By Harry Keaney
With the ever-growing popularity in the U.S. of all things Irish, giftwear manufacturers from Ireland are reporting record demand from the U.S. market with further growth expected in the coming year, according to Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government trade agency. To sustain this growth, Enterprise Ireland has launched a comprehensive giftwear analysis and guide to the U.S. giftwear marketplace.
The guide may be purchased in hardback or electronic form for $450.
According to Michael McNicholas, Enterprise Ireland’s New York-based vice president consumer products, the handbook provides "an invaluable tool for those considering entering into, or already in, the U.S. gift industry.
"The handbook is a definitive guide to the demographic profile of the U.S. market, a sourcebook of the different marketing vehicles and techniques available and a popularity chart of best-selling product types," McNicholas said. He added that the handbook contains "all of the answers to all of the questions entrepreneurs would ask."
Details, (212) 371-3600 or log onto www.enterprise-ireland.com.
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A new set of faces will now have responsibility for economic and social development in Northern Ireland.
Reg Empey of the Ulster Unionist Party, is to be minister for enterprise, trade and investment. Sean Farren of the SDLP, will be minister for higher education, training and employment. Mark Durkan, also of the SDLP, will be minister for finance and personnel, and Peter Robinson, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, will hold the portfolio of regional development. Nigel Dodds, also of the DUP, will be responsible for social development, and Bríd Rogers will be minister for agriculture.
Building Society party
The Irish American Building Society will hold its annual Christmas party on this Thursday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. in The Manhattan Club, 201 West 52nd Street and Seventh Avenue, in Manhattan. Details, Martina O’Donoghue at (212) 564-1728 or (212) 613-0090.
Anyone for science?
Despite Ireland’s reputation as a center for software, an education conference in Dublin last week heard of an "alarming" decline in the study of science in second-level schools.
The conference was organized by the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland.
Frank Turpin, director of academic affairs with Intel Ireland, said that an emerging crisis in science education could threaten Ireland’s attractiveness to industry. Factors such as our membership of the European Union and our taxation policies are less important than before to potential investors; the most important advantage Ireland can now offer to companies is a well educated workforce, he said. He added that the status of physics and chemistry has declined enormously at second level and this was beginning to be reflected at third level.
Bound for Navan
Navan, Co. Meath, which has become a mecca for home buyers in the last two years, is to benefit from a £15 million project. Navan urban district council has unveiled plans for new civic buildings, including a theater and courthouse, at the Fairgreen near the center of the town. Public investment totaling about £9 million is to be accompanied by a further £6 million from the private sector.
Meanwhile, in Carlow, more than 800 homes are planned for a 93-acre site in the town. The man behind the scheme is Mayo-born John McLoughlin, who purchased the land more than 10 years ago on a piecemeal basis.
In Dublin, construction company P.J. Walls has been given the green light for a £25 million apartment development on Griffith Avenue, in Dublin 9. The project comprises 127 apartments at Glandore Road.
Think you’re not being paid enough to work during the changeover to the new millennium? In Ireland, doctors, nurses, gárdaí, firefighters and air traffic controllers are among thousands of public service workers claiming £100 extra per hour for providing emergency cover on this New Year’s Eve. The claim is for $100 an hour, on top of normal rates, for everyone required to work between 8 a.m. on Dec. 31, 1999, and 8 a.m. on Jan. 2, 2000.
In some parts of the private sector in Ireland, payments of more than £2,000 have been negotiated.
Longford on "the hind tit"
There has been much media coverage in Ireland recently of the government’s national economic plan. While the plan was generally welcomed, it got a harsh reception in Longford. "A triumph for the spin doctors," declared Longford Leader managing director Eugene McGee in a front-page editorial. "Once again, the North Midlands has been assigned to the hind tit as far as government spending and investment is concerned."