Ibec Medtech and Engineering Sectors Gather in Galway for the Manufacturing the Future Conference

April 06, 2022

Ibec’s ‘Manufacturing the Future Conference’, takes place today in the Galmont Hotel, Galway, and will be attended by many of the leading medtech and engineering companies in Ireland, to discuss the challenges that face the sector. Around 260,000 people are employed in the Irish manufacturing sector, which accounts for over 12% of total employment, making manufacturing a clear driver of our economic success.  

Irish manufacturers grew their operations over the last couple of years, despite the pandemic and Brexit.  They now face increasing pressure on a number of fronts, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, including the acute energy cost inflation, and increasing supply chain issues which were already under pressure before the onset of war.  Ireland is acutely exposed to energy price inflation due to our high dependence on natural gas and low levels of electricity interconnection, and is currently experiencing some of the highest wholesale electricity prices In Europe. Irish businesses spend (excluding energy suppliers) over €3 billion annually on natural gas and electricity and a further €1 billion on road transport fuels.  Many Irish businesses are reporting energy prices between 3-5 times higher than this time last year. 

Sharon Higgins, Director of Membership and Sectors, Ibec, said “To help our manufacturing members achieve their potential we’ve consulted senior business leaders to understand the challenges we must overcome namely tackling energy costs, logistics, talent, and access to raw material amongst the leading concerns.  In light of the energy cost inflation crisis, and further supply chain issues caused by the war in Ukraine, it is essential that Ireland acts now to provide as much assistance as possible to this diverse and important sector.”

Speaking at the Manufacturing the Future conference, Irish Medtech Association Vice Chair and Cambus Medical CEO, Barry Comerford, said, “Ireland boasts a dynamic and resilient manufacturing industry which employs 260,000 people across 150,000 businesses in a range of sectors such as medtech, polymer technology and engineering. The ‘Manufacturing the Future Conference’ offers a unique opportunity to bring together senior business leaders to network and learn so that we can set a course for future success. Today’s conference will put the spotlight on key issues that we know are essential for manufacturing growth, including digital transformation, increasing the talent pipeline, sustainable manufacturing, a holistic approach to business, optimising supply chains, and more.”

Irish Medtech Association Senior Executive Adrienne McDonnell said, “Irish manufacturing is a global success, not only did foreign direct investment manufacturers achieve 44% in export growth between 2010 and 2019, Irish manufacturers are creating jobs internationally with 150,000 people employed abroad. The importance of this engine of the Irish economy cannot be overstated, and urgent action is required to safeguard its future in the face of the current acute challenges.”