Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Ireland Prime Minister Enda Kenny, photo from Wikipedia.

Ireland Prime Minister Enda Kenny, photo from Wikipedia.

As Hugh Forrest tweeted recently, “It’s not your mother’s SXSW any more” when the sitting head of a nation comes to SXSW as Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny spent time with venture capitalists at SXSW and spoke briefly with reporters Sunday, the day Ireland officially opening the Irish consulate.

“We’ve come through a difficult period in the last few years,” Kenny said. But today, while investment in Europe is down, investment in Ireland is up and a Grant Thornton report showed that 93 percent of countries rate their investment in Ireland as a success. The country was also listed as Europe’s top entrepreneurial country by Oracle Capital Group.

“Ireland is the fastest growing economy in Europe and we understand exactly how important investment is,” Kenny said. About 20 Irish startup companies travelled to Austin for SXSW.

Kenny pointed out that Ireland is the only English speaking country in the Eurozone and that it has “barrier free access” to a market of half a billion people. Like Austin, he said, Ireland strongly supports the role of private investment and a thriving tech and startup community in the growth of the country.

“If you have an interest in doing business in Europe, consider Ireland.”

The Irish consulate is only the second international consulate to open in Austin.

Kenny also met with Gov. Greg Abbott to discuss trade, according to the Texas Tribune.