The Taoiseach has said that IT skills will be the currency of the future, but measures must be taken to ensure safety online.

Speaking at the opening of Ireland's Digital Summit 2019, Leo Varadkar said the Government has strengthened the National Centre dealing with Cyber Crime and plans for an Online Safety Commissioner are at an advanced stage.

Addressing delegates attending the summit, he said "creativity, imagination and courage" are needed to ensure digitalisation will serve people and not challenge wellbeing.

He said: "As many emails are sent in one day as the number of letters posted in a year," and added "30 billion emails are sent every single day".

During the day-long event, up to 500 invited delegates will hear keynote speeches and discussions on subjects such as the future of data and privacy, the challenges of Artificial Intelligence, countering online disinformation, and competition in the digital economy.

The summit, which is taking place at Dublin's Convention Centre, provides a forum to debate the social, technical, ethical and cultural issues prompted by the rise of social media.

A keynote speaker at the summit has said Ireland has the lowest rate of ransomware and crypto mining.

Ann Johnson, corporate vice-president of Microsoft's cybersecurity solutions group, said Ireland has stepped up to the responsibility of keeping 30% of Europe's data secure.

A recent survey of employees across Ireland, carried out on behalf of Microsoft, found that 44% of employees have had no training on security while 16% of employees are not changing or updating their passwords.

More than half of those surveyed do not have remote access restrictions.

The event is hosted by Minster of State Pat Breen, who said: "Digital technologies are transforming every facet of our lives and while these developments are exciting, they do raise some profound questions about how we regulate and how we manage them for the good of all.

"It's appropriate that all stakeholders discuss how we can manage and optimise these changes rather than being pulled helplessly in their wake."

There will also be exhibitions displaying some of the cutting-edge research being undertaken at many of Ireland's leading research institutions specialising in digital matters and funded by Science Foundation Ireland.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, held what the social media company described as "a good constructive meeting" at the White House yesterday.

In a statement, Facebook said that Mr Zuckerberg was in Washington to meet with policy makers to "hear their concerns and talk about future internet regulation".

Mr Trump said he had a "nice" meeting with Mr Zuckerberg.

Mr Zuckerberg's visit comes as Facebook faces a myriad of regulatory and legal questions surrounding issues like competition, digital privacy, censorship and transparency in political advertising.

Additional Reporting AFP