Chamber News

EU Japan summit

Chambers Ireland today (6th July 2018) welcomes the news that the EU and Japan have been authorised to formally ratify a new trade deal, negotiations for which first began in 2013.

Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot commented, “Exactly one year to the day when the deal was approved by the European Commission, today’s approval of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement by European member countries at Council is a welcome stand against protectionism, amidst ongoing turbulence in global trade. The conclusion of this trade deal provides steadfast assurances to EU and Irish business of the benefits of the Single Market, and also the opportunities the EU provides for increased trade globally.

“The EU-Japan trade agreement holds a lot of potential for Irish business in particular, particularly for businesses active in the agri-food, ICT and life sciences sectors.

This deal also demonstrates the negotiation strength of the EU operating as a single large bloc.

“While attention this weekend will be focused on the outcome of UK government discussions at Chequers, the news from Brussels today is a positive signal that, in spite of growing protectionism globally, the EU continues to advocate for the benefits of open markets and closer trading relationships.

Building on existing vibrant trade links with Japan must be part of how Ireland prepares for Brexit.

Regional Leaders Closing Lunch 2018

Waterford Chamber’s inaugural Regional Leaders Programme drew to a close at Faithlegg as the mentors and participants came together one last time for a networking lunch.

Responding to the need to develop a pipeline of future leaders in the South East region, Waterford Chamber, with the support of Bausch + Lomb and Waterford Chamber Skillnet, designed the Regional Leaders Programme to develop business leaders for the future through mentorship and skills sharing.

The programme is aimed at professionals who want to develop their leadership skills or for companies who would like to increase the capacity of their internal talent pool to ensure the next generation of their company is in safe hands. While the first programme drew to a close, Waterford Chamber President Kathryn Kiely also announced details of the second programme, which is due to begin in September, and will see participants from year one still very much involved in the programme.

“In a recent EY survey of global business leaders developing ‘the next generation’ of leaders in organisations has been identified as one of the top ten challenges facing companies.  Having had mentors myself over the years and having mentored others I know how important a programme like this is both for the development and benefit of the individual but also the organisation. At different stages in our careers we all need someone to turn to for advice and to share ideas. It’s that shared learning experience which helps us all to grow and develop within our chosen careers.

“I am delighted to announce we have created an exclusive alumni so you can continue your association with the programme. As members of the alumni, you are most welcome to attend our speaker lunches from now on, as our guests and continue to take part in one of the most important parts of the programme – networking. We are delighted to have two of our three speakers already confirmed for next year – Dr. Norah Patten in November, who will be the first Irish astronaut in space, and a man some of you met and were truly inspired by on this programme, Conor McCarthy, who will return to us in March of next year. We are also delighted to Waterford Institute of Technology on board as education partner for next year, along with Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Bausch + Lomb.”

Partners Bausch + Lomb played a pivotal role in developing the programme and speaking at the lunch, Site Lead Mark Hennessy said: “With over 200 mentoring sessions, four speaker lunch and nearly 80 people engaged in the programme, this has been a tremendous success. Developing leaders is to the core of what we do at Bausch + Lomb – the retention of staff is critical in today’s workforce and people must be afforded the opportunity to develop their careers and identify the chance to succeed and progress. The Regional Leaders Programme is a hugely important vehicle for that and one we are proud to be associated with.”

Key note speaker Paul Healy, Chief Executive of Skillnet Ireland, spoke of leadership and management development in a national context, while also outlining the opportunities Skillnets present for employers in terms of training.

“Engaging in management development is vital for all business owners and managers, but particularly for small firms. An ever widening productivity gap between indigenous SMEs and the multinationals based here has been observed. A low uptake of management development and life long learning is a factor in this. Skillnet Ireland works with over 15,000 firms across Ireland providing subsided and highly relevant training. I would strongly encourage businesses in the South East to engage with your local Skillnet so we can help you with your training needs.”

The second Regional Leaders Programme gets underway in September, offering one to one mentoring sessions, group mentoring masterclasses and inspiring speaker lunches. For more information click here.

Following on from the recent launch of ‘Keep Waterford Beautiful’ by Tom Murphy Volkswagen, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley is encouraging the business community to follow the lead and take pride in our city.

“In this glorious weather, there is nowhere nicer in the world than Waterford. We all take pride in our city and county and all it has to offer, but we must also take action and keep up the standards. Waterford was ranked the cleanest city in Ireland in 2017 and we should be determined to secure the same result for 2018.

“Thanks to the City in Bloom initiative, the floral displays are fantastic and we are asking all business owners in the city to take pride in their shop/office front as well. Each week we see huge cruise liners arrive into the city, as well as coach loads of tourists. Now is the time to put the best foot forward and ensure they return home and recommend Waterford to their family and friends.

“Tom Murphy has launched a fantastic initiative where each participating club will receive €500 for their efforts at a prize giving ceremony at Tom Murphy Volkswagen on Wednesday 23rd August. They have identified eight blackspot areas throughout the city which are in need of care and we hope that the business community will follow suit and work on their own environs.”

For more information on ‘Keep Waterford Beautiful’, contact Tom Murphy Volkswagen on 051 301222.

Ahead of this week’s meeting of the EU Council and in light of the snail’s pace in negotiations between the UK and EU, Chambers Ireland today (26th June 2018) calls on the EU27 and the UK government to provide clarity to business on what the future trade relationship post March 2019 will be.

Speaking this afternoon, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland said, “This week’s European Council Summit is the final official meeting of the EU27 and the UK prior to what we expected should be the final agreement in October. At this point, there would have been an assumption that both parties would be able, at minimum, to confirm the nature and length of the transitional arrangement to be in place following the UK’s departure from the EU in 2019.

And yet, six months on from the provisional agreement reached on the backstop solution, the business community on all parts of the island continue to have as many questions and concerns regarding how the Border will be managed after the UK’s exit and the nature of a transitional period post March.

The June EU Summit risks being yet another milestone that will pass without progress being made or the UK Government providing any clarity with respect to how it intends to honour commitments made as part of the draft Withdrawal Agreement. This is consequently leading to growing fears in the business community that a “no deal” scenario will emerge later this year.

The clearest message we are hearing from the Chamber Network and their members is that they require clarity from the negotiations so that they can plan and prepare. However they also note that these preparations will require a realistic timeframe. In March of this year, a survey of our member Chambers found that there was almost unanimous support for a transition period following 29 March 2019, with over three quarters of Chambers noting that more than two years would be required.

It is quite extraordinary when looked at through a business lens that six months have passed without any discernible process. Indeed it could be argued that matters have regressed during that timeframe as the interpretation of the “backstop” seems to continue to cause difficulties. Businesses are entitled to have their voice heard in this debate as they will have to pick up the pieces and endeavour to maintain people’s livelihoods as this process continues.”

One of the focal points of Waterford Chamber is to lobby on behalf of our members and we have an open door policy in this regard. We are here to act as the voice for business in Waterford.

As we move into planning for Budget 2019, the imperative allocating of Capital to deliver on the Project Ireland 2040 and maintaining a broad, sustainable tax base providing a stable income stream for Government must be a clear focus. However, we are mindful of the fact that there may be issues pertaining to your own sector which should also be highlighted.

To that end, we are seeking inputs and proposals from our members for the Chamber Pre-Budget Submission 2019 to Government and would ask for your inputs on same in a timely manner.

Thank you once again for your contributions and to reiterate, we are here to act as the voice for business in Waterford and are happy to assist in pertinent lobbying issues should you so require it.

Click here to get your voice heard


In the European Union, work-related stress (WRS) is the second most common work-related health problem, after back pain, affecting 28% of EU workers. As a response to the WRS issue, the EU has funded a series of research projects focused on identifying the stress factors and developing tools that can be used to tackle the issue at organisational level.

As part of our development strategy, Waterford Chamber is working with a network of business organisations and universities all across Europe to develop practical solutions to a variety of business issues affecting our members and the SE region in general. These networks have been set-up to take advantage of EU sponsored programmes in the area of Knowledge Alliance and Exchange of Best Practice that can provide educational and training programmes relevant European wide issues such as WRS etc.

Waterford Chamber has been invited to join one such programme, called IMPRESS and is funded by the Erasmus+ Program, KA2-Knowledge Alliances. There is a large research element to the project which is conducted by our scientific partners, University of Barcelona, Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, and Riga Technical University.

Waterford Chamber must now assist our scientific partners to collect the relevant research data from our members and extended networks across the South East – the collected research will form the basis for a suite of practical tools that can be deployed by front line managers to identify and mitigate the effects of WRS. The greater number of surveys collected in Ireland will contribute to the development of approaches and tools that are more relevant to the Irish workplace.

Given this, it would be much appreciated if you could complete this survey and distribute to other colleagues and staff members for their input, by clicking on the link below – the data will be saved anonymously and analysed by our scientific partners.

The results of the survey will be available to all participants, and the approaches and training tools will be further disseminated by the Chamber through a series of workshops and seminars. Following these workshops five organisations will be selected to take part in the field testing of the developed tools – the field tests are funded through the IMPRESS project.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Take the survey:

Further details on the survey:

There were plenty of beers, blaas and banter at the Waterford Chamber Business After Hours on Thursday night last at the Metalman Bar on the Quay.

With an array of Metalman craft beers, including the Blaager and Red Led, aptly coupled with red led blaas from Walsh’s Bakehouse, guests heard owner Grainne Walsh speak of how the idea of the Blaager was born and how the craft beer industry is going from strength to strength in Ireland.

New Waterford Chamber President Kathryn Kiely congratulated Grainne and her partner Tim Barber on their success, from concept through to now exporting to China. She also spoke about the importance of trade and promoting the Waterford brand on a global scale.

The next Waterford Chamber event is the President’s Lunch, where Ms Kiely will welcome a Senior Representative from the British Embassy to Faithlegg for a sumptuous corporate lunch on Friday, June 29th.

For tickets or more information, contact Lynda Lawton on 051 311130 or see

Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley has welcomed the news today that the second and final objection to the North Quays Strategic Development has been withdrawn.

“Waterford Chamber strongly supports the development of the North Quays and we are delighted the objection phase is now behind us and we look towards a brighter future for Waterford.

“The development of the North Quays will elevate Waterford as a true destination to explore the South East and Ireland’s Ancient East. With an iconic skyline to welcome visitors old and new, this development will reflect a renewed pride in this ancient city.

“The development will be a key enabler of growth and will support Waterford and the South East in achieving their, as yet, unrealised economic potential. For year, in Waterford, there was a glass half empty attitude but since the announcement of the North Quays development, the attitude has changed to the glass is half full and the other half is full of opportunities.

“In fact, from speaking to our members, we cannot emphasis enough the importance of the North Quays development and the positive vibe that exists around it. It is seen as the catalyst for the next two decades of growth and prosperity in Waterford.

“The proposed €300+m investment by the Fawaz Al Hokair Group will be the largest commercial investment Waterford has ever seen, and sends a clear message internationally of the level of confidence in the South East region as a place for foreign direct investment, whilst at the same time cementing Waterford’s status as capital of the South East region.

“We believe the development of the North Quays will enhance the existing retail offering and go a long way towards addressing the current retail leakage from the South East region. In addition to the existing attractions, it will also add a new dimension to the offering in terms of high-end retail tourism.

“The relocation of House of Waterford to a larger site on the North Quays and the direct link between it and the city centre via the new bridge will be hugely significant in terms if tourism for Waterford and the South East. This bridge will ensure that the North Quays will become an integral part of Waterford’s urban spine running right through the city centre core along Barronstrand Street and Michael Street to John Street. It will also help unlock more of the potential of the existing riverside walkway along the south-side of the river.

“According to the IDA, Waterford currently lacks an available stock of well-located, suitable ‘Grade A’ office accommodation. The North Quays site is a great opportunity to address the lack of suitable office space which is required to attract companies looking to invest in Ireland.

“We also need to be cognisant of the fact that this development will create thousands of sustainable jobs and provide much needed housing.

“It is our view and the view of our members that the development of the North Quays begins without haste and today can be considered the start of a new era for Waterford.”

AGM 2018 Kathryn Kiely

Kathryn Kiely co-owner and Director of Glazik Ltd., was elected President of Waterford Chamber at the 231st AGM in the Granville Hotel last night (Monday, 28th May 2018).

Kathryn has worked closely with Waterford Chamber for the last six years, as a member of the Jobs Enterprise & Innovation Committee, the Executive Committee and also as a board member. Prior to her current role she worked as Head of Industry Services in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) where she played a significant role in developing and managing the Institute’s research, innovation and enterprise development programmes.

Addressing Waterford Chamber members, she said: “One thing which we are all certain of in business, is that change is the only constant. In Chamber over the last year we have had many discussions with our members on what they see as the key challenges. While challenges in business can be very specific to the day, sector or size of your company, there are a number of common themes which now prevail or are predicted to be challenges in the coming years. These include access to a skilled workforce and talent required now and for the workforce of the future; our susceptibility as an open economy having to face factors such as Brexit, impact of changes in US economic policies, EU regulation, introduction of disruptive technologies which fundamentally change established business models and ensuring the competitiveness, attractiveness and vibrancy of Waterford as a location for companies to provide sustainable employment and quality of life.

“Reflecting on these challenges and building on the work of Chamber over the last number of years, I have set three key priorities in my role as over the next 12 months – enhancing connectedness, capability building and continuing to influence the planning and development of Waterford as the regional city of the South East.”

Outgoing President Paul Nolan thanked his family, colleagues at Dawn Meats and Chamber staff for their ongoing support over the past twelve months and said while he was looking forward to having a bit more free time, he was certainly going to miss the role of President and the opportunities it presented to represent the business interests in Waterford throughout the year.

“There have been so many highlights since I took office, but the standout for me was to have An Taoiseach Leo Varadker and the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe come to Waterford and announce the plan for Ireland 2040 and the role Waterford will play in them as Regional Capital. The vision outlined, coupled with the announcement on the same day regarding the Technological Universities Bill, ensures a brighter future for Waterford.”

Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley reported that Chamber is performing better than it has in years, which was reiterated by outgoing Treasurer Ronan Brazil, who confirmed that membership was growing and Chamber is in a very solid position to develop going forward.

In recognising outgoing President Paul Nolan for his tireless work and thanking all sponsors who have supported the organisation throughout the year, Mr Hurley said: “It has certainly been a busy year on the Chamber front, as being relevant to our members is our primary focus and so as to ensure that we adequately represent the voice of our members, we introduced policy Advisory Panels, to guide our policy positions on issues that are impacting on our members businesses.

“Throughout the year we made a number of submissions to Government Departments, working with our members, through our Policy Advisory Panels, we have gathered, analysed and presented the clearest of pictures in terms of what the Waterford City region needs to prosper and we are delighted to see some of our agendas feature in the Ireland 2040 plan. Our panels offer a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience and I believe that by working closely together – sharing our ideas and our influence – we can make an even bigger impact on the future of Waterford.

“We also met with many local and national elected representatives to lobby on behalf of Waterford businesses, will continue to do so in earnest in the year ahead. Networking and connecting business people is at the core of what we do and our free Business After Hours, Business Expo, President’s Lunch, Annual Dinner and other key events continue to prove popular.”

A special motion was put to the floor following the voting and passed unanimously, “To increase the maximum number of elected Directors appointed to sit on the Board of Directors of Waterford Chamber from eleven to twelve, for this current term (May 2018 – May 2020) only2. To that end, the new Board of Directors is as follows:

President: Kathryn Kiely, Glazik Ltd

Deputy President: Jonathan Earl, B2B Communications

Vice-President: Danette Connolly, Home Instead Senior Care

Ex-Officio: Paul Nolan, Dawn Meats

Honorary Treasurer: Martina Curtin, PwC

Brian Devereux, EY

Ciarán Cullen, ArcLabs

Derek Lowry, Almega Business Consulting

Edel Spillane, Sun Life Financial

Jacqui Kielthy, Fieldmaster

John McSweeney, AIB Bank

Kieran Walsh, Munster Express

Niall Griffin, Metalman Engineering

Nuala Browne Treacy, Meraki Marketing

Pamela Pim, Bank of Ireland

Richard Hurley, The Granville Hotel

Valerie Farrell, Nolan Farrell & Goff

Join President Kathryn Kiely and the incoming Board of Directors at Waterford Chamber’s President’s Lunch on Friday, June 29th in Faithlegg, where a Senior Representative from the British Embassy will make the keynote address. For bookings contact Lynda Lawton on 051 311130 or see

Niamh Briggs Regional Leaders

Inspiring, humble and honest are just some of the words that were heard after the recent Regional Leaders Programme speaker session, as Irish International Rugby player Niamh Briggs joined outgoing Waterford Chamber President Paul Nolan for an open mic session.

Niamh, who is originally from Abbeyside, spoke from the heart on how recent injuries left her feeling angry and bereft and out of love with the game. But with the help of her family and friends, she began her slow recovery and is back fighting fit and more determined than ever.

Speaking to a large group of programme participants, mentors and invited guests at the Lighthouse Restaurant in Dunmore East Golf Club, Niamh and Paul offered their experiences on leadership, achieving results, the importance of teamwork and creating a work/life balance, all of which are integral topics within the Regional Leaders Programme structure.

Speaking after the event, outgoing President Paul Nolan said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to ask Niamh about her own personal experiences. The level of engagement from the participants in attendance showed how well she is regarded, not just on the pitch, but also as an inspiration for many young men and women out there. Her honesty and integrity is certainly inspiring and she epitomises what the Regional Leaders Programme is all about.”

The inaugural year of the programme is now drawing to a close and Waterford Chamber, along with programme partners Bausch + Lomb and Waterford Chamber Skillnet, are busy working on year two, which will commence in September.

The programme is aimed at professionals who want to develop their leadership skills or for companies who would like to increase the capacity of their internal talent pool to ensure the next generation of their company is in safe hands.

Participants enjoy one to one mentoring with business leaders, as well as group mentoring and guest speaker sessions over the nine month period. Year one saw nearly 30 mentors and 45 participants work together and the booking process is now open for year two.

Leadership and professional development is a key component of the Bausch + Lomb ethos, making them the ideal partner for the Regional Leaders Programme.

“We are delighted to partner with Waterford Chamber on this programme. What we have learned over the past twelve months is there is a keen appetite for continuous professional development. Being a leader today is challenging and this programme helps current and potential leaders explore their leadership style through the guidance of the Business Mentors”, said Jackie Roche, Learning + Organisational Development Manager, Bausch + Lomb.

The cost for the eleven month programme is €350 for Waterford Chamber/Skillnet members and €499 for non members. For more information on the Regional Leaders Programme, please contact Lynda Lawton on 051 311130 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chambers Ireland has today (3 May 2018) welcomed the launch of the Flood Risk Management Plans accessible via the new website, from the Office of Public Works.

Speaking this afternoon, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive, Ian Talbot said, 

“Today’s launch of the Flood Risk Management Plans marks a concerted effort by Government to commit to a holistic, nationwide approach to flood defences and to develop greater infrastructure to prepare for more frequent occurrences of adverse and disruptive weather conditions".

Several of our members have been particularly affected in recent times by the increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, which has resulted in considerable cost to local businesses in their region.

While some progress has already been made in a number of towns, clarity around the time frame of implementation of the plans announced today is essential for members throughout our Network, particularly for the Chambers situated in the heavily flood-afflicted areas of Ireland. 

More detail is required to provide an assurance and relief to homeowners and local businesses nationwide.”


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What Our Members Say

"Waterford is a very attractive location for Foreign Direct Investment as it is a dynamic city which is very much open for business – the city has a proven track record of attracting investment from start-ups and expanding business, who are hugely supported by Waterford Chamber. The city, county and region offers a young, well educated workforce and is easily accessible for international visitors. Waterford’s quality of life for employees is exceptional as it blends elements of rich cultural heritage with a new and vibrant lifestyle – with new additions such as the Greenway further showcasing the county to not only locals, but visitors from all over Ireland and overseas. The Chamber has been a vital link in welcoming our companies into the local Business Community – helping them not only network, but also gain a sense of community and belonging."

Brendan McDonald, Regional Manager, South East Region, IDA



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