Chamber News

Speaking after Tánaiste and Minister for Business Frances Fitzgerald announced an agreement with European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager to establish the working group, Sarah Freeman, Director of Policy and Communications of Chambers Ireland commented:

“The announcement today that a working group on business supports to deal with challenges of Brexit for business will be established is very welcome. It will bolster Ireland’s response to Brexit and help businesses explore new markets while strengthening their links to existing ones. Our SMEs are particularly vulnerable to changes as a result of the UK leaving the EU and additional supports to help assess and plan for these unique challenges will be very helpful.

Through this working group, Irish officials from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will liaise with Commission officials on an ongoing basis and will be in a position to advise businesses about any potential future supports. The recently released results of the European Economic Survey 2018 revealed that Brexit is the number one concern of Irish businesses for the year ahead. It is crucial that the right supports are in place so that businesses can respond to the unknown challenges and get the right help in response to their particular needs.”

EES 2018 Infographic 1A survey of European businesses, published today (8th November 2017) by EUROCHAMBRES, has revealed that Brexit is not considered a concern for most companies.

The survey, which was conducted in autumn 2017 and had over 50,000 respondents from 23 countries across Europe, asked businesses to rank the main challenges they believed they faced in 2018. While Irish firms identified the impact of Brexit as the biggest challenge to the development of their business only 9.2% of European businesses registered Brexit as a challenge at all.

Commenting on the results, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland and Deputy President of Eurochambres said, “This survey confirms that Irish businesses are feeling significantly more exposed to the impact of Brexit than businesses in the rest Europe. While it is not surprising that Brexit is a priority for Irish business given our proximity to the UK and the importance of our trading relationship, it is alarming that businesses across Europe are not more concerned by the potential impact of the loss of the EU’s second biggest market.”

“From our engagement with our European partners we knew that for many countries Brexit was a peripheral issue. They are more concerned with the provision of security for their citizens, job creation and the economic security of the Euro zone. However, we believe there is a role to play for Ireland’s business community to help our counterparts in Europe understand that unless a practical approach to Brexit negotiations is adopted, we all stand to lose out in terms of reduced economic growth, investment and jobs.”

Key findings of EES 2018:

  • Lack of skilled workers ranks 2nd (compared to 4th last year) among the challenges for 2018.
  • The prospect of Brexit is the number 1 challenge only for Irish businesses, scoring much lower in most of the other EES 2018 participating countries.
  • Domestic sales expectations rise slightly compared to last year, but seemingly remain a source of uncertainty for businesses, as domestic demand is again ranked the top challenge.
  • Export sales within and beyond the EU are higher than in 2017, despite the uncertain geo-political situation.
  • Employment expectations exceed the levels of the pre-crisis period for the first time.
  • Investment forecasts continue their upward trend, reflecting improving financing conditions and persisting low interest rates.

About the European Economic Survey

The EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey (EES) is an annual qualitative survey of business expectations across Europe. The survey is implemented by the network of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and co-ordinated by EUROCHAMBRES.

The questionnaire focuses on five economic indicators: business confidence, domestic sales, exports, employment and investment, as well as on challenges.

For EES 2018, around 50,000 businesses from 23 countries responded during autumn 2017.

Businesses from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey participated in the survey.

Over 200 companies in Ireland participated in the survey.

The EES findings will be launched in Brussels on Wednesday, 8th November.

EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey 2018 – full report

EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey 2018 – infographic

Chamber EU VisitA delegation from the Irish Chamber of Commerce Network, led by Chambers Ireland, today (7th November 2017) are meeting with key officials from across the European Commission to discuss matters of importance to the Irish business community.

With representation from Chambers of Commerce across Ireland, the objective of the trip is to highlight the need for the European Commission to proactively engage with the business community, particularly SMEs, on issues like trade, innovation and skills.

Speaking in Brussels today, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “When the UK exits the European Union in 2019, it will become even more important for the voice of Irish business to be heard in Brussels. While Brexit may be dominating headlines in Ireland, it is dramatically less newsworthy on the continent.

The EU is facing many challenges, including skills gap, ongoing difficulties with access to finance, promoting trade, reforming taxation and improving security. The Irish business community must be to the fore in promoting its position and its interests to EU leaders. Although we are strongly of the view that Ireland’s economic future can only be secured if it remains at the heart of a strong Europe, we also believe that the EU must evolve and adapt in these changing times and recognise the unique difficulties which will arise for Irish businesses. The voice of Irish business must be expressed and listened to and heard.

“The Chamber Network will brief various European decision makers on the key concerns of Irish business. Even with the highest rates of growth in the EU, we are a small open economy and we are considerably exposed to external forces and the uncertainty stemming from Brexit. We must ensure that the European Commission continues to support growth, job creation and innovation.”

Annual Dinner 2017 Launch

The Waterford Chamber Annual Dinner will take place at the Tower Hotel on Friday, November 10th. The 2017 Annual Dinner will celebrate the exciting times that lie ahead for Waterford, in terms of infrastructure, tourism and economic growth.

The Annual Dinner, sponsored by Liberty Blue Estate Agents, is the highlight of Waterford’s business calendar and promises again to be an excellent social event with a great opportunity for networking and client hospitality. The evening will begin at 7:30pm with a drinks reception sponsored by McDonald Dwyer Reddy & Byrne Insurances, followed by speeches and dinner.

The 2017 guest speaker is no stranger to audiences across the South East region and his keynote speech will be both hugely interesting and inspiring.

In June 2014, Michael Walsh was appointed Chief Executive of the newly amalgamated Waterford City and County Council and is the current chair of the Housing and Building Sub Committee of the City and County Managers Association.

Michael’s background is one of engineering, graduating from UCC in 1983 with a Civil Engineering degree. He started his career in Local Government with Waterford County Council in 1983 and worked between there and Limerick City Council for a number of years at various engineering posts until 2000 when he was appointed as Senior Executive Engineer in Waterford City Council. From there he progressed to the post of Director of Services and became Waterford City Manager in November 2007.

Speaking about the upcoming Annual Dinner, Chamber President Paul Nolan said: “Waterford is on the cusp of something great right now and who better to share the vision of what the future holds than the driving force behind the ambitious plans. Michael Walsh is a hugely engaging speaker and will no doubt have some key insights to share with our audience. I look forward, on behalf of Waterford Chamber, to welcoming Michael to our Annual Dinner and am sure his keynote speech will leave us all believing Waterford’s future is hugely bright.”

Sponsor Regina Mangan, Liberty Blue Estate Agents said she is thrilled and proud to support the black tie event for a second year. “The Waterford Chamber Annual Dinner is a key event on the business calendar in Waterford. As we celebrate 20 years in business and have expanded our business into West Waterford, the theme of the future growth of Waterford is pivitol and we really look forward to engaging with our business colleagues on the night.”

Group tickets and individual tickets are available from Waterford Chamber at a cost of €100 incl VAT. Contact Lynda Lawton on 051 311130, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see www.waterfordchamber.ie.

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Waterford Chamber and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) are delighted to announce that Siemens has come on board as the lead sponsor for their Toys4.0 Engineers Conference & Expo, next Friday 22nd September at the WIT Arena.

With excellent technology and outstanding innovations, Siemens provides answers to the social, economic and environmental challenges of the 21st century and will be showcasing a range of their products at the event.

In thanking Siemens for their support, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said: “We are looking forward to working with Siemens for this exciting event which is free for the public to attend from 2pm to 5pm. There’s going to be so much to see - from robotics to virtual reality, drones to vision systems, 3D printers to electric cars. Siemens innovations and designs will certainly enhance the event for those not just from the broad engineering domain, but for anyone who has an interest in the latest toys, gadgets and technologies.”

Speaking about the collaboration, Carl Murphy, Siemens said: “Toys4.0 Engineers is a valued initiative for Siemens as we seek to position engineering as a fascinating, relevant and dynamic career for any young person. Siemens is very pleased to support an activity that engages and encourages young people to develop their engineering expertise to solve the problems faced by today’s society”.

Toys4.0 Engineers is broken into two sessions. The morning is a fee paying Conference for engineering personnel at all levels with seven technical presentations, supported by Waterford Local Enterprise Office and Waterford Chamber Skillnet. From 2pm the event is free to the public and all are welcome to attend. This afternoon Expo will include over 50 display stands by companies and organisations (regional, national and International) across a broad range of sectors including med-tech, pharma, food, infrastructure, energy and automotive.

“We are specifically inviting secondary school students, boys and especially girls, who are curious about a career in engineering to come along in the afternoon. There is also a strong focus on jobs with a number of leading recruitment agencies and HR Managers from participating companies at the display stands. Engineers looking for a new position, particularly those who want to move or return to the South-East, are encouraged to attend and check out the opportunities” said Dr. Ken Thomas, Head of School of Engineering at WIT.

The event is backed by the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, Engineers Ireland and SIMI. WLR FM will be also be broadcasting live from the Arena on the day. Toys4.0Engineers 2017 is sure to provide plenty of fun, learning and networking opportunities for all experienced and aspiring engineers out there – don’t miss it!

For more information see www.toys4engineers.ie or contact Lynda Lawton in Waterford Chamber on 051 311130.

South East Chambers of Commerce would like to highlight their concern regarding the provision of emergency cardiac services for members, citizens and those choosing to visit or set up home in the South East region.

Without making specific commentary regarding individual areas within the South East region, the united Chambers are cognisant that the South East region is the only region where a 24/7 cardiac interventional service is not available to citizens.

Given recent events and taking into account the geography of the region and transit times to centres in Dublin or Cork, South East Chambers believe that extending the additional South East regional service at University Hospital Waterford to provide a 24/7 Cardiac Care service is now called for. This would place service options available to South East region citizens on a par with all other regions and this would demonstrate both equity in access and provide support to our existing regional health services in a region still trying to recover from recession.

South East Chambers also understand the economic case is well made to retain and enhance services in the region and believe that this offers further support to extending the service. South East Chambers are committed to fair and balanced representation of all member concerns as well as the needs of all regional citizens.

According to Gerald Hurley, Waterford Chamber CEO, “We believe the time has now come for this regional health policy to be reviewed again and for the requisite services to be properly resourced and provided to ensure fair and equal health access for all citizens of the region.

“24/7 Cardiac Care is a critical issue for all across the South East but it goes further than that. In terms of business and the economy it too plays a vital role. A reputation for poor health care in the region can have negative effects in terms of tourism, population growth and corporate investment. The campaign must and will continue for the future of the region.”

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What Our Members Say

“Our membership of Waterford Chamber helps us stay connected with what’s happening in the local environment. Working in a fast-moving multinational company makes that information-sharing and networking all the more valuable as we look to think globally and act locally. It is also important that we have a group like Chamber to represent Waterford’s interests with government and other key stakeholders in a cohesive way. This strong voice for Waterford business will help ensure Ireland’s oldest city reaches its full potential and prospers in the 21st Century.”

Ruth Beadle, Site Head, Sanofi Waterford

 

 

 

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