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Speech by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, Netwatch Systems jobs and investment announcement, 6 October 2016


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Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon to you all. I’m delighted to be here with you today, and I am grateful for the invitation from David Walsh.

Netwatch, an Enterprise Ireland client, is a company whose progress I’ve tracked with much interest over the past number of years. I attended the company’s official launch of their North American office in 2012, and it’s wonderful that I can share in today’s good news.

Undoubtedly, this is another milestone for the company and it should send a positive message to all our indigenous companies, large and small.
Netwatch is an outstanding example of what can be achieved through combined efforts. The efforts of a dedicated and ever increasing number of staff at home and overseas, and a management team and Board that are demonstrating real leadership.

Netwatch has secured €19.5 million in investment, its largest funding announcement to date. More importantly, Netwatch will use this funding to hire top talent in areas such as software engineering, marketing and digital marketing, sales solutions, logistics, and accounts.

I am very pleased that Netwatch are announcing today that it will create 85 jobs as they continue their expansion. 50 of these new positions will be based in the Irish headquarters in Carlow, while the remaining 35 will be in their North American offices. This expansion will see Netwatch grow to over 245 employees and drive further expansion in the US and internationally following its great success.
You will be aware of the Programme for a Partnership Government, and our ambition to combine all our peoples’ talents to build a stronger economy and to deliver a fair society, so that communities thrive, throughout both urban and rural Ireland.

We are committed to helping support the creation of 200,000 jobs by 2020, including 135,000 outside Dublin. The creation of new employment for Carlow by Netwatch will play a part in making our commitments a reality.

Carlow and the South East region have had their share of challenges in recent years. But Netwatch’s success is the South East’s success. Good quality jobs are being created in this region and that has a tangible impact. Every new job created is a life and a family transformed.

Despite there now being over 2 million people in employment for the first time since early 2009, there is still much to be done.
The Regional Action Plan process began last year which saw the launch of 8 regional action plans across the country. Implementation of these Action Plans is being vigorously pursued. The objective of the Action Plans is to ensure that we create the support and the environment where enterprise can flourish.

The Government places enormous stock in ensuring that every region in Ireland will generate new businesses and new jobs. The South East Action Plan will ensure that stakeholders in the region, such as Netwatch, are pulling together in that effort.

Entrepreneurs throughout the country make real differences in local communities providing people with options to stay and develop real careers in their localities and counties while at the same time winning business in Ireland and abroad.

Companies like Netwatch are tearing up the rulebook. Their approach to business continues to evolve into new areas. It is an example to every entrepreneur and ambitious company that happens to be regionally based that it is possible to build a scalable company that can compete internationally and win.

Enterprise Ireland’s mission is to partner with entrepreneurs, Irish business and investment communities to develop Ireland’s international trade, innovation and competitiveness. The ultimate objective is increased employment and prosperity in every region of Ireland.

The companies that Enterprise Ireland works with are a vital source of employment, both direct and indirect, in every county in Ireland. Enterprise Ireland’s strong record of successful job creation can mainly be attributed to export lead job creation by dynamic and innovative Irish businesses.

Netwatch is a perfect example of this type of enterprise. It is winning business internationally and creating employment nationally and regionally.
Enterprise Ireland reported the creation of 21,118 new jobs by its client companies in 2015 and recently announced that its client companies saw an increase of 10% in exports in 2015, compared with 2014, amounting to an all-time high of €20.6bn. The export figure is now almost double what it was 10 years ago (€10.73bn in 2005).

It is companies like Netwatch that will continue to be the bedrock of Irish industry supporting continued job and export growth across the regions of Ireland.

I note David’s membership of Enterprise Ireland’s Board. A voice like his is critical – David’s unique experience is invaluable in shaping EI’s approach and indeed enterprise policy more generally. We thank him for his contribution.

Our country needs innovative companies like Netwatch now more than ever, as we face new challenges such as Brexit and rising international uncertainties. We need to protect the progress and competitiveness gains we have achieved.

In their Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, published last week, the World Economic Forum has endorsed Ireland as being the 23rd most competitive country in the world and 8th in the Euro Area. The country’s ranking is steadily improving. The report also serves to remind us of the importance of competitiveness for economic prosperity, and reminds us that we should not become complacent.

There is a direct link between competitiveness, the ability to trade internationally and innovative potential. Ireland must look to new global opportunities for trade and investment, building on our considerable success to date. It is important that Irish businesses can look towards companies like Netwatch, and follow their lead.

I’d like to finish now by thanking Netwatch Systems, its management and its employees for the hard work they’ve carried out to reach this stage of development. You are a credit to your country and I know you will continue to spread the message that Irish businesses can and are competing at the highest levels at home and abroad.

Congratulations, and thank you for your attention.