By Harry Keaney
Guidant Corporation, an American company that manufactures heart pacemakers, is to provide 900 jobs during the next four years in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.
Seventy of the jobs will be created by the end of this year with a further 820 by the year 2003.
Also in county Tipperary, the pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme is to invest £130 million and create 80 jobs in its plant at Ballydine, near Clonmel. The factory produces bulk chemicals for healthcare products.
Meanwhile, 112 jobs will be lost when an electronics plant will be closed in Longford. The firm originally traded as Ohshima Electronics Manufacturing. It was taken over by U.S. firm IEC Electronics Corporation 14 months ago.
In Killarney, Co. Kerry, almost £700,000 is being invested in a 10,000 square-foot technology-innovation center. The center will have space for 12 start-up enterprises and is expected to create 150 jobs. Also in Killarney, an American travel management company, Rosenbluth International, has started operations and is expected to create 250 jobs in the next three to four years.
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Similar but different
Although they are like David and Goliath, there are also many similarities between the Irish and U.S. economies. Both are buoyant, both are experiencing labor shortages in certain sectors, both have record low interest rates, and both are fearful that inflation, possibly through high wage demands, may eventually be the needle to prick the economic bubble. In Ireland, concern has recently been expressed over the seemingly easy availability of credit and house mortgages. In the U.S. last week, the Federal Reserve warned lenders against basing decisions on "aggressive or optimistic" expectations of future profit.
It seems that, when it comes to the fundamentals, size does not really matter.
There’s a new ambassador in the Irish community. She’s Ann Marie Walsh, who is representing GreenPoint Mortgage, a lender of residential mortgages. GreenPoint Mortgage is a division of GreenPoint Bank, founded in 1869 in Brooklyn.
Walsh told the Echo that while her job is to create business for GreenPoint, she has also been given a budget by GreenPoint from which to sponsor appropriate events within the Irish community.
Walsh holds a masters degree in business administration. Before working with GreenPoint, she served as vice president of equity financial products for Bank America Securities. She is at present a mortgage specialist with the retail mortgage team at GreenPoint. She may be reached at (516) 616-0703.
1992 Knappogue Castle Irish Whiskey has been chosen by Food & Wine Magazine as its Spirit of the Year. The recipients of the third annual Food & Wine awards are featured in the October issue of the magazine. This is the first year the spirit category has been included, making Knappogue Castle the inaugural winner. The Knappogue Castle vintage collection is imported and marketed in the U.S. by Great Spirits. Details, Greer Enterprises at (212) 580-4888.
Knappogue Castle is located near Quin, Co. Clare.
The Irish Chamber of Commerce in the U.S. will hold its American Celtic ball on Oct. 14 in the grand ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan. Honorees are Bernie Cahill, chairman of the Aer Lingus Group; John Dillon, chairman and CEO of the International Paper Company, and John Sharkey, formerly of MCI WorldCom and now chairman and CEO of Kane, Saunders and Smart Associates. Details, (212) 755-4444 or (212) 755-755-1492.
The Irish Business Organization of New York will hold its annual gala ball on Oct. 22 in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan. The IBO Business Person of the Year Award will be presented to Mayoman Sean James, CEO of Yonkers-based Irish Food Distributors. Other honorees are Fr. ‘ngus Finucane, honorary president of Concern Worldwide (U.S.) Inc.; Patrick Comasky, president of IBS Building Service Contractors; John Corkery, owner of Twin Lakes Ski Park; Maura Kelly, a producer at Channel 13-WNET; and Kevin Tierney, marketing executive at Sumitomo Life Insurance Agency America.
Tickets for the ball cost $160 per person. Details, (212) 750-8181.
The IBO will hold its general monthly meeting on Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Shelburne Hotel, 303 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.
Starting Nov. 4, CIE Tours International will operate a fully-escorted nine day tour of Ireland priced from $999, which includes airfare from New York’s JFK Airport, Newark or Boston. The price will be $1,069 from Chicago. Those who book 90 days in advance may save $60 per person. For details, call a travel agent or (800) CIE-TOUR of log onto www.cietours.com.