IFSC chairman and former taoiseach John Bruton: trying to attract more international banks to Ireland

Senior bankers in Dubai have criticised the timing of a presentation tomorrow by Irish government officials called 'Ireland, the Financial Services Gateway to Europe' because television in the United Arab Emirates has for weeks blamed Irish banks for helping to bring the euro to the edge of destruction.

The presentation by former taoiseach and EU ambassador to the US, John Bruton, who is also chairman of IFSC Ireland, in the Godolphin Ballroom in the Emirates Towers Hotel, one of the most expensive venues in the region, is part of the newly-created task force to attract more international banks to Ireland. But a senior banker complained that the timing could not have been worse.

"People in the financial services industry here are looking at Ireland as an economic disaster that was extremely badly managed by the government," he told the Sunday Tribune.

"Remember that many industry professionals and investors got badly burned during the Dubai property crisis, which pales into insignificance compared to the Irish banking system. People are not going to be swayed by attempts to sell Ireland right now," he said.

The banker said the idea of promoting Irish expertise and its position within the eurozone was a good idea "but not at this time".

The conference, which had attracted 60 visitors, was important as a way to dispel negative headlines about Ireland, a spokesman for Enterprise Ireland said.