By Harry Keaney
The Celtic Tiger economic boom is set to continue for the foreseeable future, but danger signs are lurking, according to Ireland’s department of Finance.
The department’s annual Economic Review and Outlook says that economic growth this year is likely to be higher than originally anticipated. This year’s gross national product is now expected to be 6.6 percent
"For the sixth successive year, economic growth in Ireland will be among the highest in the world," the report states. "Such a sustained period of very rapid growth has few if any precedents, not just in our own economic history but in that of the industrialized world."
The report adds: "For some time, it has been evident that the continuation of rapid economic growth is giving rise to pressures and tensions which have the potential to choke off growth and perhaps give rise to serious imbalances. These tensions include inflationary pressures, excessively large increases in house prices, labor shortages and the emergence of infrastructural bottlenecks."
Meanwhile, in the midst of such a boom, about 400 children become homeless in the Dublin area every year, according to Fr. Peter McVerry, a Jesuit who has worked for decades with homeless young people.
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Flower power wilts
1-800-FLOWERS.com Inc went public last week when Goldman, Sachs & Co. sold six million of the company’s shares at $21 each, raising $126 million. But the shares closed that first day below the offered price and ended the week at $17.
Jim McCann, the company’s chief executive, said he was pleased with the private investment the company had gotten and he blamed market conditions, particularly the slump in the Nasdaq, for the weak trading.
Even though the company now sports a dot-com at the end of its name, most of its revenues comes from telephone or retail store sales. Of the $220.6 million in sales for the nine-month period ending in March, just $30.2 million came from online sales.
1-800-FLOWERS.com ticker is FLWS.
The number of applications for public housing in Ireland has rocketed. There are now 38,000 on waiting lists, an increase of more than 200 percent in some areas in the last three years.
According to figures obtained by the Sunday Business Post newspaper, eight local authorities have recorded increases in applications of more than 100 percent since 1996. Among the local authorities receiving the most applications were: Wicklow Urban District Council, South Dublin County Council, Offaly County Council, Galway County Council, Fingal County Council and Dublin Corporation.
A thought for those who complain about the cost of auto insurance in Ireland: so far this year, 237 people have been killed in traffic accidents on Irish roads.
The Ireland Chamber of Commerce in the U.S. will host its 11th annual Celtic ball on Oct. 14 in the grand ballroom of the Waldorf -Astoria Hotel, in Manhattan. Details, (212) 755-4444.
Until recently, Kerry native Matthew Barrett was Canada’s top banker. In October, he will start a new job in London, as chief executive of Barclay’s Bank. Annual salary, $6.2 million.
Barrett was born in Tralee, and raised in Kells, Co. Meath. His father, who died when he was 12, headed the well-known Jack Barrett Orchestra.
Barrett spent 32 years at the Bank of Montreal, climbing from clerk to chairman of the board. He began his career as a teller in Bank of Montreal’s London office. After three years, he was invited to head office in Canada for extra training.
His salary last year at the Bank of Montreal was $4.5 million, with stock options worth $25 million.
The Irish Business Organization of New York will hold a business networking breakfast on Aug. 25 at 8 a.m. in Mezze Restaurant, 44th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues.
A South Jersey networking dinner will take place Sept. 1 at The Seagull, in Hazlett. Details, call Bernadette McManus at (212) 571-1150.
On Sept. 8, a New Jersey business networking breakfast will take place at 8 a.m. in the Grasshopper Restaurant, Carlstadt.
A general IBO monthly meeting will take place Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Shelburne Hotel, 303 Lexington Avenue, in Manhattan.