independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Davos: Enda Kenny tells international audience 'Ireland is beginning to return'

An Taoiseach says Ireland has suceeded because we had 'courage and conviction'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny sounded a cautious note as he spoke in a public session at the World Economic Forum in Davos today.

"Ireland is beginning to return," he said.

The country has succeeded because we had "the courage and conviction," he added.

Speaking to an international audience, he praised the role of the European Commission and underlined the importance of Ireland's recovery for other countries.

Moody's decision last week had helped bring down borrowing costs for Greece, Portugal and other countries, he noted.

Mr Kenny began a day of talks - on how to restore competitiveness to the European economy - in Davos this morning with a meeting with Facebook chief operations officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Ms Sandberg told Mr Kenny that she had dinner with Bono on Wednesday evening and joked that the Taoiseach should put the U2 singer on the government's payroll because all he wanted to talk about was Ireland's economic recovery.

The social media boss lavished the Taoiseach with praise saying: "Brilliant leader of a brilliant country"

Mr Kenny also gave a light hearted promise to open Facebook's new headquarters in Dublin - a pledge that seemed to take Ms Sandberg aback.

Mr Kenny is expected to sell Ireland's recovery and urge investors to invest in Ireland while the country is still recovering and labour and office space is cheap.

He has met with executives from Adobe, Liberty Global and salesforce.com this afternoon. Later this evening, Mr Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan will host an IDA-sponsored dinner for business leaders. 

Earlier he told CBNC in an interview that just because we've exited the bailout doesn't mean we can be complacent.

"Just because we've exited the bailout doesn't mean we [don't] still have hills to climb - we have, and many puff them are really challenging," he said.

"Our people have always been pragmatic, we've always been productive, and never afraid of hard work. And I believe that the story of Ireland in the last three years is a story we intend to continue in the time ahead."

Mr Kenny added, however, that Ireland will not become complacent as we bid to fix our public finances and restructure the banking sector which are still major challenges.

Mr Kenny is among about 2,500 world and business leaders in Davos this week.

Later today Bono will address an IDA dinner event.

By Thomas Molloy in Davos

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