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It’s the time of year to …Think Irish

A new online initiative has been launched, intended to help consumers make informed choices in their buying decisions to support jobs in Ireland and economic recovery.

ThinkIrish.ie is a consumer-driven campaign and on-line resource designed to provide consumers with the information they need to identify and source Irish products.

Those behind the campaign believe it could potentially create 20,000 jobs in Ireland.

It is a not-for-profit initiative developed by retail entrepreneur Jonathan Stanley. He is joined by Dublin accountant Eamonn Freaney, Paul McArdle of The Panel, Peter Kruseman of Mindstars and Alan Graham, a senior marketing executive.

The campaign advocates playing to the strengths of the Irish economy by supporting domestic Irish business and producers. “It is not a question of protectionism, we know imports are a critical part of this country’s success and in particular our export success,” said Mr. Graham.

“We’re not advocating support for any domestic product that doesn’t offer equivalent or greater value to the imported one. Switching €20 need not cost a cent extra – provided people are equipped with the right information. For example, we still import 25-30% of the bottled water we drink, yet it’s often more expensive to drink imported bottled water than a domestic brand – so switching will actually save you money.”

Launching campaign, its director, Alan Graham, said: “ThinkIrish.ie seeks to consolidate and channel consumer power to drive economic recovery and empower ordinary people to take an active role in our economic recovery through their buying decisions. By switching just €20 of their weekly purchases to Irish goods and services, consumers can help to generate 20,000 new jobs across the country.”

The central function of ThinkIrish.ie is to give consumers can access a web-based forum where they can and share accurate and relevant information about Irish sourced goods and services. This includes Ireland’s first online directory of Irish products that will allow consumers search for Irish alternatives for the everyday products they buy.

The idea is being promoted by a group of Irish business people who believe that Irish consumers are capable of making a positive impact on economic recovery and job generation, Thinkirish.ie seeks to leverage this collective buying power of consumers by providing information and encouragement to choose locally-sourced products.

Mr. Graham said,“ThinkIrish.ie is different to other ‘Buy Irish’ campaigns. It’s not a commercial tactic, it’s about Irish consumers finding a voice and a platform to effect change, and raise awareness about how powerful consumer spending can be.”

He added, “We want consumers the length and breath of the country to get involved, share information and make more informed purchasing decisions.

Mr Graham insists that ThinkIrish.ie is not a commercial tactic, but a tangible means by which local people can help support the thousands whose jobs are dependent on Irish industry.

“Irish people have a basic in-built desire to support local manufacturing and the farming community. We want to tap into this national trait and empower consumers to decide for themselves what they can and want to do to help support Irish business and Irish jobs. Thinkirish.ie is ultimately about helping people to help themselves,” concluded Mr. Graham.