Friday 30 September 2016

Ready to lead the next 'tot-com' boom

Published 27/09/2015 | 02:30

Mr Noonan's pre-occupation with cutting- edge technology neatly coincides with the Web Summit decision to cut its ties, and decamp to Lisbon
Mr Noonan's pre-occupation with cutting- edge technology neatly coincides with the Web Summit decision to cut its ties, and decamp to Lisbon

Hot on the heels of free healthcare for under-sixes comes the equally ingenious aspiration to get iPads to all the under-fives.

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We are at a loss to know who exactly is lobbying for this cohort of will-be, might-be or could-be voters but they are doing one hell of a job.

Presumably, Finance Minister Michael Noonan's vision of an iPad for all our children is to put Ireland at the centre of the next 'tot-com' bubble.

He and the Government are also planning to reveal a raft of Budget measures to make us an irresistible draw for high-tech firms.

One hopes we won't have to wait until after the Germans have read it first. Mr Noonan's pre-occupation with cutting- edge technology neatly coincides with the Web Summit decision to cut its ties, and decamp to Lisbon.

This must be a wake-up call that we will have to do more than just talk the talk if we are serious about being a future global hub in the digital age. Meeting the international challenge head-on means we have to constantly reinvent and innovate. Multi-nationals are continually on the prowl for a tax edge, and ours has been blunted. As written about elsewhere in these pages, luring entrepreneurs to Ireland needs more attention. The tax code must be adaptable to reward and stimulate a culture of innovation and creativity.

Ultimately, it will pay off for everyone. We must also remove any barriers on visas to streamline the entry of new companies. These are all practical and meaningful steps that would deliver. As for the iPads and five-year-olds initiative; Mr Noonan should remember that for every action, there is an equal and opposite malfunction.

An investment in the future of all our worlds

The world is paying too high a price for selfish and boundless thirst, Pope Francis told the United Nations.

With 150 heads of state and governments to aim at, he was not going to miss an opportunity to drive home his message that we are failing the poor.

The UN was meeting to endorse ambitious global development goals that aim to eliminate poverty and hunger over the next 15 years.

By tomorrow, a package of 'sustainable development goals' should be in place.

The challenge facing world leaders is to engage meaningfully with crucial international issues like climate change and ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

Equally important is the commitment to ensure gender equality and education for all.

Malala Yousafzai, the heroic schoolgirl who defied the Taliban, appealed to the conference: "Promise us that you will keep your commitments and invest in our future. Promise that every child will have the right to safe, free and quality primary and secondary education.

"This is the investment the world needs and what world leaders must do."

In pure monetary terms, it is understood that the non-binding goals could cost between $3.5 trillion and $5 trillion every year until 2030.

But in terms of what they could mean to the world's neglected and forgotten, their value is incalculable.

Irish Independent

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