The inaugural Global Irish Economic Forum was held at the Farmleigh Estate, Dublin from 18-20 September 2009. The Forum was organised and managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs following a proposal submitted earlier in the year by the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin, T.D.
The Forum was convened with two broad objectives: to explore how the Irish at home and abroad, and those with a strong interest in Ireland, could work together and contribute to our overall efforts at economic recovery; and to examine ways in which Ireland and its global community could develop a more strategic relationship with each other, particularly in the economic sector.
The response to invitations to attend the forum was overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. Some 112 people attended from abroad including 44 who were based in the United States and others from Britain, Europe, Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa and the UAE. The overseas participants were joined by the Taoiseach, members of the Government, Secretaries General of Government Departments, CEOs of State Agencies and leading members of the Irish business and cultural sectors. A list of Forum Participants and a copy of the Forum Programme can be found in this section.
In October, 2009, the Government published the Forum Report which summarises the discussions that took place during the weekend and identifies a range of short and medium term initiatives and objectives identified by participants.
While the initiatives in the Report were not formally endorsed by Government, the Government established an inter-Departmental Committee of senior officials, chaired by the Secretary General to the Government, to examine and take forward the participants recommendations. This Committee presented an interim progress report in February, 2010 and a 12 month progress report in October, 2010.
Following the announcement by the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Eamon Gilmore, T.D. of his decision to host a second Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle on 7-8 October, 2011, the Department of Foreign Affairs published an April, 2011 update on progress on the Forum’s initiatives and objectives.
The Forum was a unique event that brought together for the first time the most influential members of the global Irish community and was marked by considerable enthusiasm among participants and a strong willingness to support and assist, as appropriate, in building a successful future for Ireland. This level of engagement by participants has been reinforced in their subsequent contacts with the Government and the Forum has come to be regarded as marking a new phase of active and practical engagement with our overseas communities, particularly in the business sector.