Mayo people have been offered an opportunity to earn thousands of euros simply by making a couple of phone calls. Connect Ireland, an initiative designed to tap the Irish diaspora abroad for investments and the creation of work opportunities back home, has already awarded a €45,000 payout to one Castlebar man for passing on a personal business contact. This contact, who was looking to expand outside his base abroad, has since committed to creating 30 new jobs in Carlow.
Explaining the background to the initiative to members of Mayo County Council at their monthly meeting on Monday last, Alan Gallagher, Connect Ireland, stated:
“A total of 210,000 companies expanded in Europe last year. We got 61 of these in Ireland – but we can get a lot more. Connect Ireland Mayo which has a budget of €5 million and a target of 5,000 new jobs, is now set up in its Castlebar office at Cedar House, Moneen and in these last 10 weeks alone we have already been in talks with 200 companies. We have been appointed by the IDA, working in tandem with Government, to complement the work of the IDA in attracting foreign direct investment, but our focus is not on the multi-nationals but on SMEs, that can create between a minimum of 3 and up to 100 new jobs.”
Mr Gallagher stated that prime expansion for market growth in Ireland includes the gaming, medical and internet sectors, with most of the big technology players from Google to Facebook already established here.
Referring to Castlebar man Eddie Horkan who has been awarded €45,000 for passing on a contact who is to set to create 30 new jobs by setting up an Irish branch, Mr Gallagher enthused: “Give us the connection, have them take a 10 minute talk with us and we will take it from there. For every job created we will pay €1,500, for a minimum of three jobs up to 100 jobs. Everybody can be rewarded for helping to create jobs. In turn, this can help give us an enormous sense of pride in helping to create jobs at home.”
Mr Gallagher then quoted former US president, Bill Clinton, ‘who told a roomful of investors they would be nuts not to invest in Ireland right now’.
“There is no reason why these companies could not come to Mayo – they need not go to cities. We have everything they need here,” he concluded.Councillors welcomed the presentation from Mr Gallagher with Cllr Joe Mellette noting: “This is a very important intiative that must be supported by all of us. This can be used to get Mayo back to what it used to be.”
Cllr Jarlath Munnelly added: “This is about Mayo doing it for ourselves.”
Cllr Michael McNamara said in his area there were ‘numerous overseas contacts to be made, particularly with Cleveland’.
Cllr Rose Conway Walsh added: “This idea is so simple it could work.”
Cllr Michael McNamara said there was an onus on everybody in the county to try and help create jobs.
Cllr Gerry Coyle said it was important to focus on the positive. “We are being asked to contact people we know to bring them home and before we bring them let’s not tell them everything that’s wrong but what’s right; we have lovely clean water and a great county.”
Mayo County Manager, Peter Hynes stated that the points of contact in Mayo County Council for those wishing to connect with Connect Ireland were John Coll and Mayo County Enterprise Board. Tel 094 90 24444.