InBUSINESS Winter 2022

Page 1


Editor: Sorcha Corcoran

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ISSN 20093934

1 Contents
14 Entrepreneur Pat Phelan, tapping into wellness with his latest ventures 22 Industry Future-proofing manufacturing in di erent sectors Words: Sorcha Corcoran 26 Small Business Fuelling growth Dublin-based Fuel is making the most of experiences In Association with Our Local Government InBUSINESS supplement continues to look at the important role played by local authorities in Irish enterprise
InBUSINESS | WINTER 2022 InBUSINESS speaks to three female directors at DHL Express Ireland on their experience of diversity and progress in the logistics industry. 18 COVER STORY: DYNAMIC DELIVERY 14

Sceim lasachtai um Eifeachtulacht Fuinnimh

� Airgeadas 6 €10,000 go €150,000

� Tearmai aisiocaiochta 1-10 mbliana

Ratai laghdaithe uis

Airitear le cinealacha airgeadais incheadaithe iasachtai tearma, fru ilcheannach agu s tairgi um mhaoiniu s6cmhainni

Is feidir iasachtai a usaid le haghaidh

lnfheistiocht a dheanamh i dtrealamh ata tiosach ar fhuinneamh mar teaschaideil, paineil ghreine, rialuithe soilsithe, fuaraitheoiri agus fuaraitheoiri sreabhan, coiri uisce trachtala, pointi luchtaithe feithicli leictreacha, srl. chun inbhuanaitheacht an ghn6 a fheabhsu.

Chun a bheith inchailithe chun maoiniu a fhail, ni m6r an trealamh a bheith ar Chlar na dTairgi Tri E de chuid LJdaras Fuinnimh lnmharthana na hEireann {SEAi).

Costais na sceime

Tabharfar lascaine ar an rata uis a bhaineann leis an iasacht agus agus athruithe le sonru i measc na n-iasacht6iri rannphairteacha.

Fuinnimh ghreine, luchtaithe E measc

Ce ata in ann iarratas a dheanamh?

Le bheith inchailithe caithfidh iasachtai a bheith ina: Mhicreafhiontar, fiontar bheag n6 meanmheide {FBM) inmharthana, lena n-airitear feirmeoiri agus iascairi; Na criteir inchailitheachta a chomhlionadh.

Conas a dheanaim iarratas?

Tosaitear an pr6iseas iarratais dha cheim trid an bhFoirm larratais Chailitheachta ata ar fail ar shuiomh Greasain SBCI, {CEIM 1) a chomhlionadh; Gheobhaidh gn61achtai inchailithe uimhir/c6d inchailitheachta SBCI a chaithfear a sholathar do cheann de na hiasacht6iri rannphairteacha chun tus a chur leis an bpr6iseas creidmheasa {CEIM 2).

Ta tearmai agus coinniollacha i bhfeidhm

3 InBUSINESS | WINTER 2022 Go to for the online edition [REGULARS] 4 Business News 8 The Hot Topic 10 Start-up Central 12 Movers & Shakers 17 Opportunity Ireland 38 Chambers Catch Up Contents 36 MEDIA & MARKETING Thoughts on Web3, the next iteration of the Internet 34 SKILLS & TALENT Workplace stress and the need for di ering supports 32 INNOVATION & TECH Acceleration in development at ADI Catalyst in Limerick 28 79 [LIFESTYLE] 79 BOOKS Corporate change and living life to the full 80 PODCASTS The fresh approach with For Tech’s Sake MENTORS: Peter Cosgrove A sought-after speaker and expert on the future of work, Peter Cosgrove shares his insights into key trends facing employers. Words: Sorcha Corcoran 34 36 80



Dublin-based Storm Technology has launched a new cloudbased enterprise resource planning solution to drive innovation in the hospitality sector. Already workinag with the Gleneagle, Doyle Collection and Staycity, Storm Technology hopes to build on its existing portfolio of hospitality clients across Ireland and the UK with the new solution. Hosted on Microsoft’s Business Central platform, the solution for small and medium-sized hospitality businesses monitors, tracks and controls all processes across all departments. Mike Lillis, Chief Commercial O icer, Storm Technology, said: “The hospitality sector is one that has experienced considerable disruption in recent years. It’s also one where businesses are managing various functions and processes with potentially outdated systems and approaches.”


Business BITES

More than 95% of US multinationals have a positive view of Ireland as an investment location, according to a survey of American Chamber of Commerce Ireland members.


Bibby Financial Services research shows that one third of SMEs in Ireland have had to write o bad debts in the past 12 months.


Global insurance and consulting business NFP has acquired Dublin-based health and life insurance advisory company Tailored Finance. This is NFP’s fifth acquisition in Ireland within the past two years. Colm Power, Director at NFP in Ireland, said: “Tailored Finance has a wealth of experience working with Irish and multinational corporations and is regarded among the best healthcare advisors in Ireland. Tailored Finance enhances our portfolio to deliver the healthcare solutions our clients need.” Established in 2008, Tailored Finance is among the leading independent health insurance brokers in the Irish market, generating gross written annual premiums last year valued at €25m. The company will continue to service customers under its existing name while leading NFP’s healthcare and wellness proposition in Ireland.

Mike Lillis, Chief Commercial O icer, Storm Technology Matt Pawley, President, NFP Europe and Jeremy Tucker, Managing Director, Tailored Finance
“Digitalisation is a core pillar of our business strategy as is embracing the best technologies and partners to continually find new ways to support our clients.”
Janet Cox, Sales Director, DHL Express Ireland

€1.2bn investment confirmed by Pfizer

Pfizer confirmed in December it is to invest over €1.2bn at its Grange Castle facility in Dublin. This will see a new facility built on the site premises, which will double the capacity for biological drug substance manufacturing and create hundreds of new jobs there. Having first established operations in Ireland in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork in 1969, Pfizer has grown and continuously invested in its facilities here since. It currently employs around 5,000 people in Ireland.

IDA Ireland Interim CEO Mary Buckley said: “This major additional investment underscores the strategic importance of Ireland in Pfizer’s global operations.”





A DataSolutions survey reveals that while 78% of tech companies have plans to achieve carbon neutrality, 65% have not yet measured their carbon footprint.


Games developer companies will be able to take advantage of new tax credits after the Government o icially signed the regulations into law in November.

Last year funding into female-founded start-ups surged 120% to reach a record €230m, according to a TechIreland report published to coincide with International Women’s Day.


Total employment in IDA client companies now stands at 301,475, a 9% increase on 2021; 103 of the 242 investments won in 2022 were new-name investments.

New data published by Comreg has revealed that fibre-to-the-premises technology in the Irish market is now on a par with cable broadband subscribers for the first time.


A global survey by Teneo shows that more than 60% of CEOs and investors are working to balance company performance and ESG commitments.

Just Eat extends Leinster Rugby partnership

Just Eat has extended its partnership with Leinster Rugby as o icial food delivery partner until the end of the 2023/24 season. Since the partnership began in September 2021, Just Eat has been giving supporters exclusive discounts and o ers. To mark the contract extension, Just Eat is launching its own Leinster Loyalty Club to give further discounts to over 300 supporters across the rest of the 2022/23 season. The successful entrants will be notified by Just Eat and receive the first match-day credit in their Just Eat account ahead of Leinster’s Champions Cup fixture at home to Racing on 21 January in Aviva Stadium.

Parcel Connect has joined forces with Applegreen to roll out its pick-up, drop-o and returns network to over 120 locations across Ireland. Pictured are Deborah Howell, Head of Trading, Applegreen Ireland and Danny Hughes, Fastway CEO and Parcel Connect Co-Founder.

Bord na Móna using digital mapping for ecology plans

Esri Ireland has announced that its digital mapping system is being used by Bord na Móna to restore and rehabilitate 33,000 hectares of peatlands over a five-year period. Having previously worked with Esri Ireland on other projects, Bord na Móna is now using Esri’s ArcGIS system to support and optimise its rehabilitation efforts. The digital mapping capabilities allow its ecologists to analyse and examine the ground level to identify which rehabilitation measures are most appropriate on different areas of bogland. “With ArcGIS Online, everyone sees the most up-to-date plans, whether they are working in the office or in a bog, which helps to ensure that ecology plans are carried out as intended,” said Michael Lenihan, GIS Manager, Bord na Móna.

HCS reports 26% rise in turnover

Waterfordbased IT, security and telecoms company HCS has reported a 26% increase in turnover to reach €5.2m for the financial year ended 2022. The growth has been driven by the accelerated move to the cloud and a rising need for effective IT and data security due to changes in work practices as well as a growing focus on technology to reduce costs for businesses. Also with a base in Dublin, HCS opened a third location in Cork in 2022 and is projecting turnover of €6.5m for next year. Sean Hegarty, Head of Operations at HCS, said: “Remote and hybrid working practices, increasingly sophisticated cyber threats and the continued move to the cloud are creating positive momentum.”


Event production company Avcom is to create 30 new jobs in the next two years as part of a €3m investment in the business. Currently recording revenues of over €5m and employing 44 people, Avcom expects to increase its annual revenues to €12m by the end of 2024. Established in Dublin 42 years ago, Avcom now uses design-led production with the latest technologies, offering technical production, set design, video, content creation and audio-visual services. Clients include Fáilte Ireland, Croke Park, PepsiCo and Opel. The recent enhancement of its services has enabled Avcom to win multinational contracts across Europe, the UK and the US.

Olivia Breene, Head of Business Development and Marketing and Paul Murphy, Managing Director, Avcom Michael Lenihan, GIS Manager, Bord na Móna and Phil McLaughlin, Client Manager, Esri Ireland Sean Hegarty, Head of Operations, HCS

The Guinness Enterprise Centre in Dublin has launched Health@GEC, a unique healthcare innovation cluster aimed at fostering collaboration between start-ups, medical practitioners, patients and problem-solvers. Twenty healthcare companies are already engaged with the cluster, ranging from earlystage start-ups to established international organisations. Innovation projects currently in progress include those focused on specialised clinical research and training, with others involving technologies to support patients. The cluster has attracted interest internationally from non-clinical partners as well as major global healthcare players. Paul Anglim, Health Lead at GEC, said: “Health@GEC is a hub from which innovators can access the network, locations, supports and people to bring their product to market successfully, thereby improving patient outcomes and new product adoption.”

Gamma enters Spanish market

Dublin-based location intelligence company Gamma is expanding into the Spanish market with its property risk solutions. This move is part of the company’s plan to grow its operations in new international markets following a successful entry into the UK market in 2020. “Our aim in Spain, as well as Ireland and the UK, is to assess and visualise the impact of climate change using high-quality data at the individual property level,” said Richard Cantwell, Senior Spatial Data Scientist at Gamma. “In turn, this helps local authorities, banks and insurance providers to make better informed decisions, to assess their exposure for climate-related disclosure reporting and to lower investment and underwriting risk.”

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Donal Morris, CEO and Founder of Red Zinc, Dr Paul Anglim, Health Lead, Guinness Enterprise Centre and Orla Veale, Programme Director at St James’ Hospital


A new study by has revealed the top ten places to work from home in Ireland. Castlebar, Co Mayo was ranked in first position in’s Best Places to Work from Home in Ireland index due to its “winning mix of great leisure amenities, speedy broadband, 5G mobile coverage and plenty of green spaces” as well as reasonable house prices, a low crime rate and good access to health and top schools. It was followed by Leixslip in Dublin, Navan, Co Meath, Longford Town, Gorey, Co Wexford, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, Mallow, Co Cork, Portmarnock in Dublin and Sligo Town. Alongside house prices and crime rate, the research compares broadband speeds and 5G mobile coverage, access to green spaces, fitness and leisure centres, cafés and food delivery services,


Hybrid work

Commentary and news on the new era of working

“In-person time for teams is essential to gain and transfer tacit knowledge. Water-cooler conversations cannot be replicated in a Microso Teams’ meeting and while new hires may want hybrid, a key challenge for companies will be how to balance working arrangements across the entire organisation. While the balance of power may have shi ed, leadership and culture are now more important than ever in the work environment.”

Mary Lynch, Human Resources Manager, Element Six, speaking at the Mid-West Lean Network conference on the future of work in November.

Right to request remote working fast-tracked

In November, the Government announced it had approved the integration of the Right to Request Remote Work for all workers into the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, which is expected to be delivered soon and streamline the process. Under the new legislation employees will have a legal right to request remote working from their employer. In addition, employers will now be required to have regard to the Code of Practice when considering requests. The Code of Practice will be established on a statutory footing and it is expected to include guidance for employers and employees on their obligations regarding compliance.

Green skills for a sustainable future • Develop new skills in your team • Green your business for cost savings, competitiveness and profitability • Access highly subsidised flexible training boost skills – boost business Contact your local Education and Training Board or visit learning works



The combined value of European Space Agency contracts placed with 36 Irish companies in 2021 when it engaged with total of 94 Irish organisations, according to recent Enterprise Ireland report.


Queen’s University Belfast spin-out company Re-Vana Therapeutics has secured US$11.9m in a Series A funding round led by Visionary Ventures, an oversubscription of US$4m. The proceeds will advance the development of Re-Vana’s novel and proprietary biodegradable drug-delivery technologies and enable expansion of its operations and development teams. Re-Vana’s platform has the potential to enable sustained drug delivery to treat ocular disease via non-surgical administration in o ice-based settings, overcoming several long-standing limitations and challenges in the field.


Dave Byrne


How have you funded the business to date? We have bootstrapped, using our recurring revenue model to reinvest in our growth. We’re now actively seeking seed funding to scale the business.

What’s the best advice you have been given? Land the customer as a top priority – even in imperfect scenarios.

What was the most important lesson you learned starting out? That not all businesses are made equal; it is an inherently “unfair” space. The circumstances, structure and timing of any business can make or break it – challenges that are daunting for some founders may not have to even be considered by others!

Your biggest make or break moment?

I took a long time in 2020 deciding whether to continue a career in employment with the support that brings and the doors it opens. Instead, I launched a start-up in 2021 and have been fortunate enough to be reaping rewards from it!

Is there anything you would change in hindsight? I wish I had drawn a line between consulting and product revenues far earlier in our journey, as that was a transformation we had to go through in early 2021.

Company name: ReaDI-Watch

Locations: NovaUCD, Dublin City Centre and Toronto, Canada

Product or service: A digital platform and framework for the management of research, development and innovation.

Sta : 12 in total, with eight full-time


Start-ups AI_PREMie and seamlessCARE were among the winners at the fourth-annual AI Awards in November. Organised by AI Ireland, these awards seek to recognise how artificial intelligence can be used to help solve some of the biggest challenges facing society today. AI_PREMie is focused on addressing the diagnosing and management of preeclamptic toxaemia during pregnancy while seamlessCARE’s products are focused on enhancing communication and supporting the care of people with autism, dementia and other conditions.


NanobOx stands out at Big Ideas event

University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out NanobOx scooped the One to Watch Award at Enterprise Ireland’s Big Ideas 2022 showcase event on 24 November. Founded by serial entrepreneur Dr John Favier and Dr Mohammad Ghaani, NanobOx is developing technology to oxygenate water using nanobubbles. The technology was invented by Dr Ghaani and Professor Niall English at the UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocessing Engineering. “We are excited to bring to market the ground-breaking, ultra-low energy cost nanobubble generation technology developed at UCD that we believe will accelerate the use of nanobubbles in aquaculture, agriculture and other bio-systems,” said company CEO Favier. NanobOx’s nanobubble generators can be solar- or battery-powered, and with no moving parts, are easy to clean and maintain. The company claims its technology is highly scalable and can oxygenate water at high flow rates.


Medtech start-up a winner at EY awards

Fionn Lahart, Co-Founder and CEO and Christoph Hennersperger, CoFounder and CTO of OneProjects took the 2022 EY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award on 30 November. A privately-held, venture-backed company based in Dublin and Munich, OneProjects has developed a cutting-edge cardiac imaging and analysis platform to improve the lives of patients su ering from cardiac diseases globally. It operates at the intersection of medtech and data science, giving real-time information to doctors performing surgery to improve the outcome of each individual treatment. Founded in 2020, the company has 50 full-time employees and has raised over €26m in capital since it launched. Martin McKay, Founder and CEO at assistive technology company Texthelp was named the International and overall 2022 EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

Founded by Joe Kenny in 2013, Irish edtech company

Zeeko is soon to start trials of its Magical Leaders programme to primaryschool students in five public schools in Hanoi further to signing an agreement with Vietnam’s Institute for Education Technology. A game-like interactive programme, Magic Leaders is used annually by over 7,000 students in Ireland, across Europe and in Southeast Asia. The focus in Hanoi is to enable the students to develop their communication skills, emotional selfregulation, teamwork, creative problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. “This innovative digitallearning experience focuses on developing transferable skills that will help students deal with an ever-changing and unpredictable world,” said Kenny. “Following the trials, we hope to deliver this programme across Vietnam.”

Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland, said: “Magical Leaders is empowering the next generation of employees, entrepreneurs and leaders by developing their entrepreneurial competency.”

Joe Kenny, Founder and CEO, Zeeko NanobOx Co-founders Dr John Favier and Dr Mohammad Ghaani with Marina Donohoe, Enterprise Ireland Christoph Hennersperger and Fionn Lahart, Co-founders, OneProjects


NEW TITLE: Chief Economist and Partner


PREVIOUS ROLE: Chief Economist, Bank of Ireland

Dr Loretta O’Sullivan is joining EY Ireland in January as Chief Economist. In this role she will be focused on overseeing economic research and analysis for the firm and its clients while distilling the latest macro-economic data into actionable insights that support success and growth. O’Sullivan has previously held senior positions at the Department of Finance and the Central Bank of Ireland.


NEW TITLE: Country Manager

EMPLOYER: Cato Networks

PREVIOUS ROLE: Co-founder and Partner, Integrity360



NEW TITLE: Sales Director

EMPLOYER: Equinix Ireland

PREVIOUS ROLE: Regional Sales Director, Equinix

Israeli network security company Cato Networks has appointed Anthony Walsh as Country Manger for Ireland. With over 20 years’ leadership experience, in this new role Walsh will be leading various teams to help expand the company’s presence here, including building relationships with vendors and partners. As a Co-founder of and Partner in Integrity360, Walsh developed and led the sales function.

Digital infrastructure company Equinix has promoted Michael Galvin to the position of Sales Director for Ireland. He brings over 25 years’ experience in senior managerial and director positions in large enterprises in Ireland to the role. He will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for Equinix Ireland’s revenue streams, leading business development e orts with both domestic and multinational enterprises.


NEW TITLE: Head of Business Development


PREVIOUS ROLE: Senior Account Manager, Vyta

Lowell Rawcli e has been promoted to the position of Head of Business Development at Vyta, five years after he joined the IT asset disposition company as a business development manager. In this role, he will drive opportunities across new territories as the company continues to make acquisitions. Prior to Vyta, Rawcli e worked as a sales and customer service representative at Tesla.


The Excel Recruitment Annual Salary Guide 2023 predicts salary increases in the range of 3-11% across the board. The new research has revealed that while this time last year 65% of employers signaled salary increases in the upcoming year, this has risen to 71% 12 months later as most employers say pay rises are definitely being considered. “Towards the latter part of 2022, we saw sta shortages and increased employee expectations forcing employers to loosen their purse strings – with starting salaries shooting up by an extra €5,000 in certain sectors,” said Barry Whelan, CEO of Excel Recruitment.


In recent years tech trailblazer Pat Phelan turned his attention to wellness where he continues to show his aptitude for tapping into global trends.



Q: Have you always had a business head on your shoulders?

Pat Phelan (PP): I only have two quali cations, as a butcher and a chef. But I was always into technology. As a kid I had a ZX81 when nobody knew what a Spectrum was. I had CB radios and long-wave radios. Around 2002 I decided I wanted to work for myself and go back to things I was passionate about and interested in. So I built Internet cafés and phone companies and then started seriously with Cubic Telecom – which was very early to market as a global connectivity platform to end roaming charges – and Trustev, one of the world’s rst global fraud engines, which I sold

to TransUnion in 2015 for US$44m. Cubic Telecom and Trustev were successful because they came about at the perfect, right times.

Q: In 2018 you switched to beauty/wellness with Sisu, why was that?

PP: I could see that worldwide there was a huge turn away from topical treatments and towards cosmetic procedures such as botox and llers among Millenials and Generation X. e market was very fragmented – either super high-end, almost like plastic surgery, or beauticians injecting customers. ere was a white space down the middle, an opportunity to bring in medical expertise.

“Around 2002 I decided I wanted to work for myself and go back to things I was passionate about and interested in.”


Serial entrepreneur Pat Phelan says he has lost 60lbs in the past year and returned to full health thanks to sticking to the recommendations made by the Limbo weight-loss platform. Before using it, the Corkman was pre-diabetic and now has no signs of the condition. “This isn’t about drinking three protein shakes a day and going to a weigh-in to get embarrassed. It’s designed to empower you to identify patterns in terms of what and when you eat and your movement so you can perform better – this could be a nudge to eat a protein-based meal or a reminder that it would be a good time to go out for a walk,” he says.

“Using Limbo has had a transformative e ect on my life. I have more energy. The other night I did a cardio class and burned 700 calories, which is very unusual for a 57-year old!.”

“Our first cohort of users has seen an average body weight reduction of 13% in three months without diets , strict exercise or calorie counting.”

My business partners at Sisu, Brian and James Cotter, are both doctors, which gives me huge comfort as CEO. Directed by their medical oath to “ rst, do no harm,”, the brothers and I felt compelled to evoke a change in the industry, establishing a practice to put medical expertise and patients at the forefront of cosmetic and aesthetic care.

Annual revenue increased by 100% in the past three years and it will go up by 54% this year to reach around €12m. Having started in Cork, Sisu has grown to be a global brand with operations in every city in Ireland, London in the UK and Miami, Houston and New York in the US.

We are now opening on main streets and in shopping malls; the concept has become acceptable. A member of our board, retail strategist Kim Nemser, talks about how friends at parties who used to talk about creams and lotions now talk about who their injectors

are. With around 25 clinics now already up and running, we plan to open a further 20-30 before too long. It is growing at a ferocious pace.

Q: How did your latest venture, Limbo, come about?

PP: When Covid-19 hit I had put on a lot of weight a er years of working, ying weekly and bad food habits. My friend, physiologist and personal trainer Tony Martin, had been analysing bloods for around 20 years in a manual way, looking at how blood sugars trigger weight loss. So I thought ‘Wow, this could be a technology platform’. I asked Rurik Bradbury, former Chief Marketing O cer at Trustev if he wanted to help and he is now Limbo’s CEO while Tony is its Chief Research O cer. Launched last year, Limbo uses real-time biodata from wearables, combined with an app, arti cial intelligence (AI) and human coaching to create an individualised approach.

Q: What is the progress to date with Limbo in terms of results?

PP: ings have been going exceptionally well, with our rst cohort of users seeing an average body weight reduction of 13% in three months without diets, strict exercise or calorie counting. e AI platform uses nudge theory to give the user simple suggestions based on their blood-sugar levels. Around 2,000 people have used Limbo so far and we’re ready to scale up.

We have raised €6.1m in seed funding led by IPO experts Hoxton Ventures and including Irish investors such as Co-founder of Web Summit Paddy Cosgrave, PCH International Founder Liam Casey and former CEO of Voxpro Dan Kiely. One of the greatest basketball stars of all time, Shaquille O’Neal, recently joined Limbo as a shareholder and advisor.

Our objective with Limbo is to obliterate obesity, which over time has become one of the biggest problems for healthcare providers. People are desperate to lose weight and we have come up with something really simple – a coach on your arm – to achieve that.

Q: What would you say drives you as an entrepreneur?

PP: In the early days it was probably about building something that was a success; then it became about wanting to build things that are global. e vision gets bigger over time. I also want to make others a success – bring people along for the ride so they can be inspired and go further themselves. And it has been a pretty wild ride.



SECTOR: Software



Global cloud-led, data-centric software company NetApp has opened new international headquarters in Cork’s Docklands, which is expected to create 500 new jobs by 2025. The new headquarters will serve NetApp’s international commercial, sales and technology operations.

COMPANY: Hanley Energy SECTOR: Energy management LOCATION: North East


Irish-owned energy management solutions provider Hanley Energy has announced over 225 new jobs in the North-East and a significant expansion of its operations, including a new facility in Monaghan and development of its site in Dundalk, Co Louth.

COMPANY: Technimark

SECTOR: Manufacturing LOCATION: Longford

ANNOUNCEMENT: Global manufacturing leader for the healthcare market Technimark is to create 80 new highly-skilled roles over the next two years as it expands its operations in Longford, with a 50,000 sq ft addition, doubling the size of its existing plant.


COMPANY: Lufthansa Technik AG

SECTOR: Aviation LOCATION Kildare


Lufthansa Technik Turbine Shannon has opened a new mobile engine services facility in Celbridge, Co Kildare where it will increase the workforce from 30 to 65 within the next two years as part of a €28m investment.

COMPANY: Advanced Clinical SECTOR: Healthcare LOCATION: Dublin


A global clinical research services organisation serving the biopharma and medical device industry, Advanced Clinical, has opened a new o ice in Dublin, creating 20 jobs, with plans to expand to 40 roles over the next five years.

COMPANY: Aran Biomedical

SECTOR: Medical devices LOCATION: Co Galway


Aran Biomedical, a medical devices company based in an Spidéal, Co Galway specialising in the design, development and manufacturing of medical implants, is creating 45 new jobs. The company was acquired by US-based Integer earlier this year.

Reimagining recruitment and retention

Research drawn from the Laya Healthcare Wellbeing Index has identified ‘Reimagining recruitment and retention’ as one of the top five HR trends for 2023. According to the survey, people are now e ectively ranking work-life balance on a par with salary when thinking about a new role, at 61% and 60% respectively. In the current climate, 42% of HR leaders say they have an increased focus on retaining sta .

INBUSINESS highlights some of the companies that are expanding operations and generating new employment opportunities across the country.
“O ice life has changed forever, becoming less a place for task management and more a shared space to re-establish social connections that employees have clearly missed out on. Bedding in the changes of recent years is top of mind for HR leaders across Ireland.”
Sinéad Proos, Head of Health & Wellbeing at Laya Healthcare



Strong female role models are key to driving gender balance and DHL Express Ireland is breaking the mould in this regard in the logistics industry.

InBusiness talks to three of its inspirational female leaders.

Over the past two years DHL Express Ireland has significantly grown its employee headcount to reach 500 people across the country, with large operations hubs in Dublin, Cork and Shannon. Remarkably, in the traditionally maledominated logistics industry, 46% of this workforce is female, with 33% female representation on the senior management team.

Even more impressive is the fact that 50% of DHL Express Ireland’s executive director roles are currently held by women compared to the global average of around 15%. Janet Cox, Orla Thorne and Niamh O’Leary are three of DHL’s most prominent leaders in Ireland, having been appointed within the past four years to the positions of Sales Director, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and HR Director, respectively.

Cox’s career at DHL began 20 years ago in credit control; she moved to customer service and started in sales as a telesales agent. “I then progressed in a number of roles over the years to now being the Sales Director since 2018. We had a woman who started in DHL as a cleaner and a few years later became a top sales executive. The level of training, development and opportunity for career growth is why I and many others have continued to work for what I personally believe is one of the best companies in the world,” she says.

Janet Cox, Sales Director, Orla Thorne, Chief Financial Officer and Niamh O’Leary, HR Director, DHL Express Ireland
“The level of training, development and opportunity for career growth is why I and many others have continued to work for what I personally believe is one of the best companies in the world.”

Over the years, Cox has witnessed signi cant change in the logistics industry, with technological advancements making the biggest impact. “Back when I started the aim of the game was getting a shipment from A to B in the quickest way possible. ere were handwritten air waybills and lots of manual processes – little did we know how far digitalisation was about to take us,” she re ects.

“Being able to scan a barcode to nd out where in the world your shipment is or ensure your goods are customs-cleared when still in the air was unimaginable 20 years ago – let alone electric planes and drone deliveries.”

In her current role, Cox is responsible for sales within DHL Express Ireland with particular focus on the strategic growth of the business while meeting customer needs. “We are just o the back of our recent ‘Love your Customer Week’, which was a great success. It was fantastic to be able to host our rst in-person events since the pandemic across our main hub and service centres,” she notes.


e continuous focus on innovation within the business is one of the many reasons Cox has found this such an interesting career to date. “Logistics is not the mundane, boring industry


that it used to have a reputation for being. Innovation is part of DHL’s DNA. In recent years, we’ve introduced digital account opening, best-in-class customer shipping platforms and integration solutions; a real-time shipment intercept service as well as fully-automated customs clearance,” she says.

“Digitalisation is a core pillar of our business strategy as is embracing the best technologies and partners to continually nd new ways to support our clients and keep us ahead of the competition. Since 1969, DHL has been moving with the times to ensure our customers have a logistics partner that is working with them to add e ciencies to their business.”

orne has worked in the nance department of logistics companies for 24 years. Following a seven-year stint as a nancial accountant, she joined DHL Express Ireland as Financial Controller in 2005. “Since then I have gained so much business, network and nancial knowledge. DHL ensures all managers are trained as Certi ed International Managers through intensive leadership and people management training,” she explains.

“I was promoted to CFO in 2019 in the unique position of having been given 12 months’ notice of when my predecessor was leaving. erefore, I could focus on my key development areas and walk in his footsteps, so when the opportunity came, I felt ready to grab it with both hands. My ambition is to put my stamp on the CFO position. I would like to be remembered for the changes and improvements that I brought during my time.”

DHL’s Mission 2050 global project to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero by 2050 has kick-started new projects totaling €7bn in global investment. In Ireland, this has included a brand-new facility in Blarney, Co Cork and the replacement of DHL delivery vehicles with greener, last-mile solutions in order to hit a target of 60% electric vehicles by 2030. The first tranche of 44 fully-electric vans are due for delivery mid-2023. DHL has also started a programme to achieve carbon neutrality in all of its local facilities in Ireland by 2030. “As the largest logistics company in the world, we have a huge responsibility to set an example in our industry,” says Chief Financial O icer at DHL Express Ireland Orla Thorne. “The Finance team plays an integral role in this process to ensure we’re getting the best value and staying within the budgeted costs for the local projects involved.”

“At the most basic of levels, diversity sparks conversation and discussion, which leads to innovation and creativity – a must in modern business.”
Janet Cox, Sales Director, DHL Express Ireland

orne feels that gender diversity is essential in all strands of business, even more so in an industry that has been historically so male-dominated. “At the most basic of levels, diversity sparks conversation and discussion, which leads to innovation and creativity – a must in modern business. e logistics industry is changing – it’s embracing technology and is now seen as an exciting and fast-paced environment to work in,” she notes.

“It’s also very much a ground-up career with lots of our senior mangers having started in ground operations and worked their way up – another reason the decision makers can tend to be men. However, here at DHL we’re delighted that 30% of the senior management team is female as this adds di erent perspectives and opinions on matters that impact the business.”


According to O’Leary, DHL has made purposeful strides in addressing gender diversity and its corporate culture of inclusion has made a signi cant impact in attracting women to the sector generally. “ e DHL4Her programme is speci cally designed to identify and develop women in leadership and our focus on DEIB and #breakthebias initiatives ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are central to how we work every day,” she says.

“As a company, we’re looking to adapt to changes in our ways of working to reconcile our strategies and business models with the wishes of all of our employees – not just women. Instilling these inclusive practices makes us attractive to a diverse employee base and – with non-biased recruitment and career progression practices – we ensure a fair and inclusive culture focused on respect and driven by results for all.”

O’Leary joined DHL Express Ireland as HR director just over two years ago having spent around 12 years working for French technology services and consulting rm Gapgemini Group, most recently as HR Director of Sogeti Ireland and Capgemini FS Ireland.

“I fell into and in love with HR while working in Australia and have been in the eld now for over 20 years. I was approached by a recruiter regarding the role at DHL Express Ireland and didn’t hesitate to put myself forward. It was a great opportunity to be part of one of the biggest private employers in the world that has been ranked two years in a row as the Number 1 Greatest Place to Work,” she says.

“My hope is to continue to enhance the role of HR in the business by embracing digitalisation to increase e ciency and data-driven decision making and to continuously improve the employee experience through our HR initiatives. One of the initiatives I have been involved in is the launch of our new DHL ‘Smart Connect’ app, which allows every employee access to social updates, policies and company announcements.

“At DHL, we really take time to listen to our people and incorporate their feedback in employee opinion surveys into our strategic planning. Recruiting in this tight market has shown us that there is synergy between what engages our current employees and what attracts new candidates to working here.”


During these uncertain times, DHL will continue to focus on supporting SME customers in Ireland to help them to grow successfully, according to Sales Director Janet Cox. “Market diversification is always a good business strategy and we’re seeing strong growth in the number of SMEs trading internationally. This ranges from those taking their first steps to trade outside of Ireland to some of the more experienced businesses that are moving into new markets. Brexit has encouraged many SMEs to diversify beyond the UK and we can certainly see that in our trading dynamics,” she says. “The EU is an obvious reference point with more than 500 million consumers on our doorstep. Thereafter, trade with any of the 18 eurozone countries is especially attractive given there is no currency risk.”

“As a company, we’re looking to adapt to changes in our ways of working to reconcile our strategies and business models with the wishes of all of our employees – not just women.”
Niamh O’Leary, HR Director, DHL Express Ireland Orla Thorne, Chief Financial O icer, DHL Express Ireland


Manufacturing in Ennis, Co Clare since 1974, global respiratory diagnostics company Vitalograph has successfully moved the production of its consumables from China to Ireland – which has halved associated landed costs. Efficiencies in Ennis have been further enhanced through the introduction of robotics and automation.

The products Vitalograph manufactures there fall into two categories: diagnostic instruments and the consumables that are used with them. “We outsourced the manufacturing of the consumables to China in 2006, which halved landed costs at the time. In 2018, we noticed the shift towards automation and asked ourselves why we were manufacturing in China when there were 26-week lead times with having to ship everything across the sea,” explains Vitalograph CEO Frank Keane.

Vitalograph has invested €4m to buy a new building in Ennis and convert it to house three moulding machines and three assembly machines. The operation has been up and running since the second half of 2021. “We recently looked at landed costs and the 50% reduction came as quite a surprise. In addition, our margin had dropped from 70% to 30%, but is now at 50-60%,” notes Keane.

Two manufacturers from very different sectors, Vitalograph and Meade Farm Group, share insights into future-proofing their operations by incorporating automation and focusing on sustainability.
Frank Keane, CEO, Vitalograph

In the new 5,000 sq ft plant, Vitalograph is producing 12-13 million bacterial viral filters a year. These devices are used to test lung function and protect equipment from the patient’s breath. “Our engineers have designed our own automation using off-the-shelf components. This includes FANUC robots, which are very close to replacing humans in terms of hand-eye coordination using a vision system. We also have the FlexiBowl parts-feeding system which tells the robots what to pick up and is very flexible,” says Keane. “When Covid-19 hit, we had to accelerate manufacturing in Ennis. With three manufacturing cells now up and running, we’re at full capacity and are going to double this to six cells, which will allow us to reach capacity of 18 million units a year. The automation has allowed us to respond to unforecasted demand, improve stock control and adjust quickly to the need for particular configurations of the product.”

Mid-west expansion

In April, Vitalograph announced a total investment of €10m in the Mid-West with plans to create 200 new roles over the next two years. In addition to the consumables plant, it has opened new sites at the Engine Innovate building in Limerick and the Clare Technology Park, Ennis to support the rapid growth of its global clinical trials and

healthcare business. Vitalograph’s clinical-trial solutions for pharmaceutical companies have doubled in the past two years and are recognised as being among the best in the world for drug trials with a respiratory focus.

There are currently 75 employees in the Ennis manufacturing plants, with 30 new people having been taken on in the past year for the consumables facility. Headquartered in the UK, Vitalograph also has operations in the US, Germany and Japan.

“The big difference now in manufacturing is that the price of introducing automation is one-tenth of what it was in 2006. Because the FANUC robots and FlexiBowl system are offthe-shelf, they’re freely available and you don’t have to spend millions of euro on a bespoke system. We are now looking at duplicating what we have done in Ennis at our operation in Kansas in the US,” says Keane.

Re-shoring the production of consumables from Asia to Ireland has meant 50 fewer 40-ft containers coming from China annually and lead times dropping from 26 weeks to just two weeks – representing a significant reduction of Vitalograph’s carbon footprint.

According to Robert Devlin, General Manager of Meade Farm Group in Co Meath, future-proofing food manufacturing in Ireland at this point is “all about managing the carbon footprint”. “One of the biggest stumbling blocks for many right now is getting a hold of the right expertise to make a good carbon plan. There is a need for everyone, including the EU and national policymakers to be able to access good, accurate data to make good decisions,” he says.

Valuable solution

In September, Meade Farm Group was announced as the overall 2022 IMR Grand Prix Award winner at the IMR Manufacturing & Research Awards. This was in addition to taking home

“The automation has allowed us to respond to unforecasted demand, improve stock control and adjust quickly to the need for particular configurations of the product.”
Robert Devlin, Philip Meade Jr, Cliona Costello and Paul Monaghan of Meade Farm Group with pallets of newly-extracted starch Automation at Vitalograph’s new plant in Ennis

the inaugural Circular Economy Leadership Award, which recognises industry actors who are demonstrating sectoral leadership in transitioning their business or supply chains towards a circular-economy model.

In the eyes of the judges, Meade Farm Group has embedded sustainability in everything it does as well as proactively embedding research and innovation into the organisation.

“It’s not surprising that this company has been cited as a case study in the European Commission AgriFood Group, the Draft Agri-Food Strategy 2030 for Ireland and elsewhere,” said Julie Byrne, awards judge and Head of External Collaborations at Nokia Bell Labs. “From the top down, through excellent leadership, Meade Farm Group has truly embraced food waste elimination and found a solution which not only addresses a problem but creates value,”

The solution Byrne referred to is Meade Farm Group’s state-of-theart starch extraction facility, which

represents a new type of manufacturing process.

“By re-channeling surplus and Class II potatoes to a starch extraction plant at the point of packing, we can now extract and sell Ireland and the UK’s only food-grade potato starch. Most potato starch from Northern Europe is made from crops grown specifically for starching,” Devlin explains.

“Our process prevents potatoes that didn’t make the grade for superficial reasons – as well as the by-products from crisping and chipping plants – from being channeled into a lower spot on the food pyramid. The supply chain for this fits in seamlessly with the rest of our potato supply chain, making it very efficient.”

Meade Farm Group has introduced end-of-line automation in its starch extraction plant and is planning to implement more of this throughout the facility. In its dairy enterprise, two Lely robot milkers and a fully-automated system are yielding “excellent results”, notes Devlin. “The use of robotics is one way to mitigate against labour shortages,” he says.

Organic growth

Established in 1982, Meade Farm Group has grown from having just two employees to over 350. It started out specialising in potatoes, but now also grows carrots and onions, both conventional and organic. “The most dramatic changes have been in the packhouse where we now supply the full range of potatoes, fruit and vegetables in a variety of pack sizes and packaging. In 1992, we were one of the first packers to get a washing line to offer washed potatoes,” says Devlin.

“Throughout the years, our production lines have had to adapt to offer new products and new packaging while always becoming more efficient.”

The future-proofing of manufacturing at Meade Farm Group is very much focused on sustainable energy systems, Devlin continues: “We have 300KW of solar panels with plans to add a further 500KW and we aim to upgrade our 300KW wind turbine in the future as well. In conjunction with our renewable-energy upgrades, we’re also installing Acutrace, a full-site, real-time monitoring system. This will enable us to get more accurate data, manage our energy more efficiently and make better decisions.

“We have brought in a full-time Lean coordinator to ensure continuous improvement and that Lean principles are implemented at all times and are up-skilling our people to give them the tools to participate in our sustainability journey.”

Since the early days, Founder of Meade Farm Group Philip Meade Sr was committed to avoiding waste. This has meant the company has an ethos of always seeking new ways to make better use of resources and processes, adds Devlin.

“We have a dedicated research and development department and have invested in innovation engineering training for our employees. This means finding the next innovation is always on the agenda. Collaborative relationships with University College Dublin, TU Dublin and other research and educational groups are important so that the ideas of our team can be researched where needed.”

“Throughout the years, our production lines have had to adapt to offer new products and new packaging while always becoming more efficient.”
Jeni Meade, Sustainability Manager and Robert Devlin, General Manager, Meade Farm Group


Dublin-based company Fuel recently became a co-owner of Europe’s largest outdoor health, fitness and wellness festival WellFest. Co-founder and Director Jamie Deasy shares its journey so far.


Fitness and wellbeing will continue to play a vital role in stress relief, confidence building and mood boosting in Ireland in the coming years

Jamie Deasy, Co-founder and Director, Fuel

Q: How have you grown and developed the business?

Jamie Deasy (JD): Brian McDermott and I began working together in 2011 with a view to pushing the limits of what was possible in live experiences. Brian’s background is in coordinating large-scale sporting events and entrepreneurship while mine is in corporate events and lm production.

We had a shared vision to create meaningful experiences that clients would love. Over the past 10 years we have built a business around that vision and grown our team to include some of the best in the industry. We have worked on everything from live gigs and festivals to corporate events.

In 2019 we took a very important step. Spotting a gap in the market, we launched Ireland’s rst festival for all the family, Kaleidoscope. e rst year surpassed all of our expectations with 15,000 people turning up. At the time we were part of a festival partnership, including Festival Republic, Tenth Man and Live Nation. But no one was expecting such an amazing response.

Q: What was your approach to adapting to Covid-19?

JD: In 2020, we were lucky on one level as we had already started moving our practices online. e pandemic only served to push this to the top of our agenda. We began to reinvent. Most of the team worked remotely while we converted our o ce space and venue on Camden Street in Dublin into a multi-room, state-of-the-art studio.

We also developed our own in-house, fully-customisable hybrid event platform, Vstage. is was used in December 2020 to broadcast PayPal’s ‘All Together Gathering’ to 27,000 employees in 52 cities in 13 countries. It involved 72 hours of original content in eight time-zone-speci c programmes.

In the face of uncertainty, we worked hard to expand what Fuel could o er as a business. We pivoted into the hybrid event sphere, developed our employee experience strategy and content production o erings and launched our gi ing and recognition divisions.

Now with over 70 employees specialising in areas such as employee and brand experience, content production, gi ing and technology, Fuel is so much more than a creative production agency; we are now an experience and entertainment group.

Q: Why is your co-ownership of WellFest significant?

JD: Having started in 2015, WellFest has grown its attendance to 10,000 over two days in recent years. Major international and Irish names feature in the line-up, such as Joe Wicks MBE and Dr Alex George. e next WellFest will be at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, in May 2023.

Fitness and wellbeing will continue to play a vital role in stress relief, con dence building and mood boosting in Ireland in the coming years. WellFest is ideally positioned to grow by delivering a holistic tness and wellbeing experience that meets these consumer needs.

Co-ownership of WellFest will help build a new phase of growth for Fuel. We’re looking forward to working with the WellFest founders to expand the festival programme and bring new and innovative festival products that complement the current o ering. We believe we can continue to grow WellFest’s community of fans by o ering new experiences to attract beginners to wellness, men and those who want to learn more about mental health.

Q: What di erentiates Fuel in the festivals market?

JD: We listen — to our stakeholders, our festival-goers and our clients. We understand their needs and deliver above their expectations. e business of festivals is fast-paced and unpredictable. We have the ability to roll with change and nd solutions. And we can make tough decisions and resolve issues quickly and con dently.

Festivals are about working with partners and nding mutually-bene cial outcomes. One of our specialities is integrating brands seamlessly into festivals in a more meaningful way. Our attention to detail, while keeping an eye on the big-picture experience, gives us the ability to deliver again and again.

Q: How has expansion into the UK and US gone so far?

JD: We opened our UK o ce in London in 2019 supported by strong organic growth in Ireland. We had started to win work outside of Ireland as a result of our growing reputation. e London o ce performed well during the Covid-19 period. It’s smaller than we would like and we had planned for further growth in the UK in 2023. at said, the economic headwinds coming from the UK in 2022 may change this plan.

e US market is a very di erent story. We are well positioned for strong growth in this region. Ireland is an EMEA headquarters for many US companies and Fuel has performed very well in this market segment. We have worked with some excellent US and Irish clients who have helped to share our story in the US, particularly in the employee experience space. Our client base stateside has evolved naturally due to the success we’ve experienced in Europe with their EMEA counterparts.

Q: What potential do you see for Fuel going forward?

JD: We see great potential in bringing experience, entertainment and technology together across both employee and consumer experiences. Brands are moving to the experience space as younger consumers reject traditional marketing methods and revenues continue to fall in traditional media markets. Festivals will continue to be important in connecting consumers and employees with brands.

e experience industry has a growing role to play in the new opportunities that have emerged post-Covid-19, from working at home to immersive technologies. We are excited about the role Fuel will play in designing our industry’s future.

Joe Wicks MBE at WellFest 2022



Peter Cosgrove, Founder and Managing Director of Futurewise, shares his insights on the most significant trends and challenges facing employers in the next few years – not least around hybrid working, writes SORCHA CORCORAN.


Peter Cosgrove, Founder and Managing Director, Futurewise


Founder and Managing Director of Futurewise Peter Cosgrove is currently on the 30% Club steering committee in Ireland, whose aim is to increase the number of female CEOs and women on boards. “I believe gender is the most important area of diversity in the workplace to address as it is not a minority – if we can’t get gender right, we won’t succeed with any of the others,” he says.

“The percentage of women on boards in Ireland has reached 32%, so things are moving in a positive direction. The problem is, when I first got involved in 2016, 95% of the participants at events were women. There is no point unless more men are engaged and care about it.

“We have to make sure that the narrative is strong enough from the business case point of view too. Most companies focus on projects like unconscious bias training, but the only way it will work is if gender balance is part of everything a company does.”

To illustrate the speed of change in today’s world and how this may affect jobs, Peter Cosgrove highlights the example of sports apparel brand Under Armour, which recently designed and built a new ArchiTech running shoe in three days using artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing – something which previously would have taken three years.

“There is a huge argument around technology taking away jobs. In 2012, Kodak went bankrupt having employed 145,000 people at its peak while Instagram was sold to Facebook for US$1bn with only 19 employees. Nowadays, AI is likely to be the silent killer of jobs, with US$1bn-revenue companies we probably never heard of working on how AI can do things better than humans. The upside is that most of the jobs being taken away by AI are the ones that humans don’t want to do because they’re more repetitive. AI may also lead to lots of new types of jobs,” he says.

“We have to be careful about looking at old models and the speed of change we don’t see. However fast we think technology is moving it is only going to get faster. It’s important for any company to realise that its main competitors are likely to be businesses that don’t exist yet or those they’d never think of.

“Considering the sheer amount of information monolithic companies such as Amazon and Apple have on us – such as our interests, weight and heart rate – the scary thing is how they could get into any industry, including healthcare. In South Korea, WhatsApp-style company Kakao Corp decided a few years ago to go into financial services and now already has 30% of bank accounts there.”

Cosgrove is no stranger to dynamism and change in his own career. He started out in banking in the 1990s and realised it wasn’t for him as he “didn’t enjoy reading the Financial Times”. A move to consulting and PwC gave him a lot of project management skills, but he didn’t want to follow the goal of being a partner, so took a significant salary drop to go into recruitment in 2000. He founded the CPL Future of Work Institute in 2014 and has been Chair of the National Recruitment Federation and a contributor to the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs. In all, he has over 25 years’ experience on executive teams and boards.

Founding his advisory and research business Futurewise in 2018 was a natural progression. “I had been talking a lot about the gig economy but wasn’t doing it myself. The idea with Futurewise is to stay a bit ahead of companies in finding out what’s coming in the near future; the next five years. I talk to around 500 midsized to large corporations every year,” he says.


A regular contributor at conferences on the future of work, Cosgrove was the keynote speaker at the Mid-West Lean Network conference held in the University of Limerick in November. In his presentation he talked about what he sees as a “battle” ahead in terms of remote and hybrid working – which he believes every employer has to “embrace or die”.

“Before the pandemic the picture we had in our heads of working from home was a guy in a suit in a Jacuzzi – it was more like ‘shirking from home’. Now we’ve all done it and can see it’s possible, the biggest problem we have is the role of leadership and culture. It used to be said that culture is what happens when the boss leaves the room – well that’s not going to work if there is nobody else in the room,” he says.

“Now more than ever, leaders have to be


seen to be living company values; they can’t just be a list on the wall. Companies are good at putting processes and policies in place but the practice is different. For example, a number of years ago social media companies introduced paid paternity leave but men weren’t taking it up because they felt it would be career suicide.

“It’s really important for leaders to realise that employees are really watching what they do. Take ‘distance bias’ for example. If the CEO says everybody only needs to come into the office three days a week, but the leadership team is there full-time, there is an unwritten rule that if you’re serious about your career you’ll also be there five days a week.”

While people’s ability to do myriad jobs successfully at home is no longer in doubt, the challenge at the moment is employers and employees not sharing the same mindset. Leaders and managers have to be careful about their own assumptions of what they think work is like compared to people 30 years their junior, Cosgrove advises.

“Employers say they want to be inclusive, but yet don’t get why people don’t want to come back to the office full-time while some employees feel they never need to come back at all – that it makes no sense, especially when all they’re doing is having Zoom meetings with people who aren’t in the office.”


One way around this would be to have the whole team in the office at least one day a week, on the same day, and focus on creative discussions and building relationships – two areas which have suffered due to lack of faceto-face contact.

“In the first five years of a person’s career, all the tiny interactions they have are critical to learning. They will learn so much more from a manager walking by them 20 times a day than one who checks in once a day. With so many digital devices and communication tools, people are responding to things without thinking about the customer or employee on the other end. For instance, if a boss says in an email ‘I’ll take it from here’, an employee will hear ‘You are incompetent’,” says Cosgrove.

In Cosgrove’s experience, meetings have got worse over Zoom or Microsoft Teams because people have their cameras switched off, are not fully engaged and there is not enough active listening. This becomes an even bigger

issue with hybrid meetings. Employers haven’t figured out yet how to make this work, he says. Instead of following the old rules for meetings, people should be given proper time to prepare for them and send ideas in advance.

“When employees say they are more productive at home, they often forget they’re part of a collective. Leaders need to paint the picture as to why it’s good for them to come in. Nobody really knows whether people are actually more productive at home. I believe everything that counts can’t be counted – like transversal skills, influencing, networking and problem solving.”

For those pushing for full-time remote working, Cosgrove warns they should be careful what they wish for: “There are positives and negatives to hiring from anywhere. If people never have to go into the office and it makes no difference if they’re in Ireland or Iceland, they may not have a job in five years’ time.

“Working from anywhere seemed amazing, but having three devices constantly pinging and the urgency this makes people feel is going to lead to a real challenge with digital burnout. Being so time-poor means people don’t come up with as many ideas.”

“Employers say they want to be inclusive, but yet don’t get why people don’t want to come back to the office full-time while some employees feel they never need to come back at all.”


True to its name, ADI Catalyst in Limerick is rapidly accelerating the development of solutions to real-world problems, particularly in advanced manufacturing and automotive electrification, writes SORCHA CORCORAN.

Collaboration at the ADI Catalyst centre in Limerick has meant the rst iteration of a minimal viable product for Johnson & Johnson (J&J) was completed in 90 days, a process which would normally take 12-18 months. “Based on the recent experience we’ve had, we believe we can easily shave two years o a typical technology delivery programme,” says Mike Morrissey, ADI Catalyst Director.

J&J’s Advanced Technology Centre worked with Analog Devices Inc (ADI) engineers and German sensors company SICK on the project, which is leveraging ADI’s 3D time-of- ight (ToF) technology in robots to enable them to operate closer to workers on the factory oor without sacri cing safety. It is part of a wider American Chamber initiative focused on making member companies’ factories more automated so humans and robots can work more e ciently and safely together. “ e digitalisation of factories is a big problem to solve globally and one that no-one can solve alone,” notes Morrissey.

BELOW LEFT: Mike Morrissey, Director, ADI Catalyst. BELOW and RIGHT: The ADI Catalyst centre at Raheen Business Park, Limerick

e breakthrough 3D ToF technology developed by ADI utilises latest-generation sensors and arti cial intelligence to detect when a human is close to a robot. “It means that a human can now operate safely within three feet rather than six feet of a robot and can slow down when a human is near. e robot will go back to normal speed then when the human moves away,” explains Morrissey.

Another example of ADI Catalyst’s projects is one focused on supporting the migration of healthcare from a mass-market approach to one of customised treatment and therapies. ADI is working closely with its customers in this area and their wider ecosystem to create exible, next-generation modular manufacturing systems that enable the rapid changeover of production lines needed for personalised treatments such as CAR T-cell therapies and human implants.


ADI Catalyst o cially opened in March 2022 in Raheen Business Park, Limerick as a collaboration hub for customers looking to get to market faster, generate revenue more e ciently and strengthen and evolve their ecosystem. It is a 100,000 sq- , custom-built research and development (R&D) facility where customers, business partners and suppliers come together to engage with ADI’s people, technology and expertise to create living labs and develop breakthrough products at an accelerated pace.

In March, ADI announced it is investing €100m in ADI Catalyst over the next three years. “Drawing on ADI’s pool of around 800 R&D engineers in Ireland, we have an operational team at ADI Catalyst dedicated to making our technology smarter and more e cient at the point of use before it meets the cloud. Our goal is to have 250 so ware engineers in ADI Catalyst by 2025,” says Morrissey.

“To date we have worked with around 55 collaborators including multinationals, SMEs, start-ups and research institutes. We have strong engagement with academia, including University of Limerick, University College Cork, University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin, as well as Tyndall National Institute and all of the Science Foundation Ireland research centres. ere are also three projects active at the moment as part of the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund.”

e three main areas ADI Catalyst focuses on are advanced manufacturing – which includes the aforementioned J&J project – automotive electri cation and communications.

With regard to automotive electri cation, ADI Catalyst engineers have collaborated with original equipment manufacturers to create a system-based wireless battery management solution and service to support the shi to clean and safe sources of energy.

“ADI was the rst to market with technology to enable the stop-start function in petrol or diesel cars to save fuel and currently holds 80-90% of that market worldwide. Now battery management systems in cars have become a lot more important and technologically advanced with the next generation of electric vehicles all going to be wireless,” says Morrissey.

“Our Li-Ion battery monitoring has helped to enable a whole new generation of electric and hybrid vehicles. Lead acid batteries are being replaced with a battery pack made up of 36 individual cells, each of which has to be managed to make sure the car is operating within certain parameters.

A world leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of high-performance analog, mixed-signal and digital-signal processing integrated circuits, ADI has been in Ireland since 1976 with sites in Limerick, Cork and Dublin. “Our Irish operation has a well-established record for innovation and discovery with over 1,000 US patents granted to Analog’s inventors based in Ireland, which is nearly 25% of the total US patents held by the company,” notes Morrissey.

Working with partners in the automotive industry, we are looking at monitoring individual battery health as well as ways to allow second-use of car batteries at the end of their lifespan of 8-10 years.

“ADI Catalyst is an open ecosystem of partners all working together. It is unique in the ADI world globally. We believe the next wave of foreign direct investment to Ireland will be built around this type of model where partners work together to solve problems.”

“Based on the recent experience we’ve had, we believe we can easily shave two years o a typical technology delivery programme.”



In this new post-pandemic era of work, organisations should not get complacent about how their people are doing, particularly those in the early stages of their careers.

Research published in November has revealed that during Covid-19 people at the start of their careers were more likely to feel stressed than those at later stages, while more experienced personnel were prone to burnout and exhaustion.

Conducted by researchers at Maynooth University and Kingston University in the UK, the longitudinal study involved a survey of people in 30 countries, including Ireland, across all career stages to track how they coped during the pandemic.

e ndings indicate that employers need to assess whether wellbeing has improved for those employees most a ected and take the necessary steps to assist them now, according to Prof Audra Mockaitis, Professor of International Business at Maynooth University.


“ e results were stark, showing distinctly that respondents within di erent career stages reacted di erently to pandemic disruptions. Other studies have also found that the most negative consequences for mental health were at the early career stages. Across our entire sample, it was clear that a high degree of stress led to disengagement and lower job satisfaction over time,” she says.

“For many individuals, it’s not as simple as going back to ‘business as usual’ now. It’s important for employers to realise that newcomers to the workforce didn’t have a toolkit of resources to draw upon in the past two years and so are likely have fallen signi cantly behind. ey need additional supports now to ll that void of what they lost due to the lack of networks, visibility, skills development, experience and knowledge they would otherwise have built up.”

e study showed that for early career workers stress could manifest as the employee showing a lack of interest and becoming cynical about work as a way of coping and distancing.

“Employers need to look at whether their responses in terms of supports were the right ones. While checking in frequently and online meetings might have been helpful before, over time they became interfering and tiring for a lot of people,” says Mockaitis. “ e mass resignation trend globally is no surprise and inappropriate employer responses to pandemic traumas have played a part in this.”

During Covid-19, mid-career workers – categorised as those settled in a career – were prone to exhaustion, exacerbated by having to juggle other responsibilities such as home schooling. e type of support these employees value most to mitigate stress or exhaustion is to be given higher levels of autonomy, the researchers found. “Becoming over-tired and disengaged could have contributed to the national trend of highly-skilled employees in their ies leaving their professions before retirement,” says Mockaitis.


is ‘brain drain’ of experienced people due to burnout should not be underestimated in the war to attract and retain talent. Recent research carried out by Gallup and Workhuman found that Ireland has one of the highest levels of employee burnout in Europe. ree in

10 Irish employees surveyed reported they felt burned out “very o en” or “always”. More than 12,000 workers across 11 European countries and in the US took part.

Meanwhile, a survey of 20,000 people in 11 countries released by Microso in September found that 48% of employees and 53% of managers report that they’re already burned out at work. Also analysing Microso productivity data, LinkedIn labour trends and Glint People Science ndings, this study highlights how we’ve reached a point of diminishing returns due to overwork and overwhelm – and that if leaders don’t intervene, they put productivity in jeopardy.

At the same time, 85% of leaders surveyed said the shi to hybrid work has made it challenging to have con dence that employees are being productive. As some organisations use technology rather than impact to track activity, this can undermine trust because employees lack context on how and why they’re being tracked.

“ is has led to productivity paranoia: where leaders fear that lost productivity is due to employees not working, even though hours worked, number of meetings and other activity metrics have increased,” notes the study, which also showed that employees consider opportunities to learn and grow as the Number 1 driver of great work culture –a jump from 2019 when it was ranked in ninth position.

As Mockaitis points out, while every workplace company culture is di erent, the key to navigating how best to support people in this new world of work is to open up communication channels and have more input from employees on what they actually need (see box).


• Only 43% of employees can confidently say their company solicits feedback from them once a year.

• Even if their company is collecting feedback, 75% of employees think it’s not often enough and 75% of decisionmakers say it’s not actionable enough.

• Employees who feel their companies use employee feedback to drive change are more satisfied (90% versus 69%) and engaged (89% versus 73%) compared to those who don’t.

• Employees who don’t think their companies drive change based on feedback are twice as likely to consider leaving in the next year.

Source: Microsoft research, September 2022

“Covid-19 and organisations’ responses to it a ected working lives dramatically; each person has their own story of pandemic trauma. Unfortunately, poor organisational response and support mean that the e ects of the pandemic will linger for longer for many. Organisations must do better with respect to their employees at all career stages,” she says.

“It’s important for employers to realise that newcomers to the workforce didn’t have a toolkit of resources to draw upon in the past two years.”
P itisofMaynooth Uni v e r s i t y


Touted as “the future of the Internet”, Web3 may seem like a long way o , but gaining an understanding of it now will allow businesses to get ahead of the curve and gain rst-mover advantage – similar to those companies that were early adopters of Google Ads and got high clickthrough rates at a low cost per click or brands that built large audiences of followers in the early stages of Facebook.

So says Dr David Alton of the Department of Management & Marketing at University College Cork who has been researching Web3 and how it may change the way products are marketed to consumers. He shared industry and academic insights on the topic at a Marketing Institute Ireland Cork event in November entitled ‘ e Future of Marketing’.

Harvard Business Review de nes Web3 as follows: “ e vision for this new blockchain-

A new iteration of the internet, Web3, will bring more control to consumers but we need to learn lessons from the past if it is to work for everyone, writes SORCHA CORCORAN.

based web includes cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens [NFTs], decentralised autonomous organisations, decentralised nance and more. It o ers a read/write/own version of the web, in which users have a nancial stake in and more control over the web communities they belong to.”

In order to demystify Web3, it’s important to rst understand Web1 and Web2, according to Alton. “Web1 was based on read-only content with people searching for something on Google or Yahoo; there was no interaction, no engagement. Web2 introduced ‘the platform economy’ with social networking and forums and ‘the sharing economy’, with the likes of Airbnb and Deliveroo allowing interaction between consumers and consumers and businesses and consumers,” he explains.


“Now Web3 will create ‘the ownership economy’ where control of their data and digital identities lies in the hands of consumers. In my view, it’s not just about technology. We need to look at the real-world outputs to get a better sense of what Web3 will look like in pragmatic terms – we need a lot of learning from the past to inform what the future will be.”

A key area of learning to focus on, says Alton, is the detrimental e ects of social media and how it has in uenced self-harm and suicide rates among young people over the past ten years. Studies have also shown that sleep deprivation among teenagers has become more prevalent since social media platforms became available on mobile phones.

“One of the main things to build into Web3 to tackle social behaviour and online bullying is that everyone needs a veri able digital identity that can be tracked by the individual across all platforms,” he says.


While previously the one-way medium of TV was used by advertisers to buy eyeballs, with Web2, consumers are co-creating brand value by trading their stories online, for example by wearing a Nike tracksuit while doing a TikTok dance or challenge. is led to the rise of in uencers.

Alton argues that the next generation of advertising tools and content creation platforms will likely focus more on di erent types of consumer attention, which may result in further consumer empowerment.

“For example, if someone posts a TikTok video, there could be arti cial intelligence which enables them to ‘tag’ certain products featured and receive a commission on the amount of products sold via their content,” he says.

“ is poses a myriad of challenges around tracking and analytics, eliminating brand control even further and commodifying commerce on platforms where ‘entertainment’ or ‘information sharing’ is the common goal.”

Consumers having more control online can bring associated risks, particularly when it comes to decentralised nance without regulation, notes Alton – citing the rise in people buying stocks and shares via their phones rather than through a broker during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“ e net purchase of US equities by individual investors grew from US$29bn to US$225bn between 2019 and 2021 due to

technological enablements through apps such as Robinhood,” he says. “ ese apps o en have a business model based on order ow [the number of transactions rather than the quality of transactions] and thus have fewer protections for consumers who may not be fully aware of how day-trading works.”


Alton believes we are nowhere near to Web3 gaining massmarket appeal, although various aspects of it already exist and have gained some traction.

“ e aspect people would be most familiar with is metaverses. Research has shown that the technology makes people nauseous and this global virtual world is more antisocial. ere is space in the future for metaverses, for example for training surgeons or viewing properties, but mass-market applicability may not necessarily be the case,” he says.

“Non-fungible tokens [NFTs] have been around for years, commonly used to buy digital possessions in games. I would argue that the only way they will gain mass-market appeal is if they have some real-world tangible bene t – for example if more analytics were used to link back to NFTs and allow marketing directors to evaluate the e ectiveness of marketing campaigns.

“Ultimately, Web3 will not be fully here until we reach the point when mass-market wages are paid in the form of cryptocurrencies.”

“It’s not just about technology. We need to look at the real-world outputs to get a better sense of what Web3 will look like in pragmatic terms.”
Dr David Alton of University College Cork

“Ireland is well placed to deal with many of the problems that are affecting businesses across Europe. However, there are uncertainties regarding the strength of the domestic economy and worries that export trade will decline too.”

Shane Conneely, Head of Policy, Chambers Ireland on the EES2023 report

Transformation of Tralee

Tralee Chamber’s Christmas calendar of events in partnership with Kerry County Council to transform the town into ‘The Christmas Kingdom’ included a stage production in The Square, a magical Elf trail with live character interactions and a festive market in the new Island of Geese site. Christmas in Tralee officially began on 26 November when the Christmas lights were switched on by the Mayor of Tralee Cllr Mikey Sheehy and there was a ‘Festive Flair in the Square’ event with live music. The ‘Search for the Magic’ competition in December asked people to find the letters of the word ‘magic’ in the shop-front windows around the town.

Roundup of 2022 in Cobh

Cobh and Harbour Chamber enjoyed a remarkably successful year, hosting breakfast meetings sponsored by Port of Cork where it engaged with ministers, Cork County Council, Munster Technological University, tech firms and the energy supply chain. It also ran networking events in different venues within Cork Harbour with its sponsor Simply Blue Group. The three key topics of the Chamber’s agenda are: energy supply and security, a new road into Cobh and housing. On 14 October, the Chamber hosted its Annual President’s Dinner with An Taoiseach Micheál Martin as keynote speaker.

CHAMBER COMMENT An Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Cobh and Harbour Chamber President Johanna Murphy Christmas dancers in Tralee

Celebrating excellence in Carlow

Co Carlow’s business community came together at the end of September to celebrate its achievements, resilience and ongoing commitment at the 2022 Carlow Business Awards.

Organised by County Carlow Chamber, the night was held in Visual, Carlow and welcomed a large number of businesses from right across the county. Among the big winners were James Kehoe of the Lord Bagenal Inn who received a Lifetime Achievement Award and KCLR 96FM, which was named Business of the Year with the station’s presenter Eimear Ní Bhraonáin also recognised with a Carlow Ambassador Award.

South East Technological University launched

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris officially launched South East Technological University (SETU) in October. The university status is expected to have hugely positive knock-on effects on employment, enterprise and skills creation in the South East. County Wexford Chamber sees it as an opportunity to reverse the brain drain from the region, leading to a more vibrant economic environment in Wexford. It looks forward to collaborating with the Wexford campus and building a partnership that makes Wexford a better place to study, work and build and grow businesses.

Power-outage concern in Dublin

Energy remains a top consideration for Dublin businesses, with 78% of firms expressing concern about potential power outages over the winter months, a Dublin Chamber survey has revealed. Reduced productivity, loss of sales and reputational damage have been deemed as the most commonly feared consequences if this were to happen. A number of Dublin firms stated that power outages would mean a “total inability to function” and for some, “increased carbon emissions due to dependence on generators”. When those surveyed were asked whether they could reduce their energy usage between peak hours to lessen pressure on the grid, 57% said that they could, but as some noted “not without significant investment”.

HE Brad Burgess, New Zealand Ambassador to Ireland, Caroline Kelly, Burnside Autocyl, Eimear Ní Bhraonáin and Colin Duggan, President, County Carlow Chamber Brendan Crowley, President, County Wexford Chamber; Minister Simon Harris and Emma Dunphy, Acting CEO, County Wexford Chamber

Shop Local sales top €1m in Wexford



Apple VP receives Cork Chamber award

Cork Chamber has recognised Cathy Kearney, Apple VP of Operations for Europe, Middle East, India & Africa for her outstanding contribution to business. Now in its 12th year, the award was presented at the Cork Chamber Dublin Dinner in November, which was attended by 600 leading political and business people and sponsored by EY. Kearney has been instrumental to the growth and impact of Apple on the local community in Cork. Employing over 6,000 people, Apple is the largest private employer in Cork and recently announced a new engineering and test facility and plans to further expand its campus there.

November, sales of County Wexford Chamber’s Shop Local vouchers topped €1m, with a purchase from Waters Technologies Ireland in Drinagh, Co Wexford. “Launched in October 2020, our Shop Local vouchers have proven to be a huge success. This level of sales is evidence of the support of local businesses and people,” said County Wexford Chamber’s Acting CEO Emma Dunphy. The announcement coincided with County Wexford Chamber’s Shop Local campaign encouraging businesses and shoppers to support local and shop local at Christmas. There are over 270 participating outlets in Gorey, New Ross and Wexford. Larry Walsh, Waters Technologies, Emma Dunphy, County Wexford Chamber; Cllr Maura Bell, Mayor of Wexford, Brendan Crowley, County Wexford Chamber and Liam Hore, Waters Technologies Ireland The recent Mid-West Lean Network conference organised by Shannon Chamber focused on the future of work. Pictured are Helen Downes, Shannon Chamber, Peter Cosgrove, Futurewise, Gavin Sheehan, Analog Devices and (back row) Ronan Keogh, Fine Grain Property, Jerry Moloney, Enterprise Ireland and Kevin Conlon, Fine Grain Property.

All Island Chamber Golf Classic

Chambers Ireland held its inaugural All Island Golf Classic on 20 October in the K Club, Stra an, Co Kildare and sponsored by e Noel Group. Human resources rm Peninsula sponsored the prizes on the day.

Commenting on the event, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland, stated: “We were delighted to facilitate the coming together of Chamber teams to this rst-ever, island-wide golf classic. It was tting that this rst competition took place on the Arnold Palmer Ryder Cup course in the celebrated K Club. e anticipation among the competing teams was palpable before the start.”

e teams representing their Chambers were the winners of the individual Chamber golf competitions from Ireland and Northern Ireland during 2022. ey competed for the overall title of Chamber All Island Champions 2022.

e winners were presented with their prizes by Noel Group Managing Director Siobhan Kinsella. A er the event she said: “We are delighted to support the rst Chambers Ireland All Island Golf Classic. It was rewarding to see teams come together to compete in a world-renowned venue with such a unique combination of competitiveness and friendliness.”

e winners of the team competition were:

Career Decisions representing Shannon Chamber.

Team Webster representing County Carlow Chamber.

Mazars representing Galway Chamber.

TransferMate representing Kilkenny Chamber. 5. Irish Equine Centre representing County Kildare Chamber.

Cathal Byrne of TransferMate representing Kilkenny Chamber won the longest drive and Paddy D’eathe of Courtown Golf Club representing County Wexford Chamber was the winner of the closest to the pin competition.

Sixteen teams from all over the island, north and south, competed in the first-ever running of a new Chambers Ireland golfing competition.
Overall All Island Golf Classic winners Shannon Chamber Carly Mooney, Chambers Ireland, Conor Loughran, Noel Group, Rob Cullen, Noel Group and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland

An EU boost for Irish crafts

Industrial strategy at EU level has been in an evergreen crisis mode since 2020. The challenges of Covid-19, the war against Ukraine, inflation and protectionism across the globe has weakened the Single Market.

The Covid-effect was experienced acutely by businesses; in the second half of 2020, small businesses across the EU reported a 60% decrease in turnover. Remedying this has become increasingly difficult as successive geopolitical shocks hit the Single Market. Trade is top of the EU recovery plan, which is unsurprising considering that 93% of exporters across the EU are SMEs, while 38 million jobs in the EU are linked to exports alone.

One of the trading tools to help enable recovery for businesses is to protect geographically-linked craft and industrial products. The EU’s plan is to introduce Geographical Indications which are legally protected, similar to those available for agriproducts. This is a type of intellectual property (IP) right, which protects food-product names that are linked to a specific territory or production method. Importantly, they grant formal recognition which enables consumers to distinguish quality products, while also giving producers an edge in the market.

Businesses currently have no incentive to invest in craft and industrial products, to create niche markets or to retain unique, local skills and traditions. The market opportunity is lost, primarily because the legislative protection does not exist at EU level to exploit them, unlike for agriproducts.

Legal protection

At present, crafts are offered a varying level of legal protection across the EU. This is because of national and regional differences in how certain crafts (e.g. ceramics), and products (e.g. Solingen cutlery) are regulated, while countries such as France ensure protection for all craft and industrial, geographically-linked products.

Unfortunately, there is also no crossborder system within the EU which mutually recognises national protection systems. The result is weak protection of IP and the products are susceptible to unfair commercial practices and consumer disinformation. Those wishing to protect a Geographical Indication have to file for protection in each country where one is available. The alternative is to rely on trademark protection, litigation or action via administrative authorities.

The EU’s geographical-identification protection for agriproducts identifies and protects the names of specific agricultural products with characteristics linked to their place of origin, which add value to the products themselves. The most common of these are: Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). Applications for registration must prove how the characteristics of the region –such as reputation or natural resources – have an impact on the characteristics of the product.

Protection for geographically-linked agriproducts is incredibly successful, and in 2020 represented an EU-wide sales

value of €74.76bn. Similarly, the sales value of a product with a protected name is on average double the sales value of similar products without certification. Clearly, emulating this is attractive for business; considering our high-quality indigenous crafts, Irish industry should be looking for more than a slice of that pie.

Shane Hughes,
and Research Executive at Chambers
an EU plan to introduce Geographical Indications for craft and industrial products and what this could mean for Irish producers.

“Poor applications and an underappreciation of the worth of geographically-linked products at government level have translated into a dearth of registered products.”

Opportunities for manufacturers

The focus on craft and industrial products is positive for Ireland. According to the Central Statistics Office, the number of enterprises engaged in design-intensive and craft activities rose by 6.6% in 2019, making it the eighth-largest sector in Ireland. It is anticipated to grow even

more – a potential turnover of almost €14bn by 2026 was cited by Grant Thornton based on the most recently available data.

It could be that a craft renaissance is happening. It is no secret that industries such as the Irish wool market nosedived in the 1980s, following the upshot in popularity of synthetic materials. However, popular culture, with its emphasis on sustainability and quality could mean industries such as Irish wool thrive again. This would obviously boost once-lagging craft industries but is equally important for operators along supply and value chains. Sheep farmers, for example, often receive a low price when harvesting and selling wool.

Ensuring that Irish products stand out is key, but this will be worthless if we do not ensure that: a) their IP is protected; and b) that products marketed as Irish wool or Donegal tweed are verified. The proposed protection scheme will do both.

The faith shown in geographicalindication protection for agriproducts is down to the fact that producers are assured that their products bearing the logo are subject to strict controls, which ensures that fraud is virtually impossible. This in turn bodes well for consumers; they can be assured that registered products bear the characteristics they pay a premium for.

Clearly, such a system would go some way towards putting indigenous crafts on the global market. However, benefits will not be realised by Irish manufacturers unless strategies are in place to seize the market opportunities. Poor applications and an underappreciation of the worth of geographically-linked products at government level have translated into a dearth of registered products and a plethora of missed market opportunities.

In 2021, Italian products with protected status (315) far exceeded the number of protected Irish food products (11). Ensuring the same does not happen for Irish crafts will necessitate a serious undertaking at government level, with action plans to mirror the ambition shown by our Italian counterparts.



EES2023 Review

The 30th annual Eurochambres Economic Survey, EES2023, was published in November. Shane Conneely, Director of Policy and Communications at Chambers Ireland, takes a look at its findings.

Over the past three decades, the Eurochambres Economic Survey has provided evidence-based, in-depth analysis of business sentiment across Europe. e survey demonstrates the unique connectivity of the European Chamber network with the business community.

e 30th annual Eurochambres Economic Survey, EES2023, is based on feedback received from over 42,000 entrepreneurs in 25 European countries. While it would be great to present an optimistic outlook for the year ahead, the results highlight the challenging and uncertain economic context resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine and rising energy prices.

"The 30th annual Eurochambres Economic Survey, EES2023, is based on feedback received from over 42,000 entrepreneurs in 25 European countries".

Businesses across Europe highlight strong concerns regarding access to a ordable energy, raw materials and a shortage of skilled workers.

Compared to last year, where a mild sense of con dence for economic recovery was perceptible across Europe, EES2023 reveals an underlying pessimism among entrepreneurs for the next 12 months.

e focus for many businesses on coping with pressing, short-term challenges; investing in growth and the pursuit of longer-term objectives may be put on hold for the coming months.

National sales across Europe are expected to increase slightly in 2023, but at a slower pace than last year. e huge drop registered during the rst year of the pandemic is still limiting business expectations.

Domestic sales

At the European level, this is the only index that is positive – and only just – for EES2023. Increasing energy costs, rising in ation and the European Central Bank’s tighter monetary policy are the main factors negatively impacting the spending plans of private households and the aggregate demand for goods and services.

For Ireland however the story is di erent with most respondents expecting a slight reduction in domestic sales and an even-weaker decline in export sales.

Figure 1: Trend of expected Revenue from National Sales Index

EES2023 Index 0.006 0.004 0.002 0 -0.002 -0.004

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023

Export sales

Across Europe export-sales expectations are signi cantly down, though this is largely driven by German concerns.

Figure 2: Trend of expected Revenue from Export Sales Index

Index 0.006 0.004 0.002 0 -0.002 -0.004


2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023



e expectation across Europe is that employment levels will decrease though the response is patchy. Ireland is positive, but in almost all countries the majority of rms expect to hold employment at the same level. Italy, Germany, the Baltics and Mittel-European countries are concerned about reducing sta levels.

Figure 3: Trend of expected Employment Index


Again, Ireland bucks the European trend with an increase in investment projected for the year ahead, whereas for Europe the trend is downwards with Germany, Czechia, Lithuania and Greece expecting the largest reductions in 2023.



Overall business confidence

Going into next year the European business community has been shocked by the repeated crises of Covid-19, Russia’s war against Ukraine and in ation. is has led businesspeople in many countries to be extremely pessimistic for the future. Business con dence in Europe has taken its biggest hit across the 30 years of the Eurochambres survey. With Irish rms more likely to expect investments and sta ng levels to increase over the next 12 months, it is no surprise that we are more optimistic than our European peers.

Figure 5: Trend of expected Business Confidence Index


2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
EES2023 Index 0.004 0.002 0 -0.002 -0.004 -0.006 -0.008 2007 2008 2009
2020 2021 2022 2023
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
EES2023 Index 0.003 0.002 0.001 0 -0.0010.0022007 2008 2009 2010
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Figure 4: Trend of expected Investment Index EES2023 Index 0.005 0.004 0.003 0.002 0.001 0 -0.001 -0.002
2023 Business confidence for next year is lower than during the 2008-09 financial crisis and the height of the Covid-19 pandemic
Common EU
tackle high energy prices, improve energy e iciency and enable access to renewables • To tackle remaining single market barriers to create growth opportunities • A proactive and ambitious EU trade agenda • A regulatory process that boosts competitiveness • Concrete actions to tackle shortages during the
2023 •
e orts to
2023 European Year of Skills
The Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry 30th Anniversary Edition 2023 EUROCHAMBRES ECONOMIC SURVEY 42,000 businesses 25 countries in ACCESS TO ENERGY AND RAW MATERIALS 1 LABOUR COSTS 3 LACK OF SKILLED WORKERS 2 KEY EES2023 POLICY MESSAGES Things will get worse before they can get better.
year on year drops in export, employment and investment expectations compared
They will
About the EES 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 coordinated by Eurochambres. The questionnaire focuses on five economic indicators: business confidence, domestic sales, exports, employment and investment, as well as on challenges. domestic
There are sharp
to 12 months ago.

Sustainable agriculture reaping results

The Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forestry Systems and the Carbon Neutral Brazilian Beef seal illustrate Brazil’s commitment to sustainable development. Agriculture is part and parcel of Brazil's strategy to reduce its carbon footprint and foster biodiversity.

with water infiltration and suffers from lower erosion risk. This allows forage plants and trees to develop deeper roots and absorb nutrients, including nitrogen left by leguminous plants such as soybeans and beans. The higher nutrient content of the forage makes for better quality animal performance and, consequently, for better economic results.

This is the motto behind the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation - Embrapa, the motor driving the revolution in agriculture that transformed Brazil in a few decades from a net food importer into the third-largest global supplier of foodstuffs.

Rather than simply increasing the acreage under plough, Brazilian agriculture had bet on innovative cutting-edge technologies to increase output sustainably and thus help ensure food security for millions the world over. One of the most innovative is the Integrated CropLivestock-Forestry Systems (ICLFS).

This flies in the face of conventional wisdom by bringing together under one integrated production unit the different components of agricultural production, namely crops, animal husbandry and forestry.

Planting crops in association with fruits and timber trees is not a new idea.

In fact, it was practised in Europe, going back to the 15th century. European immigrants in Brazil adapted their experience in combining agriculture, livestock and forestry activities to tropical and subtropical conditions they found there. However, it was gradually abandoned in the face of mechanisation, concentrated crop planting and limitations in manual harvesting.

In modern-day Brazil, the ICLF system applies many of these past practices. Working as wind barriers, trees reduce the loss of humidity in the soil. As a result, it retains larger amounts of organic matter, higher levels of nutrients and microorganisms

One of ICLF’s unique advantages is its flexibility, a crucial advantage in a vast and diverse country with farms of all sizes across multiple biomes. This method adjusts to varying logistics, soil quality, market conditions and availability of technical assistance. ICLFS works with different varieties of crops and different outputs (i.e., production of food, fibres or energy). Similarly it works with livestock, which can include cattle, sheep, swine, or poultry. As for the forestry component, ICLFS can be coupled to native or foreign species used for either timber or non-timber purposes.

This adaptability favours crop diversification and its associated benefits. By avoiding monocultures, pests, diseases and weeds are more easily controlled without recourse to chemical pesticides. Additionally, diversifying crops keeps the land in use throughout the year, benefiting farmers. Improved inputs and diversified production favour increased productivity and hence optimal land use. Increased sustainability, together with associated mitigating technologies, reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and contributes to reduced global warming.

ICLFS is just one of the technological innovations previewed in the ‘Brazilian Plan for the Consolidation of a Low Carbon Economy in Agriculture’ (ABC Plan), which was set up in 2010 to help achieve the voluntary reduction in GHG emissions the Brazilian government pledged in the Paris Agreement.

Now in its second phase (ABC+ Plan), the ABC Plan encourages, together with ICLFS systems, employing other innovative methods, including no-till farming, biological nitrogen fixation, recovery of degraded areas, planting of forests, irrigation, intensive fattening and animal waste treatment. An additional benefit is the accelerated recovery of

"Brazilian agriculture is run on brains not tractors”
“Integrated Crop-LivestockForestry Systems maximise land use and help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.”

degraded pastures. This means a further 15 million hectares of degraded pastures (plus 5 million hectares with ICLFS) will be recovered by 2030, adding to the roughly 15 million hectares already brought back into production.


The introduction of the ICLFS has provided the framework for scientists at Embrapa to develop guidelines to offset GHG emissions based on estimates of carbon-equivalent emissions and absorption in livestock farming. As a result, a Carbon Neutral Brazilian Beef (CNBB) seal is available to farmers meeting the environmental, animal welfare and legal compliance standards. Trees are critical to achieving the protocol’s goals as they absorb carbon from the atmosphere, thus balancing out and neutralising carbon emissions.

The CNBB seal is not restricted to environmental

sustainability, but also covers food safety in the form of guidelines on animal health management procedures and product traceability controls.

During his trip to Ireland last October, President of Embrapa Dr Celso Moretti proposed that the Brazilian experience in sustainable livestock farming could give rise to a research and cooperation programme between our two countries. This proposal is currently under consideration by Embrapa and Teagasc.

Embrapa/Embassy of Brazil in Ireland

The Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forestry Systems and the Carbon Neutral Brazilian Beef seal were featured in the webinar ‘AgriTalks Brazil - Ireland: The Brazilian experience in reducing the carbon footprint in livestock farming’. Representatives from Embrapa and Teagasc took part. It is available at: https://www.

“The Carbon Neutral Brazilian Beef seal identifies beef produced in greenhouse gas neutral emissions conditions. The protocol covers environmental concerns, animal welfare, good practices, and legal compliance.”
Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forestry System - João Costa Jr

Taking stock of trends

Lorraine Greene, Head of Market Engagement, Retail SME at AIB, discusses some of the main trends SMEs will need to get on top of in 2023 in order to drive their business forward.

Q: Firstly, what is the big trend of 2022 that you see continuing into 2023?

Lorraine Greene (LG): As SMEs recovered from a global pandemic in early 2022, new challenges emerged in the shape of energy costs and continued supply chain concerns.

What we're seeing from SMEs across the country is increased engagement on the overall theme of sustainability and I expect this to continue to be top of mind in 2023. Our customer base is seeking ways to improve e ciencies and we have launched more supports to assist SMEs to address this, including sector-speci c energy guides.

In September 2022, we saw the launch of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Energy E ciency Loan Scheme in partnership with AIB, which will continue into 2023. e scheme supports qualifying Irish businesses, including primary producers, by providing access to a ordable medium- to long-term funding to spread the cost of upgrades across the lifecycle.

Businesses are investing in energy-e ciency upgrades, including heating and ventilation, electric vehicle charging stations on premises and technology upgrades. is low-cost loan scheme is designed to help eligible SMEs and farmers cut their energy bills and reduce their carbon emissions by investing in energy-saving measures.

For more information check out business/sbci.

Q: Is there anything that can help SMEs to put a sustainability plan in place?

LG: Yes, we have partnered with Enterprise Nation to bring the Plan it with Purpose

programme to businesses across Ireland. As part of the programme, businesses will receive free support via a purpose-built online platform on Enterprise Nation. is includes a diagnostic tool questionnaire for the business to take. is then delivers a tailored action plan with information detailing where to nd the support, resources and

“In January 2023 AIB will launch a research paper and customer case studies showcasing Irish businesses that have adopted sustainability practices and continue to evolve their approach.”
Lorraine Greene, Head of Market Engagement, Retail SME at AIB

advice to become more sustainable. e platform also includes e-learning content and access to experts from the sustainability sector.

In January 2023 AIB will launch a research paper and customer case studies on sustaining Irish businesses, showcasing those that have adopted sustainability practices and continue to evolve their approach. We know that businesses that learn from each other o en excel at driving changes for growth. I would encourage businesses to continue to utilise their networks including their local Chambers for sources of information and to identify opportunities for their business.

For more information check out https://www. and for more information on how AIB can help your business on its sustainability journey check out

Q: How can SMEs take steps to support their business through ongoing supply chain issues?

LG: Continuing supply chain disruptions with transport bottlenecks and labour shortages are likely to remain as challenges for business. We have seen businesses, particularly in the sourcing space, look closer to home and mainland Europe to satisfy demand and have more certainty around delivery timeframes. As businesses look ahead into 2023 it may be helpful to map out their entire supply chain

end to end for each of their products and identify any exposure to supply and in ation risks.

is will also be bene cial in terms of assessing scope 3 emissions – those that are indirectly emitted as part of the business value chain. Reviewing your digital strategy and keeping pace with those changes will be critical. Aligning customer relationship management systems with accounting so ware and stock tracking can yield many bene ts including within your supply chain and ensure the business is operating e ciently.

Q: Finally, we couldn’t look ahead into 2023 without mentioning inflation, any supports for SMEs?

LG: Managing your working capital and understanding the nance options available to you as a business is important when managing in ation through the cycle. During the Covid-19 pandemic our customers engaged readily with the bank. I would encourage customers to continue to do so if they are experiencing any cash ow di culties.

e Access to Finance programme is a new initiative aimed at supporting 30,000 small businesses to better understand and navigate the world of nance and funding. Led by Enterprise Nation and supported by AIB, SBCI, Sage and Banking & Payments Federation Ireland, it helps to guide SMEs through why, when, how and where to raise funds at each juncture of the business lifecycle. Topics covered so far by the programme include angel investing, invoice discounting and raising money in the food and drink sector.

For more information check out https://www. nance/

“As businesses look ahead into 2023 it may be helpful to map out their entire supply chain end to end for each of their products and identify any exposure to supply and inflation risks.”

At the cutting edge

Located on the Mall in the heart of the Viking Triangle in Waterford City, the House of Waterford Crystal opens the door to more than 200 years of crystal manufacturing.

From the earliest days, Waterford Crystal has always strived to introduce the latest technology to its manufacturing process. Work practices in the crystal industries were revolutionised with the introduction of a continuous melt-tank furnace. Producing 750 tonnes of molten crystal each year, the furnaces at Waterford were originally fuelled by wood, oil and gas, and now electricity.

The raw materials or ‘batch’ used to make Waterford Crystal is silica sand, litharge and potash. They are mixed together with cullet (rejected crystal); the cullet melts quickly, helping the raw material fuse into a molten mass.

Before electricity in the cutting department, an apprentice turned the cutting wheels. Most often the early shapes of cut glass were simple with minimal curves, since curves were difficult to achieve with large cutting wheels. The steampowered technological revolution allowed the crystal to be cut far more deeply and intricately.

Irish and English cut crystal from the eighteenth century is usually characterised by shallow cutting in simple designs until the use of wheel cutting by steam power. Electricity brought about the replacement of clumsy, steam-driven cutting wheels.

Advances in technology mean that today the craftsmen at Waterford Crystal use diamond wheels to cut the crystal.

In previous years craftsmen used three different grades of Carborundum wheels. This was time-consuming as each facet had to be cut three times to achieve the deep, smooth cut. Deep cutting is responsible for giving each piece the clear and sparkling cut that is the distinctive hallmark of Waterford Crystal.


Why not visit the factory located in the centre of Waterford City and take the opportunity to witness the manufacture of these and many other Waterford Crystal products? The guided factory tour is a unique and captivating experience that enthrals visitors of all ages, both national and international. The tour – which takes about one hour – allows visitors to understand each stage of production. They witness how Waterford Crystal pieces are crafted from initial design right up to the final engraving of the piece. On completion of the tour, visitors can experience over 12,000 sq ft of crystal heaven in the largest retail and brand showcase of Waterford Crystal in the world. For further details on the tours available all year round, visit or call 051 317000.


Why not indulge yourself, a friend or colleague with a thoughtful gift from our range? Our dedicated Sales Manager Tom Walsh caters for corporate gifts and awards. We can customise a piece from our core range that can allow you create your own unique message or logo on the item. Our worldwide shipping service allows you the flexibility to deliver 24/48 hours to Ireland, the UK or the US. Tom Walsh can be contacted at or +353 (0)87 120 9143.



Celebrating local heroes

In November Clare County Council was named Local Authority of the Year at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards. Showcasing and celebrating the best of Local Government in Ireland, the 19th annual awards ceremony was held in association with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland, said: “Local authorities continue

to make substantial impacts across multiple areas of Irish society with wideranging, positive improvements for local communities and the local economy; the Excellence in Local Government Awards serve as the platform to highlight the irreplaceable value that results.”

There were 15 category winners this year. Minister of State with responsibility for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke TD, noted that he was pleased to see the introduction of the new Diversity & Inclusion category. “I have spent much of my tenure as Minister of State actively addressing the obvious imbalances prevalent in local government, with my Department working hard to ensure that council chambers are reflective of communities throughout Ireland in all its diversity,” he said.

Clare County Council scooped the top accolade at the 2022 Excellence in Local Government Awards.
“Local authorities continue to make substantial impacts across multiple areas of Irish society with wide-ranging, positive improvements for local communities and the local economy."
Local Authority of the Year - Clare County Council Minister of State Peter Burke TD; Pat Dowling, Chief Executive, Clare County Council; Cllr Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach, Clare County Council; Fiona Candon, President, Chambers Ireland; and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland



Supporting Sustainable Communities Award

Sponsored by EirGrid

Limerick City & County Council – New Build Incremental Purchase Scheme


& Inclusion Award

Sponsored by An Post

Dublin City Council – Academy of the Near Future

Health & Wellbeing Award

Sponsored by Healthy Ireland

Waterford City and County Council – Ireland's First Outdoor Learn to Cycle Track opens in Dungarvan

Supporting Tourism Award

Sponsored by Fáilte Ireland Mayo County Council – Clew Bay Bike Trail

Promoting Economic Development

Sponsored by Irish Water


Limerick City & County Council – Engine Hubs Network

Local Authority Innovation Award

Sponsored by IPB

South Dublin County Council – Think Big Space in partnership with AWS

Communications Award

Sponsored by Truehawk Media

Kildare County Council – Understanding Kildare's County Development Plan

Sustainable Environment Award

Sponsored by ERP

Cork City Council – Cork City Council Air Quality Strategy

Climate Change Award

Sponsored by EirGrid

Mayo County Council – Mayo Decarbonising Communities Network

Sustaining the Arts Award

Sponsored by AIB

Clare County Council – HOUSE! An open air aerial spectacle

Festival of the Year Award

Sponsored by Fáilte Ireland

Clare County Council – Ennis Mela

Initiative through the Municipal Districts Award

Sponsored by Gas Networks Ireland

Carlow County Council – Ru:Rban – Urbact

Enhancing the Urban Environment Award

Sponsored by Office of the Planning Regulator

Limerick City & County Council – Castletroy Urban Greenway

Heritage & Built Environment Award

Sponsored by ESB

Donegal County Council – Single large-scale heritage-led urban regeneration project in Ramelton, Co Donegal

Age Friendly Award

Sponsored by Zurich

Wexford County Council - Wexford Telehealth Project

Local Authority of the Year

Clare County Council


Supporting Sustainable Communities Award – Limerick City & County Council

Promoting Economic Development Award

- Limerick City & County Council

Diversity & Inclusion Award – Dublin City Council

Health & Wellbeing Award

– Waterford City and County Council

Local Authority Innovation Award

- South Dublin County Council


Minister of State Peter Burke TD; Jason Kenna, EirGrid; Cllr Francis Foley, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick; Helen Creed, Limerick City and County Council; and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland Minister of State Peter Burke TD; Greg Straton, Healthy Ireland; Cllr Adam Wyse; Sean Gormley Waterford City and County Council; and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland Minister of State Peter Burke TD; Karen Ferris, Irish Water; Cllr Francis Foley, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick; Mike Cantwell, Innovate Limerick; and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland Minister of State Peter Burke TD; Angus Laverty, An Post; Grace D’Arcy, Dublin City Council; Darach Mac Donncha, Dublin City Council; and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland of State Peter Burke TD; Paul Fusco, South Dublin Count Council; Graham Orr, IPB Insurance; Cllr Emma Murphy, Mayor, South Dublin County Council; and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland

Communications Award - Kildare County Council

Sustainable Environment Award - Cork City Council


Initiative through the Municipal Districts Award

- Carlow County Council


Festival of the Year Award - Clare County Council

Minister of State Peter Burke TD; Anne Haugh, Director of Social Development, Clare County Council; Antoinette Reilly, Failte Ireland; Cllr Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach, Clare County Council; Cllr Alan O’Callaghan, Cathaoirleach, Killaloe Municipal District; Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy, Mayor, Ennis Municipal District;

Age Friendly - Wexford County Council

Minister of State Peter Burke TD;Niall Fitzgerald, Zurich Insurance; Ann Marie Laffan, Wexford County Council; Cllr. Michael Whelan, Leas-Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council; and Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland

and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland Minister of State Peter Burke TD; Cllr Joe Neville; Leas Cathaoirleach of the County of Kildare; Pauline O'Connor, Kildare County Council; Sarah Delahunt, Kildare County Council; Shannon Rushe, Truehawk Media; and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland of State Peter Burke TD; Kieran Comerford, Carlow County Council; Jennifer Harte, Gas Networks Ireland;Cllr Fintan Pheland, Mayor, Carlow Municipal District; Melissa Doyle, Local Enterprise Office; Cllr. Brian O’Donoghue, Cathaoirleach, Carlow County Council; and Ian Talbot, ChiefExecutive Chambers Ireland of State Peter Burke TD; David Joyce, Cork City County; Martin Tobin, European Recycling Platform; Cllr Deirdre Forde, Lord Mayor of Cork City; Brian Geaney, Cork City Council; Noel Murtagh, Cork City Council; and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland

Sustaining the Arts Award - Clare County Council


Supporting Tourism Award - Mayo County Council


Enhancing the Urban Environment Award - Limerick City & County Council

Minister of State Peter Burke TD; Anne Marie O’Connor, Office of the Planning Regulator; Cllr Francis Foley, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick; Sean McGlynn, Limerick City and County Council; and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland Climate Change Award - Mayo County Council

Minister of State Peter Burke TD; Laura Dixon, Mayo County Council; Jason Kenna, EirGrid; Cllr Seamus Weir, Cathaoirleach, Mayo County Council; Martin Keating, Mayo County Council; Joanne Grehan, Mayo County Council; and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland

Heritage & Built Environment Award - Donegal County Council

Minister of State Peter Burke TD; Brian Tapley, ESB

Networks; Collette Beattie, Donegal County Council; Joe Birney, Donegal County Council; Jo McMenamin, Donegal County Council; and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland

of State Peter Burke TD; Anne Haugh, Clare County Council; John Brennan, AIB;Cllr Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach, Clare County Council; Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy, Mayor, Ennis Municipal District; and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland
of State Peter Burke TD; Antoinette Reilly, Fáilte Ireland; Anna Connor, Mayo County Council; Cllr Seamus Weir, Cathaoirleach, Mayo County Council; Joanne Grehan, Mayo County Council; and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland

A breath of fresh air

#BuyLocalFlyLocal campaign, which gave consumers spending a minimum of €20 in local shops and cafés the opportunity to win flights from Shannon to Naples and Porto, along with €300 spending money.

Fresh challenges require fresh thinking, and as the last few years have presented challenge mounting upon challenge, Ennis Chamber CEO Margaret O’Brien is looking for ways to futureproof the town and its commerce.

O’Brien admits, with Shannon so close by, industry is not the majority player in Ennis. Small businesses and retailers are the beating heart of the town, and the Chamber has been ideating ways to give the retailers a boost.

“We’ve had our thinking caps on here and we’re doing a lot of local promotion.” She cites the example of a partnership with Shannon Airport on the

Ennis benefits from a hinterland describing a 40 km arc around the town, with shoppers coming from Athenry and Limerick to visit destination shops in the town. “We’ve always had high quality independent shops, really focused on their look and their branding—that really hold the town together” The mix includes jewellery, craft, furniture, fashion and childrenswear shops that draw in devoted customers from far and wide.

Not one to rest on her laurels, O’Brien has been working hard behind the scenes to ensure guaranteed footfall in the town this year. “I’ve been working really hard to bring tour buses into Ennis this year. We’ve signed up two to start in March, and they’ll be coming in every day of the week, and I hope to build from there”

Crucially, they aren’t just passing through; the deal is that people get off the bus and spend some time (and money) in the town, with a two-hour minimum stop-off. The perfect amount of time for a bit of lunch and shopping.


O’Brien is a ceaseless innovator. The former journalist originally came on board on a part-time contract to run festivals, before being asked to take on the CEO role.

Ennis’s work on creating festivals to

Ennis Chamber’s CEO Margaret O’Brien is breathing new life into the town with innovative ideas and fresh thinking
Margaret O’Brien,
CEO, Ennis Chamber
L to R: Colin Ryan, President Ennis Chamber and Sheila Lynch Vice President Ennis Chamber with Pat Dowling, CEO Clare Co Co, and Cllr. Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach Clare Co Co

breathe new life into the town is exemplary. O’Brien explains, “Ennis Municipal District councillors basically pooled together the bulk of their discretionary spend to create a budget that they could spend on this.” Under her aegis they have launched two festivals that she hopes will be sustainable into the future.

The Clare Food & Drink Fleadh takes place in July and was launched to align with Fáilte Ireland’s Taste the Island concept in 2019. With a wealth of local producers including the renowned Burren Smokehouse and St Tola Goat’s Cheese, the event provides a wonderful showcase.

While a food festival seems like a nobrainer, the second festival they launched was a far more leftfield idea, that inhabits an exciting new niche. After much research and hiring a consultant to work on a feasibility study, Ennis International Fantastic Film Festival (EIFF) was born. It is the first film festival in the ‘Fantastic’ genre in Ireland, taking in Horror, Fantasy and Sci-Fi films. The genre has seen a huge rise in popularity in the dynamic North American film festival scene over the past decade, and the calculated gamble on introducing it to the Irish festival circuit proved a huge success.

“It’s niche, and yet it’s broad enough to have a bit of fun with it,” she says. “We’re very focused on trying to get the industry and the student population involved.”

For the moment the Chamber is running the festivals and offering complete administration support, but O’Brien’s hope is that once established, the responsibility can be passed over to committees.

“We need these festivals be sustainable; we have consultants on board to give us a roadmap, a strategy, and a plan for three to five years. And the idea is that we support the festivals to get off the ground in a tangible way, then once the governance is in place, it will make it much easier for them to continue to get funding and build on that.”


O’Brien is the Purple Flag coordinator for Ennis, in partnership with local councillors. Purple Flag is an international accreditation for excellence in the evening and night-time economy. Purple Flag rewards innovation, curation and planning that creates safe and thriving

destinations after dark.

“I coordinate that with a really strong multidisciplinary team,” she notes. “It’s really interesting for me from a Chamber perspective because it brings me in touch with different groups of people that I might not normally be in touch with.” That includes Civil Defence, Active Ennis agefriendly group and the Gardaí.

“It’s about the night-time economy, movement of people and their safety at night-time but it’s also about the vibrancy of the night-time economy and all that towns are doing to keep that alive.”

Perhaps her Purple Flag experience

inspired her shake-up of the Clare Business Excellence Awards format; the event is now running Oscars-style with a drinks reception and canapés before an efficiently short ceremony in the Glór theatre, where in-house lighting and sound technicians lend a very professional polish to the staging.

“We really invest in our awards. We hire independent judges, and they provide benchmarking reports for everybody who enters,” she reveals. “There’s an

This integrity, innovation and attention to detail bodes well for the town of Ennis.

integrity about them.”
L to R: Marie Gleeson, Simply Blue Group, Gerry Lynam, Essilor OLM, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Simon Coveney TD, Caroline O’Connor, CSGL Electrical, Colin Ryan, President Ennis Chamber L to R: Gwen Culligan, County Boutique, Joe Carey TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Simon Coveney TD. Maureen Harrison, Seoidin, and Colin Ryan, President Ennis Chamber

Energy and Opportunity

The last few years have been very challenging for business, and it’s important to acknowledge the lifeline offered through government supports, and the resilience and determination of Irish businesses as they battled for survival.

No sooner had we exited the pandemic than a different set of challenges presented themselves. Without the level of government supports available during Covid-19, and at a time when business owners were exhausted post-pandemic, these latest challenges resulting from the war in Ukraine are perhaps even more taxing.

At our recent Clare Business Excellence Awards gala, we had the opportunity to acknowledge the resilience of the businesses gathered as finalists, to celebrate their vision, leadership, and creativity. As an occasion

it underpinned the potential, ability and willingness of local businesses to continue to weather the storms.


While there are undeniable challenges ahead, as a county we are also privileged to see phenomenal opportunities on the horizon, in the form of off-shore wind energy – a game changer for Co Clare.

As the Chamber in the county town, we need to ensure Clare is at the heart of this new sector and cluster. We have supported the development of an off-shore wind sector from the off. Our first in-person networking event post-Covid saw Jerry Hallissey of Shannon Foynes Port Company give an energising and uplifting presentation, to a full capacity room, on the future of wind energy in the Shannon Estuary.

Shortly after that we welcomed Simply Blue Group as a new member. Their proposed project off Loop Head on the west coast of Clare will comprise a floating windfarm at least 35 kilometres offshore in waters over 100 metres deep. There, they will harness the wind potential of the Atlantic Ocean to help create a clean, sustainable future for everyone.

There is no doubt these are exciting times for change and our hope as a Chamber is that the sustainable jobs created directly by his burgeoning sector will be further enhanced by the creation of employment through the establishment and growth of locally based supply chain and support services.

The West of Ireland has the wind, seas - and the added bonus of the Continental Shelf - to allow us become an offshore superpower. The Shannon Estuary is very attractive hub for the future development of wind energy, with access to a deep-water port at Foynes. Moneypoint offers the largest grid connection in Ireland and has the potential to become a hydrogen production facility.

There is also the opportunity to create top quality education programmes aligned to the sector. Our membership at Ennis Chamber reflects the broad base of education providers in the region, with TUS Midwest, UL, Limerick and Clare Education Training Board, Griffith College and Regional Skills Mid-West, amongst our membership.

The potential offered by clean off-shore wind energy needs to be harnessed in a manner that benefits local communities. But most of all it needs to be harnessed at pace. We can’t afford to be laggards in this evolving space.

Colin Ryan, elected President of Ennis Chamber in March 2022, reflects on his term to date Colin Ryan Ennis Chamber President Colin Ryan and Sheila Lynch, Ennis Chamber

Boosting Skills to Boost Business

Limerick and Clare ETB are providing employees with targeted and flexible training courses to boost both their careers and enterprise growth

The national Skills to Advance initiative is helping create a sustainable future for Irish industry by supporting companies to adapt to fast-paced market changes through targeting potential skills gaps. It also helps increase productivity by providing staff with flexible training opportunities that fit in around their working hours.

As part of this, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board is offering

up-skilling and re-skilling programmes to those in the Mid-West region who are currently employed. The large range of part-time QQI Level 4-6 programmes— including Lean4Green Tools, Certificate in Leadership and Management, Communications, Software Development, Social Media with Multimedia for Business—are offered through online and in-person classes in locations throughout Limerick and Clare as part of the multi-campus College of Further Education and Training.

One of these fully-funded Skills to Advance programmes is ‘Environmental Sustainability in the Workplace’, a 10week online programme that provides employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to strengthen environmental

sustainability within their organisation. This project-based programme will help employees produce an action plan for their workplace concentrating on areas like water, waste, energy, material use, supply chains and biodiversity.

For more information see

Programmes co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union Go to COLLEGE OF FURTHER EDUCATION & TRAINING #FindTheBestInYou 252241_2L_LCFE_Chambers Ireland Summer_ND_V1.indd 1 07/07/2022 15:56
Empowering industry with tailored training programmes that deliver work-ready skills.
Find out how with the SEAI Energy Academy. Free online training with Ireland’s leading experts in energy efficiency. Reduce your use. Sign up at on business energy costs? Looking to save Register online #ReduceYourUse

Power Up

DEANNA O’CONNOR reflects on innovative ways for business and industry to reduce their energy costs and become more sustainable

With rising energy costs and security of supply genuinely threatened by global events, sustainable and renewable energy is a must-have, not a nice-to-have. Exploring sustainable energy options will undoubtedly secure valuable cost savings and futureproof energy supply for business and industry.

Furthermore, environmentally conscious consumers and clients are beginning to vote with their feet, looking to do business with companies and suppliers that do more than greenwash, and tender criteria, more often than not, will look for sustainable credentials.

It trickles down all the way to shareholders, as investors look towards putting their money into green and ethical funds.


International giants, whose energy needs are vast, have been moving on this for years. In 2019 Amazon cut a deal to purchase all the energy from a wind farm in Donegal to supply its data centres in Ireland; it is now the largest buyer of renewable energy in the world, as it races towards net zero carbon by 2040 and 100 per cent renewable energy usage by 2030. Amazon now has over 100 renewable energy projects across Europe and 379 globally.

It’s not just for big business – in Ireland, energy producer Energia is working with businesses on their Cash for Kilowatts scheme, supporting energy usage reductions of up to 20 per cent with efficiency upgrades, help with grant funding applications and expertise (Energia provides funding based on the annual savings achieved from energy conservation measures, in the form of a once off payment).


Even the smallest business can make strides in sustainability and savings. Kerry Sustainable Energy Co Op advises making efforts to minimise unnecessary lighting; avoiding over-heating or over-cooling, depending on the season; switching off non-essential equipment at night; and saving water.

Computer equipment is one of the most insidious energy wasters. Computers left

on standby can continue to use up to 70 per cent of normal power consumption – a screensaver is not necessarily a power saver. Even reducing screen brightness can save energy, and laptops consume up to 80 per cent less energy than desk top computers.

Lighting is another area where savings can be made and many companies are looking to harness the lighting as a service (LAAS) model to light commercial buildings. Companies like UrbanVolt install and maintain LED lighting with no upfront costs to the client; LED lighting offers up to 80 per cent energy savings compared to traditional bulbs.


Bioenergy is another up and coming area –using anerobic digestion to convert organic waste into methane-rich biogas. While Germany already benefits from over 10,000 biogas plants, Ireland has just 50; it would take ten times that amount to be on a level per head of population.

Clonakilty-based MyGug markets a compact food waste treatment system that fully integrates into a small food business setting, providing a clean solution to disposing of food waste and turning that waste into free energy.

On the Dingle Peninsula, the Dingle Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) has been working with farmers since 2018, investigating how they can contribute towards the transition to a low carbon circular economy.

Forward thinking companies and communities are looking to reduce risk, increase resilience and futureproof their energy supply and usage. Are you?


Reduce your running costs with an energy

Cash for Kilowatts is our funding scheme for energy efficiency projects that gives you back up to 20% of the capital cost.

Invest in the latest energy efficient heating, building fabric, refrigeration, ventilation, pumps or compressors. Take your energy efficiency to the next level and you will see the reduction in your energy consumption immediately.

You see things differently. So do we.

We have one of the leading Irish corporate M&A practices. In recent weeks, both Mergermarket and Refinitiv ranked us as the number one Irish law firm for M&A by deal volume for 2022. Matheson has more corporate M&A lawyers ranked by Chambers & Partners than any other Irish law firm. Our team consistently advises on the most high-profile, complex and high value transactions in domestic and international markets.

Matheson, the law firm of choice for internationally focused companies and financial institutions doing business in and from Ireland.

Get in touch with your usual Matheson contact or visit

Looking to the future

We are living in a time of fastpaced change –one that offers the opportunity for creativity and proactivity. Our focus in Matheson is to serve the Irish legal needs of internationally focused companies and financial institutions doing business in and from Ireland.

We are a proud member of Chambers Ireland, and Matheson’s growing team of professionals works with clients across all industries, observing the changes that impact the

way we and our society work. These changes can present opportunities for our clients, and we have developed and implemented new technologies and methodologies to better serve them.

Cyber security is an area where we work extensively. Organisations can be vulnerable to threats, requiring ongoing vigilance, planning and investment of time and resources to safeguard against potentially costly incidents. We work to navigate these threats, supporting clients in the event of a breach or issue, and guiding their response.

Another key area is Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), requiring businesses to look at how they operate today and into the future. Our ESG Advisory Group works exclusively in this domain.

We work hard on our commitment to diversity and inclusion, for our people and our clients and in 2022 were the first Irish organisation to be re-accredited with the prestigious ‘Investors in Diversity’ Gold Standard award.

At Matheson, we drive a culture of innovation – winning Law Firm of the Year at The Lawyer European Awards 2022 in November – and it is this approach that will underpin our future development and that of our clients.

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Matheson LLP’s team of professionals are finding opportunities in the changes that impact the way we live and work

Wellness for Women at Work

Female employees are feeling the burnout of juggling work in the office and in the home; a new women-centric programme aims to provide holistic support

Many companies are struggling to find a gender balance higher up the ladder, as women leave the workforce to have families, and never come back. Female participation in the workforce begins to fall off after senior manager level, leaving a dearth of female presence on boards, as partners and at C-suite level.

In 2021 an IBEC survey

revealed that one-fifth of companies intend to introduce increased supports to women over the next 12 months, no doubt aiming to tackle these issues, and increase talent retention in the workforce.

There are many issues at play, from broader societal ones, such as access to childcare, to gender pay gaps still extant across many industries, which new gender pay gap reporting requirements brought in recently should begin to address.


Many companies have brought in schemes, aimed at smoothing the path for women returning to the workforce, such as LinkedIn’s ‘ReturnIN’, which offers additional training and supports, and Deloitte’s ‘Returnship’, which provides ongoing coaching, mentoring and training over a six-month period, to assist in the transition back to work. The move towards more flexible working arrangements, in the wake of the


pandemic is also sure to make a difference for women struggling to juggle the demands of family life and work, while they still carry most of the burden of work in the home. Another key element is giving women the mentorship and support systems they need to succeed in the world of work.

The recent Deloitte ‘Women at Work 2022’ survey stated that almost half (46 per cent) reported feeling burned out, while only 44 per cent say that they get adequate support from their employer when it comes to mental health, and 33 per cent have taken time off work for mental-health reasons.

Furthermore, 43 per cent of women with children are under the impression that without necessary supports in place, this increases the likelihood of stress, burnout, or impact on mental health upon their return to work.


Tara O’Rourke, Founder of Saol Beo: Signature Wellness Programmes, has based her business on supporting women making their way back into their careers. She says, “This evidence shows that without adequate supports in place, there is a likelihood of a continued increase in stress, burnout, or overall mental health issues amongst women in the workplace.”

Seeing these issues at play led O’Rourke, an advanced holistic coach, whole-system therapist and yoga mentor, to design and develop a new one-of-a-kind integrated Strengths & Wellness Programme in preparation for women returning to work following a period away due to maternity leave, career break, illness, or other reasons. From working with thousands of women over the past two decades, she has deep experience and knowledge of the holistic supports that both relax and energise her clients, allowing them to bring their best selves to the office.

“Companies must show that they care and proactively design an environment to nurture their needs

and in turn encourage success. Companies that fail to recognise the value of supporting and retaining their female workforce will not be sustainable in the long-term,” she advises.


With the deep purpose to help and empower women find their way to living their true-life path, O’Rourke has curated a three-month programme for women getting back to work or making a significant move in their careers. It is a unique womencentric programme that will be the first of its kind available in Ireland. Through her holistic methodology of combining mind (neuroscience), body (restorative treatments), and spirituality (mindful movement), O’Rourke’s programme aims to help women rediscover their strength and balance, so they are ready to go back into the workplace and set themselves up for success, in both their work and home life.

when back in the workplace. The key elements in this programme were designed to ensure a sustainable more fulfilling life and this programme is the ignition switch for that, not just a quick fix.”

The blend of mindful movement, focused coaching and hands on treatments helps to absorb and form new patterns. This programme provides a safe space, an opportunity to take time and to become aware of all the information at hand – both

“When launching this new programme, I also had to take into consideration the fact that women may not be returning to the ‘physical’ workspace location following time away,” O’Rourke noted. “I had to think about how I can equip them to have things in place at home also. This is where my coaching and one-to-one planning will play an important role. Finding that rhythm of office days versus home working days is paramount. Back to work has a whole new meaning now and this programme will really serve and set women up with the overall strength and wellness to help them thrive

mind and body intelligence. Drawing on that wisdom and intelligence, Tara helps the women become more aware of what is needed to form and design a real-life action plan.

“Companies should not be aiming for work-life balance, but for work-life fulfilment,” O’Rourke states. “My hope is that employers can recognise this connection and build a culture that supports work-life fulfilment, leaving employees with the energy to bring creativity, passion, and innovation to their work and in turn the world.”

For more information visit

Tara O’Rourke, Founder, Saol Beo

The Magic of Collaborating

With operations across 92 jurisdictions, EY Law is in fact the fourth biggest law firm in the world, by headcount. Ireland’s EY Law division launched in October 2021 and is headed up by former Eversheds Sutherland Ireland managing partner Alan Murphy.

“We’ve just passed our first anniversary as a law firm in EY Law Ireland,” says Alan Murphy, Partner, Head of Law. “We would see it only as the start, we’ve still a huge amount to do and we think there’s massive opportunity for us to add value for clients.”

After a career in a traditional law firm, the move has been terrifically interesting for Murphy, who praises the “breadth of capability” as one of EY Law’s main differences. “It’s opened doors for clients and our team.”


With recent news of another Big Four accountancy firm spinning out a law practice, Murphy welcomes the rivalry, considering that EY Law’s success in the Irish market has paved the way: “I think that’s brilliant news, because it normalises the concept within the market, and it really cements the offering.”

It’s also something that he sees as very appealing to younger colleagues, who “really like the idea of working with other disciplines, they do not want to be pigeonholed anymore”.

To that point, diversity and flexibility have also been to the fore of developing a new way of working. They have also adopted hybrid working and paperless production. “We’re very determined to be

at the cutting edge of all those developments in the legal market.”


Rob Haniver is a Partner and EY Law Ireland leader in digital law, acting as a trusted advisor to organisations on the development and rollout of innovative technologies with a focus on digital, data and cybersecurity laws. “The primary reason I joined EY Law Ireland is the differentiator of having access to experts across other businesses within EY”. Haniver appreciates the depth of expertise his team can collaborate with throughout the EY network. “The depth of resources and talent across EY keeps surprising me. Our colleagues in technology consulting, including those in transformation, data and analytics and cybersecurity, continue to be involved in really complex and cutting edge projects. EY Law Ireland’s involvement in these projects continues to accelerate, which has been well received by clients as we understand their projects and work seamlessly with the EY tech consulting and other project teams” he states.


Looking to the future, Murphy notes, “We’ve started to see international law firms come in, and that’s only at the very beginning of that process. I think that will evolve.

“I think the next phase, and certainly part of the future of law, is the end to end piece that Rob describes,” he adds. “Clients really like the idea of being able to deal with one premium brand, across the various parts, in order to deliver the various parts of a deal. If a client needs corporate finance advice, tax advice, and legal advice, they can get it all within EY.”

After celebrating a year since launch, the team at EY Law are making the most of the breadth of capability offered by the ability to collaborate with EY colleagues Alan Murphy, Partner, Head of Law, EY Law Rob Haniver, Technology & Commercial, EY Law
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Enhancing the quality of life in County Clare through leadership and partnership Follow us on 252907_4C_Clare Coco_Chambers Ireland Winter 2022_ND_V1.indd 1 15/12/2022 16:57 WE DON’T WANT TO SAVE CHILDREN’S LIVES Children’s lives shouldn’t need saving from entirely preventable causes. UNICEF wants you to help prevent needless deaths.We believe that one child dying is one too many. We believe in zero and we desperately need your help. Call 01 878 3000 or visit today to give your support. Believe in zero. my gift to the world Together, we can continue to create a future that is fair for everyone. And make a world without poverty our legacy. For more information contact OXFAM Ireland Tel: (01) 672 7662 Email: Oxfam Ireland is a member of Oxfam International, a world-wide development organisation that mobilises the power of people against poverty. Charitable co. limited by guarantee. Reg. No. 284292, CHY5988 Oxfam_Half_3.indd 1 11/01/2019 09:50

Fingal and Meath County Councils increase budgets for 2023; Meath Local Sports Partnership strives for sustainability; and Dublin 15 community centre gets €300k funding.

Cork County Council unveils record €403m budget; Macroom Bypass opens; Limerick gets €3.4m Active Cities investment; while Limerick City and County Council will spend €6.5m on reducing vacant homes.

Sligo unveils plans for new Queen Maeve Square civic and cultural amenity; and Mayo and Leitrim County Councils welcome significant Town and Village Scheme funding.


Belfast recognised for climate action work and among world’s top 10 most sustainable destinations; while Donegal sees €7.8m funding for Ramelton Re-Imagined and turns the sod on Killybegs 2040.


In Association with
Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr Liam Blaney has welcomed the publication of a new study by Dublin Offshore that looks at the potential for the development of the Offshore Wind sector of the Atlantic Region including the coast of Donegal. The study, which was part funded by Donegal County Council along with other local authority partners and Enterprise Ireland and commissioned by the North West, West and Mid-West Regional Enterprise Plans and the Western Development Commission, presents offshore wind energy as a significant opportunity to generate substantial job creation and economic growth for communities along the Atlantic seaboard from Donegal to Limerick and playing a central role in achieving Ireland’s climate ambitions and enhancing energy

Hartstown Community Centre in Dublin 15 receives grant of €300,000

Dublin City University, daa and Fingal County Council partner on sustainability in aviation

A new collaboration will see academics and researchers in DCU work together with daa and Fingal County Council to develop practical and impactful solutions aimed at making aviation more sustainable and to reduce the environmental impact of the aviation sector on the Fingal region. The multi-year agreement will bring together the collective areas of expertise of all parties to develop innovative research projects that will provide societal, economic and environmental benefits. DCU researchers will work with daa and Fingal County Council on areas of sustainability where real impact can be made, including public transport connectivity to the airport from the Fingal area and decarbonised energy sources. daa has set a range of corporate commitments in relation to environmental sustainability, including a goal to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. It is hoped that this research will contribute towards achieving, and potentially accelerating, this ambition. Andrea Carroll, Head of Sustainability at the daa says, “daa is delighted to be working with DCU and Fingal County Council on researching and identifying solutions which will help reduce the impact of the aviation sector on the Fingal region. Collaboration and innovation are key enablers of sustainability, and this partnership is a fantastic example of how organisations can work together to bring about changes that will benefit the communities in which we operate.”

Fingal County Council welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD of the successful application for major funding to help upgrade the facilities at Hartstown Community Centre. The €300,000 grant will come via the new Community Centre Investment Fund, which aims to deliver highquality capital projects for community centres that benefit the local communities and help ensure that these spaces are properly funded and maintained. The centre is a much utilised facility used by many community and volunteer groups for weekly meetings and activities to support the local area. Fingal is in the process of taking over ownership of the centre from the Archdioceses of Dublin. Mayor of Fingal Cllr Howard Mahony says, “Community centres like this are important hubs that provide people an opportunity to socialise, learn and access a range of activities. The people of Hartstown will benefit significantly from this new funding as it will allow the Community Centre to undertake an essential refurbishment and give the management team here the ability to cater for the growing needs of locals on a daily basis.”

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Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD, Mayor of Fingal Cllr Howard Mahony and preschool children and staff from Hartstown Community Centre. From left: Aoife Sheridan, Fingal County Council; John Quinlivan, Fingal County Council; Mayor Howard Mahony; Andrea Carroll, daa; Prof Daire Keogh; and President of DCU, Dr Marina Efthymiou.

Meath Local Sports Partnership (LSP) announced an initiative aimed at promoting sustainability through the county’s grassroots sports clubs. It’s the first LSP in Ireland to develop a county-wide sustainability programme. In addition to helping Meath clubs operate sustainably, a core vision for the initiative will be to educate and inspire people, particularly children, around positive, healthy behaviours. Pictured from left: Cllr David Gilroy (Project Team), Damien Sheridan (Meath GAA GPO), Stacey Grimes (Meath LGFA GDO), Jackie Maguire (CEO, Meath County Council), Niall Kane (Leinster Rugby DO), Cllr Nick Killian (Cathaoirleach, Meath County Council), Alison Lynch (Meath LSP Board Member), Ruairi Murphy (Meath LSP Programme Manager), Dara McGowan (Director of Services, Meath County Council), Richie Smith (FAI DO), Patrick Haslett (Managing Partner, Impact 3 Zero), Mary D’Arcy (Climate Change Co-ordinator, Meath County Council) with pupils of Yellow Furze NS.

Meath County Council adopts €186m budget for 2023

Fingal County Council announced a budget of €333m for 2023, an 11 per cent increase on last year. This represents an expenditure of €1,013 per head of population. An extra €4.8m has been provided in the operations budget, meaning extra funding for works programmes, parks and open spaces, public conveniences and solar bins. There’s an increase of €8.2m in the housing budget and an extra €1.9m is provided as additional funding for community centres and groups.

Meath County Councillors have adopted the budget for 2023 which provides for expenditure of over €186m on local public services, an increase of over €24m (or 14.8 per cent) on last year’s budget. The largest spend next year will be on housing, taking up almost 30 per cent of the budget, with €9,290,122 provided for housing and building. Transport will see an increase of €5.6m bringing the total expenditure for 2023 to €53,512,508. All major Capital Schemes will be a priority, with particular focus on completing constructions including phase 3 of the Navan 2030 Scheme. 2023 will also see the launch of two ‘Pathfinder’ schemes which will trial innovative projects with the potential to have a transformative effect on public transport and cycling in County Meath. The council will also undertake targeted action to mitigate against a decline of Meath towns and villages and support economic recovery. A total of €2,738,906 has been provided for economic development and promotion, which represents an increase of €602,531 on last year’s budget. Presenting the budget, Jackie Maguire, Meath County Council Chief Executive, said, “The key objectives of Budget 2023 are to continue to maintain our key service levels and enhance some essential services, address climate change and environmental sustainability within the organisation and in our communities, support the local economy and maintain a sustainable and viable rate base and to continue to make all matters relating to Housing Services a priority.” Fiona Lawless, the Council’s Head of Finance, added, “This is the largest budget ever presented to members, with a total increase of 30 per cent since the current council was elected in 2019. This has been possible through a continued focus on maximising the use of resources at our disposal, strong budgetary management processes, and greater effort in securing higher levels of grant funding.”

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budget announced by Fingal County Council for 2023

Macroom Bypass opens to traffic

One of the country’s most eagerly anticipated road projects took a step closer to completion with the official opening of the Macroom Bypass section of the N22 Baile Bhuirne to Macroom new Dual Carriageway by the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Danny Collins and Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Opening ahead of schedule, the 8km new bypass road includes a roundabout at the tie-in on the eastern side of Macroom, a grade-separated junction at Gurteenroe on the western end of Macroom and a temporary tie-in at Carrigaphooca, with the temporary roundabout allowing traffic to merge onto the existing N22. The project will be completed by 2024. Officially opening the new Macroom Bypass, Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD said, “Delivered under Project Ireland 2040, the Macroom Bypass will greatly improve safety and accessibility for local communities who will use this road regularly as well as for those travelling between Cork and Kerry. It will encourage economic growth, supporting further investment and employment to the region. I look forward to seeing Macroom and the wider region go from strength to strength in the years ahead and wish all who travel on the road a safe journey.”

€1.7M+ funding awarded for


Cork County Council has received funding for rural regeneration projects in the towns of Bandon, Charleville and Macroom. Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD announced €115m for 23 projects across the country under the Rural Regeneration Development Fund.

A new national campaign has been launched to get as many people exercising and participating in physical activity as possible in our biggest urban cities. The Sport Ireland ‘Active Cities’ project calls on everyone across Limerick, Dublin, Cork, Galway, and Waterford to come together to create more opportunities for participation in sport and physical activity through collaboration, partnership, and planning. Sport Ireland officially unveiled Active Cities, a project based on the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA) Framework, which focuses on increasing physical activity amongst those who are least active in society. Active Cities prioritises physical activity and sport for all and is underpinned by four key pillars: Active Systems, Active Environments, Active Societies, and Active People. To date, €3.4m has been invested to engage with communities across the five cities, creating change for those who are economically, socially or educationally disadvantaged or those who have a disability. With ambitious aims for Irish cities to be among the most physically active and healthy places in the world, the vision of Active Cities is to engage, increase and maintain the number of citizens regardless of age or ability participating in sport and physical activity in their city. Collaborative and partnership-based by nature, Active Cities is being led locally by the eight LSPs across Limerick, Cork, Dublin, Galway and Waterford.

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Co Cork town regeneration
Limerick one of five cities to benefit from €3.4m Active Cities investment
Sport Ireland and Local Sports Partnerships members at the launch of Active Cities

Cork County’s second ‘School Zone’ was officially launched at Bunscoil Rinn an Chabhlaigh in Rushbrooke, Cobh by Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton TD, and Deputy Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Deirdre O’Brien. The newly developed ‘School Zone’ includes colourful child-friendly traffic-calming measures which are designed to encourage pupils to walk, cycle or scoot to school. Ten schools across County Cork have been successful in securing funding during the first round of the Safe Routes to School Programme, an initiative led by the National Transport Authority and Green Schools. A further 50 primary and secondary schools across the county will benefit from subsequent rounds.

Cork County Council unveils record €403m budget

Cork County Council’s Draft Budget for 2023 amounts to a record €403m, an increase of €€31m for the current financial year. Among the priorities identified for the operational budget are investment in frontline services across the council’s eight Municipal Districts, delivery of social and community services together with maintenance of existing service levels. Supporting economic development, protection of climate action funding, provision of infrastructure through correlation with the Capital Programme funding needs and continued delivery of roads and housing priorities are also key features. In addition to the operational spend, Cork County Council’s Capital Programme from 2023-2025 outlines a proposed investment of €€1.273bn, an increase of €€270m over the previous programme. Cork County Council has also re-committed to a series of measures specifically designed to address climate change with €€484m identified for projects related to climate adaptation on the Capital Programme 2023-2025. Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Danny Collins says, “This budget shows Cork County Council’s commitment to our communities. Despite economic uncertainty, the Council has chosen to increase spending which will have a direct, positive impact on people’s lives. I particularly welcome increased supports for local businesses through the Economic Development Fund, and the Tourism and Enterprise programme. As Elected Members, we are conscious of the impact of our decisions on businesses, evidenced in our rates waiver which the majority of businesses will benefit from. We believe that the right balance has been struck to ensure continued growth while protecting vital public services.”

An extra €6.5m to be spent on vacant homes across Limerick

The money will be used to tackle a portfolio of 178 long-term derelict houses owned by Limerick City and County Council to return them into use as homes for tenants. The funding is coming from the repayment of a loan given to Limerick Twenty Thirty for the development of Troy Studios in 2016, which is now being repurposed for housing projects. Limerick Twenty Thirty has now paid back the loan for Troy Studios of just under €6.5m to the Council following the outright purchase of the film studios by Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital Management. Limerick City and County Council has now decided to use the loan to be repurposed as part of the Voids, Vacancy and Retrofitting Scheme for the Council’s social housing stock, following agreement by the councillors. The original loan has a fixed interest rate of 1.75% over 30 years, which is much lower than the current interest rates available if the Council was to apply for a similar sized loan. Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Francis Foley welcomed the decision: “I’m delighted that my fellow councillors and the officials of the Council have taken the correct decision to help tackle the housing crisis. The prudent thing to do is to repurpose the loan into housing. The interest rate is very low and we would not be in a position to get the same rate if we went to the market now.”

Work is to begin immediately on the properties.

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Queen Maeve Square to transform centre of Sligo

The redevelopment of Stephen Street car park into a civic and cultural amenity called Queen Maeve Square will be a huge asset for Sligo for years to come, according to CE of Sligo County Council Martin Lydon.

The €3.8m development will see the current car park replaced with a fully pedestrianised area where the public can gather for concerts and other cultural events, or simply as a place for family and friends to meet on the banks of the Garavogue River.

“Until now, Sligo has lacked a significant public space in the heart of the city and the new Queen Maeve Square will create a focal point which will make optimal use of its unique riverside location,” says Lydon. “Already connected with the O’Connell

Street shopping area via the footbridge at Rockwood Parade, this development will support the opening up of the emerging Greenfort cultural precinct located to the north-east, between The Mall and Connaughton Road.”

“The development of the Queen Maeve Square is multi-dimensional and will provide opportunities for community groups as well as local businesses to prosper,” says Cllr Michael Clarke, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council. “Sligo is full of people who work in the creative arts, and I think we need to fill this space with these talented people, to provide locals and visitors alike with a year-round flavour of what Sligo has to offer.”

Largest ever community centre funding announced


funding secured for Our Rural Future: Leitrim

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD announced over €27m in funding that will combat dereliction and breathe new life into rural towns and villages across Ireland. Of this funding, Leitrim County Council has been successful in securing funding totalling €1,216,804 across a number of Town and Village Renewal Scheme measures.

The Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD, along with the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD, have announced funding of over €33m for the upgrade and development of 278 community centres nationwide. The announcement, under the new Community Centre Investment Fund, represents the largest ever capital investment in upgrading community centres and will see grants of between €25,000 to €300,000 provided to successful projects. The funding will be used to upgrade, renovate and refurbish community centres, parish halls, scouts clubs, youth hubs, family resources centres and sports complexes across the country. Communities in every single county in Ireland will benefit as part of the investment.

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Front Row: Cllr Tom MacSharry; Cllr Michael Clarke, Cathaoirleach; Finbarr Fox, Fox Building & Engineering Ltd; Martin Lydon, CE Sligo County Council. Back Row: Cllr Tom Fox; Dorothy Clarke, Director of Services, Sligo County Council; Gail McGibbon, Sligo BID; Joanna Quinn, Fáilte Ireland; Cllr Declan Bree; Aidan Doyle, CEO Sligo Chamber of Commerce; Cllr Thomas Walsh.

Mayo County Council welcomes Town and Village Renewal Scheme funding

Mayo County Council welcomes the announcement of €1,165,343 for seven different projects in the county under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2022, the Streetscapes Enhancement Initiative, and the Project Development Measure. The Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD announced the funding which will combat dereliction and breathe new life into rural towns and villages. Four projects in Mayo were awarded funding under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, one under the Streetscapes Enhancement Initiative and two under the Project Development Measure. Belmullet, Ballycastle, Balla and Partry have all been selected for funding for projects under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, with Ballyhaunis selected under the Streetscapes Enhancement Initiative and Balla and Louisburgh were chosen under the Project Development Measure. Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Cllr Seamus Weir says, “These projects will have wideranging impacts across entire communities, with projects including youth facilities, community parks and enterprise hubs receiving funding.”

One of the most important projects delivered in County Sligo in recent years has come a step closer to fruition with a recruitment process underway for the appointment of a General Manager of the National Surf Centre in Strandhill. The €2.7m facility has been funded by Sligo County Council, Fáilte Ireland, and the Department of Rural Community and Development. The Centre will confirm Sligo’s reputation as a must-visit outdoor adventure destination along the Wild Atlantic Way and will be an invaluable resource for the local and visiting surfing community. The state-of-the-art facility will be regarded as Ireland’s premium surf and outdoor activity centre for local, national and international surfers, and will cater for those providing advanced surfing training up to international standards. The centre will include an interpretative display of the history of surfing in Ireland and the many local tourist attractions and will provide a central meeting and promotional point for local tourism businesses, including walking tours and adventure providers. The Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Cllr Michael Clarke said, “This is a hugely important project for Co Sligo. Strandhill is already a recognised prime surfing destination, and this facility will further enhance its reputation on the national and international stage. Our objective to promote Sligo as a regional growth centre and a key tourism hub receives a major boost with the delivery of this facility.”

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National Surf Centre Strandhill – Ireland’s premium surf and outdoor activity centre

Belfast recognised for climate action work

Belfast has become the only city on the island of Ireland to receive an A-rating for its climate action work. The accolade has been awarded for leadership on environmental action from international climate research provider CDP. Welcoming the award, Lord Mayor of Belfast Cllr Tina Black said, “This is fantastic news for Belfast – we are being recognised as a city that is serious about climate ambition and serious about reducing emissions, building resilience and creating a better future for all our residents.”

The annual assessment which is designed to encourage cities to ramp up climate action is widely recognised as the “gold standard” of environmental reporting. Cities who received an A grade must have a citywide emissions strategy and have a focus on the belief that everyone in the city should be involved in the move to a net-zero economy. Cllr Black added, “The One Million Trees initiative is just one fantastic example of how we continue to build momentum in tackling climate change in Belfast. Over 63,000 trees have been planted right across the city since the project started in 2020 and we continue to see interest and support from communities, businesses and schools across Belfast.”


Donegal County Council welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys that €6.3m has been awarded under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund Fourth Call for Category 1 Projects, supported by €1.5m match funding committed by Donegal County Council, for the Ramelton Re-Imagined regeneration project.

Belfast ranks in the Top 10 Most Sustainable Destinations in the World for 2022

The annual GDS-Index, a world-leading sustainability benchmarking and performance improvement programme for destinations and their visitor economies, announced the 2022 results that sees the Northern Ireland capital climb eleven places since last year to take the eighth spot, placing Belfast as the most sustainable destination in the island of Ireland. Belfast achieved a score of 84.01 per cent, up 13 percentage points from last year when Belfast ranked 19th out of 73 destinations. Reflecting on just how far Belfast has come and congratulating the combined efforts of those involved in tourism, conference and events sales, promotion and development, the Lord Mayor of Belfast Cllr Tina Black said, “It’s hugely important to see Belfast rank among the greenest and most sustainable destinations in the world. Global research has highlighted the need to protect our built and natural environment and provide destination stewardship. By aligning these and the needs of our community we can lay the foundations for building a stronger, more resilient tourism sector in the coming decades.” Other leading cities to make the Top 10 include Gothenburg, Bordeaux, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Glasgow.

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funding for Ramelton Re-Imagined project

The theme of corpartate change is no longer a novel one in this post-pandemic world. While it is more a survival technique than philatropic approach these days, we still can learn a lot from Yvon Chouinard and his story of an attempt to do more than change a single corporation and challenge the culture of consumption that is at the heart of the global ecological crisis. Chouinard, the founder and owner of Patagonia, Inc., says “the original intent in 2005 for writing Let My People Go Surfing was for it to be a philosophical manual for the employees of

Patagonia. We have always considered Patagonia an experiment in doing business in unconventional ways. None of us were certain it was going to be successful, but we did know that we were not interested in “doing business as usual.” Well, we have survived and even thrived for close to half a century. As the evils of society become stronger and more numerous, we recognise that as a larger and more influential company our responsibilities to society and our e orts to be an even more responsible company have also increased. What we have done in the last decade to achieve this and what we plan to do in the next decades is the purpose of the revised edition of this book.”

HOLIDAY READ Nowhere for Very Long: The Unexpected Road to an Unconventional Life

AUTHOR: Brianna Madia


A woman defined by motion, Brianna Madia bought a beat-up bright orange van, filled it with her two dogs Bucket and Dagwood, and headed into the canyons of Utah with her husband. Nowhere for Very Long is her deeply felt, immaculately told story of exploration—of the world outside and the spirit within. This is the true story of a woman learning and unlearning, from backroads to breakdowns, from married to solo, and finally, from lost to found to lost again . . this time, on purpose.



AUTHOR: Lonely Planet


You Only Live Once: A Lifetime of Experiences for the Explorer in All of Us is not just another bucketlist of big-ticket items. Hopefully, with this book, you’ll take away a resolve to live life to the fullest and add a dash of joie de vivre to every day.

You Only Live Once will inspire readers of all ages to seize the moment, channel their inner hero, explore the world, create moments they will celebrate for years to come, and share their incredible stories. Providing suggestions for life’s essential experiences for every stage of life, this eclectic gift book is the perfect manual for a life well-lived. Anyone can sleep in a castle, sail a ship, make a music pilgrimage, and so much more. What all the book’s ideas have in common is that they’re starting points. They will reignite long-forgotten desires - to learn an instrument or a languageor spark new and unexpected ambitions: why shouldn’t you move to Provence for a year? When you know what’s stopping you, you can start working on a solution.



Through a series of personal journeys, Dan Richards explores the appeal of far-flung outposts in mountains, tundra, forests, oceans and deserts. Following a route from the Cairngorms of Scotland to the fire-watch lookouts of Washington State; from Iceland’s ‘Houses of Joy’ to the Utah desert; frozen ghost towns in Svalbard to shrines in Japan; Roald Dahl’s writing hut to a lighthouse in the North Atlantic, Richards explores landscapes which have inspired writers, artists and musicians, and asks: why are we drawn to wilderness? What can we do to protect them? And what does the future hold for outposts on the edge?

LET MY PEOPLE GO SURFING: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman
You Only Live Once: A Lifetime of Experiences for the Explorer in all of us
looks at the latest books o ering insights for executives, budding entrepreneurs, and other professionals, seeking to acquire business skills and knowledge.
Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth
AUTHORS: Yvon Chouinard AUTHOR: Daniel H Pink Penguin bookdepository .com


Could you tell us about For Tech’s Sake and why you created this podcast?

We at Silicon Republic have long been a staple resource for the sci-tech and innovation industries, but we wanted to bring our take on science and technology reporting to a broader audience. Teaming up with HeadStuff Podcast Network to do this and tap into their creative and curious network came as the ideal opportunity.

What is the message/goal of the For Tech’s Sake podcast?

We want people to be informed and sceptical when it comes to world-changing developments, so we explore these frontiers with a tongue-in-cheek approach asking what’s progress and what’s just tech for tech’s sake.

The For Tech’s Sake podcast gives your listeners some interesting insights into tech solutions. What has been your favourite tech discovery?

My favourite, because of the surprising story behind it, is Hedy Lamarr’s development of frequency hopping for radio communications. Not many people realise that a screen siren’s work to help the Allies communicate in secret during World War II is the reason we now have Wi-Fi!

Is tech going to save us all?

Tech is too often lauded as a saviour or even a solution when it’s really just a tool. And tools are only as good, useful and helpful, as the people (ie societies) that wield them.

Do users need to be more savvy about how they incorporate technology into their day-to-day lives? Absolutely. After listening to our episode on techfacilitated abuse, my own mother went through the apps on her phone and reviewed their permissions. We tend to give an awful lot away for convenience’s sake, which is fine to do as long as you’re doing it knowingly.

Is there anyone you would love to appear on the podcast? Looking to the future I’d love to sit down with Jennifer Doudna, a pioneer of CRISPR gene editing.




For Tech’s Sake podcast is available to download online.

What can we expect from For Tech’s Sake in the future? Many more episodes I hope! We also really want to hear from listeners what aspects of science and technology they want to deepen their understanding of, and be responsive to that.

This six-part documentary series from The Journal tells the real story of mother and baby homes in Ireland. From what happened within to how the State continues to deny survivors access to information.

Spencer Matthews speaks to leading CEOs, inspiring entrepreneurs, incredible designers and other famous faces to find out what it takes to overcome life’s obstacles and be the best at what they do.


The award-winning small business show covers creative ways to make money online and offline, including blogging, online business, freelancing, marketing, sales funnels, investing, and much more.

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