30 December 2012

When Guinness Considered cutting its Irish links

The thirty year rule on British and Irish state papers means that we are now getting a chance to look at (some) government papers from 1982. British papers revealed soe interesting items about the Falklands including Alexander Haig's (the US Secretary o State) intentions to tell Argentina about the UK's plans to retake Sout Georgia.The man was clearly an utter idiot.

Also from the Irish release comes this item which was reported by Irish Examiner. Brewer Guinness was apparently prepared to drop associations with Ireland and promote itself as an English company during the Falklands crisis.

The rebranding plan was prepared on the back of deepening resentment of Ireland and Irish brands in Britain, he said.  “Mr Guinness remarked that an association with Ireland was part of the Guinness image,” Paul D Dempsey of the Irish embassy wrote.

“He was no longer sure this association with Ireland was helpful. They were encountering a lot of resistance to the Irish angle and this could force them to emphasise facts such as that Guinness was an English company which had its base at Park Royal. Indeed they had publicity material of this kind ready during the Falklands crisis but had not used it. They might also have to cease their association with organisations and functions.”

In the meeting on August 18 1982, Mr Guinness, a descendant of the banking line of the family, refused to accept the views of diplomats that British attitudes to Ireland went through cycles and that opinions would improve.

“In his view the impact of these things was cumulative. The Mountbatten killing had a serious effect. The Falklands crisis and the IRA bombings had added to the damage,” he said. “A fund of goodwill towards Ireland existed, built up in the fifties and sixties. This fund was now being depleted.”

Mr Guinness, public relations executive for Park Royal brewery in London, told the embassy staff that the Hyde Park bombing caused “particular offence” because it was an attack on the Queen’s guard and horses were seen lying dead. “Furthermore, many people had been affronted by the fact that the IRA were able, within a matter of hours, to put out a gloating press release from Dublin,” he said.

Mr Guinness urged diplomats to press the Government to speak out against the IRA.

“He cautioned against a policy of silence – thinking that because the IRA were not active it was not necessary to say anything about them,” the embassy staff said.

“The Falklands crisis and the IRA bombings were associated in people’s minds and it was desirable to keep reminding people that the Irish people were totally opposed to violence and those who used it.”

Mr Guinness also relayed how the chairman of Tyne Tees television, a publican and brewer in Sutherland who bottled and distributed Guinness through his pubs, objected to being supplied from Dublin.  “If the dispute with him went public, it would not do Guinness any good,” he said.

Mr Guinness, honoured by the Queen with a CVO, joined the Guinness Company in Park Royal in 1945 and was a director of Guinness PLC from 1971 to 1989.

He is a distant relative of the brewing line of the family and descended from the Rundell “banking” line headed by Samuel Guinness, the younger brother of Arthur Guinness.

This relates presumably to Guinness UK I suppose but how things changed for the better over time. It probably didn't help that the gun running piece of shit Haughey was Taoiseach for a large part of 1982.  An absolutely hateful waste of oxygen.

Guinness is now owned by Diageo, a British based company

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