Members of Ennis Chamber gathered in the Old Ground Hotel on Tuesday the 4th of October to welcome some of the newer members who have joined over the past year and to hear first hand about the new LEADER Programme from Clare.
Attendees were firstly presented with a report from CEO of Ennis Chamber Rita Mc Inerney on the range of activities undertaken by Ennis Chamber over the past number of months as well as current activities. Lobbying activities in 2016 included the campaign against Commercial Rates increases; business issues discussion at a General Election Debate, presentations to the Draft Clare County Development Plan, and submissions on the proposed Motor Service Areas. The CEO also referred to the current campaign by Ennis Chamber on maintaining Commercial Rates and increasing business projects within the Clare County Council’s budget for 2017. Ennis Chamber was also involved in assisting the very successful Fleadh Cheoil during the Summer of 2016. The FBD Clare Business Excellence Awards were also cited as a current activity with filming underway for the Gala Awards Ceremony on Saturday 22nd October. Members were also encouraged to attend the Cahill Taxation Budget 2017 Breakfast Briefing next week to learn what it will mean for business. Finally the work of the Community Employment Scheme in administering 31 participants in 14 community organisations around the town through Ennis Chamber was presented as well as the assistance to Ennis Tidy Towns who were congratulated again on their success in 2016.
There was also presentations from the four sectoral committees of Ennis Chamber. The Tourism & Hospitality Committee under Promote Ennis which is chaired by Brian O’Neill of Rowan Tree Cafe Bar has seen the launch of the rebranded Visit Ennis Brochure and Website along with its Facebook and Twitter accounts to attract visitors to Ennis. Ronan Dillon of Microsemi and Chair of the Industry & Trades Group outlined the work of Chambers and organisations along the Western seaboard in creating the Atlantic Economic Corridor as a counter balance to Dublin by presenting this to government. He also referenced meetings with the new IDA Mid West Manager is showcasing what Ennis has to offer and the efforts of the group to have standards for business parks implemented right across the regions. The Professional Services Group, chaired by William Cahir of Cahir & Co Solicitors are planning a range of workshops to inform members on a range of business topics. After the presentation of the Chamber Accounts by Treasurer Tony Barrett of AIB, President of Ennis Chamber and Chair of the Retail Committee, Jean McCabe outlined her activities over the past few months. These included the production of a Retail Brochure on Ennis in conjunction with Clare County Council and LEO Clare which was presented at the Retail Excellence Ireland Conference to attract new retailers to Ennis. She referred to the increase in quality retailers locating in the town and the reduction in vacant high street premises. A Retail and Sales Seminar as well as a follow-up workshop with Alf Dunbar a& James Bourke took place in Ennis with nearly 200 retailers participating over the two events.
CEO Rita McInerney then presented the range of membership benefits including individual referrals and offers between members; advertising and promotions on the Ennis Chamber website and social media; certificates of origin signatory services; the Ennis Gold Gift Voucher Scheme which keeps spending in smaller businesses and supports local jobs. The Clare Jobs platform sponsored by Magnet will also be growing in the coming weeks. On the benefit of membership, President Jean McCabe thanked the members for their continued support and referred to the value of businesses coming together to support each other and the town. It is by this collaboration between members and other organisations that Ennis becomes elevated as a location to live, visit, do business and invest. it is only through the involvement and support of the member businesses that Ennis Chamber can continue its work as a voice for business and creating projects to enhance the town.
A number of the new members to Ennis Chamber for 2016 were introduced on the night and made brief presentations to the attendees on their various products and services. this was followed by a very comprehensive presentation from Gloria Callinan of Clare Local Development Company who outlined the new LEADER Programme for Clare. Ennis is included in the Programme for the first time and the vision is for a county where businesses and communities are supported to grow and create quality job opportunities, create enhanced eco-tourism offerings, devise innovative solutions to local issues and to build strong, resilient communities identifying and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in an economically, socially, culturally and environmentally sustainable manner. The 9 objectives of the programme relate to Tourism Destinations; Tourism Products; Enterprise; Market Towns; Rural Broadband; Community Development; Rural Youth; Biodiversity; and Renewables. Full details and application forms are downloadable from www.cldc.ie
The evening concluded with networking over tea and coffee where further business was discussed and many contacts made.