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Ireland Friend and partner to UAE A Gulf News sponsored supplement, 23 April 2013

Ireland’s temperate climate allows our grass to grow all year round. Our farms have been looked after by generation after generation of Irish families. To learn more about sustainable food from Ireland contact us today at Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, is a government marketing agency tasked with developing export markets for Irish food and drink companies, from the smallest artisan producer to leading edge manufacturers. 2

eland er to UAE Ir Friend and partn , 23 April 2013 to the Gulf News A supplement

A supplement published with the Gulf News April 23rd 2013 Contents The Gathering Ireland 2013 will see many events large and small all over Ireland

Come join us in Ireland in this year of The Gathering Ireland’s tourism minister Leo Varadkar on why the famous Green island is the perfect tourist destination for Emiratis and attractions offer good value to holidaymakers.

Your brief covers Transport, Tourism and Sport. Do you see these three areas neatly combining in the way Ireland works with the UAE?

Tourism is a very serious business for Ireland and for our economy. International access is vital for the recovery of our tourism market and campaigns are regularly run overseas. We have a strong focus on developing niche tourism products and activity packages such as food, sports, culture, ecotourism, activity breaks, water-based recreation and festivals. Tourism between Ireland and UAE has greatly increased in recent times, in what areas do you think it can further develop?

Figures for 2012 show over 6.5 million visits from overseas to Ireland with expenditure of nearly €3 billion, with 223,000 trips from developing markets such as the UAE generating revenue of €155 million. I think tourism to Ireland can further develop across a wide range of areas, given that we are still building awareness of our country in the Emirates,

Do you see potential for links and exchanges in areas such as sport the future?

Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Leo Varadkar

with both local and expatriate markets. We can build on our existing close links in equestrian sports, including horse racing. The best way to experience our beautiful landscape is to get out and about. There is also real potential for more families in the Gulf to come to Ireland for the mild weather, our friendly people and the range of things to see and do - including our rich heritage of music and history. We now have high quality accommodation and food, while our hotels, restaurants

There are already strong sporting links between Ireland and the UAE through the Gaelic Athletic Association. GAA clubs have been established in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah and they compete in the Asian and Gulf Games. The GAA All-Stars have toured Dubai on two occasions and an Interprovincial hurling final between Connacht and Leinster was held in Abu Dhabi in 2009. I think this has the potential for stronger links in the future. When talking about Ireland to someone from the UAE who intends to travel there, what do you particularly recommend they visit?

I would have to urge visitors to take the opportunity to join us for the Gathering Ireland 2013, a year-long celebration of all things Irish which includes high-profile international events as well as smaller, more local gatherings.

6 Trading partners Seán Davis of EnterpriseIreland on business links

8 Health matters Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin is popular with Emirati medical students

11 Entertainment The McGettigan family have made great strides in Dubai hospitality

12 Thanks a billion Colm McLoughlin is a legendary figure in duty free shopping

Credits Published and produced by Justin Media International Email: tara@justin Tel: + 353 1 5156271 Written and designed by



Our man in Dublin HE Ambassador Khalid Nasser Rashed Lootah is the representative of the UAE to Ireland. Here he gives his impression of life in that land HAVE been in my current posting since the establishment of the United Arab Emirates embassy in Ireland in 2010. Establishing the UAE Embassy in Ireland symbolises the friendly ties that bind the UAE and Ireland and it demonstrates as well the shared interest and commitment of the leadership in both countries to enhance bilateral relations between our nations. As the first resident Ambassador of the UAE in Ireland, I have been privileged and honoured to convey the good wishes of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to His Excellency President Michael D Higgins and the friendly Irish people. I would like to acknowledge the continuing good relations between the UAE and Ireland and the tremendous support of the Irish government and in particular the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to our mission. This support has paved the way for mutual visits at ministerial level and has resulted in the improvement that we witness in the relations between the two countries. In the past three years, I have toured this marvelous island from coast to coast. I have always been welcomed by warm-hearted, generous Irish people. So, my experience on all levels has been fascinating and has left a positive impression on me. I am happy to be here and I look forward to playing a constructive role in developing a long and lasting relationship between the UAE and Ireland.

Trade between Ireland and the UAE has increased in recent times, where do you think it can further develop?

The UAE is Ireland’s second biggest trading partner in the Arab world. Ireland exports to the UAE reached €270million in 2011 compared to €16million in 1986, and Ireland imports from the UAE is steadily growing. Etihad and Emirates now operate between the nations making the UAE the second most important long-haul flying destination out of Ireland with 17 scheduled flights per week offering more than 8,000 passenger seats. There are now more than 50 Irish owned businesses operating in the UAE and over 7000 Irish living and working there. The UAE is now an established holiday destination for Irish tourists, and there are growing numbers of UAE citizens visiting Ireland for leisure or business, others attending institutions of higher education. In my view, establishing a UAE-Irish Business Council might help entrepreneurs in both countries to have an organised and advanced level of cooperation in trade, business and investment and it might assist as well in exploring how best to foster and develop cooperation in different sectors.


So the potential for cultural and sport links and exchanges between the UAE and Ireland is there and we fully support such links and activities. In what ways do you intend to expand the mutual relationship between Ireland and the UAE in your posting?

HE Khalid Nasser Rashed Lootah, Ambassador of UAE to Ireland

Bringing businessmen and women together under an umbrella of a Business Council would undoubtedly help create networks, articulate ideas, propose plans, coordinate efforts, develop partnerships and consider initiatives that can boost the UAE-Irish business relations in many sectors.

Art, culture and sport are very important to both countries – where do you see potential for links and exchanges?

There have been significant UAE investments in Ireland over the past years in sport. For example, there are over 500 top quality thoroughbred racehorses owned by the UAE living and breeding in Ireland. They are accommodated on seven different UAE-owned stud farms. The UAE participated in the Volvo Ocean Race festival in Galway in July 2012 where two traditional Arabian sailing dhows were flown in to take part in the celebrations. Travelling with them were 10 UAE sailors as part of the UAEIreland Maritime Heritage Cultural Exchange to highlight social and cultural ties. Thousands of Irish fans turned out to enjoy the activities, competitions and heritage displays that were organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority as part of the Emirates Day. Last year, the School of Drama Film and Music, in association with the National Academy of Dramatic Art at Trinity College Dublin, hosted a reception in honour of the visit by the Sharjah National Theatre, where the National Theatre performed the celebrated play Nimrod written by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, member of the UAE Federal Supreme Council, Ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah. Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, students and professors from Trinity College and members of the UAE community in Ireland attended the event.

I would like to expand the mutual relationship between the UAE and Ireland in many fields. Boosting trade and investment is one of my priorities. Last summer the UAE government lifted the age restriction for Irish beef exports and reached an agreement allowing for the export of poultry meat products to the UAE. Organising a joint UAE-Ireland exhibition is also in my mind where we could promote and facilitate interaction on all levels by exchanging views on business, culture, art, sport, education, science, energy, environment, etc. I would also like to see a UAE-Irish Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation to help boost economic relations on an official level. It is important to have a joint parliamentary committee and to create partnerships between institutions of higher education, and in the health, pharmaceuticals and IT sectors. In the near future I would like to see a trade mission led by the Taoiseach visit the UAE. Such a visit would facilitate interaction between the leadership in both countries and would pave the way for deeper cooperation and stronger, fruitful relations. When talking to someone in the UAE who intends to travel to Ireland, what do you recommend they visit?

Ireland is one of the most fabulous natural landscapes on earth. Many visitors to Ireland take the Dublin city tour, go to Wicklow and Glendalough, travel to Newgrange and Monasterboice, Cliffs of Moher. Some like to travel to Cork, others like to make a trip to Kilkenny, Galway or Waterford. It is nice and beautiful wherever you go. Ireland is full of heritage and unique culture so when tourists visit the Writers Museum in Dublin they discover Ireland's immense literary heritage and Ireland’s great writers. When they visit the Chester Beatty Library they learn about the great collection of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books from across the Middle East and North Africa. They see Egyptian papyrus texts and the beautifully illuminated copies of the Qur'an. The Irish areeverywhere known to be brave, warm and intelligent people. Therefore, I always encourage my countrymen and women to visit Ireland. I am certain that once the visa restriction is lifted a good number of them would visit Ireland. I would also like to encourage the Irish people to go visit the UAE. I am sure that they would enjoy the warm waters, the sandy beaches, the culture, heritage but most importantly the hospitality and generosity of the UAE people.

Strong relationship between two of the friendliest nations HE Ambassador Ciaran Madden, the representative of Ireland in the UAE, outlines the many areas of co-operation

I ARRIVED in the UAE in October 2009 and the Embassy officially opened later that month when I had the honour of presenting my credentials to H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed. This is a place where things are happening and, because of that, it is attracting the world’s attention. The first 41 years have seen remarkable achievements and I think the coming decades will cement the role of the UAE as a global hub. Trade relations between Ireland and UAE are good but, as always, there is room for improvement. One of the areas where we will see significant progress is food. Ire-

Deputy prime minister Eamon Gilmore with some of the young Emiratis who are studying in Ireland land has a strong agricultural tradition; in recent years this has been combined with technology to build some of the best agri-business companies in the world, in particular in dairy, nutritionals and ingredient. On top of that, we have first class products – such as meat, cheese and seafood – being delivered through restaurants and supermarkets, throughout the UAE. Irish companies in the financial

services, medical devices, software and pharmaceuticals areas have enjoyed success in the UAE and, because of their quality, are set for continued strong growth. Businesses from both countries will drive the further development of trade. The Embassy and Enterprise Ireland will play a supporting role but it is enterprising businessmen and businesswomen who will lead the growth.

We have had some memorable exchanges in the field of art and culture. Last year we had an exchange of traditional sailing boats and sailors between Ireland and the UAE, highlighting our shared maritime heritage: dhows, and their sailors, visited Ireland and we brought a traditional Galway Hooker to Abu Dhabi. In 2011, the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland played concerts in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai. If hope can arrange for this Youth Orchestra to visit again. For Arab visitors to Ireland, I always recommend a visit to the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, because of the wonderful Arabic and Islamic artworks, one of the world’s finest collections. Its easy to get into the green countryside: you can go from downtown shopping to hiking or horse-riding in the mountains within 40 minutes. I also recommend visitors head west, to Galway, Clare, Kerry or Cork, to experience new landscapes, good food and warm welcomes.

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Our Mission: To educate, nurture and discover for the benefit of human health

RCSI School of Pharmacy


Building on relationships in the region


Seán Davis, Regional Director for Enterprise Ireland, heads a strong team of six in Dubai ON TERPRISE Ireland has had an office in the UAE since 2002. In February 2012 Seán Davis assumed the role of Regional Director for the Middle East & North Africa, managing a team of six in Dubai and three in Riyadh. “Enterprise Ireland is firmly focused on supporting Irish companies doing business with the UAE. Over the past 11 years our trade relationship with the region has developed tremendously”, he said in an interview. “Today over 100 Irish companies have a business development or manufacturing presence in the UAE, with many more across the region. This has been enabled greatly by the direct air service that now exists between Dubai and Dublin with Emirates, and Abu Dhabi and Dublin with Etihad. As regional hubs both Abu Dhabi and Dubai offer fantastic onward connectivity options, enabling ambitious companies to forge new partnerships, alliances and business ventures in the region. “Enterprise Ireland believes that building mutually beneficial relationships with international partners is a core element of success. To ensure the UAE and Irish trading relationship continues to flourish, it is also important to recognise the role played by stakeholders such as the Irish Business Networks across the region including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Doha and Manama; the Joint Arab Irish Chamber of Commerce in Dublin, the UAE Embassy in Ireland and of course our close working relationship with both Embassies of Ireland led by Ambassador Madden in Abu Dhabi and Ambassador Holohan in Riyadh. “At Enterprise Ireland we are focused


on leveraging highly innovative solutions being developed in Ireland to create successful and profitable partnerships between Irish and local companies. Irish companies have developed innovative solutions across many industries to create new revenue streams, manages processes, educate and increase effectiveness and efficiency. “Enterprise Ireland client companies

have been focusing on the UAE, building relationships and establishing local offices for many years. For example, based here in the UAE are Fexco and Monex – two of the global leaders in dynamic currency conversion; CR2 - a leader in multi-channel banking solutions; Ezetop – the operEIGHT LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS ABOUT IRELAND’S ECONOMY 2nd in the world for probiotic research 3rd in the world for immunology Research 4th largest exporter of beef in the world 20% of the world’s infant formula is produced in Ireland 8th in the world for Materials Science 6th in the world for Nano Science Ireland was also ranked the most globalised nation in the world in a recently published Ernst & Young index Among the top five exporters of software in the world

Seán Davis, Regional Director of Enterprise Ireland

ator of the largest international online recharge site for mobile phones based at DAFZA; the Digital Marketing Institute – an internationally recognized leader in the provision of digital marketing courses, and Intuition – global leaders in e-Learning solutions for the financial, Government, healthcare and wider corporate sectors. “Ireland also has considerable expertise in project management, engineering, building management systems, aviation, ICT, enterprise software and products for the consumer retail sector. “At the centre of Ireland’s smart economy is a world-class education system and we are very proud that many thousands of students from the Middle East choose Ireland for their university education. “The UAE is also a primary market for Enterprise Ireland’s campaign to attract international mobile entrepreneurs to choose Ireland as the location for their next high potential start-up business. “The vision of the Rulers and leadership in the UAE and across the region is self evident in the world-class, leadingedge projects that are currently under way or being planned. “To demonstrate Irish companies’ capabilities Enterprise Ireland supported delegations have attended pan-regional trade events such as Arab Health, Aircraft Interiors Middle East, IECHE in Riyadh, GHEDEX in Muscat, Arabian Travel Mart in Dubai, Project Qatar in Doha and GITEX in Dubai. “The tremendous support of the two Irish Ambassadors and their teams at the Embassies in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh cannot be overstated as we continue to build relations on multiple levels, on a platform of mutual interests.”

The Irish go out to play Skilful Gaelic sports of Hurling and Gaelic Football are growing in UAE AMONG the fastest growing sports in the UAE are Gaelic Football and Hurling. These Irish games are exciting, fast-moving field games that are great fun for all ages and familyfriendly. In Ireland they are the most popular sports, with more participants than even football, rugby and cricket at which Ireland regularly shines at World Cups. More than 82,000 spectators pack into Croke Park every September for the All-Ireland finals in each code. The Gaelic sports came to the Emirates in 1995 when the Dubai Celts club was founded by Paul McCabe and a group of enthusiastic pioneers.

The club has grown enormously and is now the largest in the Middle East and one of the most successful in Asia. The club hosts an annual tournament, called the Gulf Gaelic Games which is sponsored by Dubai Duty Free and draws teams from all over the Emirates and the wider region, as well as Ireland, the UK, Europe and South Africa. The event draws many spectators to the Sevens Stadium on the E66 Dubai to Al Ain Road. To cope with the heat, games start at 9am. A thriving children’s section, run by Thomas McElligott, meets every Saturday from 4.30pm to 6pm in

GAA CLUBS IN THE UAE & region Dubai Celts Sharjah Wanderers Ladies Gaelic Football Club

Abu Dhabi Na Fianna Clann na hOman/Muscat Magpies

Dubai play Qatar in a Gulf Games encounter

Jebel Ali Primary School and more details are available on the Dubai Celts website. With unemployment high in Ireland, many young people have emigrated to seek opportunities and many have come to UAE. Ireland’s loss is most definitely a gain for the Gaels of the region. Donal McCarthy, an active member of the Dubai GAA scene, said

the clubs would be the most representative of those who move to the UAE, but there is also an Irish football club and several Irish are involved in the local rugby scene. “Some of the clubs here have doubled in size. Some of them were not even there two years ago - such as Sharjah club and Al Ain club,” Dubai GAA member Donal McCarthy said. “Even if they don't play, some join for the social side of things,” he said. “The Irish are a bit nomadic anyway. The numbers are increasing hugely. The St Patrick's ball [in March] sold out with 700 tickets, but it could have easily sold 1,000.” Meanwhile, Etihad airways has agreed to sponsor the All Ireland Hurling Championship for five years, and its logo adorns the iconic Irish venue, Etihad Airways has also become the sponsor of the spectacular new Skyline tourist attraction at the stadium.



Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland School of Pharmacy set for expansion HE Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has been educating young men and women from the GCC countries as competent doctors for almost 40 years. RCSI are proud of our graduates who are making a significant contribution to healthcare delivery right across the region. RCSI has grown from its original Medical School roots and now includes a School of Postgraduate Studies, a School of Physiotherapy and a School of Pharmacy. The role of the pharmacist is of critical importance for the safe and effective delivery of healthcare to patients. For over a decade the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has offered undergraduate and postgraduate education to pharmacy students, pharmacists and healthcare professionals. The RCSI School of Pharmacy is opening up additional seats to offer to students from the GCC to wish to undertake a career in this exciting and fast changing area of Healthcare delivery. Pharmacy students are required to complete five years of education in order to register as a pharmacist in the European Union. The first four years of education and training lead to the award of a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. The RCSI four-year programme, leading to a B.Sc. (Pharm.), was evaluated independently to be the best programme in Ireland. Students from the Gulf Region can exit the RCSI programme at Year 4 with a B.Sc. (Pharm.) and return home to undertake six months training in a State hospital or health centre and then be eligible to register as a pharmacist. Some students from the Gulf stay in the RCSI for a fifth year and thereby are eligible to be registered as pharmacist not only in their home country but also anywhere in the European Union. The completion of the fifth year leads to the award of a Masters In Pharmacy (Pharm.). This M. Pharm. programme is delivered over 12 months with the intern based in an approved training establishment under the supervision of a tutor. Giving an example of how this works in practice,


RCSI Dubai graduates at the conferring ceremony

Professor Gallagher, Head of the RCSI School of Pharmacy, said, “The intern is based in their training establishment for most of the year. They attend RCSI for skills training and complete online

modules and a clinical audit”. This blended-learning approach is enabled by two customised electronic platforms. Since 2009 RCSI has graduated over 500 pharmacists through this programme.

‘IRELAND IS A GREAT PLACE TO STUDY’ AHMED Al-Mazmi is a 23 year old final year student at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He has nothing but good things to say about the five years he has spent at the college in Ireland’s capital city, Dublin. “The facilities at the college are astounding, and we are greatly helped in learning by the lecturers who provide much more materials and notes compared to some of the UK colleges. We still have to work hard, but the RCSI is excellent in ensuring we learn.” Ahmed opted to study in Dublin because of the cosmopolitan nature of the country, and he has enjoyed meeting people from many different cultures. “Irish people are very open, and the college is very open too. My colleagues and I also agree that one of the great things about studying here in Ireland is that the Health Education system is very well-established and well-built.” Ahmed, who is from Sharjah and was at the International School of Choueifat, has found it helpful that there are other Emirati students in RCSI and points out that this is a great help when homesickness sets in. Ahmed is now aged 23 and is coming to the end of his time in Dublin. He hopes to continue his studies abroad before returning to the UAE. He has greatly enjoyed his time in Ireland, and living in a different part of Dublin each year ensured he saw a lot of that famous and historic city. He also took the time to travel outside the city and see some of the beauties of Ireland. “I always recommend the younger students get out and see places like Galway, Cork and Belfast. Ireland is such a beautiful country in the summer time,” he added.

In May 2013 RCSI will establish the first leadership body for the profession of pharmacy in Ireland. This leadership body will join RCSI’s already established postgraduate medical, dental and nursing faculties building on the heritage of the College in surgery since 1784. Professor Gallagher confirmed that the Irish Institute of Pharmacy will have three pillars of activity: Leadership, Clinical Research and Professional Development. The Mission of the Institute is to ensure that pharmacists continue to deliver high quality, safe and effective professional services and moreover to provide an evidence base for enhanced scope of practice. This enhanced scope of pharmacy practice will benefit the patient through the provision of accessible, quality assured and affordable health care services. Becoming a pharmacist at RCSI is popular with students from the Gulf region. They return to the Gulf having acquired a highly coveted and portable qualification at world-class institutions in a dynamic and exciting European capital city. There are scholarships available from governments in the Gulf region for students to pursue pharmacy in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Further information on studying Pharmacy at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland is available at

Business relationships surge IRELAND’S business with the Gulf is booming. It is estimated that the two primary players, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, will each import more than AED 4billion (approx €840m) of Irish products and services this year. “However, we see this as only the tip of the iceberg” says Hugh Kelly, Vice President of the Irish Exporters Association and CEO of Associated Marketing Ltd ( The Dublin based export acceleration company that has been helping companies to export to the Gulf region throughout much of its 43 years in business. Associated Marketing has recently opened a new office in Dubai to act as the hub for its Irish clients in the Gulf. Kelly says his recent investment and confident prediction of future rapid growth in Ireland-UAE trade is firmly based: Ireland’s recent success is rooted in a careful examination of the real needs and aspirations of businesses and consumers in the Gulf. Both governments, through their Embassies in Dublin and Abu Dhabi and organisations such as Enterprise Ireland and its UAE equivalents, have been highly supportive of public and

Hugh Kelly, CEO Associated Marketing Ltd. and VP Irish Exporters Association; Minister of Economy UAE, H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri; and Jim Mongey, Director Associated Marketing Ltd. and Arab Irish Chamber of Commerce

private network initiatives to multiply business links. The Irish Exporters Association and the Arab Irish Chamber of Commerce are also on hand to offer advice and expertise on Irish-UAE trade regulations. The two countries have enjoyed long standing relationships and friendships in the equine, aviation, medical and hospitality fields. More frequent, high level governmental exchange visits, expanded services by Emirates Airlines and Etihad and an ever-increasing growth in student, cultural and sport-

ing exchanges have all built successfully on these strong foundations. So, where are the opportunities for further Irish-UAE trade growth? Kelly points to food and drink as one of the most visible answers: Ireland’s quality reputation is already well reflected in a growing presence on the shelves of top UAE supermarkets. “Less visible but significant too is the surging growth in demand for medical and pharmaceutical products, computer equipment and IT-based services. In all of these areas, Ireland

is seen as a world leader. Economic development, aviation, financial services, specialist construction management services, education, renewable energy and food security technology are also areas where Ireland can contribute expertise to support Emirati ambitions”. The two governments are actively helping and supporting Emirati and Irish business people to build their links to mutual advantage. “Their services are invaluable” says Kelly, “but there is no substitute for frequent face-to-face meetings and, ideally, a presence on the ground in the UAE. There is always a limit to what can be achieved from a distance but with committed engagement the trade opportunity multiplies manyfold for those companies with real ambitions to maximise the opportunities that the UAE market presents.” Symbolic of the warmth and closeness of the Emirati-Irish relationship is the sponsorship by Dubai Duty Free of the Irish Derby Festival at the Curragh Racecourse on June 29th. Smiling, Hugh Kelly ends: “Let’s hope we see as many Emirati friends at the Curragh as there were Irish visitors at the Dubai World Cup at the Meydan course last month!”

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The quality and freshness of Irish food is world renowned, with Irish beef winning prizes at this year’s “Culinary Olympics”

More and more people have discovered a taste of Ireland LTHOUGH Ireland has a population of only 4.5million it produces enough food to feed over 30m people, therefore exports are very important to the Irish food industry. In 2012 the value of Irish food and drink exports surpassed €9billion for the first time, up €2billion on 2009, according to Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board – the Irish government agency responsible for promoting the Irish food & horticulture. International Markets, including the Middle East, have being particularly important in recent years, with exports outside of Europe growing by 66% since 2009 to nearly €2.5billion. This strong export performance by the Irish food industry anticipates continued growth towards Ireland’s 2020 target of €12billion in food and drink exports. There is a solid platform on which to build, Ireland produces over 10% of the world’s infant formula and is the 4th largest net exporter of beef in the world. Irish milk output is set to increase by 50% to 8billion litres between 2015 and 2020, so Irish dairy ingredient companies are well placed to meet increased global demand and to provide sustainable dairy solutions to customers in the Middle East. The growth of the Irish food and drink industry is important to Ire-


A still from Origin Green, a sustainability programme for the food and drink industry

land. The agri-food industry is Ireland’s largest indigenous sector accounting for 8% of employment and 10.8% of exports. Whilst Ireland is a small island, as much as two thirds of Ireland’s 6.9million hectares is used for agriculture.

Rural Ireland is home to approximately 139,900 farms, looked after by generation after generation of Irish family farmers. Irish farmers are custodians of the land, and in the last decade alone there have being over 11,500 Nature Corridors established on Irish farmland. Thanks to Ireland’s temperate climate as much as 92% of Ireland’s

farmland is grassland used for grazing all year round. This mild climate and the plentiful rainfall it bestows ensure that Ireland’s water stress index is amongst the lowest in the world. Increasingly customers are seeking food produced in a sustainable manner, in a manner which recognises not just the needs of today, but those of generations to come. In June 2012, Bord Bia launched Origin Green, a comprehensive national sustainability programme for the food and drink industry. Today over 237 companies, accounting for over 60% of Irish food and drink exports are signed up to Origin Green. Origin Green is a unique sustainability development programme which demonstrates to our international customers the commitment of Irish food and drink producers

to operating sustainably. Ireland is increasingly recognized around the world for its high quality meat, dairy and seafood products. Earlier this year Irish beef was the meat of choice at B’ocuse D’or, the international culinary competition widely regarded as the 'Olympics of the Culinary World', whilst in March Irish food festivals were held around the world, including in the Middle East, to celebrate Ireland’s national day, St Patricks Day. Ireland’s food and drink exports to the Middle East exceeded €310million last year and Irish suppliers of premium foods are reporting increased demand from high-end retailers and food service customers in the region as more consumers discover the taste of Ireland.

Irish family hospitality finds a market in Dubai Dennis McGettigan’s family are a legend in the Irish pub and hotel business. He explains why they came to UAE with the stunning Bonnington’s Hotel complex Tell us a little about how your firm got involved in Dubai

We have always been looking ahead trying to spot future opportunities and like many others saw Dubai as one of the up and coming leisure and commercial destinations in the world, bridging both Europe and Asia. In the Middle East if you travel 3,500 miles in any direction, you have two thirds of the world’s population within your reach, this was something we were keen to tap into! We identified a market niche for a familyowned & operated luxury hotel in the Emirate and subsequently decided to open the Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers as a mixed-use hotel and service residences development in the up and coming Jumeirah Lakes Towers area in 2005. The free zones established by the government were a great incentive for us to set up business here and this was certainly one of the main contributing factors in our decision. Since starting operations in 2009, we have gone from strength to strength. We were lucky to be able to capitalise on our long history of developing and running successful hospitality ventures in Ireland and the UK and on our strong ties with the Irish community in the Middle East.

The Bonnington has quickly gained a fabulous name – what is it about the hotel that is so special?

What makes it different is that we are not an international brand and don’t have to climb up a corporate ladder to make a decision. We always try to get things done quickly and efficiently- resolve the issue, make the call and move onto the next! The Bonnington is Dubai’s only European family-owned and operated luxury hotel and as such I try to instill the same sense of fam-

Left, Dennis McGettigan, and the Bonnington, the stunning five-star hotel in Dubai

ily within the team. This definitely encourages a personal and caring approach when interacting with guests and customers. There is a genuine sense of community within the hotel, something which our guests can really relate to and appreciate. We want the guests living and staying at The Bonnington to experience excellent 5 star service and hospitality and the team here are fully committed to providing this. We make it a priority to ensure that every guest feels truly welcome and comfortable from the moment they arrive. Your family are well-known in the hospitality industry at home – particularly in terms of the music business. Does The Bonnington and McGettigan’s play a similar role there?

Yes indeed it does, especially with regards to McGettigan’s. We place a strong emphasis and importance on providing the best in live music and entertainment at our venues. Producing successful music and comedy gigs are a key element of the brand and are a vital part of the electric atmosphere we want our guests to enjoy. Pubs in Ireland are renowned for lively entertainment and music and we aim to expand this legacy and reputation across our venues in the Middle East. McGettigan’s Irish Bar, a fabulous night spot with an ‘electric atmosphere’

The ‘pub’ is a very Irish way to spend a

night out – how did you manage to sell that to a region where such entertainment is not part of the culture.

We always put a strong focus on the fundamental elements of ‘a great time out’, i.e. friendly, personalized service, fantastic food, and captivating entertainment. By doing this we have successfully managed to position McGettigan’s at the centre of the city’s multicultural entertainment scene. Our bars portray a modern image of Ireland with clean, bright, and welcoming spaces located at the heart of their local communities – we believe that these are all values that can translate well to any new market place. This ethic and approach has to date paid off with McGettigan’s having recently won Best Pub at this year’s Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards, of which we are extremely proud. When talking about Ireland to someone in the UAE who intends to travel there, what do you recommend they visit?

Well I’m a big fan of Dublin it being where I grew up and I would always recommend visitors spend at least a few nights of their stay in the city! There are some great restaurants and bars of course and also a rich cultural and historical heritage to explore. You can’t beat a wander around Temple Bar on a nice evening and a visit to Dublin Zoo is always a great day out!


From Ireland he came, the 1.6billion dollarman


Colm McLoughlin is perhaps the best known Irishman in the UAE, having been at the helm of Dubai Duty Free for more than three decades as it grew to a $1.6bn business OLM McLoughlin’s story is one of the greatest ever told in the history of international business. Sent by the Irish airport authority to help set up Dubai Duty Free in 1983 on a sixmonth posting, Colm never came home. “I remember arriving at Dubai International Airport in July and the heat that hit me as I disembarked the plane”, recalls Colm. “Coming from Ireland, I had never experienced heat of that intensity. There was something distinctly exciting about Dubai even at that time; I like to think it was the sense that anything is possible and I think that feeling still permeates Dubai and is particularly strong within the aviation business. “I came with a group of colleagues from Aer Rianta. Our assignment was to establish a world class duty free operation in Dubai International Airport. We had six months to set everything up. “In the early ’80s Dubai was already set on an expansionary path that had seen the laying of its foundations; the first five star hotels had opened, the government had invested in heavy industries in order to diversify its oil-based economy, and several worldclass ports were operating. “Attention was turning to the airport, which was under the leadership of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the then Minister of Defence and our current Vice President, and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The ambitions of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed were clear and when our initial plans for the duty free operation were presented by the then Director General, Mohidin Bin Hendi, Sheikh Mohammed agreed to the design but wanted us to double its size. “With just six months to hand over a fully operational duty free, time was of the essence and everyone worked around the clock. I am proud to say that of the original 100 staff employed for the opening, we still have 48 in active service. “We opened for business on 20 December 1983 and our first day’s sales were Dhs160,000, which was quite promising. In our first full year (1984), our sales reached Dhs70 million ($20m), which was a terrific result by any measure. “As the contract came to an end, I was asked to stay on and head up the duty free, and John Sutcliffe and George Horan also stayed. “We never regretted our decision to stay on as we knew that we had a great opportunity to grow the business and receive the full support of the Government and in particular my own boss, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Duty Free. “Today, Dubai Duty Free has grown to become one of the largest airport retailers in the world in terms of turnover with sales of US$1.6bn in 2012. “Employing 5,700 people, Dubai Duty Free is widely regarded for having set the benchmark for


Colm McLoughlin arrived in July 1983

the duty free industry in the region. Its founding principle of offering international travellers a wide range of quality merchandise, value for money and a firstclass retail experience in a shopper-friendly environment holds true to this day.” In the 30 years Colm has spent in Dubai, the emirate has changed enormously and he is delighted that Dubai Duty Free has played a part in that progress and through its commercial success and marketing prowess, has helped to put Dubai on the map. “I am very proud to have been here to see the emergence of Dubai and the UAE as a global player. The Government has done, and continue to do, a fantastic job in investing in the infrastructure of the country and helping it attain this position. “My own boss, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, has been a fantastic supporter of the operation and has always been open to any proposals. “I love living and working in Dubai. There is a great sense of community, although it is rapidly growing. There is a great sense of achievement in your working life and a lot to do in your free time.” Now, after almost three decades here, Mr McLoughlin, a native of Ballinasloe, Co Galway on Ireland’s west coast, has a great love of his adopted country, as well as the land of his birth. “I retain my roots and am very proud of being Irish, but Dubai is my second home and I love it here, as does my wife Breeda, who is from Co Clare. My son Niall also lives and works here and has had great opportunities here. “The great thing about Dubai is that so many different nationalities live together in peace and harmony and that is a real credit to the Government of the UAE. I was the first non Arab to receive the Government Excellence Award in 2000 and was very honoured to accept that from H.H. Sheikh Mo-

hammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Coincidentally in the same year I was named in the AIB-Rehab Galway Millennium Awards as Man of the Year which recognised people who have made an outstanding contribution to the community in Galway city, county or abroad.” The rain-swept grasslands of east Galway are no longer home for Colm McLoughlin, and when asked what is the biggest of all the changes he has seen in the UAE, he replies “I’m tempted to say Dubai Duty Free!” He went on: “Nearly 30 years ago when I came here there was about 200,000 people living here – there’s now 2million. “There was 3.5million passengers annually going through the airport – there’s now 56million. “There was no such thing as Emirates Airlines, which is now one of the biggest in the world and without doubt a fantastic airline. “There was no Burj Khalifa no Palm island, no metro, very few hotels.” “In January we saw the opening of Concourse A, which is the first ever concourse dedicated to Emirates Airline A380 fleet. “Concourse D is expected to be completed within a couple of years, bringing the capacity here at Dubai International Airport to 95 million. Meanwhile, the passenger terminal at Dubai World Central will open at the end of this year, heralding a new era in aviation in the UAE “All that means our business, which occupies 26,000 square metres at the moment, will continue to grow in tandem with the developments.” A busy first quarter of 2013 has seen Dubai Duty Free sales reach Dhs1.6bn ($438m), a 12% rise over the same period last year and signalling an excellent prospect for the 30th year of business. Colm sees great potential for tourism to and from Ireland and the UAE. “A few good things have happened – Ireland opened an embassy here, and the UAE dedicated an ambassador to Dublin which had previously been shared with London. “Emirates has launched a very successful daily flight from Dublin to Dubai, while Etihad are up to 10 flights a week. “There’s a lot happening with tourism both ways and that will continue to increase.” Although Dubai Duty Free is 100% owned by the government of Dubai, the Irish connection is evident and its support for many Irish-related projects both in the UAE and in Ireland, including the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, is testament to this. “We have 5,000 people working in Dubai Duty Free and my Deputy, George Horan, now President of Dubai Duty Free, is Irish, as are marketing head Sinéad El Sibai, head of Finance Bernard Creed, and head of Operations, Seán Staunton. “We have the Irish village pub and there are 20 Irish people working there. all these things added together make a nice mix.”

Dublin is home to a remarkable collection of art


The Chester Beatty Library holds many beautiful treasures of Islamic and Eastern Art

IR Alfred Chester Beatty, one of the greatest financial entrepreneurs of the 20th century, is today best remembered as the founder of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. This worldrenowned institution is both an art museum and library exhibiting an unparalleled collection of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, rare books and decorative arts from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. Beatty was an American mining magnate and one of the most prolific collectors of the 20th century. His vast collection of over 30,000 items includes representative samples of the world’s artistic and religious heritage from about 2700 BC to the present century. An avid collector of minerals, since childhood, as an adult Beatty began to collect more widely, buying European and Persian manuscripts. His interests found a new direction when, in 1914, he visited Egypt and bought some decorated copies of the Qur'an in the bazaars. A journey to Asia in 1917 added Japanese and Chinese paintings to his interests. His eye was drawn to richly illustrated material, fine bindings and beautiful calligraphy, but he was also deeply committed to preserving texts for their historic value. In 1950, he decided to move to Ireland and built a library for his art collection which opened in 1954. In 1957 Chester Beatty became Ire-

land's first honorary citizen and was accorded a State funeral upon his death in 1968, the only civilian in Ireland ever to have earned this honour. He bequeathed his entire collection to a trust for the benefit of the public and today the legacy of this unique and unparalleled collector thrives in the historic city centre setting of Dublin Castle. The Library welcomes over a quarter of a million visitors every year to view its exhibitions. Visitors are often surprised and delighted to find such a unique and rare collection on view in Dublin and Lonely Planet has described the Library as ‘not just the best museum in Ireland but one of the best in Europe.’

The Arts of the Book exhibition includes almost 600 objects - books from the ancient world, including the world famous Chester Beatty Love Poems (c.1160 BC), Egyptian Books of the Dead and beautifully illuminated European manuscripts. One of the highlights is the display of Western book-bindings (5th20th century) and Old Master prints. The exhibition also explores the richness of the Islamic manuscript tradition including illustrations and illuminations, calligraphy, and exquisite bindings from across the Middle East and India. Highlights from East Asia include Japanese picture-scrolls depicting fables and legends, and deluxe woodblock prints. Audio-visual programmes

Top of page: Illuminated heading for Chapter 32 of Qur'an 9th century, Middle East, possibly Iraq; Top right: Muhammad and His Army March Against the Meccans, 1594-95, Istanbul, Turkey; Below: Begum Samru's Household, c. 1820, Delhi, India

complement the exhibition, helping the visitor to learn more about the arts of the book all over the world. The Sacred Traditions gallery exhibits sacred texts, illuminated manuscripts and miniature paintings from the great religions and systems of belief represented in the collections –Christianity, Islam and Buddhism with smaller displays on Confucianism, Daoism, Sikhism and Jainism. The Biblical Papyri, the remarkable collection of Qur’an manuscripts and scrolls and books of Buddhist thought provide the focus for the displays, which are enhanced with audio-visual programmes on Rites of Passage in many faiths, prayer and pilgrimage. An exhibition featuring a selection of 30 paintings that once belonged to Beatty is also currently on display. On loan from the National Gallery, Chester Beatty: the Paintings, which includes masterpieces such as Breton’s The Gleaners will be on display until 31 August. This exhibition is an opportunity to appreciate the collecting activities of one man ranging from Egyptian papyrus texts to French landscape paintings and to celebrate Chester Beatty’s generosity to Ireland. Admission to all of the Library’s exhibitions is free and regular workshops, lectures and tours are held. Chester Beatty Library Dublin Castle, Dublin 2 Tel: + 353 (1) 4070750


CR2 brings banking technology innovation to the wider world CR2, one of the most interesting stories to emerge from the Irish software industry, has experienced success in over 60 countries, including the Middle East. CR2, a leading provider of ATM, internet and mobile banking solutions, has grown rapidly over the years thanks to its distinctive and innovative integrated selfservice platform. Initially CR2 launched an ATM solution and subsequently applied its self-service banking expertise to the Internet and mobile banking channels to develop their BankWorld solution. Today, the company proudly serves over 100 clients across four continents and has 160 staff located in development centres in Dublin and Perth and numer-

ous strategically located support and commercial offices, enabling them to always be close to their customers. Mr Martin Dolan, CEO of CR2, commented, “The success of CR2 is the result of our commitment to innovation in selfservice. CR2 has always believed that self-service was the way forward – we are the only vendor worldwide to focus exclusively on the full range of self service; ATM, Kiosk, Internet and Mobile. “Less and less people are visiting the physical branch so we set out to tackle the problem of how banks can service and sell to their customers as face-to-face interaction declines. We enable banks to successfully engage their cus-

Martin Dolan, chief executive officer of CR2 tomers with a customised user experience whether it is at the ATM, on the internet or mobile phone. “Mobile has become a critical self-service device which CR2 has fully embraced, enabling

banks deliver a very rich capability to smartphones or tablets without the need to recreate that functionality for these devices or operating systems. “This reduces time to market and reduces the cost to serve while making the service available 24X7. “Too many mobile solutions today are a subset of the capability provided on internet banking. The sale of mobile phones in 2010 out sold the total number of PC’s ever sold – it is clear that mobile will fast become the dominant customer transaction platform, it is therefore critical that it provides a rich customer experience and is part of an integrated self-service platform rather than a poor add on.”

Riverdancing in the Creek! Siobhan Kilalea has brought the ancient art of Irish Dancing to the UAE SIOBHAN Kilalea has been living in the UAE for 28 years and in the Middle East 30 years altogether. “My husband Donal was offered a job in an ad agency in Bahrain and as we wanted to travel we decided we would go. Of course we only intended to stay a couple of years then head off elsewhere! Travel the world. “After two years he was offered the job or running the Dubai office, so down we came , and here we still are. “When I started teaching Irish Dancing it was at the request of a few Irish friends here who wanted to keep their children in touch with their roots. Having just had the first of our three daughters I thought I'd give it a whirl for a while.” It wasn't long before the class started to grow, not only with Irish children, but with children from all over the world. “Then along came Riverdance and everyone wanted to be able to

do 29 taps a second ! And that was after their first class.....” That was a long time ago, now the children have all sorts of activities to remind them of home. Apart from the Irish dancing there are Irish language classes available and there is also a huge interest in Gaelic games. IRISH DANCE CLASSES IN DUBAI There are a few Wednesdays. Children Classes are held in the BalIrish young peofrom the age of four years, let Centre Jumeirah on ple training the children in footboys and girls are welSundays and Mondays, at ball and hurling. come. The Lakes Club on Tues“The local days and at The Hayya Contact: Siobhan community love Club at the Springs on to see the children


dancing. We have danced at various events around Dubai and Abu Dhabi where the Emirati people present have clapped and tapped along enthusiastically! “The most recent event we danced at over the Paddy's weekend was one we were invited to by the Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi. We had great support from all the ambassadors present. “There is great interest in Ireland amongst Emiratis, I think in many ways our cultures are quite similar. “I always recommend the Viking Tour in Dublin City, Trinity College, Christchurch, to name but a few. Then of course there are the beautiful Lakes of Killarney, The Giants Causeway, The Titanic Exhibition.”


Ireland Supplement  

Promoting trade and cultural links between Ireland and the UAE.