8th February 2016

PRESS STATEMENT Ennis Chamber outgoing President reflects on progress achieved and New President commits to continuing the work

The outgoing President for 2015 Pat Morris reflected on his year in office at the Annual General Meeting of the business representative organisation held on Thursday the 4th of February in the Temple Gate Hotel.

Mr Morris reported on the continuing success of the Clare Business Excellence Awards in promoting the best in class that the county has to offer.  The 2015 President outlined the success of Ennis Chamber’s strategy of aligning each member within four sectors in order to concentrate on issues of importance.  He reported that the surveys conducted by the Retail Action Group showed an element of stagnation with only marginal improvement, which was evidence that the upturn in the economy felt in the nation’s capital was not being felt in all parts of the economy.  For this reason, Ennis Chamber is continuing to campaign strongly on behalf of its members on the issue of the rise in Commercial Rates.  The outgoing President went on to say that the Wild Atlantic Way represents opportunities for Ennis and County Clare.  In 2015, conferences made a very welcomed return to the town.  The Hospitality sector in particular received a great boost with the news that Ennis was to host the 2016 All Ireland Fleadh.  This, Mr Morris said, is the ideal opportunity for Ennis to showcase the best of what it has to offer through initiatives like Visit Ennis and believes that all business can benefit directly or indirectly through the knock-on effect of the €40 million spend in the local economy.  Mr Morris went on to lament the lack of foreign direct investment in Ennis over the past 20 years.  He is confident that the news of Roche’s sale will be off-set by the potential for a buyer, given the successful operation of the Clare plant to date.  He is disappointed that the Action Plan for Jobs gives very little mention to Ennis and it is up to organisation’s like the Ennis Chamber’s Industry Action Group to leverage what we do have in order to attract investment.  With that in mind the group has lobbied hard for the completion of the road and roundabout to the Information Age Park in order to access the 30 acres of serviced sites for potential investors.  Mr Morris also highlighted the work of the Atlantic Economic Corridor, a collaboration of Chambers and organisations along the West Coast as a counter pole of development.  Finally, the fourth sector of members within Ennis Chamber is that of the Professional Services which has a recently formed action group committed to engaging in business to business networking and events.  Mr Morris concluded by citing the work of Ennis Chamber to grow and retain membership while praising the interim CEO Alec Fleming for his service.  Members of Ennis Chamber thanked Pat Morris for his dedication and work during his tenure.  They also expressed the hope that other businesses would become involved and invited interested people to volunteer through the committee structure by contacting Ennis Chamber.

Incoming President Jean McCabe of Willow was then nominated and voted into the position.  In addressing the attendees at the AGM she committed to focus on retail during her year in office as that is her passion.  At the same time she was confident that the work in relation to the other sectors within Ennis Chamber would continue to grow and expand also.  William Cahir was then nominated and voted in as Vice President along with Tony Barrett as Treasurer and Margaret Neylon as Secretary.  In addition 5 trader members and 10 other business people representing the various sectors were selected to participate on the Board of Ennis Chamber.

CEO of Ennis Chamber, Rita Mc Inerney reported on the various additional activities of the business organisation including Business Watch with Ennis Gardai, the continuing rising in sales of the Ennis Gold Gift Voucher, the return of the Ennis Street Radio, the retaining of the Purple Flag and the provision of the Community Employment Scheme.  Ms McInerney also mentioned the importance of businesses submissions to draft Clare County Development Plan which is currently under review.  Finally she encouraged businesses to attend the General Election 2016 Clare Business Debate hosted by Ennis Chamber.

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