Richard Bruton, jobs, enterprise and innovation minister, has launched the ICT Ireland and the Irish Software Association's new strategy document ‘The Global Technology Hub: How Ireland enables success for international and indigenous technology companies.’ If anyone has a vague recollection of the fantasy of Brian Cowen, former taoiseach ( (Irish prime minister), to create a European Silicon Valley in Ireland, you may wonder what happened that?
"The strategy sets out the future opportunities and trends for the industry in Ireland which, if supported, will deliver further investment, growth and jobs. Key recommendations are detailed for Government, academia and industry to ensure that the industry's potential is fully realised," according to ICT Ireland, a unit of Ibec, the business lobby group.
Let's deal with reality first: this is not a strategy. It's a promotional and lobbying brochure that uses misleading headline data as fact such as exports that are massively distorted by the tax avoidance strategies of big US multinationals.
The document sets out the need for more public investment in education and broadband while calling for reduced taxes: "Reduce the burden of labour taxation in order to attract inward investment and entrepreneurship."
You want lower employer social security costs that are already among Europe's lowest?
For the units of American firms that are featured, there is an effective rate of corporate tax at 2.5% and you want a lower tax burden? Should the workers in the SME sector who don't even have an occupational pension, provide the cash for increased investment?
What the brochure doesn't say is that the high tech services companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook are primarily involved in sales and general administration and significant number of their staffs are from overseas.
The skills crisis is in the poor language skills of the Irish. There is no tech skills crisis as the market for people is subdued growth Europe.
There is a brief reference to research and development and no reference to patents as most of the research is low level.
So 'The Global Technology Hub' is as fatuous as Enda Kenny's 'Digital Capital of the World' and Brian Cowen's 'European Silicon Valley'
In September 2009, Brian Cowen, taoiseach, in a speech at the inaugural meeting of the Global Economic Forum, an Irish diaspora group, asked for help to create a "European Silicon Valley‟ in Ireland that would be bigger than the original!
There were only 3,300 permanent net jobs added by US firms in Ireland in 2007-2012 and 1,600 by indigenous firms in high tech sector.
Here is a Reality Check from Finfacts: Irish Medium-Term Economic Strategy 2014-2020: Innovation and entrepreneurs? - - Part 3
ICT Ireland says the key areas identified by industry for growth (from p 20) in the report [pdf], are:
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