By Harry Keaney
More than 125,000 Boston area television viewers have a new place to turn to for quality shows.
Since Jan. 1, Celtic Vision has been available on Optimum TV, Cablevision’s expanded basic package in Boston and Brookline.
Celtic Vision is the Boston-based national cable television network that carries drama, documentaries, sports and current affairs programming from Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Three-year-old Celtic Vision is led by Lawrence Baker, the founder and leading investor of numerous businesses, including SmartFoods, Odyssey Ventures, Selcore Laboratories and Instream Corporation.
Co-owners of Celtic Vision Productions Ltd., which is an Irish corporation, include RTE and the Irish government.
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Current Celtic Vision programs include award-wining dramas like "Doctor Finlay," from Scotland, and "Glenroe," from Ireland. Coming later this winter is "Hell for Leather," a gritty comedy of inner-city Dublin by Roddy Doyle, author of "The Commitments."
In mid-1996, an examiner was appointed to the old Celtic Vision after it accumulated losses of £3.7 million since its incorporation five years earlier. In May 1997, Celtic Vision’s parent company, Donegal Ventures, relaunched the channel with all new programming. A new team is now in place at Celtic Vision, which aims to be not just a niche program provider, but rather one that offers a spectrum of quality productions.
The Irish Business Organization of New York will hold its next meeting today, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Shelburne Hotel, Lexington Avenue, between 37th and 38th streets, in Manhattan. Guest speaker will be Irish Echo journalist Ray O’Hanlon, who will talk about his recently published book, "The New Irish Americans."
Ireland’s minister for Public Enterprise, Mary O’Rourke, has criticized banks in Ireland for failing to process credit card payments for new companies setting up as internet merchants at a time when Ireland is setting out to become Europe’s e-commerce capital. Industry sources have told the Sunday Business Post newspaper that many companies that wish to do business on the internet in Ireland are being forced to turn to British and French banks for credit card verification and acquiring services.
However, such a development is likely to increase in Europe, with banking being one area where major consolidation is expected in the aftermath of the euro’s arrival.
Ireland’s central bank, the country’s equivalent of the U.S. Federal Reserve, is stepping up pressure for restraint in wage increases, warning that excessive pay hikes could lead to job losses through falling profit margins and competitiveness. The bank’s assistant director general, Dr. Michael Casey, also expressed concern about the continuing rise in house prices, saying there is anecdotal evidence that it was inhibiting the return of some workers and pushing up salary demands.
Oliver Tattan, the youthful former head of the Irish Trade Board, has been appointed acting chief executive officer of Voluntary Health Insurance, better known as the VHI, a statutory body. For years, the VHI had a near monopoly on providing health insurance in Ireland, but that may now be coming to an end because of deregulation in accordance with European Union legislation. The VHI could become a mutual company owned by its members, a commercial semi-state or it could be partially privatized.
Enterprise Ireland, the government agency charged with aiding the development of indigenous Irish industry, has opened a trade and technology center in Campbell, Calif. The new center will serve as a start-up factory for Irish companies hoping to quickly establish a presence in the U.S. technology heartland. A number of Irish companies have already located in the center. Twenty Irish companies have become established in Silicon Valley. That number is expected to double by the end of the century
New IDA boss
The Irish Industrial Development Authority has created an unprecedented record in attracting U.S. investment to Ireland. Since Jan. 1, the IDA Ireland has had a new chief executive, Sean Dorgan. He succeeds Kieran McGowan, who retired after 30 years with the IDA, eight of them as its leader. Dorgan has been secretary general of two government departments, a member of the National Economic & Social Council and chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.