Chamber News

Chambers Ireland Back2Work 29 April

29th April at 2.30pm
Part 1 - Back2Work: Workforce Planning for the Future

Registration link:

This 30 minute webinar will include advice on:

  • The process for selecting who to bring back (can your choices be justified?).
  • Redundancy processes.
  • Return to work policies.
  • When you reopen but your staff want to work from home - How to manage a “phase-return”.

 Chambers Ireland Preparing Your Business 5th May

5th May at 2.30pm
Part 2 - Preparing your Business to Reopen Post COVID-19

Registration link:

This 30 minute webinar will include advice on:

  • Returning to work after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Restrictions being laid down by the government to companies and employers.
  • Showing you’re implementing the proper procedures.
  • Your duty of care towards staff and how to take the necessary steps to document this.

Waterford SMEs Covid 19 Steps Towards Recovery

Covid-19 has created huge disruptions to business activity globally and we here in Waterford are no exception. While it is still not absolutely clear what the future business environment will look like, there are a number of steps which we should all take in order to be ready for the post-Covid marketplace and to preserve our own health and wellbeing as well as that of our businesses.
The Local Authority (WCCC), Enterprise Ireland (EI), the Local Enterprise Office (LEO), both Waterford Chamber of Commerce along with Dungarvan and West Waterford Chamber of Commerce and Waterford Business Group have come together to look at potential steps towards a recovery and to outline the existing services and supports which can aid that transition. We suggest that the following steps can be of significant advantage.

Read online:

Download PDF:

Reboot Your Business 2Chambers Ireland, in association with Griffith College, have today (24 April 2020) announced a free online business planning course for its 8,000 members nationwide. Commencing on Thursday 30 April 2020, the course will address the key concerns that businesses are facing, including cashflow, crisis management and managing flexible working practices, and will assist them in developing plans to reboot their business.

Welcoming the announcement of the course, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland, Ian Talbot, said: “Over the last few weeks, we have been working closely with our member Chambers and have listened to stories from businesses throughout the country, hearing how the restrictions and closures necessitated by the national health response to COVID-19, have impacted the operations of their business.

“Many have seen their revenue collapse, have let staff go, and have had to ultimately restructure how they run their business, with lots of companies moving to a remote working model much faster than they ever could have anticipated. The challenges for businesses to harness digital transformation, rebuild their operations and adapt to the post-COVID-19 economy are enormous.

“This partnership with Griffith College in delivering online education in Business Planning will be essential in supporting business in this transition and will be of particular benefit to business managers and owners in their dealings with banks and government agencies in the months ahead.”

The programme will see industry experts lead a series of FREE workshops, entitled Reboot your Business - through your Business Development Plan, to assist the many businesses struggling during the COVID-19 crisis. The ten workshops will take place Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday each week and will be available to view for FREE online. Each session will cover different aspects involved in creating a business development plan. These include industry analysis, competitor analysis, internal evaluation, finance, market performance and logistics. Leading industry experts across a range of relevant topics will contribute their experience and advice.

Participants who complete the business development plan may also seek to obtain a nationally accredited QQI Certificate in Small and Medium Enterprise Management from Griffith College, which provides a practical grounding in the skills vital to SME Management.

Dr Tomás Mac Eochagáin, Director of Academic Programmes at Griffith College, said: “We are delighted to partner with Chambers Ireland on this joint initiative and to share the experience of the college’s Graduate Business School team to support Irish businesses.”

The schedule of programme workshops and registration details are available from the Chambers Ireland and Griffith College websites.

Today (24 April 2020) Chambers Ireland launches its latest Covid-19 Business Community Survey. The third in a series, the survey seeks quantify the economic impact COVID-19 is having on businesses around the country and looks at the supports that will be needed to reboot the economy.

This survey is targeted at businesses who are members of their local chambers of commerce and those that are not. With it, we seek to chart out the effects of the Covid-19 restrictions on the Irish Business community, and through creating an evidence base, assist policy makers and business owners guide our economy through the Covid-19 challenges.

Our last survey, which was published on the 9 April, with over 1110 responses, found 84% of businesses expect revenue to decline by in excess of 25% in the next three months, up from 73% two weeks earlier. 25% of those who responded expect revenue to collapse by more than 90%, with one in five businesses laying off all staff. For those who have closed their operations entirely, most expect to remain closed for at least 12 weeks. Fears about cashflow and liquidity were the greatest concerns of micro-enterprises (<10 employees) with closures and staffing being a concern for larger businesses across many sectors.

With lockdown measures due to expire on the 5 May, Chambers Ireland seeks to start a conversation with businesses on how local economies can be supported to re-open. If your business has been affected by Covid-19 please let us know your experiences here: Chambers Ireland Covid-19 Business Community Survey

Speaking today Chambers Ireland’s Chief Executive, Ian Talbot, said, “While it remains unclear when exactly the wider economy will begin to reopen, what is clear is that we must begin to plan for how the economy will reopen, and how businesses will be supported in this process.

“We have made clear in our communications with Government that deciding the date of relaxing the lockdown is only the first step. It is very possible that we will go through a series of cycles, where measures are relaxed and restricted, in response to the virus. Each time this happens, there are likely to be costs.

“What we hope to achieve from this latest Business Community Survey is a deeper understanding of the economic impact businesses are experiencing, the supports they will need to survive the crisis, and the supports they will need to re-open once we reach a point where at least some of the restrictions can be relaxed.

“If we do not understand the scale and the nature of the economic impact on local economies, then we risk focusing the recovery efforts on the wrong areas. An accurate picture of how this crisis is affecting the business community and what supports they will need from Government is essential if we are to successfully reboot the economy.

“So, to businesses right around the country, please make sure you share your experience with us and make your voice heard.”

LEO Business Continuity Voucher

Waterford Chamber has teamed up with Waterford Local Enterprise Office to assist you directly in getting access to free €2,500 worth of professional consultations through the Business Continuity Voucher.

This is free money to help you plan to save, stabilise and grow your business at this difficult time. There are no catches, no repayments, and no match-funding. The money is there to help you explore new angles to keep your business trading (e.g. Financial Planning, Expert HR Advice, Marketing Advice, ICT Advice, Futuristic Retail Mentoring, LEAN Advice etc)

The best part is that we can now do the paperwork for you and get you access to some of the best consultants in the business.

Both Gerald Hurley and Lynda Lawton will be working with companies to complete the paperwork to ensure your application is approved and we will work with you right through to completion.

Feel free to get in touch with Gerald or Lynda as follows:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 086 2528093

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 087 9379894

Below are some additional details on the Business Continuity Voucher and we would encourage you to give it serious consideration.

We’re on hand to talk you through the process and get you access to this free advice as quickly as possible.

Business Continuity Voucher

Sole traders and businesses*, employing up to 50 staff, are eligible to apply for a Business Continuity Voucher to the value of €2,500 towards third party consultancy costs to assist with developing short-term and long-term strategies to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the voucher is to provide contingency planning advice to assist enterprises to continue trading through the crisis.

The primary aim of the scheme will be to support companies make informed decisions on the immediate measures needed to continue trading in the current environment while securing the safety of all employees and future business viability through identification of remedial actions.

The Business Continuity Voucher is available to support businesses:

  • Develop a business continuity plan
  • Assess current financial needs in the short term to medium term
  • Reduce variable costs, overheads and expenses
  • Review and explore supply chain financing options
  • Implement remote working processes or procedures
  • Leverage HR expertise
  • Leverage ICT expertise
  • Prepare a business case for application to emergency financial interventions available through Banks, SBCI (Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland) and Microfinance Ireland.

* Please note: The Business Continuity Voucher is available to all businesses employing up to 50 across all sectors. The applicant must be an Irish-owned enterprise with up to 50 employees. An application must be submitted in the name of a company registered with the Companies Registration Office and incorporated in the Republic of Ireland at the time of application. Applications will also be accepted from Sole Traders and Partnerships.

To support its members, Waterford Chamber has developed a new online map showcasing services and those in the retail sector who are currently operational during Covid-19.

According to Gerald Hurley, CEO Waterford Chamber, “The map is designed to inform the business community and the wider public about those providing essential services such as retail, delivery services or professional services that are required on a regular basis. The map is hosted on our website and shared across our various social media platforms, as well as by a number of stakeholders in the city and county.

“For those members who have not yet contacted us for inclusion, please email us directly and we will add you immediately. It is essential at this time that we all work together to promote and support each other in business during this difficult time.”

Chambers Ireland has made a submission to the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) asking them to be more flexible in how business consumers are billed as part of Irish Water’s Non-Domestic Tariff Framework.

The CRU has made recommendations that Irish Water should be extremely strict and inflexible with their business customers in two key areas.

Firstly, about assigning and switching tariff classes, and secondly about leaks.

The CRU proposals would see businesses charged on the basis of the previous year’s consumption and upon receiving their harmonised bill these businesses will then have to argue that they should be reassigned to a different tariff.

On leaks, the CRU is seeking to transfer all risks that relate to a premises onto the occupier and would in some cases disallow any rebate for leakage.

Speaking today (20 April), Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said,

“Chambers Ireland has called on the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) to amend their proposed regulations which relate to the billing of Irish Water’s business clients.

As part of the move to harmonise water charges across the country, a move that will in its own right increase pressures on a large number of businesses, the CRU is also proposing billing changes which have the potential to gravely affect struggling businesses in these trying times.

There are two principle problems with these proposals.

Firstly the CRU’s proposals will have businesses paying for their water at rates which are based on last year’s usage. With so many businesses closed this will put many businesses into an inappropriate category which will force many businesses to challenge the new charges, a prospect which could bring the harmonisation process into disrepute.

Then, next year, upon resuming business as normal post Covid-19, these same businesses will have to challenge their bills a second time, because 2020’s consumption is likely to be completely unrepresentative.

The second issue is that the Commission is seeking to transfer all the risk associated with on-site water leakages onto the business customers of Irish water. Chambers Ireland believes that the challenges of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, reveal how inflexible this move is, and how the regulations should allow for circumstances which are outside of the customer’s control.

Across the country, many businesses are not free to maintain, or perhaps even access, their business premises. Key workers may be cocooned. The proposed system is so inflexible that it cannot deal with real world problems.

These problems with the CRU proposals will create an undue burden on businesses which they will have to investigate whether they should be on a more appropriate rate, and will also create the bureaucratic challenge of tens of thousands of customers having to contest their bills.”

Click here to read the submission.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and World Health Organization (WHO) are launching a worldwide survey to report the challenges faced by the private sector from COVID-19.

In response to COVID-19, ICC and WHO are surveying the private sector to gather more information about global business responses and develop solutions that will address the spread of the pandemic. The ICC-WHO survey will improve information flows between different sectors of the global economy and develop a framework for managing the economic and human consequences related to the pandemic’s spread.

On the launch of the ICC-WHO survey, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said, “By providing transparent feedback, the private sector can minimise the spread of COVID-19 and address the pandemic’s underlying repercussions for our global economy. ICC and WHO are calling on business leaders – as trusted voices in their local communities – to share more information about the pandemic’s influence on their daily operations, supply chains, and employees.

Please, take a few moments to complete this survey, so that we can protect our colleagues, customers, and communities from the continual damage caused by this pandemic’s spread.”

The survey is the latest step in ICC and WHO’s unique collaboration to provide reliable COVID-19-related information to the private sector and develop trusted guidance for business communities around the world. As part of an initial joint statement, ICC and WHO called upon national governments to adopt a ‘whole-of-society’ approach in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calling for participation in the survey via video message, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “This survey will allow us to understand how businesses are responding. It will help us map best practices and understand better where we and national health authorities should focus our attention. The information generated by the survey will help us mount an effective response, saving lives and minimising economic damage.”

ICC Ireland Secretary General and Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland Ian Talbot said, “As the results published yesterday from Chambers Ireland’s most recent national business survey show, the pandemic has deeply impacted businesses across Ireland, on a widespread scale reaching across different industries, with consequences and challenges for all levels of Irish society.

While the data being shared is stark, it is crucial in identifying the necessary, practical solutions to address the pandemic. By completing this survey, businesses will be speaking out on the challenges they now face while playing their part in a global business response, coordinated through the ICC, the largest business representative organisation in the world and the WHO.

This joint effort is a unique partnership bridging together the voice of business at all levels, representing local communities from Ireland and at global level, with medical experts to address this crisis.

We strongly urge businesses to complete this survey from the ICC-WHO to share key information to develop the best response possible to the impacts of the pandemic.”

The ICC-WHO survey

Following the publication of the second Chamber Network survey Chambers Ireland and our nationwide Network of Chambers has today (10th April 2020) called on Government to join Chambers in calling for engagement with the prompt payment legislation and to send a message to business, both public and private, that if you can pay, you should do so on time.

The survey, which has over 1,100 responses (1,149) was conducted between 3rd April and the morning of 6th April 2020.

Speaking today, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “Cash is king, as the saying goes, and we’ve been calling on businesses in our Network who can pay their bills, to pay their bills. Cash flow has been identified as a significant problem for businesses since the start of the crisis. Unless we can keep money moving in the economy, we risk exacerbating and prolonging the impacts of the recession to come.

Within our survey, we asked businesses if invoices were being paid by state bodies early and on time. While the majority confirmed this was the case, a significant minority (33%) said that payment was taking longer than 15 days.

We have been raising this issue with Government for a number of weeks and we are now calling on them to make an immediate statement on this matter and join Chambers in calling for bills to be paid on time by those in a position to do so.”

Chambers Ireland Covid Business Survey April 20Chambers Ireland and our nationwide network of chambers has today (9th April 2020) published the results of a survey of its members, which seeks to quantify and highlight the impacts of COVID-19 on businesses in towns, cities and regions right across the country.

Our survey which has over 1,100 responses (1,149) was conducted between 3 April and the morning of 6 April 2020.

The results published this morning are the second in a series of nationwide surveys on the impact of COVID-19 on the business community. All corners of the country are represented in the responses and the 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:


  • 84% of businesses expect revenue to decline by in excess of 25% in the next three months, which is up from 73% in our last survey published on the 24 March.
  • Approximately 25% of businesses expect their revenue to decline by more than 90% over the next 3 months
  • Smaller firms are more concerned about loss of revenue and are more likely to expect a 100% reduction in revenue


  • 42% of businesses have closed entirely, and 30% of businesses having closed the public facing offices and are now working from home
  • Of those that have closed, most expect to be closed for 12 weeks


  • 47% of businesses have laid off staff, with over half of those laying off in excess of 30% of staff
  • 20% of all businesses have laid off their entire staff

Commercial Rates:

  • 76% of businesses owners/operators believe that the 2-month deferral of Commercial Rates payments will not be enough to have any meaningful impact on their business
  • Most believe that it would need to be a six-month holiday to be of use, with a significant minority believing that the extension would need to be for 12 months

Next Steps/Economic Interventions:

  • 99% of respondents believe that there will be a need for a post - COVID-19 economic stimulus package
  • 95% of respondents believe that there is a need for liquidity grants to businesses
  • 96% of respondents believe that the measures that have already been introduced will need to have their timelines extended

Speaking this morning (9th April 2020), Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “When we published our first set of results, neither the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme nor the tighter restrictions were in place, so we expected that the impact on business would continue to decline. Therefore, our findings that 84% of businesses, an increase of 11% on two weeks ago, expect a decrease in revenue of more than 25%, should not come as a shock.

“However, what our results do show is the gravity of the situation, particularly for many smaller businesses. 25% of those who responded expect revenue to collapse by more than 90%, with one in five businesses laying off all staff.

“For those who have closed their operations entirely, most expect to remain closed for at least 12 weeks. Unfortunately, as we’re seeing in other countries, the period of closure is likely to be longer for some businesses.

“Should this come to pass, an honest dialogue with Government will be required regarding how the staff and employers who have lost their living will be supported.

“Since the outset, we have highlighted the need for far-reaching economic intervention from Government to support local economies and job creators right across the country. We need action on a scale we have not seen before. The unprecedented nature of COVID-19 must be met with an unprecedented response.

“This view is shared by our members, where there is almost unanimous agreement that a post-COVID-19 stimulus package will be required and that part of these measures must include the provision of grants for business to help them re-open their doors and restore jobs lost.

“Measures already introduced, while critical in the first response to support business, will need to evolve in scale and scope.

“For example, the Government’s earlier announcement of a two-month deferral for commercial rates is found to be insufficient by three quarters of businesses responding to our survey.

“If a deferral is to have any meaningful impact, it will need to last at least 6 months, if not a full year, as was introduced in the UK. To ensure that Local Authorities can continue to serve communities, this short-fall in funding must be replaced by central Government.”

  • To access the COVID-19 Business Community Survey results report, click here
  • To access the Survey results for Waterford, click here
  • To access the results report from the previous Chambers Ireland Covid-19 Business Impacts Survey from 24 March 2020, click here

Responding to the publication of the March Exchequer Returns, Chambers Ireland calls on Government to look to the future and plan how it will meet the challenge of restoring the country’s finance and rebuilding the economy.

Speaking today (2nd April 2020), Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said,“The impact of the measures we have had to take as a country in the last 3 weeks are mostly not reflected in these Returns and we can expect larger percentage falls in May and June. The figures published today foreshadow the profound impact that the Covid-19 crisis will have on our national finances and our economy. Government must react in accordance with the scale of this challenge.

As we pass through the initial shock that this is having upon all of us, we must start looking towards the future, beyond the unprecedented scale of this disaster.

We must also be conscious that today’s figures are not the worst we are likely to see. Reduced consumption, lower employment numbers and significantly slower economic activity will have consequences on the Exchequer for months to come. VAT receipts, which form a significant part of State income, are likely to continue to fall as only essential shopping takes place, typically at lower rates of VAT.

Businesses widely welcomed the supports announced last week in the Emergency Powers Legislation. The programmes of support are unprecedented, and while there continues to be questions about some aspects of how the various schemes will operate, we look forward to working with Government to resolve these issues, so we can ensure that they function as intended and keep people engaged with the workforce, maximising the chances of business continuity.

Government and business need to work together to ensure that policies are introduced as smoothly as possible. We have never experienced this kind of shock, or a shock of such magnitude. While we appreciate the efforts that are being put in by everyone across society, there is more to be done and there is much more that can be done.

Today’s Returns highlight that the worst of this crisis has yet to be seen. Momentum in how we respond doesn’t merely need to be maintained but needs to increase if we are to meet this challenge.”


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