Category: Archive

Minister seals 16 U.S. deals

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Martin has been under pressure at home because of a scandal that dates from his time as minister for Health. It has recently emerged that elderly patients in long-term care had been illegally charged for that care by the Irish state. Martin has claimed that he bears no responsibility for the affair.
His current department is also embroiled in a row relating to the underpayment of migrant workers who labored in Ireland for a Turkish construction firm, Gama — though in that instance the fault, if any, seems to lie with Martin’s predecessor, Mary Harney.
The minister’s U.S. trip, which began in New York and New Jersey on Monday and was due to include visits to Washington and Boston later in the week, provided him with an opportunity to bask in the light of some good news.
During his trip, deals involving 16 Irish companies and their U.S. customers were to be formalized. The deals are worth a total of $20 million, and are said to have the potential to expand in value to about $120 million.
Among those announcing deals in New York were Data Display, based in County Clare, and Dublin’s Rockall Technologies.
Data Display is one of the world leaders in electronic information displays. It finalized a $5 million deal with the MTA under which its products will be used on the New York subway system.
Rockall Technologies specializes in financial services software. It announced a new deal with Wachovia estimated to be worth $1 million.
Although the minister’s visit enabled these companies to publicize their accomplishments, some U.S. firms that have signed deals with Irish partners shrank from the spotlight. A number of U.S. companies wanted no publicity at all for their deals, in part because outsourcing has become a hot political issue in this country. Some of these firms also expressed a disinclination to draw the attention of rivals to their business maneuvers.
The U.S. firms “don’t want it flagged that they are buying from Irish companies because of the sensitivities of the market,” David Byrne, Enterprise Ireland’s East Coast director, said.
Speaking in New York on Monday, Minister Martin avoided such controversial ground, instead highlighting the symbiotic links between the U.S. and Ireland.
“Irish companies now have a business culture that has a lot of affinities with the United States,” he said. “To a large extent, American companies in Ireland can take credit for helping to kick-start the modern Irish economy. . . . The presence of so many U.S. corporations in Ireland has also taught us the virtues of American enterprise and management style and confidence.”
Martin was at pains to point out, however, that the U.S. also benefited from the trans-Atlantic trading relationship. He noted that Irish companies have invested more than $25 billion in the U.S. and employ “at least 40,000 people.” He added that “there are now over 200 companies operating throughout the U.S. in cities such as New York, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Jose.”
Later on Monday, the minister journeyed to New Jersey, where the Cork firm Qumas has its U.S. headquarters in Florham Park. The company, which helps clients fulfill compliance and corporate governance requirements, has just signed a $1 million deal with Johnson & Johnson and is also expanding its New Jersey facility.
Martin also attended The Irish Show in Secaucus, where dealers in traditional Irish goods were showcasing their wares.
Among those in attendance was Stephen Walsh of the J.S. Walsh company. He estimated that his firm had, overall, sold approximately 70 miles of rosary beads to American customers.

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