Skip to main content

Tánaiste announces programme for the Global Irish Economic Forum

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Eamon Gilmore, T.D., today briefed the cabinet and announced details of the Global Irish Economic Forum to be held at Dublin Castle on 7 and 8 October (attached). 

He also warmly welcomed President Bill Clinton’s acceptance of the invitation from the Taoiseach to attend the Forum. 

The Tánaiste said:

 “I am delighted that President Clinton has accepted the Taoiseach’s invitation to take part in the Forum.  President Clinton’s leadership on the key challenges of our time, including the global economy, aid and disaster relief is widely recognised. He continues to take a strong interest in Ireland and in its future.   His global economic and political perspective offers a unique opportunity to explore the best ways to meet the challenges before us”.

The Tánaiste also welcomed the response to the Taoiseach’s letter of invitation to members of the Global Irish Network.  To date, almost 280 invitees have confirmed that they will attend.  In addition, Government Ministers, the State Agencies, members of the Opposition and leading Irish based business figures will also be participating.   President McAleese will be the guest of honour at a formal dinner for participants on Friday, 7 October. 

The Tánaiste recalled that the event would be results orientated and that a robust follow-up mechanism would be announced at the Forum.  He said that the objectives of the Forum will be to: 

·                provide an opportunity for the Government to engage directly  with members of the Global Irish Network  on the Government’s priorities for economic renewal and job creation;

·                assist in the Government’s efforts to restore our international reputation;

·                build on the success of the Farmleigh Forum in 2009 by further developing our relationship with leading members of the Diaspora.

The Tánaiste thanked the moderators, panellists, and the facilitators of the working groups- the UCD Smurfit School of Business- who are providing their services on a pro-bono basis. He said that every effort is being made to keep the overall cost to a minimum.   There will be live internet screening of the key discussions so that members of the public can follow the event. 

Note for Editors:

Details for the accreditation of media wishing to cover the Forum will be transmitted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade next week.

The Global Irish Economic Forum

The first Global Irish Economic Forum (GIEF) was held at Farmleigh in September 2009.   The Forum developed a new level of strategic engagement between Ireland and its Diaspora.  It gave enhanced recognition to the value of the Diaspora and the advantages to be gained in harnessing this global Irish relationship.  The Forum generated a wide range of proposals in a number of economic and cultural areas.

The Department of Foreign Affairs published a report of the Forum in October, 2009.  Two subsequent progress reports were published in March and October, 2010.  A further update was made available on the Department’s website in April 2011

 Among the specific initiatives that emerged from, or were influenced by, the 2009 Farmleigh Forum were:

  • the establishment of the Global Irish Network comprising over 300 influential individuals from 37 countries.  The Network is the main channel through which the Government has maintained contact with those invited to the 2009 Forum and other leading members of the Diaspora.  It has three key roles: an advisory and facilitation function; a mechanism for distributing key information about the Irish economy; and helping to deliver specific initiatives.  Members help facilitate high level access abroad for the State Agencies and Irish companies.  A series of regional meetings of the Network with Ministerial attendance have also taken place;
  • a new focus on the promotion of Irish culture abroad, including the Imagine Ireland campaign in the US  and the appointment of a Cultural Ambassador;
  • the successful development of Tourism Ireland’s ‘Come Home’ campaign;
  • the establishment of the Farmleigh Fellowship Programme in Singapore which places 25 Irish post graduates in companies in Asia;
  • the development of the Diaspora focussed website-;
  • since the 2009 Forum, Embassies and Consulates have worked with Network members and young members of the Diaspora to establish new networks for Irish graduates and professionals abroad.  The Government has also worked closely with the Ireland Funds in promoting that organisation’s Young Leaders initiative; 
  • the expansion of the Irish Technology Leadership Group  and the establishment of the Irish Innovation Centre in Silicon Valley;
  • increased Government support for Diaspora business networks. 
  • increased access to genealogical records and the establishment of the Certificate of Irish Heritage;
  • Enterprise Ireland and our Missions have worked with Network members to provide mentoring, introduction and advice for Irish companies;
  • the appointment of a high profile spokesperson for the IFSC;
  • contributed to the introduction of the new Asia and Emerging Markets Strategy- ‘Trading and investing in a smart economy’;

The October Forum will be held in Dublin Castle to accommodate the increased number of participants.  Although a larger event, the budget for this year’s Forum is expected to be in the same region as that for the 2009 Forum (€330,000). 

Press Office | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade | Dublin | ( Tel: (+ 353 1) 408 2275/2550 | ( Fax: (+353 1) 478 5942 |



Global Irish Economic Forum

7/8 October 2011

Outline Programme (subject to change)


Friday, 7 October

8.30-9.00am       Arrival at Dublin Castle (State Apartments)

9.15am                 Opening address by the Taoiseach (Live Stream)

9.35am                 Presentation by Mr Eamon Gilmore, T.D., Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade on developments since 2009 Forum (Live Stream)

10.00am               Opening Plenary panel discussion

                                Topic: ‘Ireland: the road to recovery’ (Live Stream)

12.00                     Working groups commence

 15 breakout groups to discuss separate economic and diaspora related topics

2.45pm Conclusion of working groups

3.15pm Panel debate 1, Patrick’s Hall (Live Stream)

Topic: ‘Ireland’s image abroad: communicating the message’                               

Panel debate 2, Georges Hall

Topic: ‘Making Ireland more competitive in new and emerging markets’                            

 Panel debate 3, Conference Centre

Topic: ‘Engaging the young leaders of the global Irish’

4.30pm                 End of Panel Debate

Press opportunity

7.30pm Dinner, Royal Hospital Kilmainham: Guest of honour: President McAleese

Saturday, 8 October

9.00am                 Working groups commence

Up to 15 breakout groups: same topics as previous day, but with participants joining a different group

11.00am               Conclusion of working groups

11.30am               Panel debate 1, Georges Hall

Topic- Job creation- how can Ireland and the Global Irish Network work together to create new employment opportunities here?             

Panel debate 2, Patrick’s Hall- (Live Stream)

Topic: Promoting Irish Culture: building on the progress since Farmleigh

2.30- 3.45pm      Plenary session, Conference Centre

Topic:  Report from Facilitators on working groups

                                Response from Taoiseach / Tánaiste

4.30pm Address by President William Jefferson Clinton, Patrick’s Hall

(Live Stream)

5.00pm                 Plenary Panel Discussion, St Patrick’s Hall

(Live Stream )

Topic: ‘Ireland and the global Irish in the 21st Century - working together to meet the challenges of the future’

6.15pm Closing Statement by the Tánaiste

Topics for Working Group Sessions

1.            Improving our tourism product and promotion abroad- what is Ireland doing right and what further practical steps can we take to build growth in this sector?

2.            Job creation- idea generating opportunity on how we can create the right conditions in Ireland for significant job creation.

3.            Continuing Success of the IFSC – the vision for the next ten years.

4.            The domestic Irish banking sector: how does Ireland avoid the mistakes of the past and position itself to take advantage of the future?

5.            The Irish food sector: what further practical steps should Ireland take to expand its global market?

6.            How can Ireland maximise the commercial opportunities available from investment and R&D?

7.            How can we further develop a culture of innovation across the economy by building on the Report of the Task Force on Innovation (2010)?

8.            How can Ireland and the Global Irish Network work together to create new opportunities for indigenous exporting Irish companies by opening new markets and removing trade barriers?

9.            The Global Irish Network- what should its main priorities be and what further practical initiatives could it undertake? 

10.          Connecting the Irish Diaspora with Ireland and each other: how can we most effectively engage the next generation? 

11.          Foreign investment: how should Ireland maintain and attract new inward investment? 

12.          The Green Economy: how can Ireland best position itself to take advantage of its natural resources and green image in developing this emerging sector?

13.          How can the global Irish business community and the creative and cultural sectors work best together?

14.          Ireland’s reputation abroad: how can Ireland and the Global Irish Network deliver a new narrative in the international media?

15.          How can we further enhance links between Irish higher education and enterprise