Chamber News

Chambers Ireland Event of the Year is back and better than ever and we want you to get involved! The ideal event for anyone looking to showcase their product, share ideas or learn the latest innovations in technology, Toys4Engineers is a must.

On Thursday, October 10th, WIT Arena will be transformed into a hub of technology and innovation as companies from all over the country will come to showcase at Toys4Engineers.

The day will feature an Expo will over 100 stands, from start-ups to multi-nationals, in a bid to exchange information, generate sales leads and expand contact bases.

There will also be an outdoor expo, with thanks to Clem Jacob Hire, which will present the very latest in plant machinery.

The event will begin with a networking breakfast from 8am for all exhibitors and conclude at 3pm following a headline presentation.

In a new offering this year, we will be running professional masterclasses, which will be CPD certified by Waterford Chamber Skillnet and will include topics such as Additive Manufacturing, Energy Efficiency and the Carbon Challenge for Industry, Sustainable Packaging and Pitching to Industry. Each masterclass will run for 90 minutes and costs just €25.

We also have a new Meet the Buyer section, with thanks to Waterford Local Enterprise Office, where companies will have the opportunity to showcase their products to a multi-national audience on a one to one basis.

As Waterford Institute of Technology are our partners in the event, we will also have an invitation only seminar for students who are interested in a career in engineering and identifying what graduate programmes and internships are on offer, as well as hearing from industry professionals about their own career paths.

WLR’s Damien Tiernan will be broadcasting live from the event and through their extensive social media offering, showcasing all the ‘toys’ to a wide audience.

Stands are competitively priced, starting at just €400+VAT and can be booked through or by calling Angela on 051 872639.

We must identify the positives is the message from Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley in response to the recent publication of the South East Economic Monitor.

While some of the figures are stark, Mr Hurley believes it also highlights the fact that the South East is growing.

“The report recognises that the South East Region has the greatest headroom for growth of any Irish Region. Only 1% of the €7.8bn 2018-2022 Exchequer Capital Investment has been committed to the South East, despite 8.9% of the national population living in the region. This needs to change and we will be making every effort to lobbying the Government in this regard.

“Both Waterford Airport and the North Quays are examples where private investors are already seeing the opportunities and investing in Waterford, and public money is following their lead. If private investors are seeing this potential, then the state should recognise the opportunities which exist when allocating its Capital Investment over the next five years.

“The South East is the most affordable of the five regions under Ireland 2040 and should be getting a fair share of the Capital investment over the next five years. This will ensure the growth and employment ambitions are achieved. Along with other regional stakeholders, we are working collaboratively to promote the region in terms of affordability, opportunities in terms of investment and employment and an all-important work/life balance. That will continue in earnest. Only this week, we met with Indian Ambassador to Ireland Mr Sandeep Kumar to highlight these points and he has assured us he will relay the information to his colleagues.

“In addition, the required investment for the Technological University has to be included in the 2018-2022 Capital Investment Budget. The facts speak for themselves. Having a University will guarantee economic growth, not just for Waterford but for the wider region.

“The report also highlights the opportunity now for IDA Ireland to redirect their focus and to promote the region in terms of its affordability, highly skilled workforce and the opportunity for growth and investment.

“Negative and inaccurate reporting, as seen this week in a national newspaper, is certainly not helping to promote the region and the onus is on us to ensure the right message is delivered at all times.

“To say there is a lack of high-quality jobs in simply untrue. CSO labour figures show consistent growth in higher value jobs in the South East in areas such as ICT and Financial Services, both of which are up over 20%. We must also be cognisant of the fact that companies such as Bausch + Lomb and Glanbia, have recently announced significant growth and expansion plans, so we are confident of the level of jobs coming on stream.

“Once professionals chose to come to the region, the cost of living is more affordable and while the earning figures may be slightly less, it is certainly no where near half of the national average. In fact, CSO figures show the South East was 90% of the national average.

“Waterford and the South East Region has ambitious plans for growth. We need to be even more ambitious. We need to take pride in our offering and work collaboratively to push the message that Waterford and the South East is a great place to live, work, invest in and do business.”

Brexit PreparednessReports today that in the last year the majority of SMEs have either postponed, or are reviewing, their investment plans highlights the impact of the Brexit negotiations on the Irish economy.

Speaking this morning, Chambers Ireland chief executive Ian Talbot emphasised the importance for businesses of all sizes to prepare now before the UK’s final departure deadline at the end of October.

“Brexit uncertainty and the threat of a ‘no-deal’ has caused significant damage to businesses across the country, particularly to SMEs and the tourism sector, a key national industry. As the pound falls to near-parity levels with the Euro our export sector is suffering immediate harm. As Ireland’s largest business network with a geographical reach into every major town and city in the country, we know how deeply this uncertainty hurts local companies.

However, the three months between now and the 31 October is a window for business to get ready and prepare for a very different trading relationship with the UK. No deal Brexit, and a reversion to WTO rules requires Irish businesses to think seriously about their supply chain and whether they can diversify. In many cases, regardless of a deal, trade with the UK will continue. But in order for this to happen, traders, including importers and exporters, must understand customs procedures, and the additional administration that is required.

We have an ever-growing concern that huge numbers of businesses in Ireland may only be starting to realise that they are exposed. Awareness amongst UK companies appears generally low too. The focus of attention has primarily been on exporters but businesses dependent on imports, directly or indirectly, are just as exposed. We urge all businesses to fully explore and understand the source and destination of their goods and engage with their buyers and sellers, in both Ireland and the UK, to ensure everyone understands the actions they may need to take.

Businesses must realise that even if their own plans are robust, there is a huge interdependence on all companies in a supply chain and a failure elsewhere will have a direct impact.

While we continue to call on political leaders to reach an agreement and put an end to this uncertainty, we urge all Irish businesses to prepare for the worst, and avail of every guidance, advice and financial support. However, as damaging as no-deal will likely be, it will be worse if steps are not taken now to get ready for the possibility of it happening.”

Michael OFlynn

Renowned Cork-based developer Michael O’Flynn, Chairman and CEO of the O’Flynn Group will take to the podium as guest speaker at the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme opening lunch in Faithlegg on Wednesday, 25th September.

Michael is a leading figure in the Irish and UK property sectors and is widely recognised for his experience and expertise. Over the course of the lunch, Michael will share his own story on how the O’Flynn Group, established in 1978 as a house building company, has progressed into one of the largest property development companies in Ireland with a strong reputation overseas particularly in the UK but also across Europe.

The lunch will mark the commencement of the third Regional Leaders Programme, which brings together mentors and participants for shared learning over the course of nine months, offering one to one mentoring, group masterclasses and inspiring speaker lunches.

Supported by Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Waterford Institute of Technology, the programme has seen over 150 people graduate over the past two years, who now form an exclusive alumni, and who continue to network and grow their contacts base.

Speaking about the programme, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said: “As we look to year three of the programme, we are encouraged with the level of engagement from the business community and it continues to grow year on year. This year we have more mentors, more masterclasses and more networking opportunities. The calibre of speakers we have lined up are exceptional, of course starting with Michael O’Flynn, while we also have Gerry Cahill, Managing Director of Roche Ireland Ltd. and Edwin Rohan, Head of EMEA and LATAM, Customer Success Acceleration Team at Google Ireland.

“We also have 45 mentors for our participants to choose who all have a wealth of experience in their own fields, so whether you are a start-up, business owner, senior manager or climbing the ladder, there are mentors on the programme to cater for all.

“With the professional expertise of our partners Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Waterford Institute of Technology, this programme is designed to develop our future leaders and put a focus on succession planning, which is critical to the future success of the region.”

The cost, which is already minimal at €350 per participant, is being reduced further by 25% with thanks to funding from Waterford Chamber Skillnet.

To learn more about the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme, please contact Lynda Lawton or Kelly Cummins on 051 872639.

Skillnet Strategy Survey

Skillnet Ireland is committing to more ambitious actions in meeting Ireland’s workforce challenges.
We are urging employers, employees, industry groups, regional groups, the general public and all interested parties to have their say in informing our new Statement of Strategy 2020-2024.

The purpose of this open public consultation is to build an effective and robust strategy that is both dynamic and resilient in an ever-changing marketplace. We invite all our stakeholders and members of the public to input to the development of our strategy, that will not only support future economic development but will bring real results to employees and enterprise at a regional and sectoral level, building on the progress achieved under our strategy for 2016-2019.

Have your say by clicking here to visit our dedicated page.

This new strategy will seek to articulate a vision for Ireland’s Workforce Development and set out strategic goals and targets for Skillnet Ireland. Read the full press release over on our website.


Waterford Chamber’s second Regional Leaders Programme drew to a close at Faithlegg as the mentors and participants came together one last time for a networking lunch.

Guest speaker chef Paul Flynn of the Tannery and Waterford Ambassador of the Year spoke about his own personal journey in business, having left Dungarvan at the tender age of 18 and returning from the highs of running Michelin starred restaurants to going it alone. In a witty and frank presentation of the life of the self-employed, Paul spoke of the highs and lows and the constant need to do better.

“There’s no doubt it was tough and there were very lean years along the way but my wife Maire and myself had a vision to create a restaurant that offered great food in my home town that appealed to locals and visitors alike.

“You have to be driven to always want more, to be better and you need a bit of luck thrown in. For me that bit of luck came when I was asked to write for the Irish Times. From there came the books and TV shows and while I never sought out the limelight, in some ways it was what saved us. As people began to travel to our restaurant, the constant need to better the offering took hold and from that came the Townhouse and Cookery School.”

As one of Waterford’s most famous sons, Paul says his success is in no small part to the incredible chefs and mentors who inspired and guided him along the way.

While the second programme drew to a close, Waterford Chamber President Jonathan Earl also announced details of the third programme, which is due to begin in September, and will see participants from year one and two still very much involved in the programme.

“Having been mentored and having mentored others for years, I know how important a programme like this is. We all need someone to turn to for advice, to share ideas and to confide in. It’s that shared learning experience which helps us all to grow and develop within our chosen careers. We are delighted to have two of our three speakers already confirmed for next year – Gerry Cahill of Roche and Google’s Edwin Rowan and we look forward to the Regional Leaders network growing with our new participants in September, alongside our alumni.”

Partners Bausch + Lomb played a pivotal role in developing the programme and speaking at the lunch, Head of HR Mark Fitzgerald said: “People and relationships make the positive difference. This programme is all about improving us as leaders and people.

“Building a support network across a wide variety of businesses where participants can leverage from the experience and knowledge of the mentors and mentees is a key part of the Regional Leaders Programme.”


Responding to the need to develop a pipeline of future leaders in the South East region, Waterford Chamber, with the support of Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Institute of Technology and Waterford Chamber Skillnet, designed the Regional Leaders Programme to develop business leaders for the future through mentorship and skills sharing.

The programme is aimed at professionals who want to develop their leadership skills or for companies who would like to increase the capacity of their internal talent pool to ensure the next generation of their company is in safe hands.

The third Regional Leaders Programme gets underway in September, offering one to one mentoring sessions, group mentoring masterclasses and inspiring speaker lunches. For more information please contact Lynda Lawton or Kelly Cummins on 051 872639.

Waterford AirportWaterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley has welcomed the announcement of €5 million in funding for the lengthening and widening of Waterford Airport’s runway, saying it is “a great day for Waterford and the wider region”.

“Waterford Chamber has long championed the development of Waterford Airport on behalf of our members and to see it finally come to fruition gives great hope for the future development of Waterford and the wider region.

“It is also encouraging to see the collaboration between public and private enterprises to ensure a timely delivery, which is a first in regional aviation in Ireland. We have worked closely with Conor McCarthy of Leadcom Ltd through our Regional Leaders Programme and his successes speak for themselves. With him at the helm, along with the experience of Noel Frisby of Frisby Construction, and the influence of our leading industries like Dawn Meats, EirGen Pharma, Red Hat and all those we have engaged with to lobby for the Airport, it will certainly contribute significantly to the economic life of the region.

“At a recent meeting with An Taoiseach, we detailed the urgency in securing funding for Waterford Airport, stating Waterford has some of the top companies in the world but accessibility is a major issue for international executives. We also reiterated that there were private investors waiting to move on developing the airport and that the funding from Government is the final piece of the puzzle, to which the Taoiseach responded: “If private investors and County Councils are willing to risk their money, the government will not be found wanting”.

“The work/life balance on offer in Waterford is our strongest selling point and now with accessibility and a strong focus on the tourism sector, the Airport is an integral cog in the wheel of promoting Waterford as a great destination to live, work, invest in and do business.”

The investment will secure the future of Waterford Airport and allow it to compete for international carriers using jet engine aircraft. The runway, when extended from its existing length of 1,433 metres to 2,280 metres, will be able to accommodate large commercial passenger aircraft such as Boeing 737s and Airbus 320s.

The remaining €7 million euro for the project will be met by regional private investment and local authorities in Waterford, Kilkenny and Wexford, who have committed funding of €5 million and €2 million respectively in return for an equity shareholding in Waterford Airport, subject to the approval of the existing shareholders at their upcoming EGM.

RLP WIT May 2019Waterford Chamber’s Regional Leaders Programme received a huge endorsement this week as they are set to partner with Waterford Institute of Technology’s School of Business.

WIT and Waterford Chamber are collaborating to provide further professional development opportunities for participants of the Chamber Regional Leaders Programme. Under this initiative, participants who join the Regional Leaders Programme will have the opportunity to choose a Level 8 management development programme that will be delivered in association with WIT Business School.

Interested applicants who meet the entry requirements can choose either a one semester Certificate in Management Development/Certificate in Project Management or, alternatively, a two semester Higher Diploma in Business in Management. These WIT programmes will provide opportunities for participants to build on their leadership, mentoring and networking skills and open new pathways for further professional development and growth.

Speaking about the collaboration, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said: “As we look towards launching the third year of the Regional Leaders Programme in September, it is fantastic to receive such positive support and endorsement from WIT. This programme is built around collaboration, with our partners Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Bausch + Lomb. They have been instrumental in guiding the programme to the level it is at right now. From year one to two, we enjoyed 40% growth and would expect a further increase in year if early indications are anything to go by.

“Having WIT promote our programme gives it additional strength and recognises the importance of developing our future leaders. Year three will see more mentors join the programme, an exceptional offering of masterclasses and inspiring speaker lunches, so we would encourage anybody looking to develop their network and learn from the best to get in touch with us.”

Prof. Denis Harrington, Head of Graduate Business at WIT said: “We are pleased to be collaborating with the Chamber on this new initiative. Participants of the Regional Leaders Programme will now have a pathway to continue their studies and, subject to meeting the entry requirements for the relevant WIT programme, can look to take either our Level 8 Certificate in Management Development programme or Certificate in Project Management programme part-time over one semester or our Level 8 Higher Diploma in Business in Management programme part-time over the academic year. These short executive WIT programmes aim to prepare candidates to perform effectively at an executive level and contribute to the management of their organisation’s policies with clarity, consistency and capability. Flexibly delivered and using online and blended learning approaches, the programmes will be ideally suited to meet the needs of busy professionals.”

To find out more about the Regional Leaders Programme, please contact Lynda Lawton or Kelly Cummins on 051 872639.

AGM 2019 Photo

Jonathan Earl, owner of B2B Communications, was elected President of Waterford Chamber at the 232nd AGM in the Granville Hotel last night (Monday, May 27th).

Jonathan has been involved with Waterford Chamber since joining the retail committee in 1996, became a director in 2000 and subsequently returned to directorship in 2014. He is chair of the Chamber’s Connectivity, Infrastructure and Development Policy Advisory Panel and the Chambers Ireland representative on the Programme Monitoring Committee of the Ireland-Wales Programme.

Addressing Waterford Chamber members, he said: “In the 25 years I’ve worked in Waterford I have witnessed significant changes in our city and county. Waterford has emerged from being an industrial city to a post-industrial climate with the evolution of our tourism offering, service industry and the growth of our tech, pharma and life-science sectors.

“In the last fifteen years I’ve been fortunate enough to work with all sectors and all sizes of business. B2B Communications has tracked the changes in industry in Waterford and the South East. Ours is a business which is a weather vane for consumer and business confidence, and we’ve seen how within certain sectors Waterford’s self-assurance has grown. This needs to spread across the whole of Waterford and the Chamber has a role in this evolution.

“I have spent my adult life attempting to interpret and communicate messages, and today I find myself in a role, in an organisation, in a City where now more than ever a confident, consistent and positive message is required.

“We all have our roles to play, Waterford Chamber, Waterford City & County Council, businesses, home grown or foreign direct. We have all chosen to live, work and do business here.

“Waterford has a proud business tradition, but in recent decades has lost its confidence. Over the last few years there has been significant investment in Waterford, hundreds of millions and there are hundreds of millions more to be invested over the next number of years. This is a time to restore that confidence, but as with life, its cannot be restored from without, confidence must come from within.

“Waterford Chamber will play its part, but it requires a consistent, confident message from all stakeholders, large and small. And it requires partnership and collective responsibility from within for confidence and success to be restored.”

Outgoing President Kathryn Kiely thanked Chamber members, staff and fellow Chamber Directors for their support. “During the year what was particularly striking to me was the willingness of members and business leaders to participate and give of their time, be it on voicing their views directly to Government, engaging in a dialogue on the role of regional cities and their vision for Waterford, mentoring future business leaders and participating in a series of workshops to help shape the development of Waterford Chamber’s Strategic Plan 2019—2022. I would like to thank all our members for their continual engagement, sharing of ideas, experiences and knowledge.

“Through this process, informed by members, we have set out our values as an organisation and strategic objectives for the coming four years. Our members are at the heart of what Waterford Chamber is about. We represent a diverse range of business sectors and organisational profiles from the individual entrepreneur to large multinationals. We are ambitious for our city and Region and are collaborative in our approach advocating on behalf of our community and enhancing our capacity as a City Region. We are progressive and innovative in the priorities we set and the programmes we plan.”

Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley re-iterated this by reporting that Chamber is performing better than it has in years, confirming that membership was growing and Chamber is in a very solid position to develop going forward.

Speaking at the AGM, Gerald said: “On a day when we are all talking about the local and European elections and eager to hear the mandates that follow, it is fitting that this evening we also launch our own Strategic Plan for the coming years.

“Working collectively has never been more important, whether it is with our members, stakeholder groups or with our elected officials, as we all strive for the same vision – to ensure a vibrant economic environment for the Waterford we choose to love, learn, work and do business in.

“Our mission is clear – to be the voice of business in Waterford, dedicated to supporting, promoting and advocating for our members while being the catalyst for creating a vibrant and sustainable economy. In an ever-changing landscape, we must all do our part, starting by getting the message right.”

As the meeting concluded, Danette Connolly, Home Instead Senior Care and John McSweeney, AIB Bank were deemed elected as Deputy President and Vice-President respectively.

Join President Jonathan Earl at Waterford Chamber’s President’s Lunch on Friday, June 21st in the Majestic Hotel, Tramore, where Irish Times Editor Paul O’Neill will make the keynote address. For bookings contact Lynda Lawton on 051 311130 or see

Paul O Neill Editor Irish Times

Paul O’Neill, Editor of the Irish Times, will make a welcome return to his native county for the Waterford Chamber President’s Lunch, which takes place on Friday, 21st June in the beautiful surroundings of the Majestic Hotel in Tramore.

During the mid-summer lunch event, which is sponsored by AIB Bank, guests will enjoy a sumptuous meal, preceded by a drinks reception compliments of Legacy Irish Cider.

Always a popular corporate event on the Waterford Chamber calendar, the President’s Lunch sees the coming together of business owners and executives for an informal gathering and sharing of ideas.

Incoming President Jonathan Earl said he is very much looking forward to hearing Paul’s story from local journalist to editor of Ireland’s leading newspaper.

“I have spent my adult life attempting to interpret and communicate messages, and today I find myself in a role, in an organisation, in a city where now more than ever a confident, consistent and positive message is required. The media plays an integral part in delivering that message and it will be interesting to hear how Waterford is perceived on the national media agenda.”

Speaking in advance of the event, Paul said he looked forward to getting a better sense of the challenges facing Waterford at a time of such momentous change at home and abroad. “It’s not a question of me coming home because I don’t feel I ever went away. But some, no doubt, will see me as an outsider and perhaps there’s a different perspective that comes with that.”

Event sponsor Marian Keane of AIB Homes said: “This is our second year sponsoring the President’s Lunch, which we view as an important event for the business community to network and take time out to engage with peers.”

Paul O’Neill was appointed Editor of The Irish Times in April 2017. He has had a long and varied career with the company, having joined in 1989 as London Correspondent. Over 30 years, he has been a news reporter, Crime Correspondent, Deputy News Editor, Finance Editor, Editorial Director and Deputy Editor.

In more recent years, he has played a central role in the transformation of The Irish Times into a digital publisher.

Paul began his career as a reporter with the Waterford News & Star in 1982 and subsequently joined the then Cork Examiner in 1989.

The acquisition by The Irish Times last July of the Irish Examiner, the Echo and a number of regional titles, including the Waterford News & Star, has brought his journalistic career under one umbrella and brought him back to the place where it all began almost four decades ago.

Tickets for the lunch are €65 including VAT and can be booked by contacting Lynda Lawton on 051 311130 or online at here.


What We Do For Our Members





business services
















What Our Members Say

“Tom Murphy Car Sales Ltd has been a member of Waterford Chamber of Commerce for over 25 years. It’s a membership that serves us well as we find it gives us a platform to interact with similar businesses and puts us in front of a wide audience. Having staged a number of very successful Chamber events, both at our dealership on the Cork Road and at venues chosen by the Chamber, it really puts into perspective the value of networking and meeting with potential customers face to face. We intend to continue the partnership between Waterford Chamber of Commerce and Tom Murphy Car Sales into the future, as the results speak for themselves and we see the value in being a member of Waterford Chamber.”

Tom Murphy, Tom Murphy Car Sales



We Can Help!

Call us to find out how Waterford Chamber can help you with your business and training needs today.





 contact us button