Wednesday 22 November 2017

'You get up at 4am to send something to Dubai, and have to drive to the office'

Diarmuid and Micheal Kelly from Kelly's Oyster Farm, Galway (Picture : Andrew Downes)
Diarmuid and Micheal Kelly from Kelly's Oyster Farm, Galway (Picture : Andrew Downes)
Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

Brothers Micheal and Diarmuid Kelly run the family oyster business from their hometown of Kilcolgan in Co Galway.

Kelly's Oysters was first set up by their father Michael 60 years ago.

The business has grown and now employs 10 people and transports oysters to 16 countries around the world.

While broadband is vital to the business, Diarmuid admits their current service could be a lot better.

"It works to a degree down at the office but it's still less than 2mb. It's not great but at least we have something.

"We work with both sides of the world from Canada to Malaysia and Singapore and as such we have to be available 24 hours.

"At the office we have less than 2mb but at home I have less than 1mb. It makes it next to impossible to do any work from home.


"We export a lot and if I need to download order forms or health certification and certification of origin forms to send on it takes too long at present," he said.

Despite working around the clock trading with different time zones, Diarmuid must return to his office for all work issues.

"I live a mile up the road which might seem like a short journey, but if you have to get up at 4am or 5am in the morning to provide something for the Dubai market it's frustrating having to drive to the office.

"It makes it very difficult if you could do it from home it would make things much much easier. The work-life balance is the problem." he said.

Kilcolgan is due to be included in the national fibre broadband rollout, but Diarmuid fears the high speed connection will only cover the main street.

"On our small road alone there are 10 businesses all with the same problem.

"If they do bring fibre cabling to Kilcolgan it must work for all the businesses," he added.

'I'm considering moving business to Manchester'

Businessman Adam Coleman has battled with poor broadband service since setting up his cloud-based software company in Lahinch Co Clare in 2007.

The company, HR Locker, now has 10 employees.

However, the poor broadband left Mr Coleman seriously considering moving part of the business to Manchester.

"Things are going well but our broadband is really poor," said Mr Coleman (pictured).

"We want to expand and that includes taking on two or three more people but we had to assess where we put those jobs."

Mr Coleman said it was impossible for businesses to plan without proper broadband.

"Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs puts air, water and food as our most basic essentials - I believe in the modern day for any business, broadband is there as well," he said.

Adam Coleman, CEO of HR Locker (Picture: Liam Burke)
Adam Coleman, CEO of HR Locker (Picture: Liam Burke)

Mr Coleman also has an option on a temporary office in Manchester and was considering situation the new jobs over there.

"The broadband is atrocious and it has got worse.

"We develop software that is then hosted in the cloud, up links are very important for us but it could take hours.

"Recently one of our guys had to drive to Ennis to get a decent connection to upload the software," he added.

Before making a final decision on the jobs, he contacted a range of politicians and a broadband provider seeking the latest information on when Lahinch may secure fibre broadband.


"We were told it would go live by end of June so we've decided to hold out until the end of June and keep the jobs in Ireland."

Mr Coleman said the Government must start taking the needs of rural businesses seriously instead of forcing businesses to move to larger towns and cities.

"Why shouldn't we be able to stay in Lahinch. If the Government is serious about helping rural areas they have to tackle this.

"They should be incentivising companies keeping jobs in small towns and keeping them going," he added.

Irish Independent

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