President’s Blog December 16, 2019 – Seasons Greetings

Hello Members – InBUSINESS is Ireland’s leading business quarterly magazine and is the official publication of Chambers Ireland.  It provides up-to-date information on current business issues across the Irish landscape and overs all sections of the business community.  At this time each year, InBUSINESS hosts annual awards.  These awards, the InBUSINESS Awards, celebrate success, achievement and ambition within Irish business.  They acknowledge and give appreciation to the contribution of individuals to grow business in Ireland.  The Westbury Hotel in Dublin city centre is the venue for this year’s awards which took place on Thursday afternoon last with Vincent Wall of Newstalk as MC.  The awards extend to over 20 categories across the business sector.  Sligo Chamber CEO Aidan Doyle was invited by Skillnet Ireland to attend the awards lunch as their guest.  Skillnet were shortlisted for recognition in the “Agency Support to Start-ups/SMEs” category.   In inviting Aidan, Skillnet Ireland are in turn giving recognition to the excellent work Sligo Chamber Skillnet have carried out in 2019 delivering training programmes to businesses across the North West.  Skillnet Ireland were the winners in this category, repeating their success of 2018.

Sligo Chamber Skillnet Manager, Geraldine Courtenay, was also in Dublin last week.  Geraldine attended a workshop in media training delivered by Carr Communications.  The workshop was organised by Skillnet Ireland who invited Geraldine to attend  This brings to three, the number of the Sligo Chamber Team who have undertaken media training this year, with CEO Aidan and myself as President having participated in media training programmes at Ocean Media earlier in the year.

Events Manager, Mary Harty together with CEO Aidan were in Longford on Monday morning last, also discussing training.  On this occasion, it was regulatory training in relation to Certificates of Origin, those being the certificates required by firms seeking to export products outside of the European Union.  The mornings were well occupied for CEO Aidan last week as on the Wednesday, Aidan was at Sligo Grammar School where he was invited to attend a breakfast for business students.   Then on Friday morning, it was the usual early morning start for Aidan and the Chamber Team for our weekly meeting update where as President, I get updated on the activities of the week past and the Team look to plan for the week ahead.

And then on Friday lunchtime, it was onto the Glasshouse Hotel for the President’s Lunch.  This annual Christmas lunch is another of the main events in the Sligo Chamber calendar organised by Events Manager, Mary.  A fine attendance of over 130, comprising Sligo Chamber members and guests, were present in the Glasshouse to meet with one another, to celebrate the approaching end of the business year and to listen to our guest speaker, Niall Tracey.  An honorary Sligo man, resident in Tubbercurry,  Niall is the Director of Marketing at Failte Ireland.  Niall has a wide breadth of innovative marketing experience developed through his time working in advertising in Chicago and in Ireland at Bell Advertising and Diageo.  Niall described Failte Ireland’s approach to working with industry through supporting and investing in visitor attractions, in his words saying, “What is Good for Tourists is Great for locals”.  Mirroring the Sligo Chamber vision, Niall outlined his hope that his children could if they choose, have the opportunity to live and work in Sligo.  Going on to say that Tourism could play an important economic role in that regard, Niall referred to Sligo’s great geographical base and could become the central hub for tourism in the North West.  Again, mirroring another Sligo Chamber vision.  Referencing several visitor attractions planned for Sligo such as the Collooney Mountain Bike Trail, Enniscrone Public Realm, Carrowmore Visitor Centre and Strandhill Surfing centre, Niall specifically drew attention to the Failte Ireland plans to commit to an expenditure of over €2.5 million for the development of the Sligo Cultural Plaza on the site of what is currently Stephen Street Car Park.

Following his talk, Niall presented awards to those representatives from the hospitality sector who completed the Sligo Chamber Skillnet Inter Language Cultural Awareness Programme delivered through IT Sligo. Before finishing on the President’s lunch, I would really like to compliment the Glasshouse, Michael O’Hehir, Manager James and all the staff, for the superb quality of the food and the excellent service,

And so, with this being the last blog of 2019, it remains for me as President of Sligo Chamber to sincerely thank you, our member firms, for your support to the Sligo Chamber Team throughout the year.  Your support through member subscriptions, sponsorship, attendance at events, masterclasses and workshops is really appreciated by the Chamber Board and by the Chamber Team.  We hope that in return, we have been of some small assistance to you in your business operations and activities over the course of the year.

In concluding, I would like to wish you our member firms, your staff and your families a very Happy Christmas and would like to extend to you all, every best wish for the 2020 year ahead.  The Blog will be taking a break over the holiday season and will return on Monday, January 13th 2020.

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year.

Life is for Living – #Life is Sligo.

Conor McCarthy

President Sligo Chamber