Director, Technology Ireland
Ireland is currently the global digital leader. But to retain its position, it needs to recognise the benefits of technology and embrace the changes.
“Technology has become such a common word; we have forgotten its origin. It is the application of scientific knowledge to achieve human aims. Technology makes things better for people. It is a promise – a promise that always delivers. That’s why Ireland must recognise the technology sector as the primary engine driving Ireland’s recovery.”
The dramatic changes, enforced by the pandemic, demonstrated that Ireland’s technology sector is central to every aspect of economic and social life.
Importance of the sector
Una Fitzpatrick, Director of Technology Ireland, is passionate about the benefits of technology for everyone. The dramatic changes, enforced by the pandemic, demonstrated that Ireland’s technology sector is central to every aspect of economic and social life. The world has changed and adapted and the technology sector has led that change. Ireland, uniquely in Europe, maintained overall economic growth throughout the pandemic. Much of that was due to a digital sector that employs over 240,000 people directly and sustains and enables countless jobs in other sectors.
For Ireland to retain its place as a digital hub there are priorities that should be addressed in Budget 2022:
- The forthcoming National Digital Strategy must recognise the necessity attached to digital transformation for all areas of business, government and society. The Government must role model behaviour that encourages best practice, particularly regarding digital transformation and procurement of cloud. The Cruinniú GovTech report, published almost two years ago must be implemented immediately.
- Ireland must develop a sustainable long-term funding model for higher education across core, capital and recurrent funding to improve the success and quality of its education offering.
- Expand CGT entrepreneurs’ relief to passive investors in high-potential and high-risk areas to increase the supply of equity for Irish companies and introduce a pro-forma R&D tax credit.
- Ireland must embrace its role in EU digital regulation, strengthen regulatory capacities and lead on digital policy issues at an EU level. Data-related regulatory issues have become a major investment attractor. Ireland should ensure the Data Protection Commission continues to be adequately resourced to match its increasing workload and provide for a robust and predictable regulatory environment.
Future sustainable success
While spelling out what needs to be done to enable the Irish technology sector to fully drive Ireland’s recovery, Fitzpatrick remains optimistic. “Ireland has a very bright future if we do this right. The pandemic has taught us that we can’t control everything, and we certainly can’t predict everything, but if we execute that which we do have control over, Ireland will continue to do well and build for future success in a sustainable way that benefits all sectors of our society. Technology is good for us.”