Irish billionaire talks Ireland, Haiti and the future of media
You may not expect to find an Irishman contributing to a panel discussion on investment in Haiti, but businessman Denis O’Brien earned his place at the recent Clinton Global Initiative alongside former President Bill Clinton and newly appointed Haitian President Michel Martelly, to name a few.
When the influential Irishman greets me with a strong handshake in Manhattan’s Sheraton Hotel last Wednesday afternoon, the talk immediately turns to his work in Haiti.
One of Ireland’s most prolific entrepreneurs, O’Brien’s vast business portfolio stretches across the world in varied industries making him a billionaire tycoon. In Ireland everyone knows O’Brien due to his savvy business nature, his involvement in a public inquiry (the Moriarty Tribunal) into certain payments to politicians and his vast fortune.
O’Brien was in New York to participate in the annual Clinton Global Initiative, an event he describes as a proactive version of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“Davos is interesting and there are very good sessions there, but nobody makes any promises or makes any commitment to do something, where as President Clinton and CGI is all about doing something,” says O’Brien.