Connect Ireland, the new Kilkenny-based company that aims to attract international investment to Ireland, is already in talks with over 90 foreign companies seeking to expand.
Terry Clune, the entrepreneur behind Connect Ireland, says that while not all negotiations can come to fruition, a percentage of these companies would ultimately look to establish a presence here. Speaking at an event in Kilkenny Castle today, Mr Clune also confirmed that there would be a ‘positive jobs announcement’ as early as June this year.
The company, which employs 31 people at its Kilkenny headquarters, is only five weeks old. The news that negotiations are already ongoing with 90 companies has been hailed as a hugely auspiscious beginning.
Today’s event in Kilkenny Castle was a briefing on the Succeed-in-Ireland initiative for local community, social enterprise and voluntary groups. It was attended by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, outgoing President of the GAA Christy Cooney, Mayor of Kilkenny David Fitzgerald, and representatives from local commmunity groups.
Succeed-in-Ireland is a Government initiative designed to create jobs by attracting more foreign direct investment to Ireland. As part of this, Connect Ireland is striving to capitalise on global networking and the Irish Diaspora.
The company is an online global network, to which people can refer friends, family or business connections to introduce companies to the Connect Ireland team, who can facilitate expansion. There is a reward available for the referee in the case of successful introductions that lead to job creation.
Former GAA President Christy Cooney said that organisations like the GAA could have a big role to play in furthering the initiative.
“Why do the GAA wish to be associated with this?” he asked.
“Because it’s good for us. It’s about job creation. It’s about keeping our members at home. It’s about keeping clubs active, and developing our country and our communities.”
Chairman of Connect Ireland Terry Clune said that hundreds of people have alr eady been in contact with various leads, some of which had real potential.
“On the day this was launched, a guy heard it on the news and rang his brother who has a medium-sized software company,” said Mr Clune.
“He was in Munich, looking to expand. With the information he got, he then decided to make a stop into Ireland.
“This will work, but it can only happen if people contact us. That’s how we will get out of the economic problems we have now,” he said.