MICHAEL MCNULTY, supremo of Irish Tourism, was in London last week, accompanied by Vincent Doyle, chairman of the Irish Tourist Board, and executives, Chris Kane and Tom Giblin, to announce the appointment of the rust woman to a top executive position in the Irish Tourist Board.
Margaret Cahill, as General Manager for Britain, Australia and Japan, will be based in London, at their new offices at 150, New Bond Street. Fortunately the pending elections prevented any politicians coming with them. Margaret Cahill, has made history as the first lady to be appointed to a top executive position in any Irish State Sponsored Organisation.
She comes from the Royal County of Meath, from Cam Na Ros, "the Cairn of the Woods", a few miles from Kells, or, as it is called today, "Ceanannus Mor", the historic residence of the third century King Cormac MacArt. It was from the town's Celtic monastery that the 8th century priceless heirloom, the Book of Kells, now in Trinity College Library in Dublin, came.
Despite her sixteen years as Promotions Manager in the United States and Canada, Miss Cahill still retains a charming Irish accent. Her appointment, as Michael McNulty pointed out, coincides with the better relations established between these two sisters islands by the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
The lowest air and sea fares ever are now on offer between Ireland and Britain, the popular sea ferry between Swansea and Cork has been revived (just four hours on the motorway from London to Swansea) coincides with a drive by the Irish Tourist Board in Ireland to make Irish holidays better value for money. Chris Kane tells me that arrangements have already been made for hotels and restaurants throughout the country to provide a super dinner menu at a flat rate of £12.
The revival of tourism is due in no small measure to the IPadership of Michael McNulty. Educated by the Jesuits in Dublin, l0 is the first Director General oi -;ch Tourism to come into the orba: 'sation with a successful record in the business world.
He was formerly Marketing and Devdopment Manager of Irish Dunlop, and a product of the Cranfield School of Management and of the Harvard Business School. A friendly man of enormous charm, he is well liked by his staff to whom he gives a jolly and dynamic leadership.
If I were to proffer any advice to Margaret Cahill, I would suggest (and I would be one of thousands) that she takes a long and hard look at the vastly expensive television advertising campaign she has inherited. It is a repeat of last year's campaign, an ancient stilted "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" whimsy cartoon style of advertisement which is wholly unconvincing.
The ever so twee "Irish" cartoons are continued in the Tourist Board's main brochure of a Britain with quaint "Irish" Copy.
What the potential tourist for Ireland in 1987 wants to know are the facts of the new cut-price air and sea fares, details and prices of the new Swansea-Cork sea route, and information on value-for-money holidays, particularly in golf, fishing, pilgrimages and touring by car, not whimsy.
If the new leading lady of Irish Tourism in Britain wants to produce thousands of brand new high spending tourists, all she has to do is to get across to the great dog loving British public the fact that they can take their canine friend in the family car to Ireland on holiday, as there are no quarantine restrictions on the Irish Sea.