The new head of the Irish Tourist Board in North America will be Jim McGuigan. He will replace Joe Byrne, who is returning to Dublin in September after spending five years in the U.S.
McGuigan is currently manager of industry marketing services at the tourist board’s head office in Dublin. Further details on McGuigan were not available from the tourist board as the Echo went to press.
News of McGuigan’s appointment was contained in an announcement by chief executive John Dully of changes in the upper echelons of the tourist board’s management.
On his return to Ireland, Byrne, who was based in New York, will be general manager for international market operations. His job, according to Dully’s statement, will be to ensure "market coordination and consistency in corporate policy application across the markets."
Byrne will also be responsible for print and distribution and the development of the board’s direct marketing, including its internet strategy.
In Maryland, Irish arrivals
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There were celebrations in Maryland on Monday after a group of Irish officials arrived on the first Aer Lingus test flight to Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening and Sens. Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski joined the Irish ambassador to the U.S., Seán O hUiginn, and the mayor of Baltimore, Martin O’Malley, in welcoming the Irish delegation. The ceremony kicked off a two-day visit to the Baltimore-Washington area by Irish Minister Mary O’Rourke, other Irish politicians and officials, and business leaders.
Events began with Maryland officials rolling out a green carpet as the Irish group arrived. A reception with Irish food and entertainment followed.
O’Rourke is the minister responsible for the upcoming initial public offering of shares in the state-owned Aer Lingus. That flotation is expected to take place next year.
Aer Lingus will begin operating three weekly non-stop flights from Baltimore-Washington to Shannon and Dublin on Sept. 6 next using Airbus 330 aircraft. Daily service will begin in May 2001.
Investments by companies totaling nearly $700 million, a 57 percent increase on the previous year, and promising 7,145 new jobs, were negotiated by the Northern Ireland Industrial Development Board with new and existing businesses in the year ended March 2000.
Some 5,700 or 80 percent of the new jobs were in the software development, call center, electronics and high-tech manufacturing sectors.
Among major investments in recent months in Northern Ireland were:
€ Pivotal, from Canada, which will establish a 150-person e-business center of excellence in Belfast to serve its large European client base.
€ Solectron, from Silicon Valley, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, announced it was setting up a 200-person telecoms manufacturing facility in Northern Ireland and
€ Olabs, from Denver, is to establish its first European software design and training center, employing 42 people in Belfast to work on internet-linked mobile phone technology.
Other IDB-supported companies in Northern Ireland include such leading names as Microsoft, Liberty Mutual, Nortel, Stream International, Segue Software, NTL, Seagate Technology, Phone.com, Webforia and Allstate.
Meanwhile, in the Republic, U.S. electronics company Pemstar is to create almost 400 new jobs in Navan, Co. Meath.
In Tralee, Co. Kerry, 166 jobs will be created during the next three years at the BERU manufacturing plant. The German-owned factory makes spark plugs and electrical components for the automobile industry.
New hotel for Derry
The Great Southern Hotel group, part of ‘r Ríanta, the Irish Airports authority, has taken a quarter stake in a new £12 million sterling hotel in Derry, which is scheduled to open in May 2002.
The state-owned company is investing more than £2 million initially in the new 126-room hotel, the City Hotel, to be located at Queen’s Quay, in the waterfront area of the city.
Great Southern will manage and operate the hotel which it will own in partnership with three Derry businessmen, Patrick Durkan, an accountant; Brendan Duddy, a pub and restaurant owner; and Billy McCartney, owner of the manufacturing firm Siesta Blinds.
Durkan is a brother of Mark Durkan, the SDLP member who is minister for finance and personnel in the North’s new power-sharing executive.
Remembering Payne Stewart
Golf sensation Tiger Woods was in Waterville, Co. Kerry, last week to unveil a life-size bronze sculpture of golfer Payne Stewart, who was killed in a plane crash over the U.S. last year. The golfer’s widow, Tracy Stewart, attended the ceremony as did British Open winner Mark O’Meara.
Stewart was a regular visitor to Waterville, where he practiced for the British Open on two occasions with Woods. If Stewart were still alive, he would have been Waterville’s honorary captain this year.
With reports that a casino might be on the way for Greene County in New York’s Catskills, some of the local people around the Town of Catskill and East Durham, for example, may eventually find themselves perusing some figures from casinos in neighboring Connecticut.
In June, Foxwoods Resort Casino, in Mashantucket, Conn., made $59.1 million from its slot machines, similar to revenues from a year ago, according to the Mashantucket Pequot Indians. During the month, Foxwoods gamblers had a choice of 5,848 slot machines at the casino, with each machine making an average of $337 for the casino each day.
The coffers of Connecticut state benefited too. Foxwoods made a payment of $14.7 million to the state under the Mashantucket Pequot tribe’s gambling compact.