President’s Blog – The Time is Right

Hello Members,

EUROCHAMBRES is the European Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry which represents the interests of some 20 million members in 45 European countries.  Chambers Ireland engages with EUROCHAMBRES across different policy areas and it was through that linkage that our Past President Fiona Candon had the opportunity to address the European Parliament in Brussels last October.  Fiona made a great impression during her address to Parliament and it is clear she is still well remembered by EUROCHAMBRES.  As part of their drive to promote voting in the European Elections last week, EUROCHAMBRES referenced a tweet by Fiona and posted their own tweet “Jobs and growth is what Fiona Candon expects in Ireland.  What do you expect for a better Europe?  Think about it and participate in EU elections 2019”.  Fiona’s was the only tweet from Ireland picked up by EUROCHAMBRES throughout the entire election campaign.  Well done to Fiona who also this week travelled to Cork on Tuesday for the May Board Meeting of Chambers Ireland of which Fiona is a board member.   This was the first time Chambers Ireland have held a Board Meeting outside of Dublin, travelling to Cork to mark the 200th Anniversary of Cork Chamber.

Tuesday was also the day of our own Sligo Chamber May monthly meeting.  Among the items reported by our Industrial Group was the Sligo Local Gas Network Project.  The Sligo Sustainable Energy Committee met on Thursday to discuss the project and the first Technical Steering Committee meeting is to be held in June to kick start this ambitious plan.  David Kiely, Chairman of our Industrial Group is the Sligo Chamber representative on the Steering Group that includes representatives from Sligo County Council, Gas Networks Ireland, the IDA, Teagasc, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities as well as IT Sligo who are the lead project promoter.  A grant of €80,000 has been received from Gas Networks Ireland for the development of a Business Case Analysis and completion of a Front-End Engineering Design for the Sligo Local Gas Network project.  The completed Business Case will strengthen subsequent applications for capital infrastructure funding from national or EU sources.

In my Presidential Handover address in February, one of the objectives I outlined for the year was to work towards understanding how additional new housing can be delivered in Sligo and to encourage developers that the time is right for housing planning and development.  Why, because our own business members and the IDA have clearly identified to Sligo Chamber that provision of appropriate housing and apartments is the next biggest need required to service the jobs that have been announced and those that will be announced in the near future.  In a concerted effort to highlight the need for new housing in Sligo and to start the conversation as to how to deliver new housing, Sligo Chamber hosted a briefing on Thursday morning. In partnership with Bank of Ireland, the speakers included Ciaran Hayes, Chief Executive, Sligo County Council; John Nugent, IDA Regional Director; Ross McManus, Head of Human Resources, Abbvie, Sligo; and Pat McHugh, Bank of Ireland.  There followed meaningful engagement and interaction from those present.  It is to be hoped that through this engagement with prospective interested parties that indeed the time is right to work towards planning and delivery of new housing for Sligo.

So, that’s it until next time

Life is for Living – #Life is Sligo.

 Conor McCarthy

President Sligo Chamber