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Presidential seal of approval: McAleese praises IDA's work

PRESIDENT Mary McAleese yesterday issued a rallying call to IDA workers saying their job is to show the world that Ireland is "open for business".

Mrs McAleese said a series of IDA-backed job announcements last month had raised renewed hope in people.

And she referred to foreign investments here as the "green shoots of new beginnings" that can lift the country out of its "economic nightmare".

Ms McAleese (pictured above during her speech yesterday) was addressing 250 IDA employees who had gathered in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin's St Stephen's Green for the agency's annual conference.

On Tuesday, the IDA announced that the foreign companies it supported in Ireland created more jobs in 2010 than they lost -- the first growth in the sector for four years.

Mrs McAleese praised the IDA for its work.

"To those looking for the green shoots of new beginnings, it really is worth looking at the amazing investments that have been secured in 2010 alone," she said.

"It was striking that amid the preoccupation in December with the EU/IMF deal, the four-year plan and the Budget, a succession of IDA job announcements at that time passed through with comparatively modest national media notice, but with an awful lot of notice in homes and hearts around the country because it raised hope in people who in recent times have had cause at times to feel less than hopeful," the President added.

Mrs McAleese told the IDA workers that today people were more likely to talk of nightmare than a dream when they referred to the Irish economy but that the agency's task was to think and plan beyond the negativity of the moment and to portray an image of an industrious Ireland where people were resilient.

"Your job is to introduce them to the Ireland that is not reducible to single headlines, but rather the complex and exciting Ireland that is cosmopolitan, hard-working, competitively priced, imaginative, innovative and ready to do business," she told IDA employees. frank mcgrath

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