By Harry Keaney
Economic slumps in various parts of the world have been easing worries about global inflation, but in booming Ireland many fear inflation might be the needle to prick the economic bubble. Figures released last week by the central statistics office — showing that Irish inflation is now running at its highest level in six years — give reason for concern.
The annual rate of 3.2 percent is now the highest among the 11 states entering European monetary union. The high inflation rate means that a cut in Irish interest rates is unlikely in the immediate short term.
While the wealthy, or those who can borrow the money, continue buying property in Dublin’s rocketing housing market, poorer people seeking public housing may find themselves on waiting lists that are at their longest in 20 years. According to the Sunday Tribune newspaper, officials in Dublin Corporation, the authority with the highest demand for public housing in the Leinster region, estimate that the three-yearly housing survey due to be conducted next March will show that housing demand in the Dublin city area alone will have surged 50 percent to about 6,000. In the greater Dublin area, it is estimated that the pooled housing list of those who cannot provide accommodation for themselves will have soared to 12,000, the highest figure in more than 20 years.
Aer Lingus job
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The search for a new chief executive of Aer Lingus has reportedly been narrowed down to a short list that includes the airline’s group operating director, Gary Cullen, and Air Zimbabwe chief executive Brendan Donoghue. Donoghue was previously a senior executive with Aer Lingus before moving to Africa. A decision on the appointment is expected in the coming weeks.
Irish Networking Society
In Boston, the Irish Networking Society will hold its next general meeting on Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the John Hancock Conference Center, 40 Trinity Place, close to Back Bay station and Copley Square. The topic of this meeting will be education. Guest speakers from local universities and colleges will discuss part-time and full-time programs and courses available in their respective schools. Information will also be provided on the application processes, financial aid and scholarships.
Admission is $5 for members and $10 for non-members. Tea and coffee will be served.
There will be a social gathering after the meeting at the Back Bay Brewing Company, 755 Boylston St. For information, call (781) 446-8074 or log onto http://www.celticweb.com/ins.
Irish investors should certainly be keeping an eye out for new listings on the Nasdaq during the coming years. According to a recent survey, almost 40 percent of Irish software companies are considering a stock market flotation, the Nasdaq being the most popular choice of exchange. The Irish Software Association’s annual business survey, which polls 120 firms, suggests that despite the recent fall in information technology stocks on the Nasdaq, there remains a perception that investors on that exchange understand the high tech sector better.
Language skills needed
Ireland has been quite successful in recent years in attracting international call centers to locate in Ireland. But, in a recent interview with The Irish Times, Compaq Computer’s vice president for sales, marketing a service in Britain and Ireland, Joe McNally, said that the call centers in the Republic would soon have to seek significant numbers of non-Irish nationals purely for their language skills. McNally warned that Ireland is "running out of language skills." Meanwhile, FAS, an Irish jobs training agency, is to create 700 extra places on its software, computing and electronics training courses to meet increasing demand from industry.
Novell, the U.S. network software provider based in Provo, Utah, has chosen Ireland as its central headquarters for all its European activities. Novell, which specializes in networking software, has annual sales of $2 billion.
Meanwhile, DoubleClick, a U.S. internet advertising solutions company, plans to move its international headquarters to Dublin.
In Swords, Co. Dublin, recruitment of 500 new staff at Celestica, the electronic manufacturing services company, is under way after an announcement of a £26 million expansion plan.
In Ballina, Co. Mayo, Tánaiste Mary Harney last week opened a new software testing facility, Lionbridge Technologies, which plans to employ up to 150 people. This was particularly good news for Ballina where more than 300 jobs were lost last year when the Asahi synthetic fibre manufacturing plant closed. Lionbridge Technologies has its headquarters in Boston.