Category: Archive

Business Briefs: Minister denies government is following privatization ‘agenda’

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry Keaney

With shares of Telecom Éireann having been launched on the stock market amid a fanfare of publicity, attention now turns to other Irish agencies that may be floated. They include Aer Lingus, ‘r Ríanta and the Industrial Credit Corporation, also known as the ICC Bank.

However, when Public Enterprise Minister Mary O’Rourke was in New York for the recent Telecom Éireann launch, she told reporters that there was "no agenda" when it came to privatization.

"It isn’t a case of going through the list, ticking off Telecom Éireann and going on to number 2," she said. "Some need partners, some don’t; some might need an IPO, others don’t."

However, she said people still had "this notion that I have a list on the wall and throw a dart and say which one will I privatize next."

"There is no ideological guideline to be followed," O’Rourke said. "Each company will be looked at on a case-by-case basis in a practical way."

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Flyin’ high

In the first six months of this year, 7.5 million passengers passed through Dublin, Shannon and Cork airports. At Dublin Airport, 5.9 million passengers passed through, with almost 343,000 of them traveling en route to the U.S.

Shannon Airport passenger numbers grew by almost a fifth to 925,879.

Cork Airport handled almost 670,000 passengers, a 16 percent increase on the same period last year.

E-commerce in Ireland

Cambridge Technology Partners, of Cambridge, Mass., has provided the Smurfit Business School, at University College Dublin, with the seed funding for the establishment of a Center for eCommerce and Virtual Organizations.

The center, which is due to be launched in September, will be the first academic body in Ireland to research and provide analysis on e-commerce.

This initiative is a partnership involving centers at Smurfit Business School UCD, Louisiana State University in the U.S., and the University of Melbourne, in Australia.

Cambridge Technology Partners is an international management consulting and systems integration firm with 55 offices and more than 4,400 employees worldwide.

The Smurfit Business School recently announced that Ireland’s first chair in electronic commerce was named in honor of John Sharkey, who is retiring as vice president of MCI WorldCom this week.

Toolan moves — again

Salthill, Co. Galway native Noel Toolan, senior vice president of market development at Iona Technologies, has left the company to establish an international marketing consultancy.

Echo readers will remember Toolan from his time as international marketing director with the Irish Tourist Board, where he spearheaded the effort to "brand" Ireland as a tourism destination. But Tourism Minister Jim McDaid felt the shamrock should be more prominent in the branding campaign and, amid the ensuing controversy, Toolan resigned.

Previously, Toolan worked Procter & Gamble and Grand Metropolitan throughout Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Tax cut?

At present in Ireland, about 40 percent of workers pay tax at the top rate of 46 percent. Now the Irish government is to consider introducing a new tax rate that would boost take-home pay for middle-income earners while limiting the gains of top earners.

The new proposal has been put forward by the unions.

Telecom Éireann appointment

Telecom Éireann, which is quoted on the New Stock Exchange under EIR, has announced that Hans Wagenaar has been appointed managing director of Telecom Éireann International. Wagenaar replaces Rob Dekkers, who is returning to KPN in the Netherlands. Wagenaar, who’s 43, is a native of Holland. He will be responsible for Telecom Éireann’s international expansion, which will focus primarily on Britain and Northern Ireland.

Fermanagh jobs

Rye Valley, a subsidiary of Golden Vale, plans to open a factory in Enniskillen, creating at least 300 jobs. The factory will make ready-made meals for supermarkets. With more than 700 people working in Carrickmacross, the addition of the new factory will bring the Rye Valley payroll in the border area to more than 1,000.

TransAtlantic business

Kerry native and New England radio personality John Curran has launched Curran Consulting, based in Belmont, Mass. "We aim to assist companies, in both Ireland and America, conducting transAtlantic business," Curran said. "We can facilitate their efforts to do business abroad by helping them overcome the cultural changes involved. For details, call (617) 489-9995 or (888) 676-9292, or log onto www.celticweb.com/curranconsulting.

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