Monday, October 10, 2011 a useful service but €20m annual profit is über-optimistic, a website for the Irish, or anyone who has an affinity with Ireland, "harnessing the power of existing social networks while deepening the relationship of users to the Irish experience, across culture, arts, sports, media, business and science," was launched at the weekend to coincide with the second Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle.

It is claimed it will harness the phenomenal advances in Information and Communications Technology allowing the ‘Irish Tribe’ to come together in a gathering with unlimited global potential. Through the WorldIrish initiative Ireland will be the first country to embrace social media to co-invent a platform between a country and its Diaspora - - maybe but it does not appear to be a potential news portal.

It is not exactly original in that there are already several online Irish theme services including US ancestry sites and the Irish Times one. was unveiled by John McColgan (co-founder of Riverdance, and Tyrone Productions):

“Today, around the world, it is evident that the power and potential of the internet and social networking to communicate on an unprecedented scale is influencing change in ways which would have, until recently, been unimaginable. The timing of a project like this is opportune as Dublin is now the leading capital for social media with the presence of giants such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and most recently Twitter. You don’t have to be Irish to be WorldIrish  - - anyone with an affinity with Ireland and Irishness from anywhere in the world can join,” said John McColgan, chairman of WorldIrish.

McColgan said he expects a profit of €20m per year in coming years, at the launch at Farmleigh House, in the Phoenix Park on Friday. will bring together Irish-centred social media content fromFacebook, Twitter and other websites to create a massive online Irish community. It is seen as a key tool for attracting investment toIreland, serving as a gateway to our culture, business, tourism and sporting sectors.
However, there is a limit to what the likes of Facebook will allow in terms of piggy-backing on its content. Twitter has already shutoff services that have depended on using its content.

A global advertising campaign would cost millions and given the economic crash in Ireland, it's only RTÉ, the State broadcaster, that can subsidise from the licence fee (despite what it claims) expensive online content.

Advertising is a not a sustainable model as there will be little from financial services, recruitment or property for many years.

Even with millions of users, e-commerce commissions from for example tourist bookings will also be thin gruel.

Meanwhile, the service will have to provide compelling content for users to regularly use the site.

The promoters said last weekend that in May of 2010 Gateway Ireland hosted a seminar in Dublin Castle.  It was attended by 300 delegates and with a range of guest speakers and panels.  Key members of the advisory board who have also invested to date include Denis O’Brien, Terry Clune and Dermot Desmond. The backers have believed in the project since the initial gathering at Dublin Castle. They are passionate about the opportunity for Ireland and believe the time is right for a site like this that allows people to express their affinity and pride in being Irish and let their creativity contribute to making a difference.

Following on from that seminar the process of building the site began in January of this year.  Working with a core staff and the best young Irish technology and design companies the process began and Gateway Ireland morphed into Initially targeting the wider Irish community across the globe, the comprehensive online and offline marketing campaign will be tailored to target the various geographical and demographical elements that make up that market in the Social media space.

“ is creating an API (application programming interface) that is an open platform on which it will develop its various online applications. The site is currently in beta and a range of applications and features will be rolled out over the coming months, working hand in hand with the community as part of a co-invention process” said Michael Baraga, newly appointed CEO of WorldIrish

To date €3m has been raised, out of which almost €1m has been spent getting the project to where it is today. Additional investment is now being sought.

Research shows that of the 70m Irish Diaspora, 49m are online today  -- this type of claim has echoes of the dot-com period..

Based in the centre of Dublin in Capel Street in the old Tram Terminus, "the project envisages operating as a thriving technology and media hub and is an opportunity to create a special place where WorldIrish will thrive."

Maybe and we wish these folks luck.

We have been around before, an online portal was launched, as an Irish version of Yahoo and a gateway for the Diaspora.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Bruton plan's plan for 200,000 net new Irish jobs

Richard Bruton speaking to a US-Irish conference in Dublin today, said he is working on a plan to create 200,000 net new jobs - -  effectively restoring employment to the 2m level.

His predecessors were great with targets even adding expected indirect jobs and ignoring job attrition.

It brings Yoggi Berra, the famous Amercican baseball player's quip, "It's déjà vu all over again," to mind.

Irish enterprise policy is dominated with spin and vacous superlatives and nothing has changed with the new government.

Bruton told the Americans today that the Irish-US business relationship "is now very much a two-way street, with Irish companies in the US employing almost as many people as US companies in Ireland."

This week, Elan, said it plans to move its main stock exchange listing to the US, as 94% of its shareholders are located outside Ireland.

Its good for bragging that CRH is technically an Irish company and a big employer in the US but most of its 80,000 payroll are not based in Ireland and neither are its shareholders.

The problem with Bruton and Seán Sherlock, his junior minister, is that they have seamlessly taken over from O'Keeffe-Lenihan, as cheerleaders of university research as a potential jobs engine, when it is a failed strategy.

Another fundamental problem is that there is no credible data on firm survival and mortality to support grandiose aspirations.

A non-sugar coated assessment of the challenges would be a good start and a big surprise.

Press statement:
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD today announced that he has begun preparation of a comprehensive Jobs Strategy, at the request of the Taoiseach and Cabinet Committee on Jobs with a target of 200,000 net new jobs. 

The Minister has previously signalled his intention to prepare a jobs plan at a speech at MacGill in July. It is expected that the Strategy will be published in January.

The Minister made the announcement in his address to the US/Ireland Business Conference at Farmleigh, which he is co-hosting.

During his address, the Bruton said: “The relationship with the United States is of vital importance to Ireland and this government is determined to work hard to strengthen and deepen our links to the benefit of both countries. This relationship, which was once based entirely around the great success story of US investment in Ireland, is now very much a two-way street, with Irish companies in the US employing almost as many people as US companies in Ireland.

“Jobs are at the very top of this Government’s agenda, and if we are to achieve the turnaround in employment that we so badly need, we must implement radical reform across every aspect of the economy. I have spoken before about the need for an innovation revolution – a revolution that brings innovation out of the laboratories and into our businesses, our communities, our schools, our public bodies and every aspect of our economy.

“We must broaden our strengths over and above the reliance on the traditional foreign direct investment that has served us so well. Within the multinational sector, we must seek to attract international entrepreneurs to start businesses in Ireland, and must strive continually to encourage the world-leading companies already here to locate the pioneering parts of their businesses here. However we must also recognise that our indigenous companies have the potential to significantly increase their exports, and do what it takes to create a real indigenous engine of growth.

“We must learn from the world-leading companies we are so lucky to have in Ireland and find ways of ensuring that our indigenous companies can lead the world in the vital processes that add value and create employment: productivity, design, management and research and development.

 “If we are to bring about these types of changes, we need a plan, and that is why I have committed to prepare a comprehensive Jobs Strategy. This Strategy will not attempt to compete with the large number of reports already prepared on this subject, but will draw from the volume of material already available, as well as the amazing level of expertise available both in Ireland and abroad. I have already started a rolling process of engagement on the issues and intend to create an action plan that Government can take to address our challenges.

“If we work hard and take tough decisions I don’t see why we should not aspire to:
  • Create over 200,000 jobs to have 2 million people at work again
  • Be the best country in which to run an enterprise
  • Significantly increase the share of our indigenous business in export markets
  • Return to and stay in the top five countries for cost competitiveness; and
  • Ensure once again that all our children can have a future in Ireland.