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Tech leaders gather in Dublin Castle for Digital Ireland Conference

Conference outlines Ireland’s position as a global and European digital hub

Tech leaders were today told that Ireland remains a strong and attractive destination for investment from the digital and technology sector.

In a video address to the Digital Ireland Conference in Dublin Castle, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, said:

“Today’s event reflects the high priority we attach to the digital transition in Ireland. Ensuring that enterprise and wider society can benefit from digital technologies is more important than ever, given the challenges both businesses and the public are facing in the current economic climate.

“We are particularly conscious of the challenges facing the tech sector and will do all we can to support those impacted. Ireland remains committed to being a digital leader in Europe, and beyond; to driving our own digital transformation; and to ensuring that Ireland’s regulatory framework is equipped to play its part.”

Delivering the Opening Address in Dublin Castle, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, said:

“The future is digital. The world has been transformed in the last twenty years by the internet, social media, smart phones, apps and electronic payments and services.  This transformation has only just begun. It’s just been a taster of what’s yet to come. In the next twenty years it will continue with virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence and robotics making our lives unrecognisable compared to the lives we live today. 

“Today’s Conference demonstrates Ireland’s ambition and focus as a leading global digital hub – a great place for continued investment; a digital front-runner; and the location of some of the most important regulators in the digital sphere in Europe.

“Our Conference comes at a challenging time for the tech sector. My sympathies are with all those who have received bad news in recent weeks. The Government will assist those affected as they seek alternative employment or other opportunities. There is still high demand for tech, marketing and other skills in the Irish economy and there is a strong pipeline of new investments from overseas and within Ireland.

“Embracing digital technologies is crucial for our continued economic progress as well as for meeting the demands of our people in a modern society.  A competitive, innovative and resilient enterprise base will provide high-quality jobs and employment opportunities for people to live and prosper in all parts of the country. Businesses can harness digital technologies in many ways – including to better understand their customers, reduce their costs and improve their products.”

The high-level, one-day Digital Ireland Conference explored Ireland’s unique offering as a digital front-runner in Europe and how Ireland can maximise its strong digital track record, through the presence of leading global tech companies, innovative start-ups and related regulatory requirements.

Addressing the Conference, the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, said:

“The opportunities that digital technologies provide for Ireland’s creative sector and cultural output cannot be understated. Ireland’s position as a digital hub places these opportunities at our fingertips and this Government is committed to realising these and supporting creativity and innovation.

“Ireland also has an obligation to deliver and resource a modern and robust regulatory framework to ensure that people, especially children, are kept safe online. We are driving that agenda strongly with the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill which I hope to have enacted by the end of the year which will enable the establishment of a new regulator, Coimisiún na Meán. Through our National Digital Strategy, Ireland has committed to delivering a balanced digital regulatory framework which will help to foster and sustain a dynamic, creative and innovative online culture.”

Closing the Conference, the Minister of State for Company Regulation, Digital and Trade Promotion, Dara Calleary TD, said:

“If we are to seize the opportunities presented by new technologies and the digital economy, we must ensure the right regulatory frameworks are in place. Ireland recognises the unique role that we have in regulating some of the leading global technology firms in the world. We take our obligations very seriously, and we are committed to a coherent, effective, modern, well-resourced regulatory framework.”


Notes for editors

The Digital Ireland Conference demonstrates Ireland’s ambition to continue to be a digital leader at the heart of European and global digital developments. It also demonstrates the Government’s commitment to enhance the coherence of digital and regulatory structures, and to drive greater clarity, coherence and cooperation in digital in Ireland.

Alongside Government and State Agency representatives, attendees included senior leaders in tech, leading Irish digital companies, civil society, think-tanks and digital thought leaders.

The first of two panel discussions focussed on the role of regulation in the Data economy while the second panel focussed on AI and examined opportunities presented by this far-reaching technology – balancing innovation and regulation, while pursuing an ethical, human-centric approach.

The Digital Ireland Conference will be followed by further events on the digital economy organised by IDA Ireland and the Institute of International and European Affairs in December and January.