Tuesday 20 February 2018

Lise Hand: Valley of the giants inspires Taoiseach

Lise Hand

Lise Hand

SO, how green is this valley? To the outsider it may seem like merely a sprawl of inelegant buildings clumped in a shallow bowl of land in San Jose. But to Brian Cowen, who hails from a once-verdant land now turned into an economic dust-bowl filled with tumbleweeds drifting through the plains where the once-proud Celtic Tiger used to roam, Silicon Valley is a glittering Shangri-La.

It's a fabled land populated by all the giants of the IT world -- some of the top companies have already been lured to Ireland, including Google, Yahoo, Intel and Cisco, but Brian wants more. It's not enough that San Jose and Dublin are twinned -- the Taoiseach wants to make them conjoined twins.

Therefore, after his trip to Chicago, Brian's wagons rolled west for two days' intensive love-bombing of the shakers and movers of Silicon Valley. And unlike soggy Chicago, the weather in the Bay Area was balmy. His feet had barely touched Californian soil on Sunday afternoon when he was busily launching things; first he did the opening honours of the Irish Network USA (IN-USA), and then headed into downtown San Jose to launch the Innovation Centre, which will serve as a launch pad for a whole raft of Irish start-up companies in brave new-world industries involving technology, software and cleantech.

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