Sunday 17 November 2019

An economic fix? It's all Chinese to Enda

Fiach Kelly in New York

CALLING all Chinese students in Cork -- we need your uncles to help fix the economy on our "little green island".

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was on Wall Street yesterday, where he outlined the new plan, one of the key aspects of next week's jobs initiative -- downgraded from a jobs budget -- on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The plan involves giving people a finder's fee of a couple of thousand euro for every job attracted to Ireland, as long as the job lasts for two years.

"It could be a Chinese student in Cork who says I have an uncle in Beijing who might manufacture here in Ireland," he said.

It was all part of Enda's mission to send out the message that our "little green island" -- as he called it on numerous occasions -- is "open for business".

But, much like the jobs initiative itself, it is being dampened down before it even sees the light of day.

A €3,000 reward was initially touted, but the Taoiseach backtracked on that yesterday, and said there was no final figure yet for the payment or the number of jobs it would create.

"A mother in Ballinasloe could ring her son or daughter in Vancouver or South America or China and say: 'Look, why don't you come to Ireland. Is there an element of what you're doing there that can be manufactured in Ireland?'"

And fresh from dealing with the masters of our universe over the jobs initiative -- the troika of the ECB, IMF and EU -- he met the real Masters of the Universe, New York bankers from the likes of Citigroup, AIG and Goldman Sachs.

And to top it off, he met Muhammad Ali, one of his all-time heroes, at an American Ireland Fund dinner last night. "I love that man for his athleticism, for his prowess in boxing, for his skills, his dynamism, for his psychology, for the spirit that he brought to the world of professional boxing," Enda said.

But he'd love a few Chinese Cork students who have uncles with jobs by the lorryload even more.

Irish Independent

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