BaileNuachtAithisc an Taoisigh

Speech by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD at Official Opening of Google’s new Data Centre, Profile Park, Clondalkin, 16th June 2016


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Good morning everyone, thank you for your kind invitation to join you here today.

I’m delighted to be here in Clondalkin to celebrate the official opening of Google’s new Data Centre facility.

This marks the start of a new chapter of Google’s growing presence in Ireland. I welcome this investment as a huge infrastructural project for the company and one that will see Google continue to go from strength to strength in Ireland.

The construction of this Data Centre coincides with the number of people employed by Google, or Googlers as they like to be known, surpassing 6,000. This cements Google’s reputation as one of the leading companies based in Ireland and demonstrates to other companies around the world all the advantages that come with establishing significant operations in Dublin.

Google has only been in Ireland since 2003 but already the company and its workforce have been integral to both Dublin’s community and to Ireland’s economy.
Ireland’s thriving digital economy is employing tens of thousands of Irish people but it is also attracting in many talented people from around Europe and the world.

At a time when debates around the world are focused on building walls between people, about letting false barriers separate us, I believe that Ireland has seen the positive benefits of welcoming the new Irish with open arms.

Gone is the outdated image of technology workers working and living separately to the local communities. The employees of Google and similar companies have really added to the culture and diversity of Dublin and communities around the country.

Google is to be especially commended for its socially progressive policies by encouraging employee engagement with local communities through education programmes, mentoring local start-ups and volunteering.

I hope that Google will continue to break down boundaries and will continue to inspire other companies to follow your lead.

For our part the Irish Government is determined to continue to support and promote our country as the digital capital of Europe.
Dublin’s Silicon Docks, Dublin’s business parks like here in Clondalkin, and enterprise parks around the country are seeing new digital companies establish and expand operations. Today most of the leading “Born of the Internet” companies have substantial operations in Ireland.

What is most encouraging is the development of a significant cohort of Irish companies with world beating products, a grouping which has developed to a considerable extent from the multinational companies who have chosen to locate here.

My job and that of this Government is to ensure that we continue to make the changes and investment necessary to ensure that Ireland is a leading location for enterprise, innovation and the creation of new jobs.

While much of the past five years was about repairing the damage to the Irish economy, we have also been making key reforms through our Action Plan for Jobs to keep Ireland ahead of the curve.

Over the lifetime of the last Government we strove to improve our competitive advantage in several key areas. We have created one of the most advanced and competitive telecommunications infrastructures in Europe, developed reliable energy infrastructure, driven improved competitiveness, particularly in areas such as energy costs, international connectivity costs, and enhanced Ireland’s strong Data Protection legislation.

Our success is borne out in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook which just recently ranked us in 7th place overall, a jump of 9 places on last year, and a seismic recovery from 24th place in 2011.

We had the highest economic growth of any EU Member State in 2015 and analysts are predicting further growth of about 5% for 2016. Our plan this year is to add another 50,000 jobs and we are committed to helping create 200,000 new jobs by 2020.

However, we still have much to do to build on the progress of recent years. We want to use the proceeds from a growing economy to make strategic investments across the country in housing, broadband, education, health and transport to make sure Ireland continues to be an attractive place for businesses, their employees and their families.

Only by protecting the progress we have made and by continuing to manage the national finances can we build a strong economy that can support a fairer society. Through this approach and by delivering steady economic growth, we will eliminate the remaining Government deficit by 2018, and keep the public finances broadly in balance thereafter.

Preparations are already underway for Budget 2017 which will see more consultation and cooperation than ever before. I want to see the upcoming Budget as an opportunity to make life better for workers and their families.

Government Ministers are finalising plans for a roll-out of the second free pre-school year, 2 week’s paid paternity leave for fathers, classroom investment, USC cuts focussed on low and middle income families, the extension of social insurance cover for self-employed, and increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit by €550.

It is investments like this from Google that help make the Irish economy strong so that we can support new measures to make Ireland even more attractive to new investment and jobs.

This Government will continue to work with companies like Google to help them expand further.

I want to wish you all every success with the opening of your new Centre, to thank you for your belief in Ireland, and I look forward to seeing the population of Googlers grow even further.

Thank you.