Dermot Corrigan

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Archive for November, 2007

Working in the new Ireland

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Sunday Business Post – Recruitment Pages – Nov 25 2007

Foreign workers are an essential part of the workforce in Ireland and are often vital to business success, writes Dermot Corrigan

Research published by Chambers Ireland has revealed that foreign workers now account for 17 per cent of the workforce in Ireland. John Forde, chair of Chambers Ireland’s human resource policy council, said that the number of overseas workers employed in Ireland had increased substantially in the last 12 months.

“We are well up on last year’s figure of 11 per cent,” said Forde.

The findings showed that the number of foreigners working in the tourism sector jumped from 31 per cent last year to 36 per cent this year. In construction, the corresponding rise over the same period was from 11 per cent to 17 per cent.

The number of foreign nationals employed in the public sector has risen from 5 per cent to 15 per cent. In manufacturing, numbers have risen from 14 per cent to 24 per cent.

The research, published last month in Chambers Ireland’s 2007 Labour Force Survey, and conducted by Amarach Consulting, found that foreign workers were not equally distributed across all sectors in Ireland. 36 per cent of employees in the hospitality sector are overseas workers, compared to 10 per cent in the finance sector.

Larger organisations are more likely to have foreign workers on their staff. Among businesses employing more than 50 staff, 24 per cent are foreign nationals. 57 per cent of organisations questioned in the survey employ at least one worker from Poland. 23 per cent have at least one staff member from Britain. 16 per cent employ Lithuanian staff.

Forde said migrant workers were filling new positions in the booming Irish economy, rather than taking jobs from Irish workers.

“We have had a full employment situation for a number of years,” he said. “In the main, foreign workers are filling roles that cannot be filled from the Irish workforce.”

Forde said that while some firms employ agencies to find staff abroad, most do not need to.

“If I advertise on one of the Irish job websites it is triggered worldwide,” he said. “If I advertise using the local print media, I will get a lot of applications from abroad. There is a network that is sending word home.”

Specialist skills
Gina Quin, chief executive, Dublin Chamber of Commerce, said people coming to Ireland to work often have specialist skills that organisations need.

“Employers are looking for very specific skills within IT and software development,” said Quin. “There are also the native speakers of different languages, whether Czech or Cantonese, sought for the localisation of products, or in providing services and support to other countries by phone. Generally employers must go outside the country to find those people.”

Quin called on the government to use the tax system to attract highly skilled workers into Ireland. She pointed to a Dutch programme that offers international employees, with skills in short supply in the local job market, a tax-free allowance equivalent to 30 per cent of salary.

“We believe there should be some sort of tax-break, maybe on a temporary arrangement, for somebody coming into the country,” she said.

Work permits
Workers from 25 of the 27 EU countries can work freely in Ireland. Workers from the other two, Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU last January, still require a work permit to take up employment in Ireland, as do citizens of all other countries.

Citizens from European Economic Area member states Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, as well as Swiss nationals, do not require a work permit.

Changes to the work permit system, introduced by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment last February, were welcomed by Chambers Ireland.

“We argued that the work permit should be held by the employee, as opposed to the employer,” said Forde. “We were also looking for a simplification in the whole process. These changes have made a difference.”

The work permit system still contains some important restrictions, however. Permits are usually only available for occupations with an annual salary of €30,000 or more. An application must be accompanied by documentary evidence of a completed labour market needs test. Clerical staff, manual labourers, retail sales workers, crèche workers and many jobs in tourism are explicitly ineligible for work permits.

Quin said the current work permit system was not responsive enough to the needs of employers in Ireland.

“Despite putting additional resources in, we are still too slow to make decisions and process applications,” she said. “We should be speeding the process up and making it clearer for both employers and individuals.”

“I would particularly hold up a flag for the SME company, where one person might be 25 per cent of the their workforce. If one member cannot be cleared quickly, that is a big skills loss.”

Employers sourcing labour from abroad should not take into account an applicant’s nationality when choosing new staff, said Deirdre Lynch of Matheson Ormsby Prentice’s employment group.

“The Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004 prohibit an employer from discriminating against prospective employees on the grounds of race, which is defined as nationality or ethnic or national origins,” said Lynch. “Candidates who believe they may have been discriminated against can bring a claim to the Equality Tribunal, where the maximum compensation is €12,697.”

Lynch advised employers to take care throughout the recruitment process to avoid any kind of behaviour that might appear discriminatory.

“Employers should ensure no potentially discriminatory language is used in an advertisement,” she said. “Details of nationality or race should not be requested on the application form. It is very important that personnel conducting the interview process are trained in regards to what questions they should and should not ask, and how questions should be phrased.”

“Experience is an objective requirement for a position, but if you are only asking questions about the Irish market of non-national employees, then potentially you might have a claim on your hands.”

Lynch pointed to a recent case where the Equality Tribunal found that an employer had discriminated against an applicant by requesting two references, which the tribunal said made applying considerably more difficult for non-Irish candidates.

“According to the legislation, discrimination can be either direct or indirect,” she said. “It is irrelevant whether the employer intends to discriminate.”

Lynch advised employers to liaise with industry experts to ensure that all recruitment processes employed comply with ‘best practice’ standards.

“It is important that regular reviews are carried out, where you sit down and look at your application form, job description, marking schemes for the interview and equal opportunities policies,” she said.

Lynch said non-Irish workers, who are increasingly aware of their rights, were willing to take legal action against their employer.

“The Equality Tribunal, is its latest annual report, remarked on a dramatic increase in claims on race grounds,” she said.

Integrating staff
Dell was recognised at Chambers Ireland’s recent awards for Corporate and Social Responsibility for its commitment to promoting and celebrating diversity in the workplace.

“We have employees from 34 countries,” said Ingrid Devin, diversity manager with Dell. “It is important that staff and employers understand each other’s culture. It is not just the differences that can be seen, the colour of my skin, or the language that I speak, it is also invisible things like work-styles and learning-styles of people.”

“We have social events for our staff’s familes, because the family is also extremely important. We celebrate national days such as Bastille Day and Thanksgiving, and the canteen might serve different food. During the World Cup we had television screens showing different countries play. For some nationalities, religion is very important, so we have a prayer-room on site.”

Devin said there was a business motive to these integration projects.

“A diverse workforce is not just a nice thing to have, it is essential to our business success,” she said. “This is an Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) hub here in Dublin, and we have people from all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa. We need all the different languages and skills. We have to be diverse otherwise we will not know what our customers need, and we will not be able to give them the right services and products.”

Devin said that Ireland is now an attractive place for Dell to base its EMEA operations.

“There is such an international workforce in Ireland that it is great for us,” she said. “A lot of different languages and skills we can recruit in Ireland, but sometimes we have to go outside.”

Written by dermot

November 28th, 2007 at 1:42 pm

Posted in Business

Print your photos from home

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Sunday Business Post – Printing and Output Supplement – Nov 18 2007

Advances in affordable digital photo printer technology mean growing numbers of consumers can now print their own digital photos at home, according to Phillip Brady, country manager with Canon Consumer Imaging, Ireland.

“Inkjet technology has developed radically over the last ten years,” said Brady. “We are increasingly seeing printers with faster printing capabilities, producing higher quality images, with an increased colour range.”

“Seventeen years ago, a four colour inkjet printer would set you back around €5,000 – a machine now with similar printing capability will now retail around €350. Inkjet technology has been refined to the point that even entry level printers are capable of producing excellent photo results.”

Sean Healy, consumer business manager with HP Ireland’s Imaging Product Group, said he expected considerable growth in the photo printing market for consumers in the run-up to Christmas.

“There will be a pretty significant market this Christmas for photo printers,” said Healy. “Last year, the market was quite big for digital photo frames, but the new devices have a seven inch LCD (liquid crystal display) screen so you can put in your memory card or your USB drive and you can view your photographs. Then, if you want to print, you can do that quite easily. There are a whole lot of editing features there as well.”

Entry-level options
Entry-level photo printers usually produce prints measuring 10cm x 15cm. Users can either connect their digital camera to the printer using a USB (universal series bus) cable or by inserting the camera’s memory card into a slot in the printer.

“Flexibility is important to consumers and many photo printers allow you to print photos directly from a camera, or from a memory card or a USB key, so there is no need to connect to a computer,” said Mark Robinson, senior product manager, Epson UK.

Basic single function home-user photo printers start at under €100 and are available from high-street and online retailers.

Healy said prices for entry-level products had stabilised this year. He added, however, that manufacturers are now adding more features to basic products.

“At the entry level, you are looking at a similar price point to where it was last year, but features would have improved,” said Healy. “You would be getting a slightly faster printer – you now have an LCD display.”

Other features that are now standard with most digital photo printers include basic editing software, battery packs and one-touch printing functionality. More expensive models can have wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, higher dpi (dots per inch) resolution and print larger images (13cm x 18cm up to A4).

Larger photo printers can also be attached to a PC or laptop and used as a conventional printer – or as a scanner, fax and photocopier. Smaller portable models are designed to be used on the move.

Digital photo printers require glossy paper and ink designed specifically for photographs. A range of different paper types is available.

“Costs for consumables vary greatly, depending on paper and ink type,” said Brady. “What you need then depends on the type of photograph that you are looking to produce. You can produce great photographs on our printers from as little as 30 cents.”

Entry-level printers may not produce images of as high quality as those printed in retail photo-labs. Robinson said, however, that vendors continue to improve on the quality of the consumables available.

“Epson have developed an advanced pigment-based ink technology that encapsulates each pigment particle in a protective resin coating,” he said. “This makes the ink resistant to water, smudging and fading and provides laser-like text and glossy photos, which last up to 200 years when stored in a photo album.

Higher end models produce professional quality images, said Robinson.

“We also have professional devices, which are very much aimed at the higher-end professional user,” he said. “There is a vast difference in terms of features and overall quality. You have single ink technology on the entry-level photo clients, whereas the professional devices have six ink print technology. You also have age resistance up to 200 years.”

photo editing
The majority of the photo printers available on the market now allow users to perform basic editing tasks prior to printing, according to Healy.

“There would be editing features that would allow you to manipulate the image and remove red eye and things like that,” he said. “Also there is a touch-screen pen with it so, if it is a birthday, you can write happy birthday on the photo.”

More expensive models can have more extensive editing features. Brady said users could access built-in editing software via the LCD panel on the front of the printer to manipulate their images prior to printing.

“Images featuring skin tones, landscapes and skylines are detected automatically and reproduced with enhanced colour settings to improve the overall tones and contrasts,” he said. “It is particularly useful when the subject in the photo is darkened by shadow. There is also a new night scene mode in the preset list to improve the sharpness of night time shots.”

Users of image manipulation software – such as Adobe Photoshop, iPhoto or Picasa – can load images from their digital camera to their PC or laptop, work on it there, and then print the edited image directly.

“You would have a bit more flexibility in terms of manipulation of photographs if you are using a software package on your PC,” said Healy. “You can also use the printer to print other photos from your PC. But you get the best quality, when you print direct from your memory card or from the camera.”

Future trends
Robinson said he did not see home printing ever taking over completely from retail printing in high-street photo laboratories.

“The expansion of digital photography into the consumer market has resulted in a massive increase in the number of photos taken and total print volumes have increased as a result,” he said. “Retail and home printing have both benefited from this increase in print volumes.”

Healy said that the larger players in the digital imaging sector are also exploring other image printing avenues.

“We are developing retail kiosks, this is a big area for us,” he said. “People can also put their photographs up on the web, whereby you can upload your photographs onto the web and get them delivered to you.”

Written by dermot

November 18th, 2007 at 2:26 pm

Posted in Technology

Skypephone hits the market

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Sunday Business Post – Technology pages – Nov 11 2007
Read this story on the Sunday Business Post website by
clicking here.

Mobile phone operator 3’s new Skypephone marks a turning point for mobile phone users, as prices continue to be driven downwards by an increased level of competition. Dermot Corrigan reports.

Mobile phone operator 3 has launched a new handset that comes pre-enabled for the Skype VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service.

The new ‘‘Skypephone’’ handset, which will enable users to make free voice calls and send free texts to other Skype users, goes on sale tomorrow and will cost €99.

This is the first time that an operator has offered a consumer product designed for free mobile telephone calling using the internet. The managing director of 3 Ireland, Robert Finnegan, said the new Skype-enabled 3 handsets will be a popular Christmas present this year.

‘‘We expect to sell loads,” he said. ‘‘The fact that people can now make calls for free means there has been a huge amount of interest in it. We believe it will be very big.”

Skype is an internet service that allows users to talk to each other over their broadband internet connections. It also allows users to make cheaper local and international phone and video calls and is usually accessed via a PC or notebook computer. Skype currently has 246 million registered users worldwide.

The Skypephone handset can also be used to make conventional mobile phone calls and send conventional text messages in the same way as any other mobile phone. Users access Skype via a separate call button.

‘‘You just press the Skype button in the centre of the phone, key in your username and password and off you go,” said Finnegan.

3 users who signed up to its X-Series schemes have been able to access Skype from their handsets since September, but the Skypephone is the first model to include the functionality as an integral element of the handset. The 3 Skypephone handset was developed by Skype and 3 in partnership with US technology giant Qualcomm.

As well as Skype functionality, the 3G handset features a 220mm x 176mm colour screen, two-mega-pixel camera,MP3 player,16MB internal memory and Bluetooth, Java games, mobile TV and internet capability as standard.

The 86-gram handset comes in black or white, with blue or pink trim. It measures 100mm x 44mm x 13.6mm. Battery standby time is 320 hours, talk time is 270 minutes and video talk time is 170 minutes.

‘‘The whole idea behind the 3G network is to allow people to do what they do at home, chained to a desk or their laptop, on the go on their mobile,” said Finnegan.

‘‘We started off with voice and text as a core, but with internet access, watching TV, downloading music, and playing games now on your mobile, an extension of that is the Skype function.”

Ireland is one of the first countries to get the Skypephone. It will also be available before Christmas in Britain, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Macau and Sweden.

Price plans
Finnegan said the Skypephone would be available from 3 stores, and selected retail outlets across Ireland.

He said the new handset has been introduced first into the prepaid market. Skype-to-Skype calls and text messages are free once the user tops up their credit monthly. It will then be released to bill-pay customers in 2008.

‘‘We want it to go into the mass market,” said Finnegan. ‘‘It will be a sub-€150 handset.”

First-timeSkype-users can create an account by going to and downloading the free software onto their computer. Alternatively, they can create a Skype account directly from their 3 Skypephone.

Other operators
Finnegan said he expected the existence of free calls in the Irish mobile market to provoke a reaction from competing operators.

‘‘I have no doubt the other operators will follow us in due course,” he said. ‘‘We have an exclusivity with Skype, so they cannot follow us in that way for quite awhile.”

Chris Handley, head of mobile internet and content development for Vodafone in Ireland, said Vodafone had no plans to follow 3 in this direction.

‘‘There is a common misconception that Skype or VoIP on mobile phones equates to free calls,” he said. ‘‘What people really want is a good value, quality voice service that is reliable and is supported by effective customer care – this is not currently on offer via VoIP on mobile.”

Amanda Carroll, media and public relations manager with Meteor, said many of its customers could already benefit from free mobile calls, due to its Phone a Friend for Free and Free Calls to any Network all Weekend For Life promotions.

Quality concerns
Vodafone’s Handley said VoIP calls were of a lower standard than those made using competing mobile technologies such as GSM (global system for mobile communication), 2.5G, 3G and HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access).

‘‘At this point in time, in terms of quality and service level, VoIP is not comparable to our full service package, which is far superior and include s a range of network technologies,’’ Handley said.

Gerry McQuaid, commercial director of O2 Ireland, said customers would not accept lower quality voice calls, even if they were cheaper.

‘‘The cost of delivering VoIP calls could increase, as operators build in the improved quality of service that consumers now expect as a minimum,” he said.

‘‘Until the experience of mobile VoIP calls improves, there is little reason for customers to seek such potential alternatives to familiar switched mobile services.”

Finnegan does not agree that VoIP automatically means a lower quality of service. ‘‘We are very pleased with the quality,” he said.

‘‘We have had people here testing them over the last three or four weeks, and there has been no difference in quality that we can see.”

Business model
Regardless of whether O2, Vodafone and Meteor introduce a Skype-type service, Finnegan said there was an inexorable slide towards an end to per-minute call charges in the Irish mobile market.

‘‘The industry is certainly changing,” he said. ‘‘We are getting away from the per-click, per-second, per kilobyte charge, towards just free access. We can see call costs from the other operators dropping already, but that is because they are coming off such a high plane, and they have had it so good for so long without any really sharp competition.”

Finnegan said 3 did not view profitable voice calls as central to its business model.

‘‘In terms of the future revenue models, we would see Skype as a great opportunity for us to acquire customers to start with, but also customers would then avail of the other services that we offer, accessing the internet, watching RTE news on-the-go, and downloading music,” he said. ‘‘Also, we see advertising revenues playing a role in our revenue model in the future.”

Meteor’s Carroll agreed that generating revenue from other services besides voice was now important to mobile operators.

‘‘While better value offerings from voice will be one of the key drivers in the mobile market, we can expect to see a broader array of services coming from data, entertainment and music downloading, as technology evolves,” she said.

Written by dermot

November 12th, 2007 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Business,Technology

That went well

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FC Nürnberg 0 Everton 2 – – Nov 11 2007
Read this story on the toffeeweb website by
clicking here.

There were a few Everton jerseys on the 7AM flight from Dublin to Frankfurt and the train from Frankfurt to Nürnberg was full of them. The on-board bar ran out of bottles of beer, but they had draught, and “it’s a grand old team to play for, it’s a grand old team to support” rang out down the aisles.

When I got to Nürnberg the whole city centre was jammers with Evertonians, a couple of balconies overlooking medieval cobbled squares were covered in blue flags and some very raucous chanting echoed around the pretty old coloured buildings and stone gothic cathedrals. Lots of police sitting around watching, but no trouble at all.

A friend of mine who lives in Nürnberg had bought tickets for me and her, but I was still a bit worried after the debacle with the tickets bought in the UK being cancelled. There was absolutely no hassle though, I just kept my mouth shut, scanned the barcode and climbed the stairs to my seat. We were sitting at the opposite end to most of the Everton fans, in a section next to the noisiest Nürnbergers. They were giving it socks, chanting in German and bouncing up and down. I couldn’t see any other Everton fans sitting near us, but maybe they were also keeping their heads down.

Any pretence at neutrality lasted about 30 seconds. Arteta gets free in the box, but the keeper saves. It’s straight to Cahill whose shot hits the post. So close. I was up out of my seat and Karen was laughing at my attempt to keep a low profile. I thought we started very impressively, Arteta and Osman linking cleverly down the right soon after and Cahill inches away from knocking home the cross.

We looked comfortable enough in the first half, without making too many chances. Yakubu miskicked in the box, and there was an almighty scramble from a corner when the ball just wouldn’t bobble our way, but generally it was even-stephen. Their only chances seemed to come from our mistakes, both Lescott and Pienaar sloppily handing them shooting chances, which Howard did well to save.

Second half was more of the same. They put on a bit of pressure, but it was mostly huffing and puffing in front of us. Carsley and Cahill were putting themselves about effectively in midfield, nicking plenty of ball in front of their players. Nürnberg looked like a team struggling in their league, a bit short of confidence.

The Spanish ref was getting dogs’ abuse from home fans around us for giving us frees and them nothing. I thought he had a very good game, and didn’t let them get to him. Yakubu was showing a few nice touches. Arteta was getting on the ball a lot, but his delivery, especially from set pieces, was poor. Valente looked a bit rusty, and was booked for a late tackle, which pleased the home fans.

We were on top, without making any decent chances and then Arteta turns in the middle of their half and slides ball in to Victor, who was just on for Yak. He is through around the penalty spot, and the centre-half obviously hauls him back. Definite penalty. It seemed to take ages for Arteta to place the ball, and all around us there was whistling and shouting, but Mikel calmly sends their keeper the wrong way. Brilliant.

The home fans are not impressed with their players, and the Everton fans down the far end, who had been quiet enough up to tnow, are going mental. Looking around I could see a good few pockets of Evertonians, it definitely looked like more than the announced official allocation. The locals started up with “you only sing when you’re winning”, which made me smile.

Then a few minutes later I am laughing. A big lump down the pitch from Howard and Victor does his European thing, out-muscling and out-pacing their centre-half down the wing and calmly slotting home under the keeper from a tight angle. A pretty special goal. It really is fantastic the way he keeps doing it. And that was that. Nürnberg 0 Everton 2. A great night’s work.

No hassle after the game either, straight down to packed train and back into the city centre. Few quiet beers and off to bed. Considering this was my first time ever seeing Everton in Europe, I reckon it went pretty well. Any ideas on how to wangle a ticket for Alkmaar game would be much appreciated.

Written by dermot

November 12th, 2007 at 1:21 pm

Posted in Sport,Travel

CIPD’s vital role in promoting HR

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Sunday Business Post – Recruitment Pages – Nov 4 2007

The Institute of Personnel and Development’s recent award to the Taoiseach has highlighted its important work, writes Dermot Corrigan

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). The organisation celebrated with a gala dinner in University College Dublin’s O’Reilly Hall last month, where it presented Taoiseach Bertie Ahern with a gold medal to mark his contribution to personnel management in Ireland during the last 20 years.

The institute’s celebrations coincide with the 20th anniversary of the establishment of social partnership in Ireland. CIPD Ireland director Michael McDonnell said the coincidence led the CIPD to consider Ahern a worthy first recipient of the Charles E Jacob medal, which is named after the Irish co-founder of the institute.

“The signing of the Programme for National Recovery (PNR) between the government, employer bodies and the Irish congress of trades unions in 1987 heralded a new era in industrial relations in Ireland,” McDonnell said.

“Bertie Ahern, as Minister for Labour in the late 1980s, played a lead role in getting the PNR off the ground. In the 1990s, as minister for finance, he saw another two agreements through, and as Taoiseach he has overseen a further seven partnership agreements. Huge economic growth and transformation has taken place during this time.”

McDonnell said the award also recognised Ahern’s work in Northern Ireland and the European Union.

“The peace process helped the image of Ireland and the Taoiseach was very closely involved in that,” he said. “The role he played as president of the European Union in the accession of the ten new states was also very important for the international image of the country.”

The award ceremony took place on October 4.

CIPD origins

McDonnell said CIPD Ireland decided to establish the Charles E Jacob medal to ensure the lasting memory of one of Ireland’s great industrial relations pioneers. Jacob was the owner of Jacob’s biscuits, which employed over 3,000 people in Dublin.

Together with English industrialist Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree, Jacob established the CIPD’s forerunner – the Central Association of Welfare Workers (Industrial) – in York in 1913.

“They were very both Quakers and they were incredibly enlightened and advanced for that age,” said McDonnell. “They saw a very definite business link between the way you treated employees and the bottom line. If you bear in mind that 1913 saw the ‘lockout’ in Dublin with Jim Larkin, it would not have been a view shared by many industrialists of the day.”

The first Irish branch of what was to become the CIPD was set up in Dublin in 1937.

“The first meeting took place in the Jacobs biscuit factory on Aungier Street, which is now one the sites occupied by DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology). It now has several courses, including masters coursers leading to membership of the CIPD, so it has come the full circle.”

McDonnell said that, historically, the CIPD had set itself three broad objectives.

“One was to be the professional body for those specialising in advancing the management and development of people. The second was to be recognised as the leading authority and influence in the field of people managment and development and the third was to continuously advance the management of people to the benefit of employers and the community at large.”

The CIPD in Ireland today has a membership of over 6,000 human resources professionals, drawn from all areas of the country and sectors of the economy. CIPD Ireland is affiliated with the CIPD in Britain, which has 130,000 members.

Steady progression

McDonnell said the history of human resources and personnel management in Ireland has gone through three phases. Initially, labour relations primarily concerned paternal employers concerned for the welfare of their workers.

“It was the more benevolent employers, mainly Quakers like Jacob’s, Bewley’s and Wills, and also Guinness,” said McDonnell.

The 1950s and 1960s brought more rights and regulation for workers, but also lifted labour relations into a more adversarial phase, said McDonnell.

“Throughout the 1970s and 1980s a lot of HR workers would have been involved in strikes and industrial disputes,” he said.

The stark economic climate of the 1980s led all stakeholders in the personnel management area to realise the advantages to working together, McDonnell said.

“There was a recognition by the government, employers and trade unions that the adversarial industrial relations climate could not continue. Since then, we have seen twenty years of social partnership. One of the real benefits was it created a benign industrial relations climate that made the country attractive to foreign direct investment.”

Current developments

McDonnell said the arrival in Ireland of multinationals, particularly US companies, resulted in the re-imagining of the relationship between employer and employee.

“The earlier period was a time of personnel managers dealing with trade unions as the spokespeople of the workers. The American multinational model saw the world in a different light. It said the relationship should be between the individual and the employer. That gave a great boost to a professional body like ours.”

“A lot of these companies invested heavily in human resource management techniques in terms of learning and development, communications, employee dispute resolution and other areas. You had very large and sophisticated human resource models emerging. Our growth to over 6,000 members can be accounted for by these developments.”

McDonnell said companies now realised that human resources management was vital to their business.

“There is a philosophy to how you manage people,” he said. “If you apply that properly the individual benefits – and also the organisation benefits – in terms of continued productivity, receptiveness and openness to change.”

McDonnell said the CIPD in Ireland has set out the parameters of the new human resources function.

“CIPD has played the lead role by defining the requirements of the profession,” he said. “It is rare nowadays to see a job ad for HR that does not mention membership of the CIPD.”

The 1990s saw an explosion in the number of human resource and personnel management courses offered by educational institutions in Ireland.

“We sit down with the colleges, and discuss the needs of professionals in the field. We then work very closely with them in the design of their programmes.”

The CIPD also invests substantial resources in research.

“CIPD now ranks as one of the top five European investors in quality research into human resource management.”

However, McDonnell said the CIPD did not get involved directly in social partnership negotiations.

“We are not a lobby group in the sense of representing a sectional interest. We are interested in promoting the effective management of people and demonstrating how that can be done. That applies equally to trade union thinking as it does to employer thinking. We talk to government frequently and make submissions on a wide range of areas. For example we will soon be releasing a green paper on pensions.”

McDonnell said networking and communication between CIPD members was a key function of the organisation.

“The opportunity to network with professional colleagues and peers is critically important, probably more important in HR than a lot of other areas. It is something the CIPD does a lot of.”

CIPD Ireland is divided into five regional groups, each running local events and courses to enable member development. There is also an annual CIPD Ireland conference. The theme of this year’s conference, held in May in Kilkenny, was the New World of Work.

“Joe MacAree from Microsoft spoke about the need to build productivity. It is an issue that HR needs to come up with some strategies for. An awful lot of the current workforce need to acquire higher added value skills if we are to remain competitive.”

The CIPD employs 260 staff in Britain. However, CIPD Ireland employs only three permanent staff at its new office at Clanwilliam Court, Dublin 2.

“The UK resources, systems and research are available to Irish members. We tap in to a lot of the resources that are available through the CIPD in the UK.”

CIPD Ireland also retains a number of professional advisors in key areas.

Future Plans

McDonnell said plans were in place to ramp up the CIPD’s operations in Ireland.

“We plan to develop in two areas,” he said. “One is to beef up our professional development area, and the offering of services to members. The second is adding very significantly to our public policy and research activities. That will require additional resources and will mean employing more staff.”

International links are vital to CIPD Ireland, said McDonnell, who is currently on the board of the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations (WFPMA) and also works closely with the European Association of Personnel Managers (EAPM).

Written by dermot

November 5th, 2007 at 1:58 pm

Posted in Business

New high-end golf scheme in the Algarve

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Sunday Business Post – Property Pages – Nov 4 2007
Read this story on the Sunday Business Post website by clicking here.

The Residences at Victoria Clube de Golfe is a new high-end scheme from renowned Algarve developer André Jordan’s firm Golf Estates Portugal.

The development is situated in Vilamoura, the golfing capital of the Algarve, and comprises 145 properties spread out over ten buildings directly adjacent to the Arnold Palmer designed Victoria course.

On offer are 130 square-metre two-bedroom apartments ranging from €510,000 to over €700,000. Three–bedroom apartments, ranging in size from 151 to 155 square-metres, are available from €565,000 to over €800,000. Furniture packages cost an extra €25,000 for two-beds and €30,000 for three-beds.

Private facilities for residents including a central piazza area with pool bar, lounge bar and snack bar, large outdoor and indoor heated swimming pools, a fully equipped gymnasium and a children’s play area.

However, golf is the main draw. The Victoria clubhouse is a 75 metre stroll from the scheme and many of the apartments have views of the course. The Laguna and Millenium first tees are also within 500 metres of the development, while the Pinhal and Vilamoura Old Course are a short drive away.

All Residences owners and guests are guaranteed dedicated tee times and owners get half-price green fees across the five Vilamoura courses.

This October the Victoria course hosted the inaugural Portugal Masters golf tournament, which featured Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy, Retief Goosen and Justin Rose. The course also hosted the 2005 World Cup of Golf. The five Vilamoura courses were bought by Irish developers Oceanico in March 2007 for €125 million.

The Residences properties feature full air conditioning throughout, underfloor heating in bathrooms, silent alarm systems, wiring for sound and broadband, secure card entry system, three metre high ceilings, Grohe taps and Siemens applicances.

A 24-hour concierge will help with tee-times, taxis, restaurants, laundry or babysitting services. Owners and guests can also access the facilities of the five-star Tivoli Victoria Hotel, which will be adjacent to the Residences site.

Two underground parking spaces and a secure underground storage area are included in the price of each property. Completion of the development is slated for 2009 and local finance can be arranged for non-Portuguese residents.

Owners wishing to rent must sign up to a fixed shared rental package. The developers predict an annual return after expenses of approximately €20,000 for the two-bed properties and €25,000 for the three-beds.

The planned town of Vilamoura was designed 35 years ago with the needs of the foreign visitor in mind. Its marina is the biggest in Portugal and its seafood restaurants, pavement cafes and nightlife attract holidaymakers and retirees all year around.

André Jordan is best known as the creator of Quinta do Lago, the nearby luxury development, where Denis O’Brien is one of many Irish owners.

Vilamoura is a thirty minute drive from Faro airport, which is linked to Dublin, Belfast and Cork by Aer Lingus and to Dublin and Shannon by Ryanair. Lisbon is a two and a half hour motorway drive away.

For more information, visit

Written by dermot

November 5th, 2007 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Business,Travel