Saturday 20 December 2014

Taoiseach Enda Kenny answers (some) questions during Facebook Q&A

Eimear Phelan

Published 06/06/2014 | 11:48

Enda Kenny on Facebook's headquarters in California. Credit: Facebook

Enda Kenny attempted to ‘get down with the kids’ last night by participating in a Q&A from Facebook’s headquarters in California during his three-day trade mission.

An Taoiseach said he was looking for Facebook users to ask questions about 'trade, investment and job creation'.

His original post gained over 200 likes and there were over 500 comments on the post asking questions.

In a separate post Mr Kenny answered just seven of the 171 questions covering a range of topics.

But Taoiseach Enda Kenny didn’t venture alone into cyberspace - the Fine Gael party Facebook account also chimed in occasionally.

There was also the question about money when Philip Noonan asked if Mr Kenny would be claiming both his teacher and TD pension.

Within the hour Mr Kenny signed off with the following: "That's the last question for now - sorry I couldn't deal with the all due to time pressures but thank you for contributing."

Here are the questions he answered:

On combining the trade and foreign affairs departments:

Enda Kenny: In the initial Q&A announcement we were asked whether it was a good idea to put Trade into the Department of Foreign Affairs. We wanted to deal with this in a new way.

Government had inherited a catastrophic situation. We were blocked out of international markets - we had lost both credibility and trust. We did not have the resources of other countries and so trade policy became and integral part of the Foreign Affairs department working through our consular offices and diplomatic services.

Tanaiste Gilmore led this charge. Our reputation has been restored. Foreign direct investment continues to be very strong and [the] IDA continue to deal with multiple queries from around the world. Ireland is fast becoming a global hub for innovation, research and excellence.

 

Do you think there is a possibility of adding a programming subject or similar subjects in the education system to meet the increase in use of computer science and foreign direct investment from multinational companies etc? Scotland has the option for programming in their curriculum.

Enda Kenny: Interesting question which has been the subject of discussion here in California.

Your are aware of the changes in our curriculum for more students to take computer science and programming including project mathematics - a different concept of understanding numbers. You will also appreciate the Codo Dojo movement which demonstrates to children and young people the writing of computer code. IT companies have some interest in this and it will pay dividends in the time ahead.

 

What are the Government planning to do about the lack of outside investment in the South East region?

[The] Government want to expand business opportunities to all regions in the country to that end government decided to provide opportunities to create a technology university in the south east where very strict conditions apply.

The IDA carry out frequent visits to the south east region and have recently changed the assistance levels for grant aid to be at higher levels for areas outside main cities. In addition further progress and infrastructure, road, water, communications are all being progressed. Presently over 1,000 jobs are being created - we want to see this apply in the south east as any where else.

 

Hello Enda, will you be back for the game on Sunday?

Mayo play Roscommon on Sunday at Hyde Park on Sunday - we are hoping for a big win - pressure rising in America. Unfortunately I won't be there due to returning from the States but I do hope for good news when I arrive.

 

Any update on IDA park in Castlebar ?

Enda Kenny Yes the IDA will shortly carry out a feasibility study with a view to a provision to an advance building - similar to those being provided in Waterford and Letterkenny. IDA meeting with Mayo County Manager on Friday next week.

 

Does Facebook plan to increase head count in Dublin?

Enda Kenny Facebook are moving to new HQ 120,000 sq ft in the next few weeks. This will increase capacity for a truly global company and is a sign of their long term commitment to Ireland and we wish them well.

 

What are the Government planning to do about the lack of outside investment in the South East region?

Enda Kenny Government want to expand business opportunities to all regions in the country to that end government decided to provide opportunities to create a technology university in the south east where very strict conditions apply.

The IDA carry out frequent visits to the south east region and have recently changed the assistance levels for grant aid to be at higher levels for areas outside main cities. In addition further progress and infrastructure, road, water, communications are all being progressed. Presently over 1,000 jobs are being created - we want to see this apply in the south east as any where else.

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