The first day of the Global Irish Economic Forum has concluded. According to musician and third world campaigner Bob Geldof, the day contained brutal exchanges and good ideas.

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The Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin said good and valid ideas are now on the table to help Ireland in the future. He said the day had been 'useful, animated and fantastic'.

It is understood the subjects discussed included greater investment in R&D, education, technology and improvements in broadband capability. Mr Geldof said the debate had been 'honest'. The forum continues at Farmleigh tomorrow.

The Taoiseach, opening the forum this morning, said that Ireland needed to harness the goodwill felt towards it. Mr Cowen said Ireland could either view itself as being a small country on the periphery of western Europe or being at the centre of a global Irish community of over 70 million people.

He said it was important to develop the relationship that began today on an ongoing basis. He added that harnessing goodwill to the benefit of the country was important.

More than 180 people with links to Ireland accepted invitations from the Taoiseach to attend the forum.