Enda O'Coineen: How Irish pubs can act as our global ambassadors
TODAY in Dublin an historic gathering gets under way of the owners and managers of Irish pubs around the world. It has never happened in this way before. Oddly, it's a bit like the tail wagging the dog.
Chaired by Kingsley Aikins, lead speakers include Dr Pearse Lyons, CEO of Alltech; Michael Carey, chairman of Bord Bia; Jerry Kennelly of Tweak; Dave Magrogan and Paul Mangiamele, a former Olympic boxer and CEO of Bennigan's, a US group of over 100 Irish pubs. It will be a lively affair with a lot of hard questions.
There are 21 countries involved. From Thailand to South Africa, from Belarus to the Faroe Islands, plus many European countries and, of course, the USA, it's an eclectic mix – directly representing over 700 pubs, about 10 per cent of the Irish pub population. Individually, they are 'cottage enterprises'; globally it's a billion dollar industry – the 'front-line' of Ireland – yet we don't know how to handle it.