We need faster way to San Jose -- exec
A HIGH-LEVEL Irish-American business executive has said serious measures are required to maintain Ireland's standing in the worldwide technology industry.
John Hartnett, who heads up the Irish Technology Leaders Group (ITLG) in the US, said the broadband network in Ireland needed to be upgraded. He also called for a direct flight from Dublin to San Jose so that executives could be within easy reach of Silicon Valley, the central hub for technology companies.
Limerick-native Mr Hartnett is the founder of G24 Innovations and the ITLG, a group of Irish technology leaders, and is considered one of the most senior Irish-American business executives in the US.
"Dublin has always been a strong location that is well connected worldwide," he said.
"However, connectivity needs to come to the next level. We need to invest in broadband if we are remain a leader in the technology game.
"There is no direct link between Dublin and San Jose. We need to have a flight from Dublin to San Jose instead of travelling 15 hours through London," he added.
The comments came at a conference at Croke Park organised by Dublin Lord Mayor Emer Costello and the Commission on Employment -- which was set up by the mayor to bring more investment into the capital and create jobs.
Last night, a spokesman for Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe, who is also in charge of innovation, said he would be focusing on the speed and cost of broadband. He did not comment on the issue of a direct flight from Dublin to San Jose flight when asked.
Mr Hartnett called for the investment of capital and talent in young companies so that Ireland could create "its own Silicon Valley company".
EU Research and Innovation Commissioner, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, said an "innovation divide" could not be allowed to open.
"We need to get more young people and more women into science and we need to communicate better the benefits that science brings to us all," she said. "Cities not only breed innovation but also need innovation."
Researchers, third-level colleges and the business community must work together to develop an "innovation ecosystem" in Dublin, she said.
Meanwhile, Ms Costello said more than 76,000 people had lost their jobs in Dublin between 2007 and 2009.
She said the number of vacant and abandoned buildings was "a major problem and challenge for the city".
The city council is currently trying to identify alternative uses for such buildings.
Companies have been called on to put forward projects for the second 'Innovation Dublin' festival which will take place from November 10 to 21.