HAVING lost many of its best players to emigration and work overseas, the GAA is now to be harnessed as a potential force for job creation.
Under a landmark deal with Terry Clune's Connect Ireland initiative, GAA clubs are trawling lists of former players who have gone overseas with a view to tapping them up for contacts.
Connect Ireland is astonishingly simple. If you know of a company seeking to expand in Europe, all you have to do is get in touch with Connect Ireland. It will contact the expanding company and pitch Ireland as an investment location. And there's a big finder's fee for any jobs created.
So far, an average of €46,000 has been paid to the people who have started the ball rolling. A fee of €1,500 per job is paid.
Last May, Intergeo Services set up operations in Kilkenny, creating 30 jobs following a tip from Carlow man Eddie Horkan. Connect Ireland stepped in, persuading the firm to move jobs to Ireland instead of Scotland and Horkan stands to earn thousands from the tip-off.
Connect Ireland has also been instrumental in the creation of 30 jobs at Entercoms in Mallow, and 50 jobs at Xtralis in Dublin
Connect Ireland, which was set up by financial services entrepreneur Terry Clune of Taxback.com, is in serious dialogue with close to 500 companies around the world about potentially shifting some of their business to Ireland. However, the projects can take up to 18 months to bring to fruition.
Clune is funding the €2.5m initial start-up costs of Connect Ireland out of his own pocket.