By Harry Keaney
High-tech workers are now so badly needed in Ireland that some companies are offering relocation packages of up to £30,000.
And companies seeking people to work in Ireland are going farther afield in their effort. Last week, about 4,000 people attended a recruitment fair, called Jobs Ireland, in Prague, in the Czech Republic. Representatives of 15 Irish companies were in attendance at the fair, the first in Eastern Europe.
Among the companies represented at the fair was Motorola, which offers relocation packages ranging from $5,000 to $30,000, for overseas workers coming to Ireland.
Also at the fair, the minister for public enterprise, Mary O’Rourke, launched a new interactive website that is expected to give employers access to 100,000 potential job applicants. The site may be accessed by logging onto jobsireland.com.
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Intel has been granted planning permission for £1.6 billion expansion of its facility in Leixlip, Co. Kildare. The extension, to be completed at the end of 2001, will lead to 1,000 more jobs. Many of the new workers will be graduates and technicians in physics, chemistry and engineering.
Meanwhile, the Boston database management firm Marketing Database Associates is to set up Europe’s first internet-based voice interactive call center in Derry, creating 230 jobs in three years.
In Foley’s shoes
Plenty of attention has been focused on Heineken’s former CEO in the U.S., Michael Foley, who is now group chief executive of Aer Lingus. But what about Foley’s replacement at White Plains-based Heineken? Turns out he’s a Dutchman who’s quite familiar with Ireland. Frans van der Minne, 52, is a 25-year Heineken veteran whose assignments have included running the company’s Murphy’s Brewery in Cork. Most recently, he was Heineken’s director for Central and Eastern Europe, based in Amsterdam.
Van der Minne lives in Greenwich, Conn.
Irish Business Organization members and their guests are now finalizing plans for their annual gala ball, which takes place Oct. 20 in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan.
Michael Foley, group chief executive of Aer Lingus, will receive the IBO’s Business Person of the Year Award.
Master of ceremonies for the black tie affair will be Barry Lynch, of the Irish Echo Newspaper.
Details, call (212) 750-8118.
Leitrim, the county with the lowest population in Ireland, received a major boost in 1997 with the opening of a factory near the village of Drumsna making building products and doors. The factory, Masonite, which employs more than 300 people, has now been sold by International Paper to a Canadian multinational, Premdor.
The sale follows International Paper’s $6 billion acquisition of Champion International Corporation.
Despite the sale of the factory, managing director Jim Hoey said it was business as usual at Drumsna.
Irish inflation is on the rise. Even Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has now admitted that it is likely to climb to as high as 7 percent before the end of this year.
The carnage on Irish roads continues. Last weekend, 10 people — four of them teenagers — were killed in traffic accidents. Against this background, expect no lowering of Irish insurance rates.
Total expenditure on gambling in Ireland could reach £1 billion this year. Provisional figures for the first six months show that bookmakers in the Republic generated £450 million in revenue, 35 percent more than in the same period last year. Among the big winners were the revenue commissioners who were paid more than £22 million in duty.
The Irish O’Callaghan Hotel Group is to build a $20 million hotel in Annapolis, Md., according to news reports in Ireland. The hotel, which is expected to open in the spring of 2002, will have 140-bedrooms.
Talks on the line
Vodafone, the world’s biggest mobile phone company, is in talks with Eircom about acquiring a majority stake, or perhaps even all, of Eircell, the mobile phone subsidiary of the Irish telecommunications company. Eircom went public in July 1999. Eircom shares rose on the news. There are also hopes that if a deal is clinched, it may mean lower bills for customers.