The Taoiseach is in the Swiss town of Davos where he has been addressing the World Economic Forum.

The forum brings together top business and political leaders.

Bertie Ahern's speech centered on the transformation in the Irish economy and Ireland's capacity to adapt to the global economy.

He outlined Ireland's change from high taxation, stagnant growth and mass unemployment to low taxation, sustained economic growth and virtually full employment.

The Taoiseach argued that the most significant factor in that change was 'our strong, perhaps unique, system of social partnership.'

'Robust negotiations,' he said, 'certainly take place. But the outcome is also robust.'

Mr Ahern outlined the Government's strategy for responding to the challenge of maintaining the success of the recent past.

He emphasised the role of scientific and technological education, and research and development, in the new National Development Plan which, he said, amounted to more than a year's Gross Domestic Product.

'We are convinced that skills and education are at the heart of the changing agenda,' he said.