Sunday 17 November 2019

We've got more to give than tech

Grainne Barron.
Grainne Barron.

WHAT do billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, tech conferencing genius Paddy Cosgrave and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton have in common? We're sure our readers could come up with lots of creative responses, but the answer we're looking for is that all three will descend upon the New York Stock Exchange today, to ring its closing bell and celebrate the fourth annual "Ireland Day New York".

We're not quite sure what image events like these send out. They are meant to drum up confidence in Ireland Inc, sending a message that all is well in the land of saints and scholars and that we are open for business.

But the attendance list is a little bit embarrassing – it reads like a who's who of the biggest vulture funds in the world, including Kennedy Wilson chief executive Peter Collins and Bridgewater Associates chief operating officer Eilleen Murray alongside world-famous Mr Ross, who has just made a killing by selling a huge stake in Bank of Ireland.

The other thing that stands out about this event is just how tech-orientated it is.

Technology isn't Ireland's only strength – we're good at lots of things, from farming to literature to aircraft leasing.

But a disproportionate number of speakers at Ireland Day New York come from a tech background, like former Zynga chief operating officer Marcus Segal, Viddyad founder Grainne Barron, pictured, or Storyful founder Mark Little. We'd like to see Ireland's full array of talents highlighted at events like this, not just the sectors that are in vogue.

Irish Independent

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