Ireland's Leader Praises US Software Companies

IRELAND'S president says strong ties to the United States have helped her country grow economically and contributed to its status as a world center for the computer software industry.

President Mary Robinson, speaking at a recent breakfast at Boston's John F. Kennedy Library, said six of the 10 leading international software companies are operating in Ireland, and all of them are American. She also said 400 US companies operate in Ireland, employing one in five of the country's manufacturing work force and exporting more than $12 billion a year.

``Of course it would be nice to think that [American companies] come to Ireland beguiled by the Irish people and the country's stunning natural beauty,'' she said. ``But ... the hard equation of economic success underlies their decision to establish firms in Ireland.'' According to the US Department of Commerce, she said, Ireland brought a return on investment almost four times the European Union average over the past 10 years.

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