Irish leaders and expats met on Friday to discuss ways of quickening the pace of Ireland’s economic recovery after being hard-hit by the financial crisis.
Figures from the Irish diaspora were called to come together to find a way to help their homeland rebuild its economy and reputation.
Around 300 delegates met for the two-day Global Irish Economic Forum, including the chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG), Willie Wash, and Hollywood actor Gabriel Byrne.
The Irish government hopes that delegates will use their world influence to help the country after a property market collapse and EU-IMF bailout.
“We travel the world and know how many smart Irish people there are scattered around, I’m sure they can be motivated to help with what needs to be done here in many different ways,” said Paul McGuinness, manager of Irish rock legends U2.
The Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Eamon Gilmore, explained the purpose of the two-day conference: “We are mobilising people with Irish connections who are of Irish heritage and who are leaders in the corporate world to help us in our efforts to bring about economic recovery and to get investments and jobs into this country.”
He said that the delegates are “the kind of people who will open doors for us,” and that he hopes they will “help us tilt investment decisions in Ireland’s direction to ensure that jobs are created here.”
Though Ireland has received EU-IMF bailout funds, its struggling economy has managed to meet deficit targets dictated at the time of the bailouts. Unlike other struggling economies in the eurozone, such as Greece and Portugal, the Irish economy is expected to exhibit growth this year.
Irish descendants around the world number 11 times more than the population of Ireland itself, owing to mass emigration in the 19th and 20th centuries. The state of the Irish economy is again making the country watch people leave by the thousands in search of jobs, mainly in Australia and Canada.