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Business Briefs IBO picks Foley for top award

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry Keaney

The Irish Business Organization of New York has announced that Michael Foley, CEO of Heineken USA and who is about to take up his new job in Ireland as CEO of Aer Lingus, is to be this year’s IBO business person of the year. The announcement was made at an IBO press conference yesterday, Tuesday, evening.

The IBO gala ball will take place Oct. 20 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York.

Eyeing IPO

Aer Lingus trade unions may seek share options for all Aer Lingus staff ahead of the proposed flotation of the state-owned airline. The flotation is expected to take place next year.

Aer Lingus management already faces demands to enhance staff pay and pensions ahead of the proposed flotation of the airline.

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The company has also been in parallel negotiations with staff over an employee share ownership plan.

It is believed a general framework under which employees would increase their shareholding in the airline to 14.9 percent has already been hammered out. But sources have told the Irish Independent newspaper that little progress had been made on the employee share issue in recent weeks pending the resolution of pay and pension issues.

Aer Lingus employees already own 5 percent of the airline and have been seeking at least 9.9 percent more before agreeing to see the airline privatized. Some staff, such as the pilots, had been seeking an additional 14.9 percent, bringing the staff shareholding to 19.9 percent in total, though Public Enterprise Minister Mary O’Rourke has always said no more than 14.9 percent in total will be conceded.

Business milestone

Two Irishmen who build customized modular homes are this week celebrating a milestone in the development of their business. Michael Wolfe and Timothy Hourihan, who run Chelsea Modular Homes, have just completed their 3,000th modular home, a half-million colonial.

Chelsea Modular Homes is a 120,000 square foot factory in Marlboro, N.Y., which employs about 115 people. Its clients come from throughout the northeast.

Wolfe, who was born and raised in Yonkers, N.Y., is son of Anthony Wolfe, a native of Headford, Co. Galway. His mother, Mary Flannery, was born in Portulin, Co. Mayo. Wolfe and his wife, Barbara, owner of Wolfe’s Inn, live in Ghent, N.Y.

Hourihan was born and raised in Innishannon in West Cork. He trained at the Technical College in County Cork, specializing in carpentry and architectural design. Hourihan also owns Creative Homes on Route 9G, in Red Hook, N.Y., where he and his wife and four children live.

Chelsea Modular Homes may be located at www.chelseamodular.com

Strike at docks

Dublin dock’s South Quays Container Depot was closed yesterday, Tuesday, as a result of a row over crane services. The closure means exporters will have to use alternate facilities on the north quays or divert containers to Waterford, Cork or Larne.

Last night, MTL chairman Ted O’Neill said the depot, which handles about one-third of Dublin’s container traffic, will remain closed until "the crane situation is resolved to our and our customers’ satisfaction."

The result of a ballot of 18 crane drivers on a new pay and productivity deal, which could resolve the closure, has been postponed to allow for a postal ballot by union members currently on holiday.

The tough stance to cease operations was taken by the container depot owners, Marine Terminals Ltd (MTL), after what they say has been 18 months of unsatisfactory crane services supplied by Dublin Port Company. The crane drivers involved are not MTL employees but work for Dublin Port Company.

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