Web pioneers return to strengthen ISP roots


5 May 2004

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Barry Flanagan and Colm Grealy have been appointed to senior positions within fast-growing ISP and broadband provider Netsource. Flanagan joins the company as head of innovation and development while Grealy becomes strategic business development manager.

Flanagan and Grealy co-founded Ireland’s first ISP, Ireland OnLine (IOL), in 1992, bringing the internet to Irish homes and businesses.

They will be in good company at Netsource, where the founder and managing director, Tom Kelly, established Ireland’s third ISP, Club Internet, in 1995.

Commenting on the appointments Kelly said: “We are delighted to welcome these two major players into our company. Barry has long been considered the voice of the internet in Ireland and Netsource plan to leave Barry to do just that – talk to the marketplace, educating the business, teleworker and corporate users and advising them what they should look for when changing or seeking connectivity, e-mail, hosting and security.”

At Netsource, Flanagan will be responsible for researching emerging technologies and applications as well as developing new services. Grealy’s role will be to address the commercial opportunities for new products, new alliances and new markets.

Speaking about his new position, Grealy said: “It is great to be back at the forefront of the internet industry and working with a company that operates in the space I know best. Tom, Barry and I all come from an ISP background and are equally as positive about the enormous opportunities the internet continues to offer.”

Flanagan’s and Grealy’s achievements in the industry were recognised when they each received the award of AIB Internet Business Person of the Year in both 1999 and 2000. Flanagan has also been instrumental in the establishment of the Irish Internet Services Providers Association (IISPA) and the Internet Neutral Exchange (INEX). Between 1998 and 2000 he served on the Infrastructure Advisory Committee of the Information Society Commission advising the government on telecommunications.

In 2000, Flanagan and Grealy teamed up to launch an ambitious online news and information portal, Online.ie, backed by IR£5m (€6.35m) in venture funding. The site continues to survive, albeit with a low market profile.

More recently, the pair were key figures – Grealy as managing director – behind Dublin Daily, the high-profile newspaper that went out of business four months after its launch last year.

By Brian Skelly