Invest in Wisconsin- A Guide for Irish Companies - Remarks by MoS Ciarán Cannon T.D.
Speech16 August 2019
Dear Friends, this year 2019, we marked the centenary of the first Dáil Eireann – or Parliament of Ireland.
That Dáil convened in the Mansion House in Dublin and comprised a group of people newly elected to British Parliament in Westminster who met instead in Dublin.
In 1919, remember Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom, so that Dáil Eireann Parliament was without recognition by Britain or the world.
During the meeting, that group asserted Ireland’s nationhood and also Ireland’s openness to the world, describing Ireland as “ A Gateway to the Atlantic” and a point on which Trade routes between East and West converge”
100 years later, Ireland’s Parliament is recognised, we have achieved our independence and we have taken our seat among the nations of the world. No country did more to help us realise that dream than this country.
The United States, as well as helping Ireland achieve its independence, also helped secure peace on our island, with support from successive US administrations leading to the precious peace ushered in by the Good Friday agreement signed in Belfast 21 years ago.
Dear Friends, as Minister for the Diaspora, I am acutely aware that the people to people ties pre-date the foundation of the Irish state.
In the 1840s half of all people landing on this continent came from Ireland, fleeing poverty and famine.
As is clear from weekends like this when over 100,000 people will gather to celebrate Irish heritage and culture, they prospered.
Investment from the US into Ireland is well known, beginning with the opening of Ford motor plant in Cork in 1917 through to the major investments by the likes of Google and Facebook today.
The 1800s witnessed a great migration of people from Ireland to the US, in the 1900s we saw great flows of Investment from the US back to Ireland.
In this century, our relationship is much more a 2 way relationship. Some 800 Irish companies employ more than 100,000 people across all 50 states including Wisconsin. Despite being a country of under 5 million people, Ireland is the 9th largest source of FDI into the US, which is incredible when you consider it. I salute Mark Redmond of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland for shining a light on that through this report.
The Irish are instinctively a global people, we view Ireland as a global island at the centre of the world. We are one of the most open economies in the world, and have become one of the most prosperous countries in Europe.
You might be happy to learn that I don’t propose to speak at length about Brexit, but I will say that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has galvanised our resolve to remain open to the world, and to look outwards instead of inwards.
We helped build the European Union and it has enhanced peace and prosperity in our country. It is a market of some 500 million people.
Ireland is a natural bridgehead for the United States into that market, as an English speaking country with a common law system.
As we look outwards, and as a global island, the Government has launched a global island 2025 strategy, which commits to doubling our footprint around the world to help Irish people and companies in new markets.
We are joined by the Chairman of Enterprise Ireland, Terrence O’Rourke. EI opened an office in Chicago recently and I know that plans are afoot to expand that office to help Irish companies do more in the Midwest including here in Wisconsin.
Milwaukee, will turn green this weekend for Irish Fest bearing testament to the strong and longstanding people to people bonds between Ireland and the US.
Green is also the colour of money in this country. So I will finish by noting that as highlighted in this report, the economic relationship is also strong and longstanding, it is a 2 way relationship and it mutually beneficial, and I know that the relationship will continue to grow from strength to strength in the years to come.