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Minister Humphreys speech at official opening of Google Data Centre in Grange Castle

*Check Against Delivery*


Good afternoon everyone.


On behalf of the Government, it’s great to be here in Grange Castle to celebrate the expansion of Google’s Data Centre.


Since you first arrived here in 2003, Google has invested €1 billion in Ireland.


That is a remarkable figure and highlights the importance of companies like yours to the Irish economy.


Google’s decision, 15 years ago, to set up in Barrow Street, is seen by many as the catalyst that started a seismic shift for investment in Dublin.


It led to the creation of what is now known as Silicon Docks, which are now home to many household-name Tech companies.


I would like to thank you for choosing Ireland for that initial investment, and your subsequent investments since then.


Not only have you established the hugely successful and fast-growing EMEA operation in Dublin’s Barrow Street - your investment also includes the Data Centre in Profile Park, which I understand is one of the most energy efficient Data Centres in the world.


And now, you have moved onto this expansion in Grange Castle.


To have this level of investment from the world’s largest internet company is a terrific vote of confidence by Google in Ireland, and in what our country has to offer.


Companies like Google play an important role in our economy, creating jobs and opportunities, exporting tens of billions worth of goods and services annually, contributing to Government revenues, and supporting innovation across nearly every part of the economy.


The Irish State has sought to attract the best companies globally through a series of solid and consistent policies, and I would like to thank the IDA for their hard work in attracting the best quality FDI into Ireland.


It is because of that work that there are now well over 200,000 people employed in IDA Client Companies.


More than one in five private sector jobs - including both direct and indirect employment - are in place because of IDA-supported foreign investment here, with ICT companies in particular being one the largest employers.


For those of you who may not be familiar with the wider success of Ireland’s engagement in the ICT sector, I would like to highlight a few key points.


Ireland’s software sector is thriving - 9 of the top 10 international companies now having operations here.


Our reputation as a centre of software excellence is unrivalled in Europe.


Ireland is home to over 900 software companies, including both multinational and indigenous firms, employing 24,000 people and generating €16 billion worth of exports annually.


In addition to foreign companies like yours, we have seen the development of a significant group of Irish companies with world-class products.


The sector’s wide-ranging activities include Software Development, Research and Development and Business Services.


And many of this sector’s leading firms have chosen to locate their Regional or International headquarters here.


Ireland is now home to:

-                      9 of the top 10 global software companies;

-                      9 of the top 10 US technology companies;

-                      The top 5 top security software companies,

-                      The top 3 enterprise software companies.

-                      And - all of the top 10 ‘Born on the Internet’ companies;

Ireland’s reputation as a digital island continues to be enhanced by the presence of companies like Google.


We are rapidly becoming a dominant force in Cloud Computing, building on our international reputation as a leader in ICT.


We already have a number of key, big-name players, such as yourselves.


Meanwhile, a wide spectrum of technology companies with Irish operations are actively expanding into - and researching - the Cloud.


In response to this rapidly developing sector, we have developed Cloud Computing Masters degrees, which are being offered in several universities and third-level institutions throughout Ireland.


These courses have been created in association with industry partners.


As more and more consumers and business are becoming increasingly reliant on cloud computing, and with the rise of Big Data, the importance of Data Centres cannot be overestimated.


I know that today you are publishing a report by Copenhagen Economics on the value to Irish economy of Data Centre investments.


This report paints a very positive picture of the importance of Data Centre investments for Ireland.


It has been our view that data centre investment is very positive for Ireland.


Without a doubt, it’s proof of our commitment and capability to the wider data ecosystem.


On that note, I would like to finish by wishing you every success with your new, expanded Data Centre, and the continued growth of your operations here in Ireland.


We are delighted to have you! Thank you.