Category: Archive

Business Briefs: North IDB opens Hub office

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Harry Keaney

The record level of investment in Northern Ireland by U.S. technology companies since the signing of the Good Friday agreement is a measure of the economic benefits that will flow from further political progress, Northern Ireland’s economy minister, Adam Ingram, told U.S. business leaders recently when he opened the Northern Ireland Industrial Development Board’s new office in Boston.

The minister was in the U.S. for meetings in Boston and Denver to promote Northern Ireland as an investment location. Speaking before he opened the new investment office in Boston, Ingram said that 13 of the 21 new investment projects secured for Northern Ireland in the last year were from U.S. companies in fast-growing sectors such as software, call centers and internet services.

Ingram said that the new investment office in Boston was "strategically positioned to further strengthen the many civic, business and educational links that have been established between Boston and Northern Ireland."

"Those links have already seen highly successful results with major international corporations and industry leaders such as Raytheon, Allstate, User Technology Associates, Liberty Mutual, Stream International, Western Pacific Data Systems and Segue Software investing in Northern Ireland," Ingram said.

The decision to set up the new IDB office was announced during the North American Campaign roadshow last October. The office will be headed by Jim O’Connor, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the health-care technologies, ‘rospace and automotive sectors in the U.S.

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O’Connor’s area will cover New York and the six New England states — Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Maine.

The new IDB office in Boston will be at 545 Boylston St. and is the fourth the agency ha set up in the U.S.; the others are in Chicago, San Jose and Atlanta.

Boston delegation

As part of its seven-year commitment to facilitate economic growth and job creation in Ireland and Northern Ireland, Boston College currently has a delegation of 16 administrators, professors and alumni hosting a series of business seminars and meetings in Dublin and Belfast.

College officials participated in two business meetings: one with the Greater Shankill Partnerships, whose mission is to "negate the sectarian mindset within the working-class Protestant areas of Belfast," and the second meeting was with the Upper Springfield Development Trust, whose mission is "to end communal sectarianism within the working-class nationalist communities of Belfast."

On Monday, Boston College’s Alumni Association hosted a reunion of graduates living in Ireland at the National Gallery, in Dublin. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was conferred with an honorary degree.

On Tuesday, the Boston College delegation was scheduled to attend a civic reception and dinner in Belfast City Center. At the reception, a memorandum of understanding between Linen Hall Library in Belfast and Boston College Libraries was to be signed. The agreement will enable the libraries to share resources, making them the largest repository of Irish publications in the world.

Lights, camera, action

The two Oscars awarded to Steven Spielberg’s "Saving Private Ryan" helped put the spotlight again on Ireland as a location for filmmaking. "Saving Private Ryan" was shot on Curracloe Beach, in County Wexford. A new agency, the Screen Commission, has now been set up to promote Ireland internationally as a filmmaking location and to facilitate production companies in Ireland. The Screen Commission is based at 16 Eustace St., Temple Bar, Dublin. Details, fax 011-353-1-672-7251.

Guinness Palace

The Guinness dynasty is selling its family seat, a Victorian mansion known as Farmleigh, that sits on 78 acres of parkland entered through the Phoenix Park in the heart of Dublin. Nearby is the residence of the U.S. ambassador and Arás an Uachtaráin, official home of the president of Ireland.

Because of its size and city-center location, the property has been described as comparable to Buckingham Palace in London. Selling agents are Knight Frank and Hamilton Osborne King. The property is expected to be sold for a price in excess of £10 million.

AIB man dies

The death occurred recently of Paddy O’Keeffe, a former group chief executive of Allied Irish Bank and one of the major figures in modern Irish banking. He was born in 1921.

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