Ideas for a digital age scoop top prize

TWO ideas for the digital age won out in the Your Country Your Call competition, which concluded with a glitzy prize-giving ceremony at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin last night.

At the event President Mary McAleese presented the winners, digital media consultant Neil Leyden for his “global media hub” idea and father and son team Cianán Clancy and Colm Mac Fhlannacha, for their “data island” concept, which envisages an international innovation area, with ornate statuettes.

The winners also received €100,000 in prize money and a pledge from the organisers of €500,000 each to develop their ideas.

Your Country Your Call, an idea of the President’s husband, Dr Martin McAleese, had the aim of finding two ideas to create jobs and prosperity.

The media hub idea calls for the establishment of an Irish Content Industry Association, which would drive the development of a cultural and creative quarter and a media park to attract global content industries, as well as lobby for legislation to make Ireland a leading global centre for the creation and distribution of digital content.

Father and son team Cianán Clancy and Colm Mac Fhlannacha picked up a prize for their idea to develop a data centre freezone and an international innovation area. Their data island strategy envisions a world-beating entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem around digital services.

The winning ideas were selected by a panel of judges headed by former attorney general and EU commissioner David Byrne. The competition was run by An Smaoineamh Mór Ltd and funded by a number of major companies.

Speaking at last night’s event, President McAleese said there was much pessimism in Ireland but “the economy has returned to modest growth” and “our people that are faced with unemployment” are “flooding into colleges and training courses to prepare themselves for the upturn when it comes”.


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