‘best in class’ for its technology and since 2006 has been testing fully functioning, autonomous, seaworthy prototypes on the Atlantic coast of Ireland. Chief Executive of Wavebob, Andrew Parish describes the opportunity thus,
A little known fact is that Ireland’s sea territory is ten times that of its land territory, encompassing a space the size of Germany. Were Ireland to develop the ability to harness this ocean resource to generate clean electricity, Ireland would become the Saudi Arabia of ocean energy. Two companies are currently flying the flag for Ireland on the international scene with regard to this sector. Open Hydro has had considerable success, finalising the world’s first official sale of a wave turbine to the government of Nova Scotia.
“Harnessing the limitless power of the unending supply of energy in the world’s oceans to convert it to electricity, will open up a multi-billion dollar opportunity. Wavebob has become a world leader in the conversion of ocean energy into electricity and has been recognized and supported by companies such as Chevron, Vattenfall and Lockheed Martin.” A robust development track record has resulted in significant third party endorsement and the financial support of the Irish, UK and US Governments and the European Commission. With routes to market secured in each of its chosen market sectors Wavebob is unique in its approach to the commercial exploitation of this nascent market. The wave energy sector is certainly one to keep abreast of.
Software for the Green generation Donnie Maclean, Chief Executive, CarbonRoute Ltd
Software is one of the commodities that has become a ubiquitous necessity across all industries. It is also an area in which Ireland has traditionally excelled. One of the most complex areas in which software plays a crucial part is the burgeoning green credits industry. The EU took the lead in this regard, establishing the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) with a view to making certified carbon-emissions reduction credits into a tradable commodity, thus influencing behaviour and enabling emitting companies and governments to meet their regulatory obligations and reduce overall carbon emissions. This is a sector that is set to grow considerably following the international agreement that was reached by world governments in Cancun in late 2010. CarbonRoute has been providing secure software development services in relation to Ireland’s National Emissions Trading platform under the Kyoto Protocol since 2006. Working with the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Commission under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the company holds a great deal of experience in this niche, but crucial area. The company also developed and own the IT platform used by the Irish government for the world’s first online carbon auction administered within the largest carbon market, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). It is estimated that the EU ETS will be worth in the region of €610 billion by 2013.
CarbonRoute’s founders collectively have over 40 years’ experience in pioneering new technologies in the mobile telecommunications industry and are translating the lessons learned to meet the needs of the international and domestic carbon markets. They are quickly establishing themselves as a world-class provider of carbon market software and consultancy services.
Voluntary Market CarbonRoute has entered the voluntary carbon market, developing innovative software products which enable companies and private individuals to support climate change projects around the globe. Ireland as a country has a unique competitive advantage in this regard. The software which is needed to help support climate change projects will need to be a hosted solution. Ireland leads the pack in terms of providing the right legal environment for hosting international data, as can be seen from the recent evidence of the large corporate hosting companies setting up data centres in Ireland. CarbonRoute is currently the only Irish company working in this sphere and believe that they have a head start in this regard over any other potential competitor.
Testimonial “CarbonRoute delivered to us a secure carbon auction software system under a tight time frame, within budget, which met the agreed specifications. CarbonRoute’s carbon auction software allowed EPA Ireland to successfully run the world’s first online carbon credit auction of European Union Allowances. We were very pleased with the outcome of this project and are happy to have worked with CarbonRoute.” Laura Burke, Director of Office of Climate, Licensing and Resource Use. EPA Ireland.
Connection to Kyoto CarbonRoute have the experience required for connecting countries to the UNFCCC’s registry environment. From providing initial consultancy services to designing and implementing the security systems required, they provide all the technology services to guide a country through the connection process and the support required afterwards.
Green Economic Zone An tSlí Ghlas – The Green Way
With its worldwide reputation as a successful location for foreign direct investment, Ireland is now also emerging as a significant location for investors in the cleantech industry, largely due to natural resource advantages backed by a talented and skilled workforce, a thriving research and development environment, and pro-cleantech government policies. The Green Way (An tSlí Ghlas) was conceived in response to the 2009 Report of the Government’s High-Level Action Group on Green Enterprise which stated that “Ireland needs to develop one or more green zones in order to create an environment that can support the development of green enterprise and be used to market Ireland overseas”. The Green Way is being proposed by a powerful alliance of key organisations in the North Dublin City Region including Fingal County Council, Dublin City Council, Ballymun Regeneration Ltd., Dublin City University, Dublin Airport Authority, Dublin Institute of Technology and North Dublin Chamber of Commerce. The vision of the founding partners is: “To develop an internationally-recognised Green Economic Zone complementing planned and existing infrastructural investment, where all participants- public and private, Irish and international - are working in unison, to deliver vibrant and highly adaptable job-creating enterprises, building on proven capabilities to innovate, regenerate and transform.” The Green Way founding partners are in a position of major influence in terms of driving the
Fingal County Council North Dublin Chamber of Commerce Dublin Airport Authority Ballymun Regeneration Limited Dublin City University DIT Grangegorman Dublin City Council
development of the planned Green Economic Zone or Cleantech Cluster in Ireland. Their combined assets which can be leveraged include a major international airport, 2 major academic institutions, 4 development agencies, local authorities and chambers of commerce, 12 significant cleantech/high tech labs, over 100 green tenant companies, 500 acres of zoned and serviced land, 60,000 direct employees and students, 400,000 inhabitants, 18,000,000 annual visitors and 1,600,000,000,000 bytes of broadband in the form of two major transatlantic fibre termination points on our doorstep. The European Commissioner for Innovation, Science and Research, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, officially launched The Green Way in November 2010 as a unique collaboration between business, academic institutions, local authorities and local communities focused on becoming Ireland’s first official Green Economic Zone. The Green Way will position Dublin as a centre of cleantech innovation, enterprise and green job creation. The initiative will link business to academic institutions and investors and will link the Dublin city region to other international cleantech clusters of scale throughout the world. To that end, The Green Way has been accepted as Ireland’s representative within the Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA) and has signed an MOU with EcoClup, a panEuropean partnership of cluster organisations, focusing on the eco-innovative industries, under the auspices of the Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry within the European Commission. The GCCA is a partnership of the
top 20 cleantech clusters globally and they will be assisting The Green Way in guiding Irish cleantech companies from a compelling technology or service idea to viable business models, sustainable jobs, and attractive return on investment for founders, incubators, and investors. Speaking at the launch of The Green Way, Dublin City University (DCU) President, Professor Brian MacCraith said, “We are very confident about the success of this Green Economic Zone for a number of reasons. But our real point of difference is that the key constituents and assets are already in place, and open for business with a common goal and vision.” “Ballymun is already an award winning green community, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) is consolidating into a purpose built sustainable campus in Dublin city centre, Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) have advanced plans to regenerate the airport as a hub for the next generation of ‘Green’ FDI and have just opened Terminal 2 which will connect The Green Way economic zone and the rest of Ireland to emerging cleantech economies in South America, MENA and Asia. A major cornerstone of The Green Way will be its Innovation Campus, which will be situated on an 11-acre site adjacent to the existing DCU campus and 5 minutes from Dublin airport. The campus, which will support 200 jobs over the initial 18 months, will facilitate linkages, networking and sharing of best practices amongst domestic and international cleantech companies and between industry and academia”.
EU Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn
According to Professor MacCraith, “The Innovation Campus, which will draw on our joint research expertise, will become a focused, internationally recognised hub for cleantech businesses and is an exciting and natural next step in our vision to become a University of Enterprise.” The Green Way has a vision to play a major role in developing Ireland as a global centre and leader in cleantech. This is the right time for universities, businesses and enterprise to come together to make this vision a reality. The Green Way will promote the Dublin city region as an internationally recognised Green Economic Zone and the first of its kind in Ireland. It will provide investment and job creation and ultimately play a significant part in the economic recovery and transformation of the country. There are a number of exciting key projects already underway within The Green Way, including an Energy Product Innovation Centre (EPIC) at Dublin airport in partnership with University of Houston, an Environmental Health Sciences Institute in DIT, the aforementioned Green Innovation Campus in DCU and the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun. During 2011 the team will be seeking to develop a Cleantech Competence Centre in partnership with industry as well as joining forces with the Green IFSC project promoters to establish Dublin as a centre of excellence for carbon management.
EU Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn’s closing remarks at the launch of The Green Way were highly appropriate when she asked, “Why shouldn’t Ireland, the country of forty shades of green, become a cleantech hub, with forty shades of innovation? I know that Irish people are among the most resourceful, dynamic and creative in the world, and I am confident that Ireland will seek out and capitalise on opportunities to build a new economy. An economy built on innovation”.
The International Financial Services Centre Interview with William Slattery, Executive Vice-President and Country Head - Ireland, State Street
William Slattery is a veteran of the financial services industry in Ireland. Having worked for 22 years in the Central Bank of Ireland, he assisted in developing the regulatory structure for the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), the financial hub that dominates the northern bank towards the mouth of the River Liffey. As an executive vice-president with one of the world’s leading financial institutions, State Street, and head of their European offshore domiciles, which includes; Luxembourg, the Channel Islands and Ireland, Slattery is well positioned to discuss Ireland’s international financial hub, the IFSC.
What was the reaction when the idea of the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) was first put forward back in the 1980s? At the time, the reaction in the private sector was a mixture of scepticism and mild hope. There was already some activity in place including Guinness Peat Aviation (GPA) - a commercial aircraft sales and leasing company established in 1975, and some tax-driven lending in relation to the Shannon Free Zone. The two main Irish banks were also active, and there was some foreign exchange activity. Beyond that, there was really nothing else.
To what extent do you think the initial vision has been realised? There is no doubt that what’s been achieved has exceeded the wildest dreams of all the participants at that time. The IFSC now employs over 25,000 people in more than 500 firms. Today, the IFSC is one of the major fund servicing domiciles in the world. Almost 10 percent of EU funds are located in the IFSC and it services 40 percent of global alternative investment fund assets.
What separates the IFSC from other financial hubs? There is a large niche in aircraft leasing, building on the legacy of GPA, and there is also a very large niche in wholesale insurance: both captive and reinsurance. In addition, there are 40 life assurance firms based in the centre. It has a very substantive international banking industry base, with a number of interesting niche firms. Overall the IFSC has made a fantastic contribution to the Irish economy in internationally traded services, and it is widely admired globally.
Ireland has suffered from a domestic banking crisis, yet the IFSC has remained resilient. What can you say to reassure investors that the IFSC is protected from the domestic situation? The first point I would like to emphasise is that the international industry based in the IFSC is ring-fenced from risk in the national economy and the domestic banking sector. It is important for people to understand that there is no risk arising from domestic events. Second, regulation of the IFSC is widely admired globally, despite some ill-informed comments that may occur in the media from time to time. Collectively, the government, the industry and the various authorities are committed to working proactively to give comfort, transparency and assurance to our international partners regarding the reality of the situation and the fact that the IFSC is insulated from recent events. That is the message of the IFSC Ireland initiative lead by John Bruton - to ensure both domestic and international audiences understand the contribution and the competency of the IFSC.
We have a wonderful internationally traded sector, with regard to both physical and services exports - it is the envy of the world. As the second most globalised economy in the world, we have a very good basis on which to work our way out of the current difficulties. Our competitiveness has improved hugely, so maintaining the confidence of international investors now is very important.
What are the current priorities of the IFSC? We want to attract new institutions to the IFSC and grow the activities of the existing institutions based there. One of the hidden, unheralded successes that came out of the IFSC was the competitive dynamic that developed between firms and led to the overall growth of entire sectors, to the benefit of everyone. We are not looking simply at attracting firms from Wall Street or London. The very international nature of the IFSC as a hub means that it is truly global, and therefore an attractive destination for firms from Continental Europe, South America, the Middle East, China and other emerging markets looking to expand beyond their home base.
What does the IFSC have to offer these firms? We can offer these firms a well-regulated EU jurisdiction with a hugely skilled and experienced workforce at a competitive cost. State Street has four businesses here in Ireland, employing over 2,000 people. All of these businesses are internationally focused and are growing strongly. These businesses are also some of the fastest growing businesses in all of State Streetâ€™s portfolio. Much of this success is a direct result of our Irish employees. They do what it takes to get the job done - hours, travel -whatever the job demands. They show flexibility and have a great work ethic. They are admired internationally and rightly so.
“Ireland has an agricultural situation that almost every other country would envy. It has abundant fertile land, lots of water, and miles of coastline. It is one of Europe’s largest dairy and beef exporters, and home to several world-class firms and hundreds of food artisans. All this comes at a time when the global demand for food is projected to increase by 70% over the next 40 years.” David E. Bell & Mary Shelman, Harvard Business School, in “Pathways for Growth”
When the world demands exceptional food and drink...
Growing the success of Irish food & drink
Food Harvest 2020 Interview with Aidan Cotter, CEO, Bord Bía
As chief executive of Ireland’s national food board, Bord Bía, Aidan Cotter is a man charged with the responsibility for promoting Ireland’s largest indigenous sector - the food and drink industries. Given that collectively, between farming, fishing and processing, the agri-industry employs some 150,000 people and has an annual output of over €24 billion, accounting for 65% of indigenous manufacturing, the importance of his position is clear. “Bord Bía was established in 1994 to promote and market the natural produce of Ireland internationally and domestically”, explains the chief executive, “the UK accounts for about 44% of our export market, with the EU accounting for 30% and the remaining 26% goes beyond EU borders. With half a million tonnes per annum, we are the largest net exporter of beef in the Northern Hemisphere.” 2010 was a successful year for the Irish food sector. The food and drink industries proved to be key export drivers, with sales increasing by 11% and approaching €8 billion in total. With international food markets showing resilience throughout 2010, Ireland’s improved competitiveness, reduced exchange rate pressures, a stabilised consumer environment and rising agricultural commodity prices were the factors that combined to contribute to the positive growth of this sector of Irish industry. These positive developments have also led to an increased air of optimism in the industry, with over 70% of exporters surveyed classifying their prospects for the year ahead as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
An improved capacity to manage higher exchange rates was also demonstrated by exporters, placing the overall sector on a very sound footing. Frank Ryan, Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland was very positive about developments in the sector when he said, “With regard to the food industry, we were very happy with the results that Bord Bía posted this week with regard to the export performance of our largest indigenous industry – the food sector. There is an old image of food in Ireland being very commodity-based. Now however, we are increasingly focused on food ingredients and functional foods. This space has actually become very hi-tech and we make sure that Ireland remains at the cutting-edge of international best practice in this field. A number of hugely successful international brand names in this sphere emanate from Ireland including the Kerry Group, Glanbía and Dairy Gold”. The strategy of Bord Bía has been clearly mapped out in the strategic priorities document, ‘Pathways for Growth’ that was produced in collaboration with David Bell and Mary Shelman of Harvard Business School and in ‘Food Harvest 2020’, a comprehensive report from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Cotter outlines that “Food Harvest 2020 was based on a forensic analysis by a consultative group of 30 experts, that produced 209 recommendations.”
“The Irish Agri-food industry accounts for 16% of total industrial sector output, generating export revenues of €8 billion”, he explains, “Our goal is to work with the industry to grow exports to €12 billion over the next ten years.” Cotter intends to expand the industry’s horizons under the banner of “Smart Green Growth”. Capitalising on Ireland’s association with all things green affords the industry the opportunity to align ‘Brand Ireland’ with the ethos of green produce and production methods. The industry development plans therefore call for a range of new implementations in the agri-industry that will lend credence to this forthcoming brand identity. According to the Food Harvest 2020 plan, “this ‘green’ image must be refined and substantiated with scientific evidence and communicated effectively over the coming decade if Ireland’s commitment to sustainability and the implementation of world-class environmental practices is to become a platform for export growth”. Bord Bía is working closely with the Carbon Trust on one such green initiative. 200 farms are currently participating in a pilot programme whereby their environmental performance is evaluated and upon meeting the requisite standards, accredited by the Carbon Trust. Once successfully completed, this programme will be rolled out to all of Ireland’s 32,000 farms.
“We cannot just say that we are ‘green’ - we have to prove it. With each farm being monitored and upgraded in this way in order to earn the accreditation, we have a credible proposition to put forward to the customer. We believe that this is a programme that we can also extend to other sectors”, says Cotter. It is clear from talking to Cotter that he has a global perspective on the food industry and the challenges it faces. He also demonstrates a clear and conscious understanding of the role that Ireland plays on the world stage in the food sector. “Given the population demographics globally, the facts as they stand dictate that the world must produce 70% more food over the next four decades”, asserts the CEO, “By 2030, the world food supply has to grow by 42%. Increasingly, there are questions about the world’s capacity to meet these needs. Combine these factors with the compounding issues of water scarcity, bio-security and climate change, and we see a complex picture come into view. As a small agricultural island, we have to look at the opportunities here to meet this increased demand, doing so in an environmentally sustainable way”.
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Ireland â€“ Weâ€™re Open for Business By Shaun Quinn, Chief Executive, FĂĄilte Ireland Business Tourism
There is enormous potential for growth in business tourism and Ireland works hard as a destination to compete in the international arena to gain its share of this market. While acknowledging that the tourism industry is experiencing a difficult period worldwide, business tourism offers a significant opportunity for Ireland. It is a dynamic and resilient sector with many economic forecasters predicting growth for this sector in 2011. Already, Ireland is delivering as a business destination. The fact that we have attracted more than one thousand companies, including Google and Microsoft, who are now using Ireland as their European HQ, helps to put us in a good position to take advantage of this opportunity. Ireland has invested significantly to deliver the infrastructure which meets the needs of the international Business Tourism Decision Maker. Much has been added to our already rich business infrastructure in the last few years and we now have a state-of-the-art Convention Centre located in the heart of Dublin city, as well as a myriad of other conference venues throughout the country, delivering a unique business experience. International Business Tourism Decision Makers are not only looking for world class infastructure, but are also looking for destinations with people who can offer dynamic event opportunities. We believe that Ireland can deliver this by providing a highly stimulating meeting environment which will act as a catalyst for new business results. This business is centred around people, so enabling better
interaction helps them achieve their goals. The real benefit of choosing Ireland is that we create the conditions that stimulate people to new levels of achievement. All business events are about achieving change through people. Interaction is how change happens - with people primarily, but also through new content ideas, debates and a unique destination. Interaction is especially relevant to conferences and meetings and Ireland excels as an environment to enable these events to move from simple information dissemination to the creative discussion and debate which leads to new results. Ireland also has stunning locations in abundance. Our landscape varies dramatically from rich agricultural land of the east to the impressive landscape of the Burren in the west. As well as scenic rivers, lakes and mountain ranges in between, Ireland is also home to a number of Unesco World Heritage sites. So whether the decision maker wants to host the event in a high tech conference facility, in a venue overlooking Ireland’s breath-taking coastline or in a castle dating back hundreds of years, Ireland has a wealth of stunning locations to choose from.
welcome, even in the largest of venues. There are plenty of sights and activities to encourage business visitors to extend their stay in Ireland once business is done. We work hard to get delegates coming to Ireland on business to avail of the opportunity to take in a whole range of cultural and leisure experiences before they return home. Tourism is one of our largest indigenous industries. It is very important to us that we fully understand our visitor needs – whether they are here just for business or staying on for leisure. We are working hard to build a destination which can deliver on the Business Tourism Decision Maker’s requirements and those of the visiting delegate. To that end, Ireland is developing as a business tourism destination that is fast becoming synonymous with high tech professional facilities, unique venues within scenic settings, impeccable service delivered with professionalism and distinctive ‘Irish’ charm.
However, it is not just the high tech venues, stunning locations and high quality accommodation that is encouraging Business Tourism Decision Makers to choose Ireland for international conferences and meetings. Our research indicates that nine out of ten visitors choose Ireland because of the famous friendliness of the Irish people. In Ireland it is the unique combination of modern professionalism alongside the informed friendliness of the locals that makes business visitors feel truly
The Convention Centre Dublin Interview with Dermod Dwyer, Chairman, The CCD
Google was hosting an international sales conference on the day that I walked up to the doors underneath the tilted glass cylinder of the Fair City’s newest landmark – The Convention Centre Dublin. The elaborate entrance hall was ambient with the heavy footfall of technically savvy young people. I was to interview the chairman of the company that runs the impressively modern building on the banks of the River Liffey. The hugely impressive foyer of the magnificent development is adorned with that most Irish of greetings – ‘Cead Mile Fáilte’, a hundred thousand welcomes. Although Ireland finds itself in a tumultuous period, the Convention Centre takes centre-stage as a legacy of more prosperous times, reshaping the transformed Dublin Docklands that, with a host of new buildings and bridges, replete with big wheel, provide the city with a distinctly progressive feel. Dermod Dwyer is at the helm of the the organisation charged with promoting this new face of Dublin. Having been led up to his office, I found Dermod Dwyer to be a charming and engaging man, possessed of a clear business pedigree and keen appreciation of the mission at hand. We begin by discussing the initial vision that led to the creation of the Convention Centre. “Well, there was a desire to have a convention centre as the lynchpin of a new city-quarter here at Spencer Dock. A public-private-partnership (PPP) was created to bring that vision to fruition. We knew that, if we were going to do it, this convention centre had better be the best-in-breed. I think that
this is something we have accomplished. Today our main competitors for business are Vienna, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam and Edinburgh”, explains the chairman. “The design was conceptualised by the famous Irish architect, Kevin Roche, a man behind the design of over two hundred of the world’s most recognised buildings. The intriguing thing about this building is that, due to the importance of its functionality as a facilitator of large business events, the interior was the priority and the exterior followed – form followed function.” With a capacity to comfortably host 8,000 delegates, the world’s first carbon neutral convention centre is comprised of four floors, with the main auditorium sitting atop three fully kitted-out floors that are equipped to facilitate meetings of all sorts. The auditorium itself made its international television début most recently on the popular singing competition, X-Factor. Luckily, or unluckily for those outside the room, depending on the contestant, the auditorium is sound-proofed to the point of acoustic isolation, ensuring that even the noisiest of events will not disturb the conduct of important business in any of the 670 meeting rooms throughout the building. The Convention Centre competes for international business in four distinct categories; international associations, associations from the UK and Ireland, domestic and international corporate clients and the banqueting and exhibition category. An agreement, whereby the Chief Executive, Nick Waight and other senior managers have been seconded from the NEC Birmingham, has enabled the centre to hit the ground running in terms of lead generation.
“Our partnership agreement with NEC provides us with the necessary skills from day one – we didn’t have to go through the usual learning-curve”, explains Dwyer, “They provide us with management services, intellectual property (meaning their systems), and access to their client base”. The fact that the development is located on Spencer Dock is something that Dwyer sees as crucial to the future success of the centre, as it is set to become a logistical hub for the city, “With the opening of Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport, we now have a fitting point of arrival for our international business guests, but more importantly, the fact that, with the new Port Tunnel, they can be here literally 20 minutes after leaving the airport, is critical. The new Samuel Beckett Bridge provides direct access to the Southside of the city. If you combine these factors with the plans to make Spencer Dock the site for the new electric DART interconnector, it becomes clear that this is set to become the best connected transit hub in the city. There are 17,000 hotel rooms in Dublin, a great number of which are directly beside us here. The fact that our price competitiveness is returning makes Dublin a very attractive place for international conferences”. The Convention Centre Dublin is one of the most visible examples of public-private-partnership in the State. This puts Dwyer in a unique position to comment on the day-to-day operations of this most intriguing juxtaposition of state bodies and private enterprise, working in unison.
“The Government holds the deeds to this building. The tax payer owns it. They have however, transferred the risk to us – a private company, founded as a public-private-partnership. The Government will pay for the building over 25 years. We have been set targets to reach. This makes sure that we perform, because, if we don’t hit our targets, we don’t get paid.” This leads us to the question; how do these seemingly ill-fitting bedfellows work together on a day-to-day basis? “Well, my experience has always been at the nexus of the public and private sectors. Ireland is small enough so that this can actually be a workable format. Once you have a vision, a goal and a clear mandate, you will find that the state and local authority apparatus row in behind you. The PPP has worked very smoothly.” “We have a liaison board with the government and the main stakeholders, as well as another stakeholder advisory group that brings together the various bodies from the tourism industry. In this way, we ensure that information is exchanged and everybody is in the loop. We are all moving towards one goal here.”
The chairman is very clear about the position that the centre occupies within the overall economy. “Of course, there is the concept of ‘Team Ireland’ – all of the various national stakeholders working together. If ‘Team Ireland’ is a wheel, then the Convention Centre Dublin is a spoke in that wheel – a key spoke. I think the whole of ‘Team Ireland’ fits within that rubric”. So, where does Dwyer see the centre on the international stage? “We have set ourselves a target – that is to be recognised by peer group evaluation as the best convention centre in the EU by 2014. We are competing for business with the likes of Vienna and Paris. These are markets that have a pedigree in this business. This is the level that we are operating at, now that Dublin truly has a centre that is fit for purpose.”
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Spontaneous, Engaging & Fun Go where Ireland takes you! Interview with Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland
Tourism Ireland, formed after the Good Friday Agreement, is the body responsible for the international promotion of the tourism industry for the whole island of Ireland. Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons, finds himself operating in a tough international environment, but that certainly has not dampened his enthusiasm for conveying to would-be tourists the charms that this little island holds for those who come here. “The thing about Ireland as a place to visit, is that it can’t be defined merely as one thing or another. As a people, our spontaneity, our engaging nature and the fun that can be had here, means that each and every visitor to our shores can experience our island in their own unique way. That is why we say “go where Ireland takes you.” When you come to Ireland, you can go off the beaten track and create your own individual experience”, explains the chief executive. So, as a destination for the discerning tourist, does Ireland stand up to the lofty expectations that may have been cultivated by idyllic images of the Emerald Isle? “Our research on this is very strong and the response is overwhelmingly positive. In excess of 90% of the visitors to Ireland enjoyed their trip and would recommend it to a friend. That’s a very high percentage and it is one that has remained consistent over a number of years. People seem to connect with the Irish and the relaxed pace of life that we have here. We have a reputation as a friendly nation and I think that people are not disappointed when they come here.”
Indeed, the international perception of Ireland as a friendly and welcoming place received another boost recently, after Dublin was voted “Europe’s Friendliest City” for the second year in a row by TripAdvisor. In addition to that, Ireland offers tourists the opportunity to see an abundance of world-renowned landmarks and historical sites such as the Cliffs of Moher, the monastic settlements in Glendalough, the Powerscourt Waterfall and the Giant’s Causeway. “The Giant’s Causeway Visitors Centre is soon to be opened in County Antrim, so that will be a big treat for tourists who choose to travel North”, explains Gibbons. The UK is the country from which most tourists consistently come to Ireland. There has been a dip in numbers since the onset of the global economic crisis, but this is a development that Gibbons is seeking to redress, “Of course, the global financial situation means that there has been a reduction of incoming tourism from the UK of late. In our communications therefore, we are emphasising the value that Ireland can deliver as an option for holiday makers”, says the chief executive, “Prices have come down in Ireland. We are also extolling the virtues of car tourism, which enables people not only to reduce costs, but to tailor make their own itinerary.” 12% of visitors to Ireland come from North America – the United States and Canada. Ireland’s special relationship with North America and its great Diaspora means that many visitors come back to their ancestral home and endeavour to trace their
roots. Every effort is made to facilitate this. Germany represents one of the largest potential markets as regards tourism, and as such, it is one that Tourism Ireland is actively targeting. “We went on national television in Germany recently with a sustained branding campaign. It was a huge success. Our website visits increased 500% over the course of the campaign”, explains Gibbons, “The Germans are great fans of traditional Irish music, so this is one area in which we really carry an advantage. There are actually over 1,000 Irish bands in Germany!” In terms of emerging markets, Tourism Ireland has just opened up a new office in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone. With their emerging middle classes, China and India are also target areas of high-priority. Niall Gibbons is also keen to mention the businessside of the equation, “With the recent addition to our portfolio of the Convention Centre Dublin – we are able to present a large scale corporate offering that we were not able to before. ‘Ireland is open for business’ is the collective slogan that we are adopting in terms of presenting our business tourism offering to the international marketplace.” “Of course, our golf facilities are second-to-none, and this is widely recognised. Our corporate hospitality therefore is world-class.” In closing, the message from Tourism Ireland’s chief executive is clear; “Whether you are coming here for business or leisure, Ireland is unique and compelling. There has never been a better time to come”.
GOAL – helping the poorest of the poor since 1977 John O’Shea, Chief Executive, GOAL
Currently celebrating its 34th year in existence, GOAL is one of Ireland’s largest and most popular overseas aid agencies. Former sports journalist and current Chief Executive, John O’Shea established the organisation in 1977. Since then GOAL has responded to almost every major humanitarian disaster across the globe, spending €700 million delivering aid to the poorest of the poor in more than 50 countries. It has managed this on an exceptionally low administration cost base. GOAL’s priority is to bring life-saving assistance to people affected by emergencies by providing food, healthcare and other basic requirements. Once emergency situations have been resolved, GOAL implements rehabilitation programmes which include the repair of homes, clinics, schools and the provision of water and sanitation facilities. Long-term development programmes are also implemented in the areas of health, nutrition, education and the capacity building of indigenous humanitarian organisations. Throughout its existence, GOAL has campaigned tirelessly against corruption in the developing world. Calling for total transparency and accountability in the handling and distribution of overseas aid, John O’Shea constantly lobbies governments and other powerful institutions to implement the changes needed to effectively tackle the widespread corruption and oppression that deprives the needy of aid. GOAL is particularly opposed to the government-to-government model of aid distribution where the government in receipt of funds is either corrupt or brutal. “This dreadful practice of channelling aid through such governments is morally reprehensible at
Darfur - GOALie nurse Emily Begg at work
any time, but it becomes even more so when one considers the present economic plight and the terrible hardships being suffered by the Irish taxpayer, who after all is footing the bill,” says O’Shea. “This type of government-to-government aid must be stopped.” Today, more than 100 GOALies and thousands of local staff are helping GOAL to deliver on a range of humanitarian programmes in the developing world. “Despite the economic downturn, GOAL is operational in 12 countries and thanks to the tremendous support of the Irish public and others, we have been able to continue our other activities while helping people recover from dreadful tragedies, such as Haiti and Pakistan,” said Mr. O’Shea. “Their generosity allowed us, for instance, to distribute food to nearly half a million people in Haiti, while an $11.5 million dollar contract with the US government is seeing us build 2,000 transitional shelters and several hundred latrines and shower and hand-wash blocks for almost one million Haitians still without a home.” In response to the outbreak of cholera in Port-auPrince late last year, GOAL is striving to mitigate and control the disease in the 38 temporary settlements currently under the organisation’s care, by helping to ensure that the people have access to clean water and sanitation facilities, and by distributing hygiene kits. “Midway through 2010, GOAL responded to the flooding in Pakistan that left 20 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. We are continuing our relief efforts there by distributing non-food
items such as shelter and hygiene equipment, and providing emergency latrines and bathing shelters,” added John O’Shea. Apart from these major humanitarian emergencies, GOAL has remained heavily involved in long-term development programmes in 10 countries across the developing world. These include South Sudan, where GOAL is the sole provider of access to primary healthcare services to some 560,000 people. GOAL also recently completed the first phase of a major housing programme for orphans in Uganda. Since it was established three years ago, this programme has renovated or built more than 1,050 new homes for thousands of orphans and families who have been affected by HIV and AIDS in the east African country. Prior to taking ownership of their new brickbuilt homes, which cost just €4,500 to construct, the families had been living in makeshift shacks, grass houses or leaking mud huts. Without easily accessible clean water or latrines, poor health and disease were rife. “In some respects,” says John O’Shea, “it’s sad and disappointing that an agency such as GOAL is still required by the poorest of the poor in the developing world – but as long as needs are there and we have the support of the Irish community and others, we will continue to respond effectively to natural disasters and humanitarian tragedies wherever they occur.” GOAL can be contacted at PO Box 19, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland; on 00 353 (0)1 2809 779, or by visiting www.goal.ie
GOAL - Established in 1977 GOAL - Worked in 53 developing world countries since our inception GOAL - Spent â‚Ź700 million in the developing world to date GOAL - Administration costs have never exceeded 5% GOAL - Employing thousands of GOALies & national staff GOAL - Currently working in 12 countries
GOAL delivers for the poorest of the poor
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Arts & Culture
History, Arts and Culture By Victoria Kelly
Ireland is a land rich in culture and tradition. There is much to see and do in the green isle of Ireland, from beautiful landscapes to ancient ruins to the fun and frolics of St. Patrick’s Day. Depending on what time of year one comes to this country there is always something to keep you entertained. Home to traditional Irish dancing, the pint of Guinness and the Irish language, writers, scholars and entertainers have come from these shores for centuries, from the ancient monks who made the beautiful Book of Kells to writers such as James Joyce and Oscar Wilde, renowned the world over for their literary masterpieces. Ireland has a lot to offer to any person, both tourist and native alike. If you’re a visitor to these shores, Cead Míle Fáilte! Take the time to get to know this remarkable country and you will be surprised at what it has to offer.
History The name Ireland is derived from the Gaelic word Éire. The Latin form of the word Hibernia appears in the works of Julius Caesar and may come from the Latin word Hibernus which means ‘wintry’. The Irish people of today are descendants of Celtic people that inhabited Ireland since approximately 1,000 BC. Although the word Celtic is meant to simply represent the languages spoken by peoples across Europe, it has come to represent the group of people who spoke those languages. Today there are six living Celtic languages; these are Irish, Welsh, Scots Gaelic, Cornish, Manx and Breton. Cornish and Manx are extinct but are still classified as living due to revival efforts. Irish is still spoken as the first language in some parts of Ireland known as Gaeltacht areas.
The first peoples to live in Ireland came much earlier than the Celts, probably around 6,000 BC. These people were hunter-gatherers and most likely came across the sea from Scotland. Next came the farmers of the Stone Age. They used stone tools and implements and kept the first domestic farm animals. Older than the pyramids of Egypt, Newgrange, a megalithic tomb, in County Meath is an example of what these people left behind. It is one of the oldest historical sites in Europe dating to approximately 3,000 BC. Mid-Winter is the best time to visit Newgrange when the midWinter solstice occurs. Normally the chamber at Newgrange is completely dark but in mid-winter around the 21st of December the sun shines directly through, lighting up the whole chamber. After the Stone Age came the Bronze Age, it is thought that people came to Ireland in search of gold and copper. Then came the arrival of the Celts who brought with them the Iron Age, as they used iron tools. Christianity came to Ireland in the fifth century AD and with it the great monasteries that can still be seen today such as Glendalough in Co. Wicklow, Clonmacnoise in Co. Offaly and Monasterboice in Co. Louth. But it was not until the arrival of the Vikings that major towns and cities began to be built. With the Vikings came the pillaging of the beautiful monasteries. The round tower was a common feature in Irish monasteries and was used as a place of safety to which the monks would flee when they came under attack from the Vikings. Some monastic artefacts have survived; the most famous being perhaps the Book of Kells which can be seen in Dublin’s Trinity College. The
magnificence of this masterpiece can only be appreciated in reality. Other renowned artefacts include the Tara Brooch and the Ardagh Chalice which can be seen in Dublin’s National History Museum. Perhaps one of the most fascinating discoveries has been that of the bog bodies. These are human remains discovered in a bog, dating from about 400BC to 200BC. What is remarkable about this discovery is how well the bodies are preserved. For instance the hair, fingernails, skin and clothing are still intact. It is definitely worth viewing these amazing finds at the National History Museum in Dublin’s Kildare Street. Dublin Castle, off Dame Street in Dublin is also worth a visit. Originally built in the 13th century on a site previously used by the Vikings, it served as a fortress, prison, treasury, court of law and the seat of English rule in Ireland for 700 years. It now serves as a place for important state receptions and Presidential inaugurations. The Georgian House Museum otherwise known as Number Twenty Nine Fitzwilliam Street Lower is a beautiful Georgian house dating from the 1700s. It is fully furnished with artefacts dating between 1790 and 1820. The exhibition is a partnership between the Electricity Supply Board and The National Museum of Ireland in order to make the history of late Georgian Dublin more accessible to everyone. If finding out about Vikings and medieval Dublin is more your passion then a trip to Dublinia in the heart of Dublin City is a must. Dublinia shows what it would have been like to live in medieval Dublin with actors taking on the roles of the Vikings, a great day out for adults and children alike. Dublinia is also in very close proximity to the historical Christ Church Cathedral.
It is worth going there for the bell ringing service; tours of the belfry are on every Friday and Sunday at 2pm.
The history of Ireland is extremely relevant to today, as it provides meaning to the ruins, traditions and artefacts that make the country what it is.
Kilmainham Gaol is one of Europe’s largest unoccupied prisons. This gaol has witnessed some of Ireland’s most heroic and tragic events between the 1780s and 1920s, including the executions of the leaders of the 1916 Rising. This was an armed rebellion against British rule in Ireland which set in motion the path to Irish freedom. Wicklow’s historic gaol (1702-1924) brings to life what life was like for prisoners of the gaol. If you are still thirsty for more, then a trip to Collins Barracks is next one of the oldest, continuously occupied barracks in the world. Collins Barracks also provided the backdrop for the scenery in the film “Michael Collins”, starring Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts.
People the world over would agree that Irish dancing, Guinness and U2 are synonymous with Irish culture. The Guinness storehouse is a fun day out where you can learn how Guinness is made, pour your own pint and sip a complimentary Guinness, whilst sitting in the Gravity Bar taking in the panorama of Dublin City. Other famous attractions include a visit to the Phoenix Park which houses Áras an Uachtaráin, the house of the President of Ireland and the zoo. If venturing to Cork, a trip to the Fota Wildlife Park showcases lots of beautiful nature and wildlife. The ring of Kerry is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in the country. Combining the beauty of mountains with the sea, it is virtually impossible to put into words the breathtaking scenery of this place. The Burren in County Clare is another such place. The Burren is an area of limestone rock covering majestic mountains and valleys with gentle rivers flowing through - a lovely, peaceful day out. Other picturesque places to visit include, Kinsale in Cork, Connemara in Galway.
Festivals There are many different festivals that take place in Ireland. Saint Patrick’s day which occurs on the 17th of March each year is the most renowned. Indeed, this day is celebrated in many other countries where there is an Irish presence. The New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade is the biggest in the world. However, there is nothing like celebrating Ireland’s national day on her home soil. There are parades all throughout the country - in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Killarney, Navan and Galway. The atmosphere is electric with many taking to the streets to celebrate and wearing traditional Irish shamrock. Bloomsday is festival that takes place in June every year in celebration of the writings of James Joyce. This year the festival is running from 16th-19th of June. Bloomsday marks the day in 1904 when all the action of James Joyce’s Ulysses took place. It is celebrated every year by Joyceans all over the world. Various parts of Dublin feature in the novel, many denoted by brass plaques on the pavement throughout the city. One of Joyce’s favourite areas, Sandycove in South County Dublin is regularly a hub of activity for Joyceans on Bloomsday. People dress up, take part in readings and walks and visit the locations of the book. It is truly an enriching Summer’s day.
There are also many musical festivals in Ireland including: the Galway Arts Festival from 11th until 24th July and the Cork Jazz festival at the end of October. The Irish film industry becomes the centre of focus at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival in February each year. Ireland has always been internationally renowned as an idyllic place for artists. In the 1980s, a complete tax-exemption was given to artists. This further fostered the indigenous artistic culture that has thrived for centuries. There are many different art galleries around the country. The National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin houses the work of some of the best known artists including ‘The Taking of Christ’ by Caravaggio and other works by Vermeer, Van Gogh, Picasso and Rembrandt.
The Grand Canal Theatre This brand new, state-of-the-art building represents the new, modern world of theatre. Located in the newly developed Grand Canal Dock Area, the Grand Canal Theatre showcases the best of national and international theatre as well as concerts, musicals, drama, ballet and opera. No matter what you are seeking in Ireland, there is something for everybody. Ireland is a spontaneous place, rich in history, art, culture and fun. Come and enjoy all of the sights, sounds and atmosphere that the land of Saints and Scholars has to offer.
The ‘Green on Red Gallery’ on Lombard Street East in Dublin houses the work of Corban Walker. Corban has gained recognition for his installations, sculptures and drawings and is representing Ireland this year at the Venice Biennale. The Arts Council of Ireland saw Corban’s potential early on and has supported his work.
Theatre The Abbey Theatre This historical theatre was founded in 1903 by one of history’s most celebrated poets, W.B. Yeats. He founded The Abbey along with Lady Augusta Gregory. It is situated on Lower Abbey Street in Dublin. The theatre was established for the purpose of performing Irish and Celtic plays.