Waterford News

Rural Conversations RIA launchThe ‘Rural Conversations Series’ report was launched by Mr Michael Ring T.D., Minister for Rural and Community Development, at the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), Dublin in September.

The series was spearheaded by Dr Felicity Kelliher, RIA Social Sciences Committee member and Senior Lecturer and co-founder of RIKON research group, School of Business, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), and developed in association with the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Speaking about the report Dr Kelliher noted “Rural Ireland accounts for 57% of Ireland’s population. This is a significant pool of talented citizens who contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of the entire nation. The rural conversations series gave them the opportunity to offer their thoughts and ideas in relation to the forthcoming Rural Development Plan.”

Launching the report, Mr Ring shared examples of successful rural businesses operating throughout Ireland. He congratulated those involved in the work culminating in a report which conveyed “a great sense of the opportunities and challenges facing rural communities”.

The rural conversations series focused on (1) Economic development, (2) Social cohesion and (3) Vibrant and sustainable communities.

The reports collated the contributions of over 200 rural community stakeholders, government agencies, government support agencies and academics from around the country who participated in three roundtable consultative events hosted by NUI Galway, Dundalk Institute of Technology and Waterford Institute of Technology in 2018/19.

The resultant reports were compiled by Dr Kelliher and Dr Leana Reinl, two senior researchers from the RIKON research group. Dr Reinl is Lecturer in Management and Academy Lead, Rural Tourism Development, RIKON, WIT School of Business. The RIKON group, WIT undertake leading research into many aspects of rural and regional business development.

“A key viewpoint across all three roundtable events was the need for a sustainable economic and enterprise infrastructure,” said Dr Reinl.

Policy actions specifically called for support for diverse co-working spaces in tandem with the promotion of rural areas as smart working locations, a sentiment echoed by Michael Ring at the report launch.

Dr Kelliher noted that these policies could offer the momentum needed for sustainable development, “With an anticipated 500,000 new rural inhabitants expected by 2040, there is significant potential for these communities to gain from greater cohesion within and between local development groups and for multi-national corporations to locate in these communities”.

Dr Thomas O'Toole, Head of School of Business commented that rural Ireland is an asset that is underutilized. “The RIA and the Government have started a conversation on development, cohesion and sustainability that resulted in the publication by my colleagues Drs Kelliher and Reinl. The report contains so many ideas and practical solutions that can be used to produce action plans and further conversations. It is a real gem,” he said.

You can listen to the launch, hear the main findings, and download a copy of the report on the RIA website. Recordings of the individual country-wide events are also available on the RIA website.

Following on from these initiatives, the Department is now inviting wider public feedback through an online survey. Key themes emerging from both consultations series are reflected in the questions.

The survey, launched by Minister Michael Ring is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CTPVSHB and will remain open until Friday, 11 October 2019.

Purple Flag Awards June 2019Waterford City Centre will be taking part in the official annual celebration of the Purple Flag programme for those who have been recognised for excellence in the management of the evening and night-time economy (ENTE) in Ireland and the UK, taking place during the whole month of October 2019.

The evening and night-time economy significantly contributes to our local economy and Purple Flag Waterford aims to support this economy and drive standards within the Zone in partnership with key stakeholders. To celebrate Waterford City’s Purple Flag status since 2015, we intend to capture people’s imaginations, change perceptions and encourage people to do something different with their evenings in a variety of locations across the Zone area; the invitation is to experience the quality, diversity and vibrancy Waterford City Centre has to offer.

Gerald Hurley, local Coordinator of Purple Flag Waterford encourages everyone to get out and about during Purple Flag Weekend over 4th–6th October saying, “This gold standard award is not just about safety, but also recognises the vibrancy and diversity of our evening and night-time offer — this has been achieved by members working together across the Purple Flag Zone and is amazing example of what can be achieved by partnership working.

Chair of the Purple Flag Working Group, Eric O’Brien agreed, adding “It is great to see so many local businesses really celebrating their Purple Flag achievement and putting so much effort into the celebrations."

The Purple Flag programme is run by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM). Ojay McDonald, CEO of the ATCM congratulated Purple Flag location holders saying, "There now are over 70 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland who are proudly flying the Purple Flag after working hard to gain accreditation”.

LEO Making It HappenWith the ‘biggest ever’ National Women’s Enterprise Day planned for October 17th, Local Enterprise Office Waterford will host a networking event at the Tower Hotel, that promises to inspire and educate the next generation of female entrepreneurs.

With this year’s “Making It Happen” theme, entrepreneur Muireann Fitzmaurice will deliver a workshop on developing leadership competencies, followed by business strategist and technology evangelist, Clare Dillon.

Fitzmaurice is a lead trainer with the Entrepreneurs Academy on whose behalf she has trained over 1000 small business owners nationwide since she joined in 2012. She has an outstanding reputation for helping business owners feel inspired and get clarity on how to lead themselves and their business.  She is also a qualified life coach and trainer

and is particularly interested in helping businesspeople identify their core strengths and how to use that to market their business.

Dillon will talk about the basis of thinking and acting as leaders to ‘Make It Happen’ in business and capitalising on emerging tech trends. With over 20 years’ experience of leadership development, business strategy and technology evangelism, Clare helps organisations maximise the opportunities presented by the latest technology, from AI to Virtual Reality.

Waterford native and Waterford’s National Women’s Enterprise Day Ambassador, Sinead Quealy, will also give attendees an insight into her entrepreneurial journey. As Managing Director of VirtualVet, a data management company that tracks drug usage in animals in the food chain, VirtualVet was, earlier this year, announced as overall Regional winner at the National Enterprise Awards 2019.

Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Waterford said that the event will be of benefit to any female entrepreneur who is either thinking of starting a business or already in business.

“The keynote speakers at this event are highly renowned for assisting businesses in unleashing their potential and identifying opportunities for growth. Supporting women in enterprise and addressing the key challenges confronting women in business is paramount to ensuring female entrepreneurs realise their full business potential.”

“At Local Enterprise Office Waterford we have a broad range of support services, including events like this that enable entrepreneurs to take their business to take the next level. What National Women’s Enterprise Day does is not only showcases the work of successful female entrepreneurs, but also supports and fosters female entrepreneurship by encouraging more women to start their own business.”

With 22,000 female entrepreneurs taking part in Local Enterprise Office training programmes nationwide and 4,500 benefitting from business mentoring in 2018, Local Enterprise Offices are organising 17 entrepreneurial events across the country under the theme of ‘Making It Happen’, funded by the Government of Ireland in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and Local Authorities.

National Women’s Enterprise event takes place from 2pm to 6pm in the Tower Hotel Waterford on Thursday, October 17th. Tickets cost €10. To book your place visit www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/

Spearline Recruitment Afternoon

Spearline, a technology company that proactively tests phone numbers for audio quality and connectivity globally, is having a recruitment afternoon on Tuesday, 15th October at 1pm - 6pm.

It will take place in Spearline’s new Waterford office in ArcLabs Research and Innovation Centre, Carriganore, Co. Waterford. The recruitment afternoon is open to anyone who wishes to learn more about sales and enterprise solutions roles and offers them an opportunity to meet the Spearline team on site.

Speaking ahead of the recruitment afternoon, Liam Dunne, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at Spearline said, “We are in an exciting growth phase to accelerate our Fortune 1,000 customer portfolio across the telco carriers, unified communications and enterprise sectors.  We are seeking entrepreneurial and commercially astute candidates with excellent technical acumen. The team here in Waterford responds to customer demand internationally and builds contacts globally. Our recruitment afternoon is an opportunity for individuals to speak with our team members in person and to hand deliver their CVs to us.”

Lorraine McCarthy, HR & Operations Manager at Spearline continued, “Our team is attracted to Spearline as we are innovative leaders. This, along with the quality of life and the benefits we offer, such as flexible working, allows us to recruit top talent. The recruitment afternoon is an opportunity for anyone who is interested in working with us to find out more about Spearline and the open roles they may be interested in, now or in the future.”

Spearline is headquartered in Skibbereen, Co Cork and has offices in Waterford, Romania and India. The Spearline platform enables enterprises and telecommunications service providers to test connectivity and quality on global telecoms networks, testing automatically at volume. Spearline has conducted millions of test calls worldwide, resulting in billions of data-points. It operates a 24 hours per day, 365 days per year support service for its international customers.




Spearline, ArcLabs Research & Innovation Centre, Carriganore, Co. Waterford






WIT Felicity Kelliher BAM AwardDr Felicity Kelliher, Irish Academy of Management Chair and Senior Lecturer in Management at the School of Business, Waterford Institute of Technology received the prestigious British Academy of Management (BAM) Companion Award 2019 at the 33rd annual BAM conference, hosted by Aston University Birmingham in early September.

Companionship of BAM is an award made by invitation only in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of Management. The award is a way in which the BAM community honours those who have provided leadership in management practice or thought, or development of the field and its diverse community.
In addition to being a senior lecturer in Management at WIT School's of Business and co-founder of the RIKON research centre, Felicity is a mentor on the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme. Her specialisms include leadership and change management. 

Dr Kelliher's extensive research in the field of rural business and community development within the RIKON research group (www.rikon.ie), as well as her contributions to the Royal Irish Academy Social Science Committee and as a member of the Irish Research Council were acknowledged in the award citation.

Commenting on the announcement Dr Kelliher said: “I am truly honoured to receive the companionship award from the British Academy of Management. I strongly believe that companionship is vital to ensure the strong bonds between our nations are nurtured through academic collaboration that benefit of both research and practice”.

The British Academy of Management is the leading authority on the academic field of management in the UK, supporting and representing the community of scholars and engaging with international peers. 

The Irish Academy of Management (IAM) is the leading professional association for management studies, research and education on the island of Ireland. The academy was formed in 1997, and focuses on; building wider appreciation and acceptance of the science and practice of management, providing opportunities for researchers to collaborate within and across the sub-area specialties of management, and encouraging presentation and publication of scholarly research. Details of the IAM activities, the Academy’s Irish Journal of Management and the IAM annual conference can be found at www.iamireland.ie.

The Irish and British Academies work closely together in promoting scholarly engagement within and between the two communities.


Waterford City and County Council’s inaugural Festival of Creativity will take place on October 11th 2019. CreateFest celebrates and examines creativity and its role in community, industry and education.

CreateFest looks at various aspects of creativity and includes speaker events, examples of industry best practice, collaborative community activities, an education programme as well as networking opportunities for creative industry professionals.

The festival is funded by Waterford Council, Waterford Cultural Quarter and Creative Ireland. All event take place in Waterford Cultural Quarter; the main programme takes place in Garter Lane Arts Centre, 22 O’Connell Street, Waterford City.

Find out more at www.waterfordculturalquarter.ie/createfest

CIMA logo

Budget 2020 takes place on Tuesday 8 October. CIMA Southern area would like to invite you to attend our upcoming CPD event – Update on Budget 2020. Presented by Brendan Twohig AITI CTA, Tax Director, MK Brazil, Chartered Accountants.

Brendan has worked in the tax sector for the past 25 years and is the tax partner with MK Brazil. Brendan is a well-known speaker and writer on tax issues and he regularly makes contributions to both local and national media.

This event is Free of charge.

Wednesday, 9th October – Granville Hotel, Waterford

6.30pm - Registration, networking and refreshments

7.00-8.30pm - Presentation and Q&A

To book click here

Talk N Lunch September

LEO Waterford and Boxworks have joined forces to create a series of monthly lunchtime talks, the last Wednesday of every month, over the next six months titled ‘Talk n’ Lunch.’

Doors open at 12.45pm – allowing you plenty of time to have a sandwich, chat, network, ask a few questions and get back to the office with plenty of time to spare.

This month on Wednesday 25th September our guest speaker is Chartered Tax Consultant with MK Brazil Brendan Twohig.

During your lunch at Boxworks, Patrick St, Brendan will chat and share his expertise on.

  1. The Pros and Cons of Forming a company.
  2. Availing of tax relief on investments into a company.
  3. What you can claim from your business and what you can’t.
  4. General tax topics.
  5. Q&A.

Lunch is included – so bring your apatite and an open mind.  Booking is essential

Click here for bookings: https://www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/Training-Events/Online-Bookings/Talk-n-Lunch-BOXworks-Sep.html

BrexitjigsawCurrency Risk Management

From October 31st how we trade with the UK will change profoundly. Waterford companies that trade with the UK will need to take steps to mitigate the impact of trading with a non-European Union country and once the UK leaves the European Union and Customs Union, it will be regarded as a “Third Country.”

However, it will not just be customs, supply chain management and certification that will be impacted by Brexit. Currency fluctuations are anticipated to have a major impact on how businesses trade with the UK post-Brexit.

Currency volatility has been evident since the 2016 Brexit vote. The value of sterling has depreciated approximately 13% against the euro and weak sterling remains a challenge for businesses, especially those that export to the UK.

In order to mitigate the uncertainty and avert the challenges associated with currency risk, there are several practical guidelines that can be followed if your business exports to the UK:

  • Enterprise Ireland has devised a Currency Impact calculator to help understand the effect of movements in the sterling/euro exchange rate on businesses and to quantify the exposure your business is open to. The free online tool is widely available at and demonstrates what an adverse change in exchange rates will have on business profitability.
  • Based on your businesses level of currency risk, a comprehensive and robust risk management policy is advised as this will anticipate the levels of currency risk your business can comfortable tolerate.
  • Getting two prices or Dual Invoicing (in euro & sterling) is another way to manage your currency risk. By getting two prices you will be able to see the effect of exchange rate difference and have more information to choose the best payment option.
  • Consider getting a forward contract. This is an agreement with your bank to exchange a specified amount of foreign currency at a specified date in the future. This will mitigate the uncertainty around future fluctuations and make forecasting easier.

Richard Hurley is Manager of The Granville Hotel, a Waterford hotel renowned as the birthplace of Thomas Francis Meagher and has been planning for the impact of Brexit for the last two years.

“The impact of currency volatility is something that is particularly felt in the tourism sector. The dip in sterling is certainly affecting British holiday makers travelling to eurozone countries. And those that do visit are spending less, as sterling is not yielding a great return against the euro.”

“However, here at the Granville Hotel and more generally within the hospitality sector, forward planning is intrinsic. Whilst the Irish Hotel Federation is continuing to work with the Government and State bodies to mitigate the potential damage, market diversification remains a key focus for Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland, in addition to providing supports for tourism businesses in relation to digital capability, sales skills and operation efficiency.

“Working together as a destination and caring for the visitors ought to create demand across both the domestic and international market. An example of this has been the collaboration in the food tourism sector resulted in Waterford been awarded the Foodie Destination of Ireland. We are so fortunate that Waterford and the southeast as a region has so much opportunity.”

Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Waterford said that currency risk management is imperative for businesses that export to and trade with the UK.

“The current level of currency volatility is influencing businesses of all scales. Recognising your risk level and putting in place a financial risk management plan is key to weathering the Brexit storm. If companies have the infrastructure in place to respond more effectively to the challenges of currency instability, it will certainly stand to them in the long run.”

“Local Enterprise Office Waterford is working closely with Enterprise Ireland and Government agencies to provide a range of programmes and support to help Waterford businesses get Brexit Ready.”

“We would urge any business that hasn’t addressed the impact of Brexit on their company to get in touch with us today.   We have appointed a panel of Brexit-specific mentors, are running a series of free Brexit clinics that cover all aspects of customs, supply chain management, certification and currency risk management. Local Enterprise Office Waterford also has a dedicated #BrexitReady advisor to provide information and direction regarding each businesses’ Brexit vulnerability.”

If you have any queries regarding your business and Brexit, talk directly to LEO Waterford #BrexitReady advisor, David Walsh, by calling 0761 102 905 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WIT Light it Up GoldWaterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is hosting its sixth annual event to raise awareness of childhood cancer and to raise funds for The Childhood Cancer Foundation.

As well as its Golden Moments Afternoon Tea event 3-4pm on Monday, 30 September 2019 in the Tourism & Leisure building on the WIT Cork Road Campus, Staff and students are invited to wear yellow or gold on the day and participate in a Human Gold Ribbon on the lawn outside the Tourism & Leisure centre at 2.30pm on that day.

As part of Light it Up Gold the Tourism & Leisure Building is lit up at night in gold (8-11pm), as well as the WIT homepage and other websites.

In addition, as September is childhood cancer awareness month all this week merchandise and raffle tickets will be sold 12.30-2pm in the atrium outside Student Life & Learning on the main campus as part of the Light It Up Gold campaign. People can register their interest in participating in the human gold ribbon.

Every September the Childhood Cancer Foundation runs a campaign called Light It Up Gold. It is part of an international awareness campaign as research into childhood cancer is grossly underfunded. 

Light It Up Gold is marked at WIT because back in 2013 three mothers working in WIT all met on St John’s Ward in Our Lady's Children's Hospital with their children.

Local families that have been affected by childhood cancer will be in attendance as well as staff and students. The idea behind ‘Golden Moments Afternoon Tea’ is for everybody to take a moment out of their busy schedules and consider how they can support each other.

The Golden Moments Afternoon Tea line-up includes:

  • Serena Meagher who will talk about her son Ben who is a survivor of childhood cancer
  • Student Daniel Docherty will sing ‘Bring Him Home’. Daniel took part in the Autism’s Got Talent show in London in August 2108 with ‘Bring him home’, a song that resonates with so many parents with children in hospital.
  • The choir will feature Phil Brennan, his wife Elaine Harvey, Sarah Bates and  Sarah Jane Lavery.
  • A nurse from the Paediatric Ward in UHW will talk about the paediatric oncology  patients in UHW and the improvements she has seen since the involvement of the Childhood Cancer Foundation.
  • Two Arts students will read poems: ‘Imagine’ and ‘To honour you’.

Students will also be volunteering at the event.


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