News from Ireland Israel, Ambassador’s Message 14 May 2015

Ireland’s economic health was checked out in the Ministers for Finance’s spring economic statement. As one Irish economist put it, we are looking at a balanced diet in the years ahead; unemployment falling to below 7%, steady annual growth of 3.25% to 2020 (twice the EU average), and a budget deficit below 3% of GDP.

Our increasingly robust health is due to competitiveness across the board, including agriculture, agrifood, information and communications technology, medical technology, pharmaceutical and chemical, and tourism. Having taken the pain and made the right decisions since the 2008 crisis, we are now clearly in the recovery phase; link to Minister Michael Noonan’s statement here

http://budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2015/Documents/Spring%20Economic%20Statement%20For%20Web.pdf

Ireland’s economic development has been driven by foreign direct investment (FDI) and innovative indigenous Irish companies like ICON. I was delighted to welcome ICON to the residence last night for a networking event. ICON is here for the IATI Biomed 2015 Conference, to get together with its local staff at its company here, and to meet its Israeli clients (link here to the company’s background http://www.iconplc.com/company).

Thanks to companies like ICON and the synergizing relationship between FDI and local entrepreneurship, Ireland has created a global hub in the medical devices and biomedical fields. Part of the revolution of the “internet of things” is biotechnology which will increasingly allow us to take control of our own health. Israel’s biomed profile is increasingly innovative and dynamic. Like start-ups, there is huge potential for Irish Israeli cooperation in this exciting field.

One of the best ways to boost Irish Israeli relations from business to tourism, is to get a regular direct flight established between Tel Aviv and Dublin. Clyde Hutchinson of the Irish Israel Business Network (www.iibn.org ) has launched a campaign to help achieve this. To support the campaign look here www.DUBtoTLV.org

The Annual Beckett Lecture is fast approaching and I am delighted to say that this year we have a real treat. Prof. Linda Ben Zvi at Tel Aviv University, the inspiration and energy behind this event, has organised a one night only performance on 8th June of Beckett’s masterpiece Krapp’s Last Tape. It is being presented by the Itim Theatre Ensemble with one of Israel’s leading actors, Doron Tavori, and one of its leading directors, Rina Yerushalmi.

As Prof. Zvi notes, “Samuel Beckett has long had a special place in the hearts of Israelis because, while he presents unflinching explorations of the human condition in stark, even bleak, physical and emotional situations, he also offers humor and laughter to help face suffering and still go on. Doron Tavori’s greatness lies in his ability to convey both the tragedy of life and its humor, in his multi-levelled portrayal of Krapp, directed with great subtlety and sensitivity by Rina Yerushalmi.”  After the performance there will be an inter-active discussion with the audience.

Pollster’s getting it wrong, a neck-and-neck race that wasn’t, the formation of a government of the conservative and right: no, not the election here in Israel but the one in Britain. I could not resist blogging on it (www.eamonncmckee.com ) because the result raises all kinds of fascinating issues; the rise of the Scottish National Party from six to fifty six MPs and a referendum on Britain staying in the EU chief among them. Not since Parnell led the Irish Parliamentary Party in the 1880s has such a cohesive group of nationalists dedicated to independence sat in the House of Commons.

Finally, if you liked Ireland in Five Easy Pieces, you might also enjoy my blog on Irish writer Sebastian Barry who explores the impact of Irish independence on private lives in his novels.

Best wishes,

Eamonn

Eamonn McKee

Ambassador Tel Aviv

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