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Texas plays a role in Ireland’s economic recovery: Irish prime minister

DUBLIN: Partnerships with Texas companies and entrepreneurs have played an important role in pulling the Republic of Ireland out of its latest recession, Prime Minister Enda Kenny said in Austin Sunday.

Appearing at the official opening of an Irish consulate downtown on Congress Avenue, Kenny said business partnership have enabled Ireland to become the fastest-growing European city in the wake of the global recession. He’s projecting the nation to eliminate its debt by 2018.

“We chose Austin, Texas, for a consulate. We did that [because] the city is growing so fast and it’s a cauldron of ideas and innovation,” he said. “We attach a great deal of importance to these types of relationships. We’ve emerged from the economic crisis.”

Kenny said he met with executives of Dell Inc. and Gov. Greg Abbott as part of his nation’s effort to expand business ties with Texas.

The consulate is operating in the Bank of America building along with the nation’s economic development arm of the Irish government, IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.

IDA Ireland was founded in 1949 as the Industrial Development Authority to promote direct foreign investment. The agency operates seven U.S. offices, including one on Congress Avenue. Sean Storan and Gerard Hayes head up IDA Ireland’s Austin office.

Ireland is a growing gateway to European markets for U.S. technology companies. During 2014, 197 international companies either established offices in Ireland or expanded existing operations there. Eighty percent were U.S. based, said Deirdre Moran, IDA Ireland’s vice president of emerging technologies and high-growth companies.

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