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IDA looking for another coup by getting Twitter to snub London for Dublin

LAST year was undoubtedly a good one for the IDA and Ireland Inc. Numerous companies were lured to Ireland, and, perhaps more importantly, most companies were persuaded to stay here despite the economic troubles.

The hi-tech sector is known to have been targeted by the IDA in the drive toward the "smart economy" that the government has pinned its hopes of recovery on, and there are a number of companies reportedly being tracked by the IDA with a view to luring them here.

The big fish, and best publicised company being chased recently, has been Twitter.

The micro-blogging site has taken the world by storm since it was founded in 2006, and is now casting about in search of a site for its European headquarters.

Depending on who you listen to, the choice is likely to come down to either Dublin or London.

Last month David Cameron (pictured right) reportedly pitched London to Twitter executives with a view to opening a major office there.

However, those paid to know these things believe Dublin remains the favourite to secure operations for the company that has become one of the trendiest on the planet.

Executives from the IDA and Twitter have met several times already, with the IDA reportedly "hopeful" the firm will use Dublin as a base for at least some of its operations.

The respected 'Forbes' magazine thinks Twitter is likely to cash in on the low corporate tax rate here and would become one more US tech company in a "Silicon Village" in Dublin with Google, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Skype, the online phone company, has also been mentioned in dispatches when it comes to companies that Ireland is trying to lure here.

The growth of the Silicon Village has only added to the attraction of Ireland as a base for tech companies and social networking and micro-blogging are not the only companies Ireland reportedly has its eye on.

The computer game industry is now estimated to be worth more than $50bn (€37bn) worldwide and, naturally enough, the country wants to get a piece of the action.

While recruitment in that sector has been relatively limited, the giant Electronic Arts, maker of the 'FIFA' football game and long running 'Medal of Honor' shooter, set up shop in Galway last year and it is a sector that appears ready to grow further.

EA's rival Activision Blizzard, which owns the family favourite 'Guitar Hero' and the hugely successful 'Call of Duty' franchises, is already in Cork employing some 600 people with the possibility of more to come.

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