Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce Edmonton

Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce-Edmonton
Welcome to the Edmonton Chapter of the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce. Our mandate is to foster the growth of hundreds of Irish, Canadian and Irish-related businesses in the Greater Edmonton Area. If you are not already a member, join today, and see how you and your business can benefit from our networking and communication opportunities.


November 25th, 2011 . by liam

Hi all

Please note that next year’s Irish ball will take place on:

Saturday, March 10th, 2012


The Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Edmonton.

If you have any questions, please contact Colm O Carroll by email:

Many thanks!

Serca Festival of Irish Theatre AGM Nov 27th 2011

November 21st, 2011 . by liam

Serca Festival of Irish Theatre


Announces its first AGM

Sunday, November 27

7:30 pm

Alberta Avenue Community Centre

9210 118 AVE.


All those with Irish connections. Love of things Irish or Interest in Irish Theatre are most welcome!

Update on Serca Festival of Irish Plays

June 14th, 2011 . by liam

The Serca Festival of Irish Plays is back!    This year’s Irish play festival (the only one of its kind in Alberta) has an exciting line-up and will be running from June 28 to July 3, 2011. 

With directors such as Wayne Paquette, Michael Clark, Amy DeFelice and Liz Hobbs to name a few and actors such as John Sproule, Frank Zotter, Liana Shannon, Garett Ross, Vince Forcier, Mat Busby, Jon Lachlan Stuart, Gianna Vacirca, and Jeff Page among others the festival is sure to be thrilling.  Jeff Page has even written a show specifically for the festival based on the prison writings of Oscar Wilde called “Secrets of Immortality”. 

The other main stage shows include “Mojo Mickybo” by Owen McCafferty, “Molly Sweeny” by Brian Friel, “Faith Healer” also by Brian Friel, and “Beckett’s Shorts” by Samuel Beckett.  There will also be a staged reading off-site at the Carrot coffee house on the day after the festival of Jennifer Spencer’s “Maggie Now Parts 1-4”.  The main stage shows will all be shown at La Cite Francophone at 8627 Rue Marie-Anne Gaboury St. (91St. and 87 Ave.) and we will also have an Irish pub running in between shows, complete with live celtic music and Irish poetry readings!

 The mandate of the Serca festival of Irish plays is to celebrate, showcase and encourage theatre created by or about Ireland and Irish people.  The festival creates a link between theatre and the Celtic community, while inviting the broader Edmonton community to participate too!  Last year’s festival was a great success and we expect even more excitement this year in our growing festival!

For more information you can go to our website at or call our office at 780-761-2773.  Come on out and join the fun!

2011 Serca Festival of Irish Theatre

March 28th, 2011 . by liam

The mandate of the SERCA Festival of Irish Theatre is to celebrate, showcase and encourage theatre created by or about Ireland and Irish people. The SERCA Festival mounts innovative and vivid professional productions of Irish theatre for Edmontonians in the emerging Alberta Avenue arts area. The Festival also offers Irish music and spoken-word art.

This festival will create a context of cultural discourse between theatre and the Celtic community while inviting the neighbourhood and the broader Edmonton community to participate too! The SERCA Festival’s excellence is its actors and staff; through their work with SERCA and Theatre Prospero, these artists have been in the vanguard of bringing fine theatre to this historic neighbourhood.

2010 Festival

The 2010 SERCA Festival was a fully-fledged foray into the world of early summer festivals. In June last year, as part of the Caught in the Act Series, the Festival presented: Maggie Now, Part Two (a Theatre Prospero production); Spokesong (a Prosperous Velospians’ production); Connor McPherson’s This Lime Tree Bower (a Trunk Theatre production); and Connor McPherson’s The Good Thief (a Golden Slumber Production).

The venue was the old Alberta Cycle Building, across from the Avenue Theatre on 118 Avenue. Attendance was excellent for the first run of the SERCA Festival, with over 500 attendees. Other Irish-related events during the Festival included an Irish pub in the foyer, which also was the venue for Irish poetry readings of Yeats and Seamus Heaney, among others. There were readings by local Irish-Canadian poets Fabian Jennings and George Millar, and live Irish/Celtic music. The Festival attracted enthusiastic students and venturesome theatre-goers to a new, must see theatre destination.

SERCA was a critical success. Liz Nichols, Edmonton Journal’s theatre reviewer had this to say about ‘This Lime Tree Bower’ and our pilot project, the Serca Festival of Irish Theatre: “The great Irish tradition of storytelling is in the rosy flush of good health, judging by the production that opens the inaugural Serca Festival on Alberta Avenue.”

Proposed Programme

2011 Serca Festival of Irish Theatre

Old Alberta Cycle Building

9115-118 Avenue

June 28 to July 3, 2011

Stones in His Pockets by Marie Jones presented by Ad Hoc Players

Maggie Now, Parts 1 – 4 written by Jennifer Spencer and read by Prosperous Paddies

Faith Healer by Brian Friel Produced by Michael Clark

 Diversions and Delights by John Gay directed by Liz Hobbs

Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel directed by Wayne Paquette of Citadel/Shadow theatres

Mojo-Mickybo by Owen McCafferty, directed by Amy De Felice

Beckett Shorts by Samuel Beckett, produced by Surreal Soreal

For final programme and further information contact:

Mary-Ellen Perley at Theatre Prospero 780-761-2773

or email

Serca Festival of Irish Theatre

March 28th, 2011 . by liam

Letter from Tim Marriott, President of the Serca Festival of Irish Theatre, to the Irish Chamber of Commerce Edmonton.

Friday March 25, 2011

Dear friends,

It was very nice meeting you all at the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce St. Patrick’s Day Ball at the Chateau Lacombe on 12 March. We had a marvellous time, although it was a wee bit late when we finally headed home. Mary-Ellen learned many new songs that night and is looking forward to an opportunity to sing them all again when the Serca Festival of Irish Theatre begins on 28 June. She plans to continue singing right until the end of the festival on 3 July.

At the ball you graciously let us know your e-mail address so that we could send you information on the festival. Attached to this e-mail is a flyer, updated to to-day, listing the plays and presentations scheduled to be performed.

We are confident you will find the programme interesting; we look forward to seeing you in June and July at the festival venue, which is the “Old Alberta Cycle Building”, located at 9115-118 Avenue. We hope also that you will tell your friends about the festival and encourage them to join you at the shows!

If you would like further information about the festival, please contact Mary-Ellen at Theatre Prospero at 780-761-2773 or at

Thank you all for a wonderful evening on 12 March, and we hope we will see you at the Serca Festival of Irish Theatre!

Tim Marriott                                                                    Mary-Ellen Perley           

President,                                                                          General Manager

Serca Festival of Irish Theatre                                         Theatre Prospero

Irish Ball 2011 Review

March 25th, 2011 . by liam


A very successful 2011 Irish Ball took place on March 12th at the Chateau Lacombe Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Edmonton. The evening was very well attended with over 150 guests from all walks of life turning out in wonderful style to this black tie event.

The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was the CBC’s Mark Schultz who, despite some issues with the sound, did a fantastic job of keeping everything moving along smoothly.

The Irish Ball is organised each year by the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce Edmonton to raise funds for the Wild Geese Endowement at the University of Alberta and for the Irish Sports and Social Society in Edmonton. This year, over $20,000 was raised at the ball for these worthy organisations.

Paula Molloy, who works with the Irish Embassy in Canada, was guest speaker on the evening and made a very informative speech about the recent change of government in Ireland as well as the strong trading relationship between Ireland and Canada that continues to provide opportunities for companies on both sides of the Atlantic. Ms Molloy, seated on the right in the picture below, kindly gave us permission to put a link to her speech on this website. You can view the speech here: Edmonton speech _2_

As with other years, the date of the 2011 Irish Ball happened to fall on the same day when Ireland played Wales in the 6 Nations Championship, the outcome of which was made known on numerous occassions throughout the night by one proud Welshman, Dr. Alan Jones. He is pictured below (second from left) with his wife Lynda, after presenting Colm O Carroll, chairperson of the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce in Edmonton with a Welsh scarf which he had to wear for the entire evening, as per the rules of the annual bet the two men make. The fact that Wales completely and utterly cheated on their way to victory over the Irish team earlier in the day,  didn’t seem to dissuade Dr. Jones’ gloating in slightest throughout the evening.

A Welsh man rubs the Irish man's nose in it!

Entertainment on the night was provided by the wonderful Irish dancers from the local Matterine School of Irish Dance as well as a big brass band which kept people on their feet throughout the evening. A great night was had by all.

To read the Edmonton Journal’s Nick Lees’ take on the evening, please see his article here

ICBA Inaugural International Summit Toronto

March 1st, 2011 . by liam

ICBA Inaugural
International Summit
10th March 2011, Toronto



For further information email

2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Ball

April 27th, 2009 . by admin

The Edmonton Chapter of the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce held their second annual St.Patrick’s Day Ball at The Sutton Place Hotel on the 14th March 2009. It was an evening of fun and laughter where friends renewed old acquaintances, made new ones, relaxed and soaked up the atmosphere. It was made more memorable by the winning of the Triple Crown and 6-Nations Championship by the Irish Rugby team, a feat not achieved since 1948.

The Host and Master of Ceremonies, Marc Schilz of CBC Radio fame, handled the evening’s proceedings with easy charm, wit and gracious understanding of the Irish humour which earned him Honorary Irishman status for the evening.

Jim Muldowney, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Alberta, said Grace i ngaeilge. Special kudos to the hotel staff for a wonderful meal and service that was par excellence.

Entertainment was provided by the Mattierin School of Irish Dancing which has performed world wide with great distinction. Having dined and wined well the guests were treated to a superb performance of traditional Irish dancing coupled with a modern interpretation of a selection of jigs and reels.

During the course of the evening the President of the Edmonton Chapter Chamber Board, Colm O’Carroll, announced the inauguration of an Endowment Fund at the University of Alberta which will facilitate Canadian students of any faculty wishing to study in Ireland. Colm O’Carroll threw down the gauntlet to the Irish Diaspora of Edmonton to raise the necessary funds within a time scale of the 10th Annual Ball. This is a bold and laudable undertaking by the Edmonton Chapter that deserves everyone’s support. The Board is to be complimented on its foresight and ambition for the strengthening of the links between Edmonton and Ireland. Guests were encouraged to submit a name for this Endowment. At last call-over the list was reduced down to two, namely, “The Edmonton/Ireland Endowment”, and “The Wild Geese Endowment”. The latter eventually won the honours.

By way of raising the necessary money for this Endowment Fund, live and silent auctions were the order of the evening with Marc Scholz officiating as a most persuasive auctioneer. A great big “Thank You” goes to all those who generously contributed items for these auctions.

University of Alberta representative, Gregory Taylor, Dean of the Faculty of Science, was present at the Ball. He expressed the University’s pleasure at the opportunity to participate in the setting up and facilitating of such an Endowment.

The evening concluded with dancing to the music of the Trocadero’s, a local Edmonton band with a big-band sound. Go mbeirimid beo ar an am seo aris.

Written by Mr. Ned Kerins.

Click here to view photos from the event

2008 Canada-EU Summit Statement-Quebec

October 23rd, 2008 . by admin

We, the leaders of Canada and the European Union (EU), meeting today in Quebec City, wish to enhance our strategic partnership and build our relationship for a better future. This Summit constitutes a fundamental opportunity to highlight our shared values and to strengthen the ties that bind us as we confront major global challenges. In response to the concerns of our citizens, we seek to undertake common initiatives and advance our objectives, particularly in three priority areas: our economic partnership, energy and the environment, and international peace and security.

We reiterate our shared objective of promoting free and secure movement between Canada and the EU. Since our last meeting, Canada has lifted visa requirements for six additional member states. Canada and the EU will continue to work together towards the goal of visa-free travel to Canada for all EU citizens as soon as possible.

We welcome the measures already taken to address the financial crisis, and to coordinate our national and collective actions in view of this crisis, notably in the contexts of the G8 and the EU. We reaffirm our determination to continue to act together, in concert with our principle partners and the financial institutions concerned, on all aspects of this problem, to restore confidence and the normal functioning of the financial system, and thus reinstate the conditions for the normal and efficient financing of the economy. We support the convening of an international summit before the end of the year to pursue and support these goals.

Economic partnership

Economic relations between Canada and the EU are excellent: bilateral trade is growing every year and totalled over $80 billion in 2007, while investment levels are high and continue to rise. Canada and the EU share interests in a wide range of areas, which have led to consideration of the possibility of strengthening of our economic partnership.

Canada and the EU are determined to advance negotiations at the World Trade Organization within the context of the Doha Development Agenda following the impasse of July 2008, with a view to reaching a comprehensive, ambitious and balanced agreement that will foster development, and to which all WTO members must contribute.

We agreed in June 2007 in Berlin to collaborate on a joint study to assess the costs and benefits of a closer economic partnership. This study, which has now been released, confirms the significant and reciprocal economic benefits that would result from such a partnership.

Based on the results of the study and the interest demonstrated by our business communities, and in order to provide crucial impetus to creating a stronger, ambitious and balanced economic partnership, Canada and the EU agree to work together to define the scope of a deepened economic agreement and to establish the critical points for its successful conclusion, particularly the involvement of Canada’s provinces and territories and EU Member States in areas under their competencies. This agreement will address key issues for both parties.

We are prepared to initiate before the end of the year the steps to obtain the mandates necessary to launch negotiations as early as possible in 2009. We will endeavour to complete these negotiations quickly, once agreement has been reached on all identified issues. This agreement, aimed at strengthening our economic integration, would complement multilateral trade negotiations currently underway at the WTO.

We also welcome the decisive progress achieved towards the negotiation of a comprehensive air transport agreement between Canada and the EU. This agreement will open a new era of transatlantic relations, will improve both the connections between our respective markets and our people-to-people links, and will create new opportunities in the airline sector. We have tasked negotiators to conclude negotiations by November 30th of this year. We are pleased that an air safety agreement has been initialled and will soon be concluded, since it will stimulate activity and simplify administrative requirements.

Energy and the environment

Energy and the environment are priorities for our partnership, which we would like to strengthen further in a number of areas. To meet the challenges related in particular to global warming and energy security, we will take the lead and collaborate specifically to establish a global consensus based on a series of strategic measures and tools at the regional, national and international levels, through joint, cooperative action. Canada and the EU recognize that a global transition toward a low-carbon economy and society is essential and that this goal is within our reach.

We, along with the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, wish to adopt the G8 objective of reducing global emissions by at least 50% by 2050 to implement our common commitment to satisfy the Convention’s principles and objectives. In order to be environmentally and economically effective, a post-2012 system to address climate change must include contributions from all of the leading economies, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. In this regard, Canada and the EU confirm their commitment to implement the Bali roadmap to reach a comprehensive post-2012 agreement in Copenhagen in late 2009. Canada and the EU have each established intermediate objectives for reducing their emissions by 2020.

In order for this shared vision and these medium- and long-term objectives to be credible, developed countries must lead by example and commit to achieving greenhouse gas reduction objectives that are ambitious, comparable and legally-binding. Developing countries, particularly emerging countries, must also commit to a significant reduction in their emissions that is measurable, reportable, and verifiable. Moreover, we reaffirm that the least developed countries should follow the principles of sustainable development without being submitted to mandatory emissions constraints.

We reaffirm that the creation of a global carbon market is one of the main instruments we have for reducing our emissions at a lower cost and promoting the introduction of low-carbon technologies. In this spirit, we will strengthen our development cooperation and the application of effective regulatory frameworks to stimulate innovation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We will moreover take into account to the greatest extent the effects of climate change on world security and the adaptation it will involve for populations.

Beyond the program established at the Berlin Summit in June 2007, we will deepen our High-Level Dialogue on the Environment, particularly through work on biodiversity protection, and the sustainable management of forests, chemicals and waste. We will also encourage the conclusion of an international agreement on the liberalization of environmental goods and services.

We affirm our commitment to strengthen our cooperation in the area of governance and management of the oceans on the basis of a strategy for integrated marine policy, defending the protection and conservation of the marine ecosystem, sustainable development of maritime industries and ensuring sustainable development of marine resources.

We will continue our cooperation in the context of our High-Level Dialogue on Energy, particularly in key areas such as increased energy efficiency, market transparency and the implementation of the latest scientific and technological discoveries, the dissemination of which we will facilitate in developing countries. We will seek to diversify, protect and maintain a safe, sustainable and competitive energy supply, particularly by developing renewable energies. More particularly, we agree to:

facilitate the deployment of clean coal technologies, specifically carbon dioxide capture and storage,

cooperate on production processes for second-generation biofuels and the sustainable development of bioenergy,

promote renewable energies, particularly wind, marine and small-scale hydro electricity, and energy efficiency, fully implementing the international partnership for cooperation in this area introduced at the last G8 Summit,

strengthen our cooperation mechanisms in the area of research, science and technology,

move forward the process to review the Euratom-Canada cooperation agreement regarding peaceful uses of atomic energy.

We also reiterate our shared interest and objectives for the Arctic and the North, which include, among others, protecting the environment and ensuring that Northerners can contribute to economic and social development in the region now and in future generations. We recognize and reiterate the importance of, and the global interest in, the international scientific community’s research activities. We commit to preparing a joint progress report on Arctic cooperation in 2009, taking into account work completed in the context of the Northern Dimension and the Arctic Council.

Last, Canadians and Europeans are committed to the well-being of all animals. Canada makes great efforts so that its seal hunt is humane, well-regulated and sustainable. The European Commission’s proposal on the trade of seal products is also aimed at improving animal well-being. We commit to intensify our dialogue with the countries involved in seal hunting in the context of the implementation of this proposal.

Peace and security

Canada and the EU will expand their joint efforts, particularly within the United Nations framework, to foster the establishment of an international order based on effective multilateralism, international law, democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

With regard to the latest developments in Georgia, we reaffirm our commitment to the principles of Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and condemn Russia’s decision to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Canada and the EU welcome the significant progress in the implementation of the August 12 and September 8 agreements within the agreed deadlines, particularly notably regarding the international discussions held under point 6 of the August 12 accord, which began in Geneva on October 15. Canada and EU support the October 22 donors’ conference in Brussels, organized by the European Commission and World Bank, which will be an important step for the reconstruction of the country. Canada and the EU seek the path of understanding and cooperation with Russia, with the expectation that Russia will conduct itself in a responsible fashion, consistent with its broader commitments.

Canada and the EU express their willingness to cooperate closely, in coordination with the OSCE and the United Nations, to contribute to the reduction of risks in the regions where frozen conflicts persist.

Canada and the EU reaffirm their long-term commitment to stabilization and development in Afghanistan, in accordance with the principles set out in the final statement of the International Conference in Support of Afghanistan, which took place in Paris on June 12, 2008. On this basis, the National Development Strategy must enable the Afghan authorities gradually to take over their responsibilities, and intensify their reform efforts at the political level (respect for human rights and judicial reform) and in terms of security and the economy (agriculture, energy), and better to engage civil society in development projects in order to increase aid effectiveness. We are pleased with the good cooperation between Canada and the EU, particularly regarding the deployment of Canadian police officers as part of the EU police mission in Afghanistan. We will therefore support:

the planning and holding of the 2009 and 2010 elections;

the reform of the security sector, notably the police, by reinforcing the EUPOL Afghanistan mission, and the justice and corrections system consistent with commitments made during the Rome conference in July 2007;

strengthened cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours in the form of increased support for the implementation of the G8 Afghanistan-Pakistan Initiative agreed in Potsdam in May 2007 and reaffirmed by the G8 Coordination Arrangement in June 2008; strengthened cooperation and capacity building of Afghani and Pakistani border authorities, particularly in the context of the Dubai process.

We are deeply concerned about the proliferation risks associated with Iran’s nuclear program and its failure to comply with its international obligations. We urge Iran to respect fully without delay the United Nations Security Council resolutions, and in particular to suspend all uranium enrichment activities, failing which it faces sanctions and growing isolation under the ‘dual-track’ approach. We call on Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA and we firmly support the efforts made to resolve the issue through negotiations.

Canada and the EU remain committed to the Middle East Peace Process and stand ready to assist the parties in any way possible to reach a just, lasting and comprehensive peace. We support the Quartet’s Roadmap and the Annapolis process and call on the parties to fulfill their respective commitments. We condemn all acts of violence and terrorism. We remain strongly concerned by the continuation of Israeli settlement activities. We urge all parties to respect the commitments made at the Paris donors’ conference in support of Palestinian reforms and the establishment of a future Palestinian state that is independent, sovereign, democratic and viable, coexisting in peace and security with the State of Israel.

In Haiti, Canada and the EU are working in close collaboration with the Haitian authorities to promote the modernization of judicial institutions, better access to justice, and implementation of the rule of law, all of which are essential to the country’s development. To this end, we commit to consolidate democratic institutions including support for the electoral process, and we will endeavour to promote strengthened local governance. We will continue our efforts to help Haiti recover from the effects of recent hurricanes, to modernize a transportation corridor, and to complete the construction of a border post between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

As donors to and partners of the AU-UN peace mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Canada and the EU are working to promote peace and improve the humanitarian situation in Sudan. In this regard, we call on all parties to honour their ceasefire commitments and we reaffirm our commitment to the fight against impunity. We call on Sudan to cooperate with the International Criminal Court. We call on the Government of Sudan and the autonomous government in southern Sudan to implement without delay the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between north and south Sudan.

Canada and the EU deplore the ongoing violence and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Somalia. We share the same concern with regard to the resurgence of piracy along the Somali coast, and reiterate our contribution to the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions 1814 and 1816.

Cooperation in civilian and military crisis management is now a critical tool in our joint approach to global and regional issues. In an effort to strengthen our cooperation, we have approved a joint work program dealing with crisis management, conflict prevention and training, including:

strengthened police cooperation in the field in Afghanistan, the Balkans and the Palestinian territories;

and strengthened cooperation to build capacity in the areas of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and crisis management in Africa.

We will deepen our dialogue on issues related to the responsibility to protect, with the objective of providing greater operational scope to this concept.

Electoral observation is an area of close cooperation between Canada and the EU. We welcome the exchange of letters to facilitate this cooperation and to make it more effective.

We will seek to identify and implement shared responses to address the world’s food crisis in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals.

Last, we will continue to focus our attention on the consequences of the increase in the cost of energy and raw materials.

Address by Ambassador Kelly at the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce Edmonton Luncheon, May 8, 2008

May 27th, 2008 . by admin

Ireland’s Ambassador to Canada, Declan Kelly, paid an official visit to Alberta in early May. During this time he visited Calgary and Edmonton where he met with key political, business and Irish community representatives.

Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce of Edmonton, Ambassador Kelly explained that the Embassy of Ireland in Ottawa was part of Ireland’s worldwide network of diplomatic missions which along with Irish state agencies such as Enterprise Ireland and the IDA were dedicated to the pursuit of Ireland’s interests abroad.

Irish Ambassador to Canada Declan Kelly

The Ambassador shared his views on the strong political, business and cultural relations between Ireland and Canada which can be traced back to the 1600s when the first Irish fishermen arrived to fish off Newfoundland. Over the following centuries, the Irish made there way up the great St Lawrence River which is home to hundreds of Irish settlements and memorials, from Grosse Ile and Montreal, through to Toronto. As Canada expanded westwards, vibrant Irish communities sprung up across the Prairies and the Rockies. Today over 13% of Canadians claim to have Irish descent.

The Ambassador also took the opportunity to outline the recent developments in the Northern Ireland peace process which has led to a power sharing government in the North with the Rev. Ian Paisley and Martin McGuiness as First and Deputy First Minster respectively. The Ambassador also explained that important role Canada and a number of Canadians such as Gen. John de Chastelain played in the peace process.

Turing to the main focus of his address, Ambassador Kelly stated that today Ireland and Canada enjoy a very healthy trade relationship which was valued at $1.3 billion in 2007. Over 80 Canadian companies have bases in Ireland while some 40 Irish companies employ over 500o people in Canada. Indeed, a giant Irish multinational company, IAWS, owns a share of Tim Hortons!

Explaining the background to Ireland’s economic transformation, Ambassador Kelly pointed to several key factors including:

  • a young well educated workforce
  • membership of the European Union which gives companies established in Ireland free access to a market of almost half a billion people
  • Ireland’s social partnership process which led to industrial stability
  • a very low corporate tax rate

These factors allowed Ireland to attract large scale foreign direct investment (FDI) into Ireland particularly in the ICT, Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology, Medical Devices and Financial Services sectors. Today, Ireland is home to, among others, the top 10 ICT companies, 13 of the top 15 Pharmaceutical companies.

However in today’s global environment, Ireland, like Alberta, is looking to the future and looking to attract and retain the best practitioners, researchers and scientists in order to secure high end, high skill, high paying jobs in the Research and Development.

There is a strong Government commitment to R&D with aims to double both enterprise R&D and doctoral output by 2013. Some $5 billion has been for all aspects of science research and development as well as a number of other initiatives including tax credits for qualifying R&D expenditure

Science Foundation Ireland is attracting world-class researchers to universities and is building on the strong industry – academic links which has built up in recent years.

The Ambassador spoke about his visit to Alberta and the variety of opportunities that exist for future cooperation between Ireland and Alberta.

In finishing, Ambassador Kelly thanked Colm O’Carroll and the Irish Chamber for organising the lunch and remarked that as Ireland has a small embassy to cover the whole of Canada, organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce play a vital role in promoting Ireland and also in feeding in ideas and initiatives to the Embassy which we in turn can pass on to interested parties in Ireland.