By Harry Keaney
The Irish Tourist Board’s new chief executive, John Dully, takes over at an historic time for Irish tourism, with the merging of Bord Fáilte and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
Dully, 52, a native of Athlone, Co. Westmeath, is currently the assistant secretary of the department of Tourism, Sport and Recreation. He spent four years in the department of Foreign Affairs and was chairman of the Overseas Tourism Marketing Initiative. He has also served on the boards of Bord Fáilte and the Irish Trade Board.
As chairman of the OTMI, Dully worked with executives of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board on joint marketing strategies. This experience is expected to now stand him in good stead as the two organizations are expected to rationalize their overlapping operations in Europe and North America.
Another task facing Dully is finding finance for the promotion of Irish tourism. "We do have a financing problem post 1999," Dully said. "We have to fill the gap with about £10 million."
Hub ICCUSA event
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Massachusetts House Speaker Thomas Finneran will be the guest speaker at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Ireland Chamber of Commerce in the U.S. New England Chapter on Sept. 10 at U.S. Trust, 40 Court St., Boston. The cost for ICCUSA members is $15, and $25 for non-members. Advance payment should be made by making checks out to ICCUSA at chapter headquarters, 22 Border St., Scituate, Mass. 02066. Reservations may be made by calling chapter president Jim O’Brien at (781) 545-8472 or Sharon McCarthy at (800) 778-6858.
Ad agency sold
Irish International, one of Ireland’s top advertising agencies, has been purchased for more than £16 million by a British and a U.S. company. Abbot Mead Vickers and BBDO Worldwide have each taken a 50 percent stake in Irish International.
Bank moves in U.S.
First National Bank of Maryland, the U.S. subsidiary of Allied Irish Bank, has appointed consultants to advise on the renaming and rebranding of the U.S. bank. It is understood that all of AIB’s operations in the U.S. will be relaunched under one corporate name early next year.
Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland has taken another step away from retail banking in the U.S. The bank has decided to exercise its option to force Royal Bank of Scotland to buy its 23.5 percent stake in Citizens Bank. Bank of Ireland acquired its stake in Citizens Bank, based in New England, in 1996 following a merger of its First New Hampshire Bank with Royal Bank of Scotland’s Citizens Financial Group.
If one doubts that Irish roads are becoming busier, one has only to look at figures released last week by the department of the Environment and Local Government. An increase of 7 percent in the number of licensed vehicles in Ireland has brought the total to almost 1.5 million.
The Irish economy is booming, construction sites are becoming more crowded and more accidents are occurring. Last year, according to the Irish Times, there were 13 construction site deaths in the Republic of Ireland. A double tragedy in County Tipperary two weekends ago has given 1998 the record for the worst death record to date. Just more than half way through the year, the death toll equals that for 1997. Meanwhile, the Health and Safety Authority, the Irish equivalent of OSHA, is underresourced. It has a staff of 119, including about 55 inspectors, and has to monitor every industry in the country. And because of booming business, the workload for inspectors has soared.