Missionary Zeal out of Ireland

by Tom Gallagher

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The Financial Times carried an uplifting story about Denis O'Brien, the Chairman of Digicel Group, which seeks out impoverished areas and sells cell phones and services. Importantly, Digicel stays around and builds up the communities in which it does business, like in Haiti.

"Missionary work is not something normally associated with the pugnacious Denis O’Brien. But the square-jawed, square-shouldered Irish telecommunications entrepreneur believes his work, spreading his telecoms business to some of the smallest and poorest economies in the world, has something of the Irish Catholic tradition of charity about it.

This, the 52-year-old says, stems from his Dublin childhood. “One of our neighbours was a nun who was always collecting for something, and another woman two doors up spent 50 years in the missionaries, so there was always that interaction,” he says."

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