President’s Blog – November 11, 2019 – Excellence Rewarded

Hello Members – What a successful evening the Sligo Chamber President’s Dinner and Business Excellence Awards proved to be.  Held at the Sligo Park Hotel on Friday night with a full house of over 270 people, this annual event is the highlight of the Sligo Chamber calendar.  All the long days of preparation for the Chamber Team in the weeks leading up to the event over; all the long hours of rehearsing the running and timing of the event throughout the day on Friday over; all the endless hours wait in the build up to the event finally over; it was at last 6.00 pm and Showtime!

For myself, CEO Aidan Doyle, Past President, Fiona Candon, together with John Nugent from the IDA, the formalities of the evening began with a private meeting with our guest speaker, Mairead McGuinness, MEP, First Vice President of the European Parliament and our local Dáil representative, Tony Mc Loughlin TD.  Together with CEO Aidan, I had met with Mairead earlier in the year in Brussels in February during a Chambers Ireland visit to the European Commission.  While there, we were very taken with her concern around the implications of a hard border and her determination to make sure that would not happen.  We were also aware of what an accomplished speaker Mairead is, and were, therefore, delighted when she accepted our invitation to be guest speaker.

After meeting Mairead, it was time to meet and greet the Chamber members and guests who by that time were gathering in the main lobby area.  And what a buzz, with the cumulative noise of the multitude of simultaneous conversations competing with the clinking of glasses, all against the splendid backdrop of the large fireplace and the new open bay window to the adjoining bar area.

The inevitable bell, irritatingly interrupting those conversations, rings out the summons to move to the function room.  Untimely for some, for the Chamber Team, this call is timely to the smooth running order of the evening events for which so much preparation has been made.

Enter the function room.  The WOW factor as the resplendent décor is revealed and the Chamber messaging prominently displayed on the large screens.  Kieran Quinn’s skilful hands smoothly stream over the piano keys.  Right on cue, CEO Aidan welcomes all and introduces Daniel Browne, our MC for the evening.

Daniel, the consummate professional, proceeds to artfully guide us through the evening in his own inimitable style.   First to speak, Cathaoirleach, Councillor Tom MacSharry.  This is a very positive time to be Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council with over €225 million announced for investment in infrastructural projects in the county, the largest per capita allocation per county in the country.  Tom noted the importance of continuing positive engagement between the Council and the business community being essential to our future planning and growth.

Mairead McGuinness followed, delivering her keynote speech in the confident style of an experienced and polished politician, which without doubt she is.  Mairead spoke of her experiences of dealing with the issues surrounding Brexit at a European level while also noting the importance of the art of listening to the views and needs of others, not only in politics, but also in business and in everyday life.  

It was then on to Business Excellence Awards.  Four separate categories, three individual companies shortlisted in each category.  With the categories divided between the meal courses, we were treated to videos of the finalists, and how informative is was to learn about the companies and the first class work each of the finalists are undertaking every day and the contribution they are making to the local economy.  Well done to all of the finalists.  In my eyes, they are all winners. 

Congratulations to those finalists:

Of course, there does have to be a winner in each category.  Congratulations to the Business Awards 2019 Winners.  You and your staff should be immensely proud.  Well done to:

Thank you to our judging panels for their contribution and for the thoroughness of their evaluation process.  Thank you also to our sponsors, LEO, Sligo Chamber Skillnet, KPMG, and United Airlines ECO Skies.  Their support is much appreciation by all at Sligo Chamber.

There was then the small matter of delivering the President’s speech.  I know it was 16 minutes long.  Sorry about that.   I did try to shorten it, Honestly!  But there are topics that have to be addressed on a night such as this.

Finally, thank you to all who attended, we at Sligo Chamber really appreciate your interest and support. We hope you enjoyed your evening.

That’s all for now.

Until next time.

Life is for Living – #Life is Sligo.

Conor McCarthy

President Sligo Chamber