By Harry Keaney
The Irish and American Alliance of Texas will celebrate its first anniversary on Aug. 24.
The organization’s purpose is to facilitate the development of business, cultural and social activities between Texas and Ireland.
To accomplish its goal, the Alliance will sponsor cultural and social events throughout the coming year, as well as seminars and speakers on current topics affecting business opportunities in the United States and Ireland, according to the president of the Alliance, Joan Moody.
She added that the Alliance will work with the academic, business cultural and government entities of both countries to promote these goals.
The Alliance is self-supporting through dues, fundraising and voluntary contributions.
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Membership of the Alliance is open to all individuals interested in furthering its goals. "One need not be a resident of the state of Texas to be a member," Moody said. She added that the organization does not engage in political activity or does it support political candidates.
For details on the Alliance, call Moody in San Antonio at (210) 656-2666.
Pharmaceutical company Elan has entered a collaboration with U.S.-based Pharmacia Corporation for research into Alzheimer’s disease. Observers of the pharmaceutical industry said the collaboration represented an endorsement of the work on Alzheimer’s by Elan.
Outgoing chairman of Heinz Tony O’Reilly has sold his large Tudor home in the Fox Chapel area of Pittsburgh to auto-racing team owner Chip Ganassi. A selling price has not been reported.
Meanwhile, Ganassi is selling his home in the Mount Washington area of the city.
Of 112 drives killed on Irish roads this year, 59 were in the 16 to 30 age group, while 28 out of 54 passengers who died were also in the same age group. And many of the accidents were not two-car collisions; rather, single vehicle accidents, mostly occurring between midnight and 6 a.m., accounted for the deaths of 44 drivers.
Caroline Spillane, a spokeswoman for Ireland’s National Safety Council, said an extraordinary number of young male drivers were being killed on the roads at night and radical measures were needed to tackle the problem.
Meanwhile, the number of provisional drivers — those who have not passed driving tests — is increasing rapidly. At the end of last year, there were 380,000 drivers on Irish roads with only provisional licences. That was 43,000 more than six months previously.
The Irish Insurance Federation has warned that premiums will continue to increase unless the government speeds up the introduction of tough new measures for motoring offences.
Ulster Bank has paid £4.2 million to the revenue commissioners in settlement of its liability for unpaid deposit interest retention tax, commonly known as DIRT, for the years 1986 to 1999. The settlement comprises of £1.7 million in unpaid DIRT and £2.5 million in interest and penalties.
Last month, Bank of Ireland settled with the revenue commissioners for £30.5 million. This settlement consisted of £12.75 million in unpaid DIRT and £17.75 million in interest and penalties.
The new European currency, the euro, continues its downward trend. Last week, it tumbled to within a cent of its all-time low against the dollar, falling to $0.8969 on Wednesday last, its lowest for 11 weeks. It closed at a record low of $0.8852.
Food for thought
Ireland is now importing £2 billion worth of food products, a third more than four years ago. And more than a third of those imports are fruits, vegetables and cereals. The imports, by multinational supermarket chains such Tesco and German companies Aldi and Lidl, are making life more difficult for smaller food processors and independent food retailers. About 20 major British retailers have moved into the Irish market in the past few years.
Still, Ireland now exports several times more food than it imports.
Cable company NTL has reported increased second quarter losses as it spent more to build and acquire networks and to offer internet and digital TV services. The loss increased to $616.5 from $348.5 in the same period last year. However, sales almost doubled, rising to $666.3 million from $360.2 million. NTL is set to launch its telecommunications on the Irish market next month.