By Harry Keaney
Despite the booming Celtic Tiger economy, it seems as if no week now passes without some agency or other highlighting a segment of Ireland’s population that the boom is bypassing.
This week, the spotlight is on the elderly, particularly those living in rural areas.
According to a report entitled "Income Deprivation and Well-Being Among Older Irish People," compiled by the Economic and Social Research Institute, about 60 percent of people over 65 live on less than £100 per week. A quarter of elderly households are living on an income less than half the average industrial wage, which is £17,500.
Rural elderly, especially women, were found to be at the greatest risk of deprivation.
The report will be launched later this year by Ireland’s National Council on Aging and Older People.
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The council pointed out that in terms of income, the position of the elderly population has worsened dramatically since 1987, relative to the non-elderly. While the disposable income of the average household had risen by 61 percent between 1987 and 1997, that of households reliant on the non-contributory old age pension increased by just 18 percent.
The report’s authors point out, however, that the elderly are not as deprived as income would suggest. This is because of an array of allowances for items such as travel, telephone and fuel.
Still, however, the fact that the financial situation of older people is not improving in tandem with the Celtic Tiger economy is yet another example of a group being "left behind."
Legal eagles flock together
Some legal eagles in the U.S. have the Celtic Tiger in their crosshairs. At a reception hosted in Dublin last week by Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy, the U.S. law firm Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, based in Cleveland, and the Dublin-based law firm Brian O’Donnell & Partners announced an association between the firms.
Under the arrangement, Squire Sanders clients will have direct access to Irish law expertise and the clients of Brian O’Donnell & Partners will "enjoy the benefits of direct access to the global presence of one of the largest international law firms," according to a statement from the firms.
Managing partner Brian O’Donnell said his firm’s need for a joint venture had arisen as a result of the rapidly evolving service requirements of corporate clients. "Many of our clients are developing global franchises on the back of the booming Irish economy and require legal services that can facilitate the development of their global reach," he said. Thomas Stanton, chairman of Squire Sanders, said the strength of the Irish economy had created an attractive investment opportunity for many Squire Sanders clients.
The areas of practice common to both firms include information technology, telecommunications, privatizations and corporate finance.
The internet portal site Local Ireland has joined forces with others in Ireland to set up a website for the Gaeltacht community. The site may be accessed at www.g’ltacht2000.com.
In October 1998, Local Ireland was launched by Nua, an Irish software development and internet products company, and Eircom. As part of the portal site, there are 34 specific sites, one for every county in Ireland, one for New York and, now, one for the Gaeltacht.
The Irish Business Organization of New York will hold a downtown networking dinner on April 18 at 6 p.m. in Beckett’s Restaurant, 78 Pearl St., between Broad Street and Hanover Square. For details, call Dan Comiskey at (212) 571-9695.
A midtown networking breakfast will be held on April 25 at 8 a.m. in the Mezze Restaurant, 44th Street between Fifth and Madison avenues. For details, call Bill Buckley at (212) 627-2111.
Sligoman vs. Dodi
A Sligo truck operator has lost a legal battle with the father of Dodi Fayed, the man who was killed with Princess Diana in a Paris car crash, according to the Sligo Weekender.
Multi-millionaire Harrod’s boss Mohamed Al Fayed took an action against Tony Boyd, a native of Cranmore, Co. Sligo. Boyd is now living in Ohio.
The case centered on control of a the internet domain name dodialfayed.com.
Boyd bought and registered the name and later offered it for sale for $400,000.
However, Fayed filed a legal case with the UN trademark body WIPO, which ruled against Boyd, stating that he had "no legitimate interest" in the name.
In a statement to Sligo Weekender, Boyd said the domain name is not registered in the U.S. nor is it internationally registered, yet the WIPO ruled against him.