Chamber News

Wordcloud Government action needed CIChambers Ireland and our nationwide network of chambers has today (24th March 2020) published the results of a survey of its members, which seeks to quantify and highlight the impacts of COVID-19 on business in towns, cities and regions right across the country.

Our survey which has over 1,000 responses (1,110) was conducted between the afternoon of the 19th March and the morning of 23rd March 2020

Today’s results will inform the advocacy of Chambers Ireland and affiliated chambers, on behalf of businesses throughout the country and provide guidance to the Government on next steps required to support business through the crisis.

The headline results are:

  • 94% of businesses see their revenue declining over the coming three months
  • 73% of businesses expect their revenue to decline by in excess of 25%
  • Cashflow, Revenue, and Staffing are the critical issues for businesses
  • Cashflow and Revenue are of greatest concern to Sole Traders, and Micro-businesses (<10 employees) [This sector accounts for in excess of 92% of businesses, and 69% of jobs in the workforce[1]]
  • Temporary closures only impacting a minority of businesses (Hospitality in particular) but deeply affects these sectors.
  • Staffing is of concern to certain sectors, particularly Digital, Agrifood, Transport, and Retail.
  • No part of the country feels unaffected, though the midlands are slightly more concerned about staffing problems.

Speaking today, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “The results of our network survey show us that the impact of COVID-19 on the business community in Ireland, the vast majority of whom are SMEs, has been severely felt, with more than 90% experiencing reduced cash-flow and reduced revenue.

As we publish these results, we are expecting further announcements from Government of tighter restrictions on how people move around and interact with each other. This will further impact the business community. Sentiment in the business community can only be expected to decline in the days and weeks to come.

A significant response by the State to support businesses and local economies right across the island is required. This must be far-reaching and unlike any intervention we’ve seen before. These are unprecedented times and therefore need an unprecedented response.

Government must give businesses and the self-employed a lifeline immediately, and when the coronavirus threat passes ensure that the businesses community is supported through further state interventions. Employers’ are job creator, without whom we would not have an economy and would not be able to support the economic well-being of citizens. For jobs to be restored following the crisis, our members will need as much support as possible to re-boot the economy.

Under-reacting to this crisis is now the greatest risk. This crisis will pass, our economy will recover, but we cannot afford a chaotic recovery.

Government measures to date have the approval of almost 70% of the business community despite the huge costs borne by them. But Government must become more responsive in a number of key areas.

Deferrals and moratoriums on VAT, commercial rates and other changes must last for the duration of the crisis at a minimum. The business sector also requires greater clarity on insurance. We call on Government to work with the insurance sector in providing solutions for the business community.

The pace at which Government departments and agencies are operating at to respond to the crisis is applauded but it is important to ensure that the detail of schemes announced is carefully considered and communicated. When this does not happen, it adds to the confusion and uncertainty facing our local economies.

Finally, as is highlighted in the results of our Network survey, cash-flow will be critical to surviving the crisis. We reiterate our call to all Government Departments, agencies, Local Authorities, State and Semi-State bodies to pay invoices at the earliest opportunity. Government must take the lead on this and make a clear statement on the urgent necessity that all State bodies settle all outstanding bills promptly.

As a Network, we stand ready to work with the State to meet the challenge of this crisis and support the business community through it."



Sustainable Business Impact Awards 2020On 12th March 2020, Chambers Ireland opened applications for the Sustainable Business Impact Awards, the renamed Corporate Social Responsibility Awards, which celebrates the achievements of the business community in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Despite the ongoing uncertainty from the COVID-19 outbreak, Chambers Ireland encourages the business community to share their excellent work in CSR by applying for these Awards.

The Awards recognise the meaningful and high quality-work from companies through different Awards categories, including Environment, Community Partnership (divided into Charity, Volunteering and Community Programme), Workplace, Marketplace, CSR Communication, CSR by an SME and Diversity & Inclusion.

Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland, spoke at the opening of the renamed Awards, “We have been running the Corporate Social Responsibility Awards for over sixteen years. In that time, we have seen many great companies with different projects receive recognition at this event. These projects have benefited the environment, communities, staff, charities and people both in Ireland and abroad.

Last year, Chambers Ireland decided to take leadership in aligning the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with our organisation strategy. To continue the process of alignment with the SDGs, from 2020 the Corporate Social Responsibility awards will be known as the Sustainable Business Impact Awards.

While the Awards categories and entry criteria will remain unchanged, we believe the new description will greatly improve our ability to evolve this concept further into the future, building on the success of all the work of previous winning and applicant companies.”

Theo Cullinane, BAM Ireland Chief Executive said, “We have been a long-time sponsor of the CSR Awards and are proud to continue this partnership as the awards take this evolutionary step in becoming the Sustainable Business Impact Awards.

We fully endorse that this enhancement is driven by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. BAM adopted a new sustainability strategy in 2016, driven by these global sustainability targets. As a result, we have set ourselves the target of having a Net Positive Impact on Climate Change, Resources and People by 2050, and are proud of our prestigious “A” rating on the global Carbon Disclosure Project. With the Sustainable Business Impact Awards championing the SDGs, we look forward to seeing the innovative initiatives that Irish businesses have implemented for a sustainable future.”

The awards are sponsored by BAM Ireland and run in association with the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Applications for the Awards are now open online at

*The closing date for applications is Thursday, 9th of April 2020.*

Live Webinar - Managing Remote Teams

Date: Tuesday, 24th March
Time: 2.45pm
Cost: Free of charge

Now more than ever the need for teams to operate remotely has become a key capability requirement for companies and organisations.
Miscommunication and misalignment can cost time and money. Therefore, to function effectively these remote teams need to operate in cohesive ways to ensure organisational goals and objectives are met.
This 90-minute webinar will give managers and leaders an insight into how to create and maintain high-performing remotely organised teams.
Topics include:

  1. Fundamental systems needed to establish an efficient remote workforce.
  2. Identifying the critical success factors for leading and managing remote teams.
  3. Implementing an effective and regular communication process. 
  4. Dealing with interpersonal issues including conflict resolution.
  5. Measuring productivity and implementing a strategy to ensure goals and initiatives are still achieved. 
  6. Top tips on keeping the team close when miles apart. 

This course is delivered online so all you need is a laptop and good internet access (earphones if necessary).

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book your space.

This live Webinar will assist SMEs to review business continuity plans and emergency activation plans in the face of the changing business landscape.

The aim of this webinar is to help business owners and managers to mitigate the impact this situation will have on critical business functions,products, and services. What you do now will make all the difference. This 90-minute webinar will offer business owners valuable ways and means on how their business can survive in the coming weeks and months.

Topics Include:

  1. Short-term finance options
  2. Adjusting your current business plan to revise profit margins
  3. Appraising your company expenditure
  4. Negotiating your payables
  5. Identifying alternative streams of revenue in the short term
  6. Crafting a communication plan with stakeholders
  7. Diversifying your asset portfolio
  8. Tips on personal wellbeing during a crisis

This webinar will be delivered by Monere Development Services.

If you would like to arrange this webinar to run internally for you, your business managers and leaders please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Earlier this week, Chambers Ireland and our nationwide network of chambers called on Government and all State bodies to be flexible and responsive to the needs of their business and economic partners, so that we may ensure business continuity through this crisis.

In particular, we called on Government to ensure that businesses that are in sectors which have had to close entirely are not charged rates for the duration of these closures. As this may create a funding issues for our Local Authorities throughout the country, we also called on central Government to step in to support our local government by bridging the resulting gap in expected Rates returns.

Today’s announcement (20 March 2020) by the Government, offers some relief to businesses who have had to close in recent days but as this crisis evolves, an extension of this deferral will be required.

Speaking today, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “The extent of the crisis we are facing is still uncertain. Businesses that closed over the weekend and since then, have no idea when normal trading conditions might resume. Recovering from this shock will be an enormous task and every assistance possible must be made.

Because of this, Government must commit to extending the Rates relief to correspond with the duration of the crisis. Government must also ensure that sufficient monies are made available to local authorities, as and when needed, so that essential local services can continue to be funded.

It is crucial that this announcement is implemented and communicated consistently and equitably across all local authorities and that there is a clear understanding amongst local officials as to how it will be applied. There must be a level playing field for all businesses across the country.

It is essential that all sectors that have been adversely impacted benefit from this deferral and will continue to benefit from flexible, sincere engagement from state officials.

As cash-flow will be critical to surviving the crisis, we reiterate our call to all Government Departments, agencies, Local Authorities, State and Semi-State bodies to pay invoices at the earliest opportunity. Government must take the lead on this and make a clear statement on the urgent necessity that all State bodies settle all outstanding bills promptly.”


Chambers Ireland and our network are acutely aware of the immediate impact that the Covid-19 crisis is having on businesses across the country, as well as our employees and communities. Chambers Ireland, along with your local Chamber, remain fully dedicated to supporting our business community and we will continue to work closely with regional and national stakeholders on behalf of businesses across the country.

Through this survey, we are asking for your direct feedback on how Covid-19 is impacting on your business – and wish to hear any suggestions on actions that you believe can be taken on both a national level and local level to help you navigate this difficult period.

We also wish to remind everyone to only follow official sources of information and to avail of the various supports and structures being put in place to help navigate each challenge relating to Covid-19 as they happen.



Waterford Chamber Skillnet is working with Waterford Chamber and you our customers to ensure you have the essential training you need, when you need it.

We are teaming up with our top class trainers to provide you with essential training webinars to keep your teams and businesses running as smoothly as possible during this time of change.

Join our digital training classroom and train online. We have teamed up with Sure Skills to offer the following modules which can be taken individually or as a bundle.

Effective Management & Working from Home “Series” starting week commencing 23rd March! – registrations are only being taken by website or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

– Each module is delivered remotely (Live Online)

– Each module is 3 hours in duration (9:30 – 12:30) or (1:30 – 4:30)

- Contact us to organise these for your teams only

N.B. Modules will run on a demand led basis. Please nominate your time preference

Take 1 module for €65 or 5 modules €250.

Module 1. Motivating Staff

How do We Motivate Others Remotely?

Motivation Model

The Three Elements of Intrinsic Motivation


2. Leadership in a Crisis

The 5 Pitfalls of leading teams in a crisis situation

The building blocks of Crisis Management

Taking back Control

Communication Flow for Sound Leadership

Leadership Styles and Crises

3. Role of Manager

What do you need to Be, Do and Know


What kind of Leader are You?

Flexing between Roles

4. Performance Management

Identifying Performance Strengths and Weakness

Day to Day Performance management


Identifying Under performance

Development Planning

Dealing with Failure to Improve

5. Change Management

Models of Change

Identifying Responses to Change

Staff Needs of Times of Change

How to Make it Stick

6. Team Development

Stages of Teams

Team Types

Effective Teams and How to Fill the Gaps

7. Managing Self

Emotional Intelligence in Difficult Circumstances

Time Management

Delivery of Results

Professionalism and Accountability

At a meeting of Chambers chief executives, by conference call, it was noted that disruption to the national and global economy occurring at pace. Our EU and other trading partners are taking heroic efforts to maintain employment and continuity within their business sectors.

To protect the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of Irish businesses the Chambers network calls for government to recognise the unique nature of the shock our economy is experiencing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, by foregoing Local Authority Rates and supplementing the budgets of Local Authorities by the amount foregone.

It is essential that, for the next three months:

  • Local Authorities Rates are cancelled, and,
  • That government provides extraordinary funding to Local Authorities from the Central Fund.

COVID image

Waterford Chamber and the Network of Irish chambers calls for clarity, certainty, and flexibility from the State and its agencies. As we work with Government to address this national crisis, we urge sincere engagement by state bodies to support businesses to stay afloat during these unprecedented times.

Chamber members are active in every major town and city in the country and the businesses which form our network are deeply embedded in their communities across the island. As the number of cases of Covid-19 has increased, our network has felt its impact in the local economies they represent.

Following dialogue with members, we call on the Government to take the following steps:

  •  Deferral of tax payment

VAT, PAYE and PRSI payments will be due to the Exchequer the week after next. It is essential that government allows a deferral of the payments that fall during the period of curtailment. Our membership has already felt the commercial hit of Covid-19, and many will struggle to keep their doors open in the coming weeks. Ensuring cash-flow will be critical to their ability to see this crisis through.

  • Prompt payment obligations

Our membership needs Government to ensure that all departments, local authorities, and public sector bodies adhere to their prompt payments obligations. If our members are to be able to maintain employment across the period of this economic shock, employers need state bodies to lead by example through ensuring that their bills are paid as early as possible.  

Speaking this afternoon (13th March) Waterford Chamber's Chief Executive, Gerald Hurley said, "Chambers are an intrinsic part of their communities around the country and many chambers and their members already know some of those who have been affected by the virus and are deeply saddened by the loss of life which has already occurred. And like everyone, our members are concerned for their future and the prospect that is before us.

Many small business and the self-employed have had their work cancelled for the foreseeable future, while retailers around the country have been feeling tighter trading conditions since last week, and the hospitality sector in some parts of the country are facing cancellation rates upward of 60-70%. In parts of the country where Covid-19 first took hold, businesses are already operating in dire trading conditions.

We welcome the Government’s directives today and agree with the necessity of these actions to limit people’s exposure. We stand ready to support the State in whatever future actions prove to be necessary. But we ask that the State works with us by providing certainty for business through the challenges ahead.

Government needs to develop a coordinated communications plan, working with existing networks and bodies such as the Local Enterprise Offices and INTREO to ensure that businesses have clarity about the supports that are available to them and their employees.

Most importantly, State bodies need to be sincere and flexible in their engagements with businesses."

Waterford Chamber has been shortlisted for four national Chambers Ireland awards, having won the Event of the Year Award last year for Toys4Engineers.

The awards seek to recognise the outstanding work of Chambers around the country. They are a chance for Chambers to showcase their achievements in a variety of categories, from innovative projects to successful events to collaborations with local and national government.

Under the Event of the Year Category, Waterford Chamber was selected for creating the Tramore Christmas Festival, while the Regional Leaders Programme was given the nod for the Most Innovative Project.

They were also shortlisted for Marketing Campaign of the Year for Network Magazine, a quarterly in-house publication, while the amalgamation with Tramore Chamber of Tourism & Commerce was selected for Best Membership Initiative.

Speaking ahead of the final judging, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said it was testament to the hard work of the Chamber team and their collaborative partners that Waterford Chamber featured so strongly.

“Our team here in Chamber is small but dynamic – they are creative, hard-working and ultimately want to do what they can to support the business community. Both the Regional Leaders Programme and the Tramore Christmas Festival epitomise what collaboration can achieve, and we are very grateful to be working with important stakeholders such as Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Institute of Technology and Waterford Chamber Skillnet on the Regional Leaders Programme and Waterford Council and Every Event on the Tramore Christmas Festival, to bring these offerings to our members and the wider region.

“Network Magazine is a fantastic tool for us to promote our members, ourselves and of course Waterford as a great place to live, work, invest in and do business and we are particularly proud of it as an offering not just to members, but to the wider business community and international stakeholders.

“Our work in Tramore continues in earnest and we are proud to act as the link between the business community and the Local Authority. We adopted the new members last year and the feedback in terms of engagement and on the ground activity has been hugely encouraging, so to be recognised with this nomination is very important to us.”

The shortlist features projects from Chambers all over Ireland, including Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber, exemplifying the wide-ranging work being done around the country.

Awards will be presented for excellence in six different categories and one Chamber will be awarded the overall award of Chamber of the Year 2020.


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What Our Members Say

"Waterford is a very attractive location for Foreign Direct Investment as it is a dynamic city which is very much open for business – the city has a proven track record of attracting investment from start-ups and expanding business, who are hugely supported by Waterford Chamber. The city, county and region offers a young, well educated workforce and is easily accessible for international visitors. Waterford’s quality of life for employees is exceptional as it blends elements of rich cultural heritage with a new and vibrant lifestyle – with new additions such as the Greenway further showcasing the county to not only locals, but visitors from all over Ireland and overseas. The Chamber has been a vital link in welcoming our companies into the local Business Community – helping them not only network, but also gain a sense of community and belonging."

Brendan McDonald, Regional Manager, South East Region, IDA



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