By Harry Keaney
For some years now, the Irish economy has been turning heads. This month, the mighty roar of the Celtic Tiger is a page turner in the U.S. business magazine Forbes, thanks to the efforts of the Ireland-United States Council for Commerce & Industry.
The Nov. 16 issue of the magazine carries the council’s full color supplement on economic relations between Ireland and the U.S.
"The supplement provides a superb promotional and advertising platform in one of America’s most prestigious national business publications," Michael Roarty, the president of the Ireland-U.S. Council, said.
If anyone wishes a snapshot of how Ireland has changed in the last quarter century, one need only read a line by John T. Sharkey, vice-president of MCI WorldCom, who wrote an article for the Forbes supplement on Ireland.
"Just 25 years ago, one-third of the labor force on the island was engaged in agriculture. Today, fewer than one in 10 is engaged in primary agriculture," Sharkey stated.
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Bank boss in town
Willem K. Duisenberg, president of the new European Central Bank, will be the speaker at an Economic Club of New York lunch on this Thursday, Nov. 12, in the grand ballroom of the New York Hilton. Some 600 members and invited guests are expected. Economic Club Chairman William McDonough, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, will preside.
With continuing revelations about the huge number of bogus non-resident bank accounts, money laundering and tax evasion, it’s now obvious that Ireland is no island of saints when it comes to financial fraud. More than 830 suspicious transactions involving a total of £90 million have been reported this year alone to the gárdaí by financial institutions. This is three times the amount reported last year. The Gárda Bureau of Fraud Investigation investigates such reports.
A suspicious transactions is defined as any unusual activity in an account, such as a large influx of money or one where there are questions about the identity of the customer who may be opening the account. Banks, building societies, credit unions, the post office and stockbrokers are now obliged to report suspicious financial activity.
Some time ago, one of the most serious economic and social problems in Ireland was unemployment. While there are still people unemployed, another problem has been manifesting itself of late –labor shortages. The information technology sector is among those hardest hit by the shortage. Unemployment is now at its lowest level in 14 years.
Jobs for Cork
Two new major industrial projects in County Cork are expected to create 1,150 new jobs. German company Kostal is to expand its operations in Mallow, creating 850 jobs during seven years. The ship operator Sea-Land Service Inc. is to create 300 jobs during three years at its center in the Cork Business Park.
Conference center row
There is still no sign of a resolution to an ongoing row over the development of a national conference center in Dublin. The developers of the proposed center, the Spencer Dock Development Company, have said the project will not proceed unless a planning row with the Dublin Docklands Development Authority is resolved quickly.
More than half the world’s supply of a heart attack drug will soon be made in Shannon, according to the Limerick Leader newspaper. Industrial chemists SIFA is to build a £10 million factory to make the prescription drug, known as isosorbide 5-mononitrate, or 5-ISM. Building of the factory will start later this month.