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Business Briefs U.S. economist praises McCreevy

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Stephen McKinley

Ireland’s finance minister, Charlie McCreevy, has been voted Man of the Year by a New Jersey-based economic research firm, Polyconomics Inc. Economist Michael Darda said that the firm had been following Ireland’s progress throughout 2000, and praised McCreevy’s tax-cutting budget in December.

"McCreevy has been a stalwart of tax-cutting economic growth," said Darda, adding that skeptics who pointed to Ireland’s rising inflation as a source of concern, would be proved wrong.

Recession? What recession?

Dublin economists expect Ireland to ride out the turbulence from any future U.S. economic downturn. Ireland, whose boom times stem in large part from U.S. investment in electronics, pharmaceuticals, and services, still has the lowest corporate taxes in Europe, a skilled, English-speaking workforce, and, as one economist said, "Ireland in some ways is the 51st state of America. You can talk about tax and the workforce all you like. But if push came to shove, that emotional link is a strong factor."

1,300 Longford jobs

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As if to confirm the sense of optimism about Ireland’s economy, Tanaiste Mary Harney announced the creation of 1,300 jobs in Longford town by American pharmaceuticals company Cardinal Health Inc. The company plans an initial investment of $100 million and building of a 400,000-square-foot plant will start next year.

Diamonds in Donegal?

They didn’t call it the Emerald Isle just because of the grass . . . there could be diamonds in Donegal! After research on the Inishowen peninsula, a mining company says it has found evidence of diamond bearing rocks.

Cambridge Mineral Resources plc has spent three years and $1.5 million in the area and suggests the presence of diamonds, sapphire and rubies. But don’t head for the hills just yet: Managing director David Bramhill admits, however, that the chances of major deposits of precious stones are unlikely.

Clinton equals investment

President Clinton’s visit to Northern Ireland in December will bring further U.S. investment in the province’s economy, according to Sir Reg Empey, Stormont minister for enterprise, trade and investment.

Sixty-five U.S.-owned companies are already established in Northern Ireland, employing nearly 15,500 people. Empey indicated that four more U.S. companies planned to create more than 1,800 new jobs in 2001.

"Negotiations are at an advanced stage with a number of other potential investors from the U.S.," he said. "The Clintons have done monumental work in helping us achieve increased U.S. investment, and I thank them for their contribution."

‘Tiger’ in your tank

You’ve heard of the Celtic Tiger. Now the booming Irish economy has given rise to another big cat, the Celtic Jaguar. Log on to new automobile review site, Irishcar.com, and catch a glimpse of the F-type sportscar at the top of the page. The site promises to be "a must first stop" for car buyers in 2001, according to editor Brian Byrne.

Strong sales for Eircell

Christmas came early for Eircell, Ireland’s leading cell phone provider, after it sold 200,000 cell phones in December, according to Irish business newswire Stockex. Most of these were pre-paid "Ready to Go" phones. In addition, the Eircell network delivered 36 million cell phone text messages in 12 days over the holiday period, and cell phone calls on Christmas day alone numbered 3 million. How did anyone find time to open their presents?

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