Just over 20 years ago Galway was rocked by the news that Digital Equipment Corporation –DEC- was closing its hardware manufacturing business in Galway with the loss of more than 750 jobs. The US computer company, which came to Galway in 1971, had a huge positive influence on the growth of Galway and in establishing Ireland as a location of choice for multinational technology companies.
In 1993 the impending closure was seen by many as a disaster for the city and the region, and a major blow to the IDA’s strategy of attracting leading technology companies to Ireland. In fact the opposite was the case. Some of those made redundant set up their own businesses, others went off to work for a wide range of companies, and a few emigrated. Wherever they went they brought with them a strong work ethic and a skill set which not only ensured their success but brought added value to their new organisations.
It is often forgotten that Digital also retained a strong presence in Galway through its software business. This later became Compaq, subsequently Hewlett Packard, and still today continues to enhance Galway’s high-tech profile.
Digital also nurtured enduring friendships among its workforce and a strong network of ‘ex-decies’ still exists. They have held a number of successful reunions over the years including a very successful Tops of the Town reunion in 2010, which Digital strongly supported. The initiative of The Gathering is bringing about another reunion and this time is reaching out right across all continents to bring back to Galway employees of Digital worldwide.
The organising committee is preparing displays of old photographs and other memorabilia, videos for viewing, memorial table, music, finger food, raffle, and a tour of the Computer and Communications Museum of Ireland on the IDA Business Park at Lower Dangan, Newcastle, which houses a number of digital computers and peripherals of a time now long gone, to the amusement of many of the younger generations who visit the museum. For the avid ex-decie golfers, and there were many, there is also the possibility of a golfing event.
The Gathering takes place on Friday October 4 at The Ardilaun hotel, commencing at 7pm. The cost is €10 per head and it’s strictly first come, first served. You will need to reserve a booking by the closing date of Friday August 30. If you wish to attend email [email protected] –numbers are limited.
The committee have been working on this Gathering since June and to date have secured more than 50 per cent of their expected reservations.