Ireland’s main job creation agency is deeply worried about the image of the country abroad, especially in the U.S.
Brendan McDonagh, a senior executive of the Industrial Development Authority, said the Irish media is “very good at creating negative headlines” which were later picked up by foreign media, especially in the U.S.
McDonagh was speaking at a conference hosted by Engineers Ireland. The incoming Engineers Ireland president PJ Rudden said at the conference he knew of one major project with the possibility of 9,000 jobs for Ireland where backers were “getting cold feet” because of Ireland’s reputation.
McDonagh stated that the heads of 65 major multinationals in Ireland had been spoken with regarding Ireland’s reputation. He said it was a “huge challenge” because the Irish were trying to “talk ourselves down.”
“We have gone from having an hour’s conversation with the chief executive about the business to now having a 20-minute conversation trying to kill all the negativity that has been put out there about Ireland,” he said.
IDA Chief Executive Barry O’Leary recently went on a two week tour of America to try and bolster Ireland’s image he said, appearing on CNBC and Bloomberg.
The IDA is also spending millions of euro on advertisements on business channels in the U.S. He said despite the bad times that 11,000 jobs were created last year, double the number from 2009.