Minister Simon Harris was guest of honour at the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland’s annual Thanksgiving Lunch today in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road, attended by over 700 members of the Chamber. This was later followed by an evening of celebrations at Slack with the Chamber’s Emerging Leader’s network getting the opportunity to hear from Lisa Ruttledge, Co-founder of FoddMarble, Vanessa Brennan, Senior Engineering Manager at Slack and Former Dublin All-Star and Founder of PepTalk.ie, Bernard Brogan.
Speaking at the lunch, American Chamber President, Barry O’Sullivan said ““I am delighted to welcome Minister Simon Harris to our Thanksgiving celebration today. This is one of the key times during the year when our members gather to reflect on the remarkable strength of the US Ireland business relationship, which continues to grow and deepen. For example, last year, inflows to Ireland accounted for just over 25% of total flows to Europe, second only to the Netherlands. Since 2,000, only the Netherlands and the UK have attracted more US capital than Ireland. In a recent survey of our members, 75% of them said they had experienced jobs growth this year.”
Outlining why he believes US businesses have thrived in Ireland, Minister Simon Harris said, “there is no single reason - but many; a common law, a common language, and a connected culture, reflected in the fact that 33 million Americans now claim Irish heritage. He added: “a pro-business environment underpinned by a tax code which is not only competitive in its rate but more importantly – stable, simple and transparent in its function. A country with Europe’s youngest population and best-educated workforce and an openness not just to investment but to people.”
Barry O’Sullivan also said “I believe, we can sustain our Irish Advantage by focusing on four key attributes; Investment, Innovation, Inclusion and International Collaboration. Every year, our Chamber engages directly with hundreds of our Leaders across Ireland to hear their top issues, invariably they centre on innovation, talent and investment. This was confirmed by independent research conducted by the Chamber this year which found that almost 9 in 10 Irish people believe that US companies are critical to Ireland’s future. 7 in 10 believe that US companies invest here because of the talent, skills and innovation that they find. The pace of change has never been as fast as it is today, and will never be as slow again. When our clocks next go forward, Ireland will be the only English speaking, common law, country in the EU.
In Ireland, we must ask ourselves, are we prepared to seize the opportunities that now present themselves? Are we thinking big about the new potential of Ireland as the natural bridge between the US and EU i.e. about our capabilities & skills pipeline and about our physical and digital infrastructure programs?”
Barry O’Sullivan said “In this regard, we welcome Project 2040 announced by Government early this year. Ireland needs Dublin to be a city of global importance and Dublin needs investment in its infrastructure. As a business leader working in the Shannon region, I fully believe balanced regional development is key to a sustainable economic future for Ireland. We welcome the new capital plan and we urge its speedy implementation for the benefit of business and communities all over Ireland. We also need to focus on our Education system, at every level, needs reform to develop the technical, teamwork and problem-solving skills in young people required to succeed in a digital world, and to reverse our falling University rankings - a real worry if we want to attract more world class researchers to work in Ireland.”
The lunch was kindly supported by William Fry. Speaking about the event, Bryan Bourke, Managing Partner of William Fry said "We are proud to sponsor the Annual American Chamber of Commerce Thanksgiving Lunch for the sixth consecutive year. This event offers a great opportunity to celebrate and strengthen the long-standing relationship that exists between Ireland and the US."