By Harry Keaney
If you have something Irish to launch, this is the time of year to do it. And so it is with Irish web sites too.
Yesterday, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern launched the Millennium Irish Family Register on the internet on behalf of Irish internet portal Local Ireland.
The Millennium Irish Family Register creates an online directory open to more than 70 million people of Irish descent around the world.
In the U.S., Local Ireland plans to launch a Local Ireland New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and for other cities with thriving Irish communities. Local Ireland’s website is www.local.ie
Also, the USA Irish Network, www.usairish.net, has announced details of AncientIreland.com, a monthly web magazine and archive of the history of Ireland.
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Meanwhile, New York-based Traditional Irish Foods has announced the launch of its newly redesigned website, www.traditionalirishfoods.com
Patrick Coleman, 28, a Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, native who is vice president of business development for Irish Foods, said that as technology advances, more and more people are shopping on-line. Now, items like Irish breakfast, soda bread, cookies, tea and Irish candy may be purchased by simply pressing a few buttons on a computer keyboard.
"Another popular area of the site is the Irish recipes section," Coleman said.
And the European Commission has established an internet site for information on business in the European Union’s single market. It also provides links to a range of business sources, search facilities and a mailbox service for queries and feedback. The site may be found at http://europa.eu.int/business.
Today, St. Patrick’s Day, at 4:30 p.m. in DuPont Circle, members of the Hotel & Restaurant Employees Local 25, AFL-CIO, will be protesting what they feel is unfair treatment of former workers at the DuPont Plaza Hotel by the Doyle Hotel Group, of Ireland.
According to a statement from Local 25, the DuPont Plaza, now the Doyle Washington Hotel, was purchased two years ago by the Doyle group, which, the union alleges, refused to maintain the workforce.
"They say they asked everyone back and that’s not true," Local 25’s director of research, Henry Moses, said.
According to the union, more than 100 employees were left unemployed, some of whom had been with the DuPont Plaza for more than 35 years.
"The DuPont Plaza Hotel was a union property for more than 45 years," according to Local 25. "The Doyle Hotel Group’s properties in Ireland are 100 percent union. In Ireland, Doyle recognizes the workers’ right to fair wages, benefits and dignity on the job. We expect no less for our workers in the United States."
The Doyle group runs two other hotels in Washington, the Courtyard Washington Marriott and the Normandy. According to Moses, these were not unionized before the Doyle group took them over.
A spokesman for the Doyle Group was unavailable for comment before the Echo went to press on Tuesday.
This is among the busiest times of the year for Irish hotels in the U.S., and particularly so in Washington where an array of politicians and dignitaries visit annually for St. Patrick’s Day.
An Irish business networking dinner will take place March 23 at 6 p.m. in Moran’s Restaurant, 103 Washington St., in downtown Manhattan. Details, call Bernadette McManus at (212) 571-1150.
At least 50 jobs are to go at Donnelly Mirrors in Kildare as part of a European rationalization by the plant’s U.S. parent, Donnelly Corporation.
Competition from low-cost Asian operators has resulted in the closure of the ribbon manufacturing company C.M. Offray & Son, in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, with the loss of 140 jobs.
In Belfast, the workforce at engineering company Mackie has been cut to 28.
In Galway, there are expectations that a subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa will create 100 new computer software jobs. And, in Sligo, 81 new jobs are to be created in three companies in the county.
Last week, five people were killed in road accidents in Ireland. So far this year, 84 people have died as a result of accidents on Irish roads.
Co-operation Ireland has announced the appointment of Eric Nonacs as its new executive director. He succeeds Jenifer McShane and he is now responsible for the day to day oversight and administration of Co-operation Ireland’s U.S. initiatives. Prior to joining Co-operation Ireland, he was assistant director of development for the faculty of arts and science at New York University. Co-operation Ireland was established in 1979 in the belief that lack of communication and understanding between the people of Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Royal Tara Ireland has announced the appointment of Peter P. Smith as vicepresident of marketing i the U.S.
Smith, a Dublin native,. will assume responsibility for sales and marketing efforts through retail and corporate channels of distribution. He previously worked in various sales, management and marketing positions for Colibri, Montblanc and Tiffany & Co.
Royal Tara, a maker of quality fine bone china and gifts since 1953, is based in Galway. It is a privately owned company with a workforce of 110.
British exploration company Enterprise Oil is to drill two wells off Mayo later this year at a cost of £30 million. It plans to drill an appraisal well on the Corrib field, about 40 miles west of Achill Island.