By Eimear Rabbitt, intern

A green economy is the way forward according to two of Irelands largest third level institutions, DIT and DCU.

European Union Commissioner Marie Geoghegan Quinn was on hand to launch An tSlí Ghlas - The Green way - an economic initiative which has been kick-started by an alliance of businesses, academic institutions and local authorities including Dublin Institute of Technology and Dublin City University.

The Green way was born in response to a 2009 government report which stated that Ireland needed to develop one or more green zones in order to create an environment that can support the development of green enterprise and to strengthen Ireland's overseas market value.

The idea of the initiative is to use the alliance to build on the strong resources already in place and developing in the North Dublin area. Speaking at the launch, Dublin City University President Brian MacCraith said, "We are very confident about the success of this exciting venture for many reasons. DCU and DIT have a long and established tradition of engagement with industry and our links with business are well regarded both in Ireland and overseas."

It is hoped that An tSlí Glas will pave the way for Ireland to become an internationally recognised hub for clean tech businesses and that it will position Ireland as a centre of clean tech innovation and enterprise.

As the world becomes increasingly eco-friendly and solar energy is seen as a credible way forward, it is believed that adequate support of The Green Way can play a significant role in the economic recovery and transformation of the country through the provision of jobs and investment. Many projects are already under way which incorporate the values and goals of the initiative, according to Chairman of the Steering Committee for An tSlí Ghlas, Tony Boyle who also spoke at the launch.

"Many projects are already underway. Designated Wetlab space for Cleantech industries are at advanced planning stage, the DIT Dublin Energy Lab with Ballymun Regeneration Ltd is providing training and re-skilling of building trade workers for the clean tech industries. DAA are regenerating the airport central area as a hub for Cleantech FDI. DAA have also just launched T2 which will obviously assist in connecting An tSlí Ghlas -The Green Way to emerging Cleantech centres in Europe, China, India and the U.S."

At a time when many of their students are contemplating a less than certain future, some third level institutions are determined to generate hope and faith in the futre of the Green Irish economy

"We wish to create an internationally recognised green economic zone and position Ireland as a leader in the world's most exciting and rapidly growing sector. The potential of this project, which builds on our existing assets and infrastructure, is that it can assist in the transformation of our economy", Mr Doyle said.

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