It seems that hardly a week has gone by in recent months when there hasn’t been a high-tech jobs announcement in Dublin.
While this is good news for job-hunters in the capital (as well as those who have had to relocate there in search of employment), it also shows the potential of the much-vaunted digital economy.
Over the last decade, major multinational companies have set up in Dublin and have created thousands of well-paid jobs.
There are many reasons for this: generous tax breaks, the availability of a well-educated workforce; and the modern infrastructure of a major European capital. This has also come about as a result of a dedicated and supported focus to develop the digital sector in Ireland. And Dublin has a ‘telehouse’ providing the type of connectivity speeds such companies demand.
Now look at Derry. The importance and potential of creating a strong digital economy in Derry have been discussed and examined regularly over the last few years but we have yet to reap the benefits.
Yes, there are examples of good work being done towards this goal with projects such as the cross-border science park and CultureTech festivall. However, until we have a joined up approach, backed by government support and spending, we are unlikely to enjoy even a taste of the success Dublin has seen.
Our ‘telehouse’ seems to have been idle since it was built. The potential of our university has not been realised, and the city’s infrastructure is still suffering from decades of neglect.
These factors, along with the lack of credible marketing of the city as a business location, continue to hold us back.
Until these and other obstacles are removed, the only way job seekers from Derry and Donegal can avail of these opportunities will be to set off on the long journey to Dublin - or further.