Friday, November 04, 2005


We need a Fourth Level Island - Ahern

Business leaders in both Ireland's north and Ireland's south must wake up to the challenges and opportunities of globalisation, the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said at a lunch organised by the Institute of Directors' NI branch.

"Future generations will not look kindly on us if we fail to be strategic," Mr Ahern told the gathering in the Culloden Hotel, Cultra.

Mr Ahern said the best way to face globalisation, and competition from countries such as China, India and Brazil, was by working together and in partnership.

"We both need to develop our skills so that our people and our enterprises can succeed in the knowledge economy of the future. We need to build our research and development capability," he said.

The Taioseach said there was a need to draw on the collective strengths of higher education institutions in both Ireland's north and south to produce future knowledge leaders and underpin a climate of innovation.

He said: "Why not work together for a Fourth Level Island, to build a global reputation for world class education and research that keeps our young people here and attracts others to return?

"Why not work together to ensure that people on this island have the skills and opportunities to take up high-paid employment and to build new enterprises?"

Mr Ahern insisted it was in everyone's interest to create the conditions for an all-island economy to flourish.

He said: "The Northern Ireland economy has performed very well in recent years. I believe much of this success is due to the peace and stability brought about by the Good Friday Agreement."

The Taoiseach is right. If we are to be as prosperous as we possibly can be then we need to create the conditions for an all-Ireland economy.

A United Ireland offers the best chance for the people of this island to have a higher standard of living as well as resourceful and vibrant enterprises.

We need to start planning for the future and the best future for the people of Ireland's north and south is an Ireland united. We owe it to the future generations.


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