ENDA KENNY yesterday played down the financial rewards of a job creation initiative aimed at soliciting assistance from the Irish diaspora.
The Taoiseach was speaking to the media on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange yesterday morning as he began a day of engagements in Manhattan aimed at attracting US investment to Ireland.
Set to be operated as a pilot scheme by the IDA, the Taoiseach denied that a figure of €3,000 had been set in order to incentivise this experimental means of creating employment, but Mr Kenny did reiterate that the ‘finder’s fee’ was open to anyone, at home or abroad.
“I haven’t fixed any potential (figures) in terms of the jobs or indeed fee levels at this stage though I have seen figures quoted,” Mr Kenny said.
“What’s involved here is harnessing through modern communications methods all of the Irish diaspora.
“Let’s say somebody is living in New Zealand and their brother or sister or a connection from Ireland calls them up and says ‘look, you’re working for a big company there and they employ ‘x’ number of people, why not consider having an element of that manufacturing or whatever the service may be provided in Ireland’.
“If jobs result in Ireland, the initiator or the finder will be given a reward for that in the sense of something equivalent to the subsidy that’s actually provided for each job.
“It could be a Chinese student in Cork who says I have an uncle in Beijing who might manufacture here in Ireland. The proof will be if jobs result by being created in Ireland and are sustained for a period.”
The Fine Gael leader said he had also been at pains to reassure American chief executives operating in Ireland over a business breakfast in lower Manhattan that there was no threat to the 12.5% corporate tax rate.
He was also tightlipped on the terms of yesterday’s EU bailout of Portugal.
“It’s not a case of one bailout being better than another. This is a case of a bailout deal being put in place to suit the individual circumstances of the economy.
“This has to be approved unanimously on May 16 and 17. The full details have not been made available to us yet. They will be made available to us before that meeting and senior ministers for finance will discuss that at some length before they make a decision on it.”
The Taoiseach’s whirlwind tour of Manhattan coincided with Barack Obama’s high-profile trip to Ground Zero and Mr Kenny confided that there was no concrete plan in place yet for the US President’s visit to Ireland.
“That hasn’t been finalised. The president will do a major event, that’s going to depend on the decision of his advance party when they arrive in the next week or 10 days.
“The American view might be while Croke Park is a major stadium (for a gathering), it’s their choice. it’s available if he wishes.”