Brian Cowen, Prime Minister of Ireland

Brian Cowen talks up Ireland on Wall Street

The Irish Prime Minister will hold a series of meetings with executives from Wall Street during his second day in the United States.

Brian Cowen will then meet with Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg and the Global Irish Network, successful young people based in New York City. A meeting with Industrial Development Agency Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Tourism Ireland is also on his brief.

Speaking at the New York Stock Exchange he told them about his $700 million innovation fund. He said that the fund would help create 120,000 new jobs for Ireland in the next 10 years.

He said “Venture capital is an essential ingredient for supporting entrepreneurs and ensuring businesses can scale and create jobs. Lack of finance consistently emerges as a key impediment for innovative firms.

"Many successful companies that are now household names, like Google, Facebook and Staples, relied on venture financing to achieve the scale necessary to become multinational companies and provide large numbers of jobs... We must provide the right environment for such companies to develop in Ireland," he told US business leaders.

"In launching Innovation Fund – Ireland, we are presenting a positive message of confidence.

"The foundations for economic growth are not destroyed, but are firmly in place, ready to be built on. The recovery is underway.

"Not only have we come through the recession, recording the fastest rate of GDP growth in the EU, we will deliver on the step-change needed to secure sustainable economic growth through a significant increase in the level of company start-ups and job creation in innovative, export-focused sectors," Mr Cowen said.
Unlike Mary McAleese’s visit earlier this year the press were not allowed to question the Prime Minister. Many believe that his visit is an attempt to drum up business for Ireland and an effort to show that Ireland Inc is open for business.

However, reactions to Ireland’s efforts at recovery from their financial crisis seems to be mixed. A recent New York Times and Wall Street Journals gave bleak assessments of the situtations. The New York Times said “once thriving nation . . . struggling, with no sign of a rapid turnaround in sight.”