• Morgan Fagg

Spanish & Irish more connected than ever

Updated: Oct 29, 2020

Spanish Irish Businesses are more connected than ever

As with many conference calls in 2020 the Spanish Irish Business Network resembled the

Brady Bunch as the large gathering filled my screen with familiar faces inside a nine-box window layout.

They met online this year for their Annual General Meeting and one of the topics of particular interest was the use of technology and conference calls in particular which we have all become so used to since last March.

This was my first time attending one of their AGMs but I did recognise several familiar faces and heard a few familiar voices throughout the night.

I heard the voice of a former neighbour who took good care of me when I moved to Las Rozas in 2012. I saw friends from the Bloomsday Society, a familiar face from Dublin, and many people I had met at embassy events in recent years including the SIBN President Elizabeth Aston.

Elizabeth Aston was both the outgoing and incoming chair for SIBN as the committee had requested that committee members remain in their current positions if at all possible.

With so many people not knowing if they are coming or going thanks to Covid-19, it makes sense for the outgoing committee to stay where they are and continue in their roles.

I believe there were about 40 people on the online forum when I logged in and amongst the voices and faces that could be heard and seen, the conference demonstrated the success of online meetings as people from all over Spain were able to tune in and attend and a couple from Dublin made it too.

Remember Remember the Fifth of November

Recognising the success of such meetings for an international organisation such as the SIBN, Elizabeth Aston was busy organising a Zoom call with Zoom’s Chief Information Officer, Harry Moseley for the 5th of November. Mr Moseley is a Dublin native and graduate of Trinity College.

Mr Moseley is recognised as one of the top 100 CIOs in the world according to Computerworld and it is hard to believe that the CEO of Zoom, Eric Yuan had difficulties finding investors in 2011 as many people believed that the video-conferencing market was already saturated, a decade ago.

Technology was a recurring theme and the group discussed the success of different companies associated with the group and past members. The online forum allowed many people including myself to make the meeting this year but it did clash with another event being held in the James Joyce.

Sounding like a social butterfly, I raised the point that I have seen many Irish events in Madrid clashing with others. I have seen embassy nights clash with table quizzes for the Madrid Harps, a Repeal the 8th event held at the same time as a GAA tournament and last year as poet John Liddy was reading poems by Seamus Heaney at a Brexit protest in Colon, we were missing a pop-up Gaelige event in Sol

My Gaelgori friend was disappointed to miss the Irish Speaking event but I was more interested in fotografí as I always try to capture all the wonderful Irish events that I hear about in Madrid.

Most of the events, I have missed over the last two years have unfortunately been SIBN events so I was delighted to make the online AGM this year.

Supporting Spanish and Irish businesses, one person pointed out that the Irish Times had shared an article about hundreds of Irish retailers for all your online Christmas shopping needs and another person mentioned www.littleireland.es who I had just recently bought some Barry's teabags from.

I will have a look through the Irish Times' list later on but I invite everyone to join me for a cuppa tea.

Thanks to www.littleireland.es you have the chance to win some Barry's tea delivered to your door.

Competition link: https://www.nohemingway.com/post/put-your-name-in-the-pot

We dropped the ball in 2020 but let’s bounce back

The SIBN dropped the ball this year and by that I mean their Gala Ball in the beautiful Westin Palace Hotel.

Every second year an enormous charity event is held for Saint Patrick’s Day where the SIBN pick two charities to represent a cause in both Ireland and Spain.

It might not be fair to say that they dropped the ball in 2020, considering the external factors at play but it is clear that they intend to bounce back in 2021 and they already have a date set for the Saint Patrick’s Day ball in the Westin Hotel but their March 6th event may still be subject to government restrictions on the numbers allowed. The Global Pandemic began in mid-March just as people were getting ready to paint the town green and it remains to be seen how 2020 will end.

Don't forget to wear a mask this Halloween

Two years ago, I was dressing everyone up for Halloween when the Bloomsday Society’s monthly reading fell on the 31st of October and I was looking forward to the Madrid Harps’ annual Halloween Fancy Dress Party in the James Joyce. This year, we will all be wearning masks but not at the Bloomsday Society as we will meet online to pay our respects to the Spanish heart surgeon who passed away in Ireland in October yet touched so many hearts in the Bloomsday Society in Madrid.

We are facing curfews in Spain and six weeks of Level 5 restrictions in Ireland and we will all have to raise our game to the next level, at least between the hours of 6am and 11.59pm anyways.

If you are interested in joining the Spanish Irish Business Network, then e-mail Brendan Rowan on admin@sibn.es or log on to SIBN.es to find out more about their Spanish Irish Business Network.

If I don’t see you around, I hope to see you online soon.

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