Neil Leyden, Colm MacFhlannachadha and Cianán Clancy
WINNERS OF YOUR COUNTRY YOUR CALL
Earlier this year Martin McAleese, the President’s husband, launched the Your Country Your Call competition to help provide jobs through innovative projects. It received more than 9,000 entries. Each of the two victorious projects won €100,000, with an additional €500,000 development fund. The winners were Neil Leyden and father and son Colm MacFhlannachadha and Cianán Clancy.
MacFhlannachadha and Clancy’s project is for a “data island strategy”. So what does this mean? “Everything to do with data, we’d like to be number one,” Clancy says. To give an example, he points out that Twitter’s data centre is currently in the US. “We’d see it needing a European centre down the line.”
It was the first time the engineer father and strategy-consultant son had worked together. “I’m a blue-sky thinker. I think outside the box,” says Clancy. “I’m more the practical end of things,” MacFhlannachadha says. Winning was, they say, “a phenomenal opportunity”. Clancy says, “It was the platform for the next generation.”
Leyden, a scriptwriter and animator, hopes to establish a global media hub by making Ireland a centre for producing and distributing content. “A bit like being the clearing house for rights to music, film and TV,” he says.
Since the winners of Your Country Your Call were announced, Ireland has had the IMF come to visit. Will this affect Leyden’s development plan? “The only issue is the reputation of Ireland abroad. We’ve taken a kicking in the area aimed at foreign direct investment,” he says. “It’s startling to see how much innovation is coming out of the US and so little out of Europe. We have to get over our fear of failure.”RB