Facebook chief praises our 'brilliant leader' Enda Kenny
FACEBOOK chief Sheryl Sandberg lavished praise on Ireland and the Taoiseach in a significant vote of confidence for the country's economic recovery.
Hours after it was confirmed that the Facebook chief operating officer had become one of the world's youngest billionaires, she enjoyed a face to face meeting with Enda Kenny in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
As part of the World Economic Forum, Mr Kenny took the opportunity to reassure Facebook that Ireland's corporate tax rate would not change.
And Ms Sandberg later responded with a positive message of her own – describing Mr Kenny as a "brilliant leader of a brilliant country".
Mr Kenny also told Ms Sandberg that he would open Facebook's new headquarters in Dublin's docklands in the autumn.
It has been a good week for the chief operating officer of the world's most popular social-networking service who owns about 12.3 million shares of the company, which finished at a record high of $58.51 in New York on Wednesday.
It contributes to making the 44-year-old one of the youngest female billionaires in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Ms Sandberg was not the only famous face who was singing our praises, with Bono also preaching to the great and good.
"Easiest job I do, selling Ireland," he said as he entered the lobby of the hotel close to the World Economic Forum.
The U2 star joined Mr Kenny last night to sell Ireland's recovery at a party for business leaders.
The forum brings together business leaders, politicians and a sprinkling of celebrities high in the Swiss Alps.
"It's just great that there is some light at the end of the tunnel," the singer said.
Despite his buoyant mood, the singer warned that there are "still too many leaving, too many here who are hurting".
Bono had also had a private dinner with Ms Sandberg the previous evening, where the U2 front man was also busy selling Ireland's recovery story.
While the Taoiseach spent most of yesterday in intense half-hour talks with executives from companies such as Liberty Global and Adobe, he also took to the stage at an event organised by the forum for delegates where he tried to sell a story of cautious recovery to an international audience.
Speaking alongside European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, Mr Kenny tried to emphasise that Ireland's limited recovery had helped other bailout countries such as Greece and Portugal. Moody's decision to upgrade Irish bonds had a knock-on effect that reduced borrowing costs across the eurozone, he added.
Mr Barroso was among those who paid tribute to Ireland yesterday, but warned that Ireland's example was not a solution for other countries. "There is no single model in Europe," he added.
By Thomas Molloy Davos