News & Events

Minister Breen chairs meeting of D9+ EU countries

Organised by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Minister Breen hosts D9+ EU countries in Dublin’s Digital Hub

The meeting gives companies at the forefront of Ireland’s Artificial Intelligence industry an opportunity to showcase their work

Mr Pat Breen TD, Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data is hosting a Ministerial level meeting of D9+ EU countries today at The Digital Hub organised by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. The theme of the meeting is Artificial Intelligence (AI).

All countries present, including Ireland, recently signed a European Commission Declaration on Artificial Intelligence. By signing the Declaration Member States agreed to:

  • Boost Europe’s technology and industrial capacity in AI and its uptake;
  • Address the socio-economic challenges presented by AI; and
  • Ensure an adequate legal and ethical framework exists for AI. 

Welcoming his Ministerial colleagues to Ireland Minister Breen said, “I’m very pleased that Ireland is hosting this meeting of the D9+ countries. Ireland has long been a digital frontrunner as measured on the DESI and as a country, we are well positioned to take advantage of the considerable enterprise opportunities that digitisation will continue to offer.”

The D9+ group is an informal alliance of Digital Ministers from digital frontrunner EU Member States. It comprises the nine top-ranked European countries in the European Commission annual DESI, plus two other countries who share similar ambitions for the Digital Single Market. The countries involved are Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, UK, Ireland and Estonia, who are joined in the group by the Czech Republic and Poland.

The countries meet on an informal basis to build on their collective strengths in advanced digital technologies and to confront the challenges associated with digital transformation. Ireland is considered a digital frontrunner because of its prominent ranking in the DESI Index and has made continuous improvements in these rankings since 2014. Ireland ranks highly for; Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) graduates; Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Selling Online; eCommerce Turnover; SMEs selling Online Cross-border and Open Data.

Today’s event fulfils the commitment made by Minister Breen at the inaugural meeting of the D9+ group in Stockholm last October to host the meeting and further underscores Ireland’s commitment to the digital agenda. It will include presentations from the European Commission, the OECD, Finland and a fellow of the European Association for AI and Irish expert in the Artificial Intelligence field, Professor Barry O’Sullivan, Chair of Constraint Programming in the Department of Computer Science at University College Cork.

Minister Breen said “Artificial Intelligence is a game-changing technology and we need to ensure that Europe leads on its future development. As the EU frontrunners in the digital agenda, the countries represented at the meeting today will be discussing how best to harness the many opportunities of this technology for the benefit of all citizens throughout Europe.”

The meeting is being held at the Digital Hub. Its CEO Fiach Mac Conghail said: “We are delighted that the meeting of the Digital 9+ Group of EU Ministers is taking place in The Digital Hub. Established as Ireland’s largest cluster of digital media, technology and internet businesses in Ireland, The Digital Hub represents a fitting location at the heart of the Liberties to bring together Europe’s leading Digital Ministers in addressing the opportunities and challenges associated with digital inclusion and transformation. It is great to see Ireland continuing to reinforce its role and position as a digital frontrunner in this process and we are proud to support the Irish Government in this.”

The meeting will also provide an opportunity to showcase the work some Irish companies are doing in the Artificial Intelligence sector.

Carol Gibbons, Enterprise Ireland Department Manager of Electronics & Director ICT Commercialisation, said “There is great awareness internationally that we stand on the threshold of a new technological era by the advances in Artificial Intelligence. Developments in technology from data analytics to machine learning and artificial intelligence will advance as global drivers of new products and services opportunities for Irish industry. Enterprise Ireland companies such as Artomatix, Aylien, Boxever and Nuritas, who are presenting today, best represent the commercialisation of these technology advancements.”


Further information:

The Digital 9+ Countries (D9+) group is an informal alliance of like-minded Member States on Single Market issues, comprising the nine top-ranked European countries in the European Commission annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), plus two other countries who share similar ambitions for the Digital Single Market. The countries involved are Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, UK, Ireland and Estonia, who are joined in the group by the Czech Republic and Poland.

The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) is a composite index that summarises five relevant indicators (Connectivity, Human Capital / Digital skills, Use of Internet by citizens, Integration of Digital Technology by businesses, Digital Public Services) on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the evolution of EU member states in digital competitiveness.

The DESI index shows that Ireland is ranked highly as one of the most advanced digital economy in the EU. Ireland ranks very highly when it comes to the integration of digital technologies by businesses, mostly because many SMEs embraced e-commerce. Internet users increasingly take advantage of high-speed infrastructures and also make good use of online public services.

Ireland is ranked first in Europe in 4 of 34 indicators, namely:

  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates
  • SMEs Selling Online
  • eCommerce Turnover
  • SMEs Online Cross-border


Digital Hub:

Based in the historic Liberties area of Dublin city centre, The Digital Hub is an enterprise cluster for growing technology companies and relevant industry organisations.  Eighty established businesses operate in The Digital Hub including a mix of indigenous enterprises and international companies. Together these businesses employ over 750 people. The Digital Hub is the largest cluster of digital media, technology and internet businesses in Ireland.

The Digital Hub is also a supportive partner of the local community, by running several digital learning initiatives for people of all ages.

The Digital Hub Development Agency is the Irish state agency that manages The Digital Hub. The Agency was established by the Irish Government under the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and plays a key part in supporting the implementation of the National Digital Strategy.

Further information is available at:  or on Twitter: @TheDigitalHub.

Enterprise Ireland Client companies:


Artomatix bring AI to digital art creation. The company uses Texture Synthesis and Deep Learning algorithms at the cutting edge of R&D to create a new generation of products for artists that automate previously manual tasks and maximise creativity. Automates many art creation tasks for the video game & movie industries.


AI-driven content analysis solutions that bring the power of NLP to the masses. We help developers, data scientists, and marketers understand human-generated textual content at scale… offering API and platform based solutions.


Boxever is the leader in data science and omni-channel personalization solutions for airlines and travel companies. Boxever’s Customer Intelligence Cloud enables travel marketers to build a 360 degree view of every customer and apply predictive analytics and machine learning to automatically create personalized, one-to-one marketing experiences that lead to higher conversion rates, increased revenue and truly differentiated customer experiences.


Nuritas combines artificial intelligence and genomics to discover and unlock natural Bioactive Peptides with extraordinary health benefits. Their proprietary platform targets, predicts and unlocks novel bioactive peptides from everyday food sources.