In its pre-Budget 2024 submission, Digital Business Ireland is calling on the Government to embrace emerging technologies; and position Ireland as a global digital leader

Digital Business Ireland (DBI) the country’s leading representative body for online businesses, has today published its pre-Budget 2024 submission. The submission, issued to the Department of Finance, urges the Government to use Budget 2024 to capitalise on the opportunity of new and disruptive technologies; and deploy strategic investment to grow the sector.

Detailed in its submission, the representative body has made a number of recommendations to Government, including:

·       Enhanced Skillnet funding – ringfenced for SME training on Web3, AI, blockchain and ChatGPT

·       Introduction of a digital technology tax credit – qualifying expenditure to include training and upskilling, software development, subcontractor payments

·       Plan and publish a National Web3 Strategy

·       Allocation of funding for the creation of an Immersive Tech Taskforce

In order for Ireland to maintain its status as a global digital hub, Budget 2024 must enable businesses to adopt disruptive technologies to remain competitive. As per the European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index, Ireland ranks fifth out of 27 EU Member States, according to our level of digitalisation. The country’s advanced status renders it well placed to lead on the rollout of emerging technologies, such as Web3, AI and ChatGPT – but a robust regulatory framework, coupled with training and upskilling programmes, will enable businesses of all sizes to keep pace. Emerging technologies have gained traction among the broader population – with seminal research published by DBI last month, showing that one of out every ten adults in Ireland has used ChatGPT for work purposes.*

In addition to these proposals, DBI has further urged the Government to develop a targeted national campaign to drive awareness of forthcoming regulations on digital accessibility. While the websites of public sector bodies are required to be digitally accessible, this mandate will soon be extended to businesses and organisations in the private sector, under the European Accessibility Act, set to come into force in June 2025. As a result, companies across Ireland have just eighteen months to ensure that their websites are fully digitally accessible, or else face legal penalties.

Speaking today, Chairperson of Digital Business Ireland, Ashley McDonnell said: “At Digital Business Ireland, we are proud to support a network of over 8,500 businesses of all sizes, and across every sector of the economy. Every business has the capacity to integrate disruptive technologies across their operations; and Ireland has the ability to become a global leader in the rollout of these technologies. That is why, in our pre-Budget 2024 submission, we are calling for the development of a National Strategy for Web3, the development of an Immersive Tech Taskforce and targeted measures to support the growth and adoption of artificial intelligence.

Digital technologies have the power to transform the way that we live, work and do business – but it is vital that no one is left behind; websites and digital assets must be accessible to all. Legislation on this is forthcoming – under the European Accessibility Act, private sector businesses based in Ireland have just eighteen months to ensure that their website can be used by all individuals, regardless of ability. DBI is therefore urging the Government to develop a national information campaign, to ensure that businesses are made aware of their legal obligations; and can be supported to build a better experience for every customer”.

Read the full pre-Budget submission by clicking the link HERE.

*Digital Business Ireland – Digital Insights polling data on ChatGPT usage:

Between 5th -18th July 2023, Digital Business Ireland commissioned a poll, carried out by Ireland Thinks to ascertain data as to the level of ChatGPT usage among the general population. The poll had a sample size of 1,004 individuals, extracted from a panel of 30,000 respondents. These individuals were selected based on their demographics and behaviours (age, gender, religiosity, educational attainment, past voting behaviour) to ensure that the sample was an exact replica of the Census, and within that, the general population.

In this poll, respondents were asked whether they had used ChatGPT. If participants responded ‘yes’, they were then asked a series of questions, to determine their reason for using the tool. The results were then compared across age, gender and income.

The full results of the Digital Insights research can be found here: Digital Insights – Summer Series



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