November 22, 2010 Leave a comment
June 3, 2010 Leave a comment
David Cameron this week (Thursday5th April 2010) insisted a Conservative government would do “much more to protect and empower the Jewish community” and described learning about his Jewish ancestors as one of the highlights of his year. Read more of this post
January 19, 2009 Leave a comment
I was delighted that Caroline Walsh focused on the plight of Ireland’s lost tribe, the Red Legs, in her article a couple of weeks ago on Barbados. This group, made up of the descendants of 50,000 Irish men and women who were sold into the white slave trade between 1652 and 1659, have been largely ignored, apart from in Seán O’Callaghan’s wonderful To Hell or Barbados: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ireland , published almost 20 years ago.
They were innocent Irish people who were rounded up from across the country by teams of Oliver Cromwell’s “man-catchers”, bound in chains and shipped to Barbados to work on sugar plantations.
Their descendants are still there today – some of them in absolute poverty – isolated, unassimilated and uneducated. It is about time we acknowledge them, our beleaguered kinsmen, innocent victims first of British injustice, then of landlord cruelty and now of our lack of interest.
I’ve wanted to go out and visit them for a long time, and perhaps make a documentary about them, but I was warned off by O’Callaghan’s stories of outsiders being driven away with hoes and pitchforks from the isolated, rundown settlements in which they live.
Thankfully, a braver group, Moondance Films, has made a documentary, which will be aired on TG4 soon. I’ll be intrigued to find out what it learned. So little known is about the Red Legs. Like any oppressed people, they were too focused on survival to have had the luxury of documenting their history. Their connection with Ireland was cut off many centuries ago; their surnames were taken from them and they were forbidden to practise their faith. Perhaps all that remains is their red hair, freckles and blue eyes.
Most accounts refer to their arrogance and alcoholism. One describes them as “lazy, worthless drunks of unworthy Irish/Scots origin, who have neither ambition nor intelligence, yet are white and proud. They believe they are a cursed people.”
Of course, some Red Leg families thrived when they were eventually emancipated, in 1834, when slavery was abolished. Illustrious island families such as the Mayers
and Goddards proudly trace their lineage back to slave ancestry, but most tend to be poorer than the black population. They farm smallholdings of sugar cane on the arid eastern coast of the island or live in Bridgetown, the capital, drinking in local grog shops or running white brothels for middle-class blacks.
I must stress that all of this is based mostly on rumour and on research done 20 years ago. We will know the truth only when TG4’s documentary is aired.
In the meantime what we know is that Cromwell decreed that troublemakers – the poor, the hungry, clergy and Catholic landlords who refused to move to Connacht – be sent to Barbados. They were herded south into holding pens in Cork and Waterford, then crammed into African slave ships in chains. One in five died en route; those who survived were scrubbed in readiness for the slave mart. The women – nuns, soldiers’ wives, Catholic gentry and teenagers – were stripped and checked for virginity. Good breeders were sold to studs, to make future slaves and brothel girls. The men were checked for muscle tone and strength of teeth, then branded with their owners’ initials.
Ironically, the Irish are now returning to Barbados, the elite of Ireland’s post-boom aristocracy – Desmond, Magnier, Smurfit, O’Reilly – converting old plantations into luxury resorts. Who knows how many of our ancestors were whipped to death right on the sites of these new pleasure palaces?
Source: Irish Times
January 8, 2009 Leave a comment
Ireland suffered its biggest economic blow in years on Thursday when Dell, the American computer group, said that it was slashing its workforce that is based in Limerick and shifting its European manufacturing operations to Poland.
Dell, which is Ireland’s second largest corporate employer and its biggest exporter, said that it was cutting 1,900 jobs in Limerick. Economists calculate that each Dell job in the country underpins another four to five jobs. It has been calculated that Dell contributed about 5 per cent to Ireland’s GDP in recent years.
Managers at the Limerick plant called in all workers to break the news at 9am on Thursday. They were told that of the company’s 4,300 Irish employees 1,900 — overwhelmingly assembly-line workers — would lose their jobs between April 2009 and January 2010. By then, the company said, it plans to have transferred the entire Irish production of laptops and desktop computers to a new plant in Lodz, Poland’s third-largest city — where labour costs are at least two-thirds of Dell’s rates in Ireland — and to subcontractors, chiefly in Asia.
Sean Corkery, vice-president of operations, who broke the news to large groups of employees, said: “This is a difficult decision but the right one for Dell to become even more competitive and deliver greater value to customers.”
John Gilligan, the mayor of Limerick, called yesterday “the blackest day” in the city’s history and accused Dell of lacking corporate responsibility by concealing its decision for as long as three years. He added: “It is not a question of 2,000 people being out of work …15,000 people could be impacted.” Mr Gilligan said that he expected comparable state funding to the €185 million (£167 million) that it made available to the pork industry in December after the tainted pig meat scare.
Dell is the dominant employer in Limerick where unemployment is higher than a soaring national rate, nearing 8 per cent.
“The anger inside there is unbelievable,” said Mike Killeen, 36, outside the Dell assembly line where he has worked for seven years. He said Mr Corkery “was savaged inside — and rightly so”.
Mr Killeen added: “This is not about a company that is in trouble. This is about greed, corporate greed. They’re going to Poland because apparently they can make an extra 3 per cent.”
August 20, 2008 Leave a comment
AirOne Ventures, a private commercial airline launching a yet to be name aircraft carrier next year have one less investor backing its low-budget proposal plan. Digicel Group President of the mobile phone firm, Leslie Buckley, one of the 4 shareholder and a director have withdrawn his support from AirOne Ventures.
The reason? It seems that Barbados is just too small a hub for the airline. With a population of 280,000 that’s nothing compare to Jamaica 2.8m people. In our previous articlewe told you how the Jamaica government refuse to grant a license to AirOne Ventures after registering there. In turn the airline decided to park its headquarters here in Bim. Apparently that decision wasn’t too favourable. I’m sure this isn’t the last we hear of this recent innovation in the Caribbean.
From Irish Times
BUSINESSMAN LESLIE Buckley has withdrawn as an investor in the fledgling Caribbean low-cost airline Airone Ventures, which is backed by a number of Irish entrepreneurs.
A spokesman for Mr Buckley confirmed to The Irish Times yesterday that the Cork-born executive has exited from Airone. It is not clear how much Mr Buckley invested in the project or what the level of his shareholding was.
Airone is seeking a licence to launch services from Barbados and hopes to begin flying in the spring of 2009. Earlier this year, the airline failed to secure a licence to operate from Jamaica. It had hoped to begin flying from the island in May.
It is understood Mr Buckley decided to back out of the Airone consortium after it failed to secure a licence from the Jamaican government. Jamaica has a population of 2.8 million, while about 280,000 people live in Barbados.
Speaking to The Irish Times from Jamaica, Airone’s commercial director Tara Playfair-Scott declined to comment on Mr Buckley’s withdrawal as an investor.
But Ms Playfair-Scott said the airline hopes to operate low-cost flights from Barbados at fares of just $10 one way. This would represent a discount of up to 70 per cent on fares charged by existing operators.
August 13, 2008 1 Comment
A private commercial airline by the name of AirOne Ventures Limited may ruffled the wings of regionals carriers when its takes to the skies next year.
Simply because the Irish backed proposed low cost airline company have as one of their 4 shareholders and a director of the said company, Digicel Group Vice-President Leslie Buckley. AirOne Ventures Limited is registered in Jamaica but currently based in Barbados due to Jamaica’s government refusal to grant them a license. A search led to a site advertising vacancies for AirOne Ventures. So does Digicel owned, managed or controlled AirOne Ventures? According to the Jamaica Gleaner, the answer from both sides was a quick no.
………… Airone and Digicel are forming an alliance but last night the latter company moved swiftly to dispel any suggestion that it was an investor in the airline.
“It is an entirely separate legal entity to Digicel Limited,” said group head of communications Maureen Rabbitt.
“Airone Ventures Limited is not owned, controlled or managed by Digicel Limited.”
Pressed on whether the company’s chairman Denis O’Brien was involved with Airone, both Rabbitt and later ProComm, the agency handling media relations for Airone, said ‘no’. – 11/12/07
AirOne Ventures is to begin commercial flights from Barbados to some regional and US destinations between March to April come next year  with fares as low as US$10!!! Now that’s a lot uh money to sustained $10.00 fares. But hey, Digicel have never been known to be weak in the sales & marketing department peoples.
Airone has tapped Digicel for assistance, saying that it would be relying on the savvy mobile phone company for sales support.
Tickets? No problem. They can be purchased and collected lock, stock and barrel at Digicel stores. Or what about receiving them via SMS text message? The barcodes will be scanned at the airport and a boarding pass issued.
Digicel Group is founded by Irish billionaire Dennis O’Brien. The Irish telecom company services 6m subscribers in 23 markets in the Caribbean and Central America with expected revenues to grow to US1.47b at its financial year end March 2008.