A government backed scheme awarding cash to people who help bring jobs to Ireland is now being expanded to community groups.
GAA President Liam O’Neill and the IFA national treasurer Jer Bergin are backing Connect Ireland, urging communities to register and pass on contacts in expanding foreign companies, with the help of Laois people abroad.
Each job created brings a €1,500 reward for the connector, to a maximum of 100 jobs.
“Connect Ireland have identified that we have a huge number of people abroad, we are sending out people who are educated, at the top of their game, across all industries. They are well positioned and still want to be connected to ireland,” said Liam O’Neill, urging people to “be proud of their Laoisness”.
Jer Bergin spoke of the emergence of the “family farm” model in Laois, which has 3,000 farmers.
“What you are trying to achieve is just as important for farming families. Our diaspora are well educated. Unfortunately they are not here. I have family in Australia, the UK, America, I want them back. Laois is central but if you look at the IDA figures, we are one of thelowest. We can give out, or get together and fix our problems,” he said.
Joanna Murphy, Chief Operations Officer with Connect Ireland, outlined how the scheme worked.
“When we get a lead, we make contact, make a pitch, set up a site visit, welcome them to Ireland, bring legal reps, estate agents, the IDA. From end to end they are just speaking to one company, to navigate the red tape,” she said.See connectireland.com