We are entering an intensely busy period for Ibec. Here’s a quick update on key news.
New Ibec President: Yesterday Edel Creely, co-founder and Group Managing Director of Trilogy Technologies, took office as the new Ibec President, replacing Anne Heraty of Cpl Resources. It’s a privilege to have such a successful entrepreneur and long-standing champion of the indigenous tech sector taking up the helm. At last night’s President’s Dinner in the RDS, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar as Guest of Honour, Edel set out a number of immediate priorities for government, along with a vision for a successful, prosperous future Ireland. We need to take immediate action in the upcoming Budget to support business and the wider economy (see below), but this needs to be informed by an ambitious, strategic plan that looks far beyond the election cycle. I wish Edel every success. Read her full address at www.ibec.ie/0/PresidentsDinner2018.
Budget 2018: As Budget Day approaches, we continue to lobby intensely on your behalf. In the last week we have twice met Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and have presented our key proposals to the Oireachtas Committee on Budgetary Oversight. This follows months of detailed engagement with all relevant departments and key politicians of every hue, at a national and regional level. While the economy is performing strongly, challenges remain, and with success comes new pressures. We’re looking for tangible measures to support companies exposed to Brexit risks, reform of the personal taxation regime so it better rewards work, and more investment in vital infrastructure projects. The significant cost implications of proposed labour market regulation also needs to be addressed. More details are available at www.ibec.ie/0/budget2018. If you want to talk to our economics team directly, please get in touch.
Canada, Brexit and Future EU: I spent last week in Canada meeting senior politicians and business leaders in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. We already enjoy very strong business and cultural ties, but massive opportunities remain. The new EU Canada trade deal (CETA) provisionally came into force yesterday. It will reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers and will make doing business between our two countries much easier. Meanwhile, Brexit and the massive question mark that hangs over the UK’s global trading relations, means Ireland is well placed to take full advantage.
Theresa May will aim to bring some clarity to the UK negotiating position today, with a speech in Florence, but we’ve a long way to go and progress remains frustratingly slow. This week Ibec met the European Parliament’s Brexit Lead Guy Verhofstadt to discuss Irish business concerns. We’re also looking at how Irish interests can be protected in a future EU, without the UK at the top table. The European Commission has launched a major debate on what this future Europe will look like, and this week Ibec set out the business priorities and concerns to the Oireachtas European Affairs Committee (see www.ibec.ie/0/FutureEU). There are clear opportunities, but also threats. Ibec will take a lead role in the debate.
KeepWell Mark: Yesterday, Minster for Health Simon Harris launched a new Ibec initiative to recognise and celebrate those employers in Ireland committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of their people. The KeepWell Mark is based on assessment of a workplace under eight key topics (physical activity, smoke free, health eating, intoxicants, leadership, health and safety, absence management and mental health) carried out by an independent, external assessor. It provides a report giving valuable insight into the areas in which an organisation is performing well and those which require further attention. It also gives a clear and bespoke roadmap to improvement. The award is a clear demonstration to current and potential staff of the value which the employer places on creating a workplace which supports their health and wellbeing. More details at www.thekeepwellmark.ie.
I’ll keep you updated on our work over the coming weeks. If you have any comments or queries, let me know. It’s always great to hear from you.
All the best
Friday, 22 September 2017