Green Financial Services May Create 7,000 Jobs

The current Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, has announced he believes new 'green' financial services could produce 7,000 jobs and "put Ireland at the heart of green business".

According to Mr Cowen today, the Green International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) will target environmentally related financial services bringing employment and revenue.

The Taoiseach said "By supporting the establishment of the ‘Green IFSC’, Ireland is positioning itself as leading financial services centre for the management of carbon and green finance.

"This initiative will help to maintain the competitive advantage of the IFSC and has the potential to create in the next five years over 7,000 new jobs and €6 billion in revenue from this emerging sector. This is a significant boost for the development of Ireland’s Smart Economy."

Mr Cowen's new policy comes on the same day the US President Barack Obama singled out investment for green jobs programmes during his State of the Union Address. The President said during his annual address in the House of Representatives chamber, that investment in green jobs would be key to American economic recovery.

During his announcement today, Mr Cowen said there are considerable opportunities globally in green finance, carbon management and the growth of the green economy.

"We already have the template through the IFSC in how to position ourselves as world leaders in this area. If we marry the skills we already have, and support them with appropriate enabling policies, we can position ourselves as a country of choice for green financial services."

However, despite Mr Cowen's assertions today, Labour MEP Nessa Childers today revealed that the former Taoiseach's chairmanship of the IFSC was currently under investigation over "conflicts of interest" allegations.

Ms Childers said she had learned that former Taoiseach John Bruton, whose term as EU ambassador to the US ended in November 2009, failed to notify the European Commission about two new jobs which may involve potential conflicts of interest.

"As EU ambassador to the US from 2004-09, John Bruton was one of the most senior Commission officials, but he seems to have been unaware of the Staff Regulations which rule that anyone intending to take up a job within two years of leaving must inform the Commission of that new position so it can assess any possible conflicts of interest.

"Mr Bruton took up the position September last year, and only now after being notified, has just this week submitted the required application for clearance.

MEP Childers said that the IFSC was central to Ireland's international financial services industry, which already supports in excess of 25,000 well paid jobs, and because of this it was crucial that the industry was promoted abroad by the most experienced and highly-regarded professionals.

"My own guess is that this was an oversight on the part of Mr. Bruton, who has always been a person of integrity. However this incident again reveals the deficiencies in the Barroso's Commission attitudes to transparency. Along with the case involving former Commissioner Charlie McCreevy post-Commission employment, this incident shows again that the Commission does not monitor post-employment activities for even its most senior officials," she added.


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