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Business Briefs Changes looming for Tourist Board

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry Keaney

The Irish Tourist Board, also known as Bord F_ilte, the oldest semi-state body in Ireland, is expected to have some of its current functions merged into a new cross-border tourism body. The move would eliminate duplication involved in, for example, Bord F_ilte and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board maintaining separate overseas offices.

According to the Sunday Business Post, which reported that Bord F_ilte was to be “axed,” the Irish government is eager that the Irish Tourist Industry Council, which represents all major commercial tourism interests, including hotel proprietors, and transport companies North and South, be given a greater role in promoting its own product.

Joseph Byrne, Bord F_ilte’s executive vice president for North America, told the Echo that tourism has been signaled as one of the areas where cooperation among tourism interests in both parts of Ireland could be enhanced to the benefit of the overall industry. But, Byrne said, this depends on the authorities in both parts, the Irish government and the new assembly in Northern Ireland.

Byrne pointed that, if this development was to go ahead, which many would see as a logical one, it was “100 miles away” from Bord F_ilte being “axed” or abolished. He felt those terms were misleading. Bord Failte, he said, “would be rolled over into a new cross-border body.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Irish Trade Board, Oliver Tattan has reportedly refused to accept a position in a new agency called Enterprise Ireland, which has been brought about by the merging of the Trade Board and Forbairt. Tattan, 33, regards the position he was offered as, effectively, a demotion.

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The legislation for the creation of Enterprise Ireland passed through the Dail last week and it is expected that the new agency will be incorporated on July 13.

Tattan applied for the job of chief executive of Enterprise Ireland but lost out to Dan Flinter, former head of Forbairt. Tattan came to the Trade Board two years ago and signed a five-year contract.

This week, Flinter is expected to announce details of his management structure for Enterprise Ireland. It is believed this structure will involve the creation of eight separate groups, the directors of which will report directly to Flinter. Tattan was offered one of the directorships but it is believed that he regarded it as being far from the agency’s number two position, but simply similar to the other seven directorships.

Phoenix Park Racecourse sold

The Phoenix Park Racecourse in Dublin is to be sold to a firm of housebuilders, Flynn and O’Flaherty, for about _37 million. The sale follows the selection of an alternative site for a national conference center.

The racecourse was closed in 1990, and the sale is expected to thwart plans to open a casino on the property. According to a report in the Irish Times newspaper, Flynn and O’Flaherty is understood to have completed contracts for the purchase of the 100-acre tract of land, which will be used mainly for housing but is also likely to include a hotel, offices and retail stores. In addition, the company has acquired 17 acres on the opposite side of Navan road.

The sale comes after four frustrating years for Ogden Leisure, an American corporation that had already invested funds to secure planning permission for a _200 million leisure development. A proposed casino was to be the financial engine to drive the entire scheme, but before the last general election, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern indicated he would not be prepared to amend the Gaming and Lotteries Act to allow the casino.

Electrical wholesaler sold

Ireland’s largest privately owned electrical wholesaler, owned by Kelliher & Sons, has been bought by a subsidiary of the U.S. corporate giant General Electric. In its first European move, GE Supply bought the Tralee-based operation for a price thought to be in the region of _20 million. The family-owned Kelliher electrical distribution business employs 175 staff and has 11 branches throughout Ireland.

Farmers’ long wait for title

More than 2,000 farmers throughout Ireland have yet to be given title to land which they purchased from the Land Commission, with some of them waiting for up to 20 years. According to Fine Gael TD Paul McGrath, farmers whose land is yet to be registered are experiencing difficulties when attempting to sell property or negotiate finance for building.

Viagra in Ireland

A Waterford City businessman is ready to capitalize on the anticipated surge in demand for the new sex wonderdrug Viagra, once it is licensed in Ireland, according to the Munster Express newspaper.

Commodities broker Nick Mangakis says he has traced the cheapest global sources for the drug and will be ready to help chemists meet the expected demand. Officially named Sildenafil Citrate, the key ingredient for the drug, developed by the New York based Pfizer Corporation, is manufactured at the company’s Ringaskiddy base in Cork. Mangakis stresses that he will not be offering the drug for retail sale.

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