By Harry Keaney
One could be forgiven for thinking that Irish farmers are forever complaining. But now it appears they really do have genuine grievances.
At a time when the country has never been more prosperous, some farmers find themselves in the harrowing situation of having no option but to dump animals that have starved to death.
The situation has become so serious that the Irish Veterinary Association has said that veterinarians in practice and in local authority employment are increasingly encountering cases of cruelty caused by fodder shortage, difficult weather conditions and low cattle prices, charges reported in the Echo several weeks ago.
The IVA issued its statement as gárdaí in Rosscarbery, Co. Cork, began an investigation into the dumping of 20 cows and calves near the town. The animals had their ears cut off so that their owner could not be traced by the ear tags.
Cork veterinarian Gerard Buckley warned that the incidence of illegal dumping will increase as the fodder shortage continues.
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Irish agriculture has been a major beneficiary from the European Union’s common agricultural policy, but, in the future, farmers are likely to be hit by decreasing subsidies, grants and other incentives from the EU. Meanwhile, many smaller farms have long not been self-sufficient, their owners obtaining the bulk of their income from off-farm jobs or supplementing it with money from grants, pensions or other payments.
Tax, financial planning
In Boston, the Irish Networking Society will host a seminar and question and answer session on managing taxes and finances on Feb. 3 from 6:30- 8:30 p.m. in the John Hancock Hall, 180-200 Berkeley St. The guests will be James Walsh, a financial planner, and John Hegarty, CPA. Complimentary tea and coffee will be served. For information, call the society at (781) 446-8074 or log onto http://www.celticweb.com/ins.
Making a presentation
The International Communications Industries Association will stage a training program to teach business communicators how to design and deliver presentations on Feb. 16 in the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, 811 Seventh Avenue at 52nd Street, NYC. The one-day event costs $295. For information, call Rick Harris at 1 (800) 659-7469, ext. 304.
Country Bank in Manhattan
Country Bank is to open a full service branch in April on Second Avenue and 48th Street in Manhattan. Country Bank has offices in Carmel in Putnam County, in Scarsdale and White Plains in Westchester County, and in the Woodlawn and Riverdale sections of the Bronx. The bank also has executive offices in White Plains and at 300 East 42nd Street in Manhattan. The bank chairman is Joseph Murphy while Bill Burke, former executive with Bank of Ireland in New York, is president.
CIE Tours International has announced a new escorted nine-day vacation to Ireland called "Irish Quest." Prices start at $1,494. including air fare from New York, Newark or Boston. Departures begin May 13 and continue weekly through Sept. 30. Meanwhile, CIE Tours International say "early birds" can save more than $600 per couple by traveling to Ireland in April on its 11-day "Irish Explorer" tour which starts at $1,632. Departures take place Fridays and Mondays, April 9 to Oct. 22 For information, call (800) CIE-TOUR or a travel agent, or log onto www.cietours.com.
Passing the torch
The younger generation is taking over at two of Ireland’s best known companies. Gavin O’Reilly, 31, son of Tony O’Reilly, has recently been appointed managing director of Independent Newspapers (Ireland). Tony O’Reilly, former boss at Pittsburgh-based Heinz, is chairman of Independent Newspapers. Gavin O’Reilly is married to the actress Alison Doody. Meanwhile, Tony Smurfit, 35, recently took over as deputy chief executive of Smurfit Europe, the European arm of the mammoth packaging company that merged last year with U.S. company Stone Container. Tony Smurfit is son of Smurfit chairman and chief executive Michael Smurfit.
Flexicom, an Irish financial software company, hopes to float on the stock exchange later this year but the timing will depend on market circumstances. The company postponed its flotation plans at the end of last year after a slump in international markets. It had intended to list on the developing companies market in Dublin and the alternative investment market in London.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s national airline, Aer Lingus, may also be lining up to go public. In an interview with the Sunday Tribune newspaper, the airline’s chief executive, Gary Cullen, said that the debate on the flotation would most likely begin at the "bottom end of the year," but he added that the issue of an initial public offering was one for the Irish government.
Further evidence of Ireland’s economic boom has come in the latest figures for earnings from corporate tax. Last year, corporation tax brought in more than £2 billion. Almost half came from international companies paying the special 10 percent rate.