Belfast Telegraph

Clinton to attend top-level Dublin summit on economy

By Colm Kelpie

Former US president Bill Clinton will join hundreds of influential figures from the Irish diaspora for a major economic forum in Dublin next month, it has been announced.

Some 280 delegates - including top names from the worlds of business, culture and industry - will attend the event at Dublin Castle.

It will be the second occasion that an Irish government has convened the Global Irish Economic Forum to gather ideas to kick-start the economy.

Tanaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore said he was delighted Mr Clinton had accepted an invitation to attend.

"President Clinton's leadership on the key challenges of our time, including the global economy, aid and disaster relief is widely recognised," he said.

"He continues to take a strong interest in Ireland and in its future.

"His global economic and political perspective offers a unique opportunity to explore the best ways to meet the challenges before us."

Mr Gilmore, who briefed the Republic's cabinet on the forum, said that the objectives of the two-day event included engaging directly with members of the global Irish network to boost the economy and slash the country's 14.4% unemployment rate.

The event, on October 7 and 8, is also designed to help the Irish government boost Ireland's reputation overseas and build on the success of the previous forum two years ago.

The first global economic forum, under the previous Fianna Fail/Green Party administration, was held in the leafy Farmleigh Estate in Phoenix Park in September 2009.

It was attended by 130 leading Irish figures from across the world including anti-poverty campaigner Bob Geldof, billionaire media tycoon Denis O'Brien, management guru Sir Gerry Robinson, former Intel chief Craig Barrett, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, and Riverdance creators John McColgan and Moya Doherty.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will open the conference on Friday, October 7, while President Clinton is due to give a 30-minute address the following day.

There will be a number of working groups and panel debates set up at the event, focusing on topics such as making the Republic more competitive overseas, promoting Irish culture and job creation. Government ministers, senior representatives from government departments and state agencies will also attend the gathering.

President Mary McAleese, who will leave office just weeks later, will be the guest of honour at a dinner at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham on October 7.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Dublin is hosting a business forum on the afternoon of October 6 in conjunction with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

It is understood that a high-level political representative from the US administration has been invited to the event, but no details have yet been confirmed.


Number of delegates that will attend the event next month

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