27 Nov 2013

President’s Updates

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President Rob McDonnell

President’s Message: AGM April 26, 2018

I am pleased to report that the 12 month period ending 31 December 2017 was another positive year as the Chamber continued to build on the momentum of the previous year. As a chamber our mandate is to provide a forum for our members to network and promote their business and professional interests, while also supporting the development of enhanced trade links between Ireland and Canada. We also play a part in the wider Irish community in Toronto and look forward to maintaining that in 2018.

The Irish community in Toronto continues to get stronger with a new wave of Irish availing of the opportunity to come here and work in this great city with its diverse population. I feel I should note that the very best of our city has been on display in the last few days since the Yonge-Finch tragedy.

Following on from the comments of Matthew last year, the changing demographic has resulted in us varying the type of events we have run and the speakers and topics we are engaging in.

I’ll touch on some of the events we hosted, while Cathy will give a more detailed summary shortly.

In 2017 we had a fortunate year in the level of interest the Ireland-Canada relationship received from the Governments of both countries. This resulted in the visit of two Taoisigh in the year and great opportunity for the Chamber to host them – with thanks to the Embassy of Ireland and Ambassador Kelly and team and also Enterprise Ireland and Neil Cooney and his team.

We also hosted breakfasts in partnership with IBEC, and WLG Gowling and the Ireland Canada Business Association – the format on these varied from keynote speakers to panels and pure networking. I think we are close to achieving the right balance for our members on the types of events we put forth with 2017 a great example of that.

We continued the Presidents Dinner for the 4th year, with Paul Quigley the CEO and co-founder of Newswhip joining us from Dublin as keynote speaker. I felt this event worked really well with an engaging speaker who was able to provide a level of insight and opinion on how we consume news and the pitfalls within that. I’m really looking forward to continuing to build on this in 2018 with what we hope will be quite a unique event.

From a community perspective we continue to support the Eamonn O’Loghlin Irish Canadian Immigration Centre and the Irish Person of the Year. Where possible we also tried to support other Irish community initiatives based on the limited resources we have available.

On the social front the quiz and Christmas party remain popular with members. We are transitioning the golf event to a society and hope to build on last years activity and add greater structure and numbers in 2018.

For 2018 we will remain true to the mandate as outlined. Areas of focus for me and the board, will be as follows:

  • Defining areas of leadership with the Chamber board. The intent here is to allow the board better split the activities and involve the membership in defining how we move forward on key areas. It should allow us develop a more proactive approach. The areas are:
    • Govt and Stakeholder relations
    • Sponsorship
    • Membership and new arrivals
    • Treasurer (already filled by John O’Dwyer)
    • Communications and Social Media
    • Key Events
    • We will have some changes to the board with Kyle McNamara departing to Van Diemens land and Treasa O’Loghlin also stepping down to focus on family and work. We will look to fill these positions in the coming month or so. My thanks to Kyle for his strong support over the years and I wish him the very best on his opportunity in Melbourne. Treasa had a boy approximately 11 months ago and is going to focus on Jack and work for the next couple of years – my thanks also to Treasa.
  • Refresh of the existing website. This is underway and a developer is working on it at present. My hope is with a better looking and more intuitive site we can develop it to become a more useful tool in communicating with the membership
  • Membership – as a group we need to better define what membership to the ICCCTO means and I am focused on doing that through the refreshed website. I believe a clearer articulation of this in conjunction with the high pedigree of events we are running will help grow the membership and set us up for continued success in years to come.
  • Sponsorship – we need to find replacements for some of the pillar sponsorships we have lost in the last 1-2 years (KPMG and likely ScotiaBank). These are a key partner in enabling the chamber provide the events and support is currently does.
  • Events:
    • The 5th Annual Presidents Dinner is now booked for Oct 16, 2018 at the National Club. The speaker this year is Donna Dooher, co-owner and executive chef at Mildreds Temple Kitchen, author and former CEO of Restaurants Canada. I am excited about the type of event I think we can make this.
    • As Cathy will highlight we (she!) ran our first event focused on our female members. It was a great success and I hope we can develop additional events along this line.
  • Golf – The formal golf day has now been replaced by a Golf Society. This was in response to challenges in cost of the event and securing the numbers required in the summer months. This year Rory O’Donovan has stepped up as organiser and captain and is looking to run a number of events starting with an outing in late May.

I would like to thank Cathy Murphy as our executive director – not a great deal happens without Cathy and she has been key in us delivering the events we outlined and the growing the membership from 2016. I would also like to thank the board who all contributed to our success in 2017, I look forward to working together in 2018 to continue making the Chamber a strong part of the Toronto Irish-Canadian business community.

 

President’s Message November 2017

It’s been a landmark year for Irish Canadians.  The relationship between Canada and Ireland, while historically strong, continues to get stronger. Ireland and Canada have two leaders that act as beacons to a younger generation of people; while neither country will claim to be perfect they are working on offering a better perspective – in the words of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, one of openness, transparency, individual freedom and trade.  And in a world increasingly uncertain, the opportunity presented by an ongoing, deepening partnership between the leaders of Canada and Ireland can only be to our professional benefit.

Looking back on the year that was, throughout January and February our news cycles in Canada and at home have been dominated by the current US administration — threats to NAFTA, free travel and at times it felt everything in between – dominated water cooler conversations and had the business community jittery to say the least.   The British Parliament voting to leave the EU did little to stabilise said jitters and while Ireland had just recovered from a run on the banks, BREXIT provided a run on the passport office as everyone and their mother claimed Irish heritage.

In lighter news: Ireland won 2 from 3 in the 6 Nations Rugby in February, a loss to Scotland and wins over France and Italy. And later in the year, with Ireland hosting the Women’s Rugby World Cup in August past, Canada’s ladies were the victor taking 5th place overall to Ireland’s 6th.

March was a busy month in Irish Canadian circles, with much activity gearing up to St Patrick’s Day. The Ireland Fund hosted their 37th annual St Patrick’s Day lunch, attended by 1,100 people – congrats to Jane Noonan and the team. There was also the real TIFF, the Toronto Irish Film Festival, a great cultural offering, with the Young Offenders topping the bill. John Galway, a member of our Chamber Board is one of the leaders of that initiative and it’s always a fantastic showcase of Irish talent in front of and behind the camera.

As we moved into April and May, we welcomed the outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny in what would be his farewell visit, stepping down as leader of Fine Gael shortly after. He joined us for breakfast, hosted in partnership with Enterprise Ireland.  Mr. Kenny, echoing remarks by Prime Minister Trudeau, highlighted the shared values between Ireland and Canada and the importance of the middle ground, where as we see with so much of the political discussion so many people are being pushed to the left by anger and the hard right by fear.

We were also fortunate to host the Ireland Canada Business Association as part of the Ireland Canada Summit. Topics that were to the forefront of the discussion were CETA and Brexit and the opportunities and risks provided by these to Ireland and Canada.

In June, formal Brexit talks began between Britain and the EU. In late July we were surprised and delighted to get the news that we would have another visit by An Taoiseach, this time Leo Varadkar TD. Irelands youngest Taoiseach joined us for a Breakfast Briefing on his arrival in Toronto in August and as part of this gave an update on the Irish Economy – which as many of you will know is in rude health –

  • One of the fastest growing economies in Europe
  • GDP grew by 5.1% in 2016, with a further growth of between 4-5% expected this year
  • Unemployment has dropped from the post-crash levels to a very respectable 6.4%

The Taoiseach chose Toronto to announce that Ireland will be doubling its Global diplomatic and agency footprint by 2025. A great step for a small country whose biggest asset has always been its people.

As part of An Taoiseach’s visit, he participated in a number of events. A notable one being the ground-breaking of Grasett Park.

Growing up in Dublin I am quite familiar with the Famine statues on Dublin’s Custom House Quay. The statues were made by Irish sculptor Rowan Gillespie and mark the departure of approximately 1 million people from Ireland during the Famine of 1847. The sculptures are haunting and capture perfectly the wretchedness of those fleeing Ireland. In Ireland Park here in Toronto there are corresponding sculptures marking the Arrival, in fact in May to Oct of 1847 over 38,000 Irish refugees arrived when the city’s population was a mere 20,000…

Toronto took those poor souls in, some of whom had contracted Typhus in the restricted confines of the coffin ships. People like Dr. George Robert Grasett put aside the prejudices of the day and fought for the better treatment of these people – putting his own life at risk in the process. Dr Grasett died of Typhus in 1847.

It is, I think, a timely reminder to all of us of our roots as Irish Canadians and of the selfless acts that have gone before us to ensure our safe passage hundreds of years later.  As we have seen from the current Trudeau government, Canada of the Welcomes has not changed and is still a refuge to those seeking a new life in 2017.

The Ireland Park Foundation have now secured land, funding and the design for a park that commemorates Dr Grasett and the many other Canadian’s who worked to save refugees fleeing a famine in another country. Congratulations to Robert Kearns and the team at Ireland Park Foundation for a great addition to the cultural history of Toronto.

September has seen the provisional implementation of CETA, with tariffs removed on 98% of Canadian goods entering Europe and likewise for European goods entering Canada. This will help unlock enormous untapped potential for greater trade and investment between Ireland and Canada. At our September Business Breakfast, we received some great insights and analogies on this from Danny McCoy, CEO of IBEC, Briain McEnery the Global President of ACCA and Sanjeev Chowdhary the director of Global Affairs Canada’s FTA taskforce.

I hope you’ll all agree it has been quite the year to date – and with more to come and a special emphasis on community:

  • Oct 21 is the Ireland Fund of Canada Race Day at Woodbine racetrack, a great day out and I believe there are some tickets still available for anyone who fancies a flutter – please contact Eithne Heffernan or Jane Noonan
  • We’ll have the Chamber quiz night in Nov, a great tradition and evening to test your metal against the best.

My focus for the remainder of this year and into next will be, maybe, not hosting two Pieces within 6 months – but some simpler initiatives for the Chamber:

  • Redeveloping the Chamber website to make it a better hub for those who want to connect with members
  • Continue to drive for events that matter for our membership
  • And acting as a link between Irish and Canadian governments to the Irish Canadian Business community in Toronto

I want to extend my thanks to those who have been integral to the success of the Chamber in 2017.

 

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President Matthew Cotter

AGM – 13th October 2016 (Year Ending – 31 December 2015)

President’s Report

Dear Members,

I am pleased to report that the 12 month period ending 31 December 2015 continued the positive momentum for the ICCCTO. During this period we remained true to our mandate by focusing on providing a forum for our members to network and promote their business and professional interests while also supporting the development of enhanced trade links between Ireland and Canada.

Supporting Enhanced Trade Links

Starting with the latter we were extremely pleased to host:

  1. In Partnership with EI – Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs – Charlie Flanagan (Irish Ambassador to Canada – Ray Bassett in attendance) – (Hot House – St Patrick’s Day Breakfast)
  2. Bank of Ireland at a Business Breakfast – Derek Collins – Senior Director & Head of Global Foreign Direct Investment (National Club – Moderated by BNN’s Andrew Bell).

Continue to Focus on Our Local Presence

While helping foster enhanced trade links is very important we also place a huge importance on our presence locally here in Toronto.

  1. September 30th 2015 – Second Annual Presidents Dinner at One King West. Headlined by Cathal J. O’Connor, EVP & CFO of Cadillac Fairview Ltd., The evening was a great success and we hope this event can become a fixture on the Chamber calendar for many years to come.
  2. Other Events – Staples – Golf Day, the Quiz and the Christmas Party which were all great successes.

Sponsorship & Support

On the sponsorship front we were delighted to add Bank of Ireland as a corporate sponsor. Thankfully Scotiabank and KPMG remain our pillars. We also thank the various companies the kindly sponsor our various events throughout the year.

First Full Year of Executive Director

We were also delighted to add a new Executive Director, Cathy Murphy who has been instrumental in the day to day management of the Chamber. Continued improvement in our membership database, communication system and website. While still more work to go on this front we are very pleased with the progress to date.

Board Update

There were a large number of resignations at the end of 2015 – Cormac Monaghan, Michael Monaghan, Damian Dupuy, Alannah McMahon, Ross O’Colmain and Eithne Heffernan. We thank them all sincerely for their major contributions to the Chamber and the Irish community in general. We are delighted that Cormac and Eithne have remained connected in an ambassadorial capacity as Honorary Directors. Pleased to have John Galway, Louise Scott, Treasa O’Loughlin and Neil Cooney (EI) join in the current year complementing our existing experience in Rob McDonnell (Vice President), Kyle McNamara and Carolyn Dunne. We also welcomed Dr. John O’Dwyer back to the front lines as Treasurer.

I would like to thank our Board of Directors for their unflinching support. Finally to our members, thank you for being part of the Chamber. You are the reason the Chamber continues to be so successful. 2015 was a great year for the Chamber and as we get ready to embrace the year ahead we do so with optimism and enthusiasm, confident in the knowledge that the Chamber continues to play a very important role in the Irish community here in Toronto.

Until Next Year!

Matthew Cotter

President, ICCCTO

 

AGM – 9th September 2015

President’s Report

Dear Members,

I am pleased to report that the eighteen month period ending 31 December 2014 was an extremely positive one for the ICCCTO. During this period we remained true to our mandate by focusing on providing a network for our members to promote their business and professional interests while also supporting the development of enhanced trade links between Ireland and Canada.

Enhanced Trade Links – Business Summits

Starting with the latter we were extremely pleased to take on a leadership role on two transatlantic Ireland Canada Business Summits focused on promoting trade relations between the two countries in collaboration with our friends at the Ireland Canada Business Association (ICBA) in Dublin. The first event took place in Dublin back in September 2013 under the inspired leadership of my predecessor Cormac Monaghan and featured the Honourable John Manly, former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada who highlighted the importance of the Free Trade relationship between Canada and the EU. The second took place here in Toronto just over a year later in October 2014 and featured a range of high profile business speakers. Both events were extremely well attended and guests were left in no doubt that there is significant opportunity for enhanced economic collaboration in the future. We have just initiated conversations with the ICBA in Dublin about this next installment which appears likely to happen back in Ireland in 2016.

Continue to Focus on Our Local Presence

While helping foster enhanced trade links is very important we also place a huge importance on our presence locally here in Toronto. To that end on October 9th 2014 we hosted our Inaugural Presidents Dinner at One King West. David Walmsley, Editor in Chief of the Globe and Mail was the keynote speaker and we were also delighted to hear from the Honourable Dr. Kellie Leitch, Canada’s Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women. The evening was a great success and we hope this event can become a fixture on the Chamber calendar for many years to come.

Other events of note included hosting the current Mayor of John Tory in the run up to the election and the Minister for Finance from Ireland, Michael Noonan at the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast.

This is not to forget our regulars, the Golf Day, the Quiz and the Christmas Party which were all great successes.

Sponsorship

On the sponsorship front we were delighted to add Bank of Ireland as a corporate sponsor and indeed host a fantastic Business Breakfast event in April. Thankfully Scotiabank and KPMG remain our pillars and attracting additional corporate sponsorship will be a key objective for the year ahead. We also thank the various companies the kindly sponsor our various events throughout the year.

New Executive Director

We were also delighted to add a new Executive Director, Cathy Murphy who has been instrumental in the day to day management of the Chamber. In particular she has played a very positive role upgrading our membership database, communication system and website. While still more work to go on this front we are very pleased with the progress to date.

Board Resignations

Unfortunately, this year will also see significant change at Board Level with a number of long serving Director stepping down. Cormac Monaghan, Michael Monaghan, Damian Dupuy, Alannah McMahon and perhaps even Eithne Heffernan. We thank them all sincerely for their major contributions to the Chamber and the Irish community in general. We also lost Ross O’Colmain of Enterprise Ireland who moved south to lead the EI New York office.

Future Outlook – New Board & Governance

All this change obviously presents opportunity. To that end we will work diligently over the coming months to formally appoint the new Board, establish the Executive Roles and Committees and update our Bye Laws. This will lay the foundation for the Chamber to thrive for years to come.

I would like to thank our Board of Directors for their unflinching support. Finally to our members, thank you for being part of the Chamber. You are the reason the Chamber continues to be so successful. Once the new Board is established we look forward to collaborating with you on the future strategy and direction of the Chamber.

As we get ready to embrace the year ahead we do so with optimism and enthusiasm, confident in the knowledge that the Chamber continues to play a very important role in the Irish community here in Toronto.

Until Next Year!

Matthew Cotter

President, ICCCTO

 

President’s Update–February 2015

Looking back it was inevitable that 2014 would be a year of change for the Chamber but as Benjamin Franklin famously remarked “when you’re finished changing, you’re finished”. Although often difficult to navigate at the outset, looking back at last year’s highlights which featured the visit of the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, the third edition of the Ireland Canada Business Summit and our Inaugural Presidents Dinner, we are reminded that change can indeed have a very positive impact.

As we get ready to embrace the year ahead we do so with optimism and enthusiasm, confident in the knowledge that the Chamber continues to play a very important role in the Irish community here in Toronto. This has been clearly evidenced by the positive response to our recently launched membership campaign. If you are reading this and either haven’t got a chance to renew or are interested in joining for the first time you can get full details on our website at www.icccto.com.

In addition to the membership drive, top of the agenda for the Board at this time of year is the events calendar. I always think it is dangerous to look too far beyond March and this year is no different. We are looking forward to once again partnering with Enterprise Ireland on the Annual St Patrick’s Day Breakfast and are delighted to be supporting the fifth edition of the Toronto Irish Film Festival which runs from March 6th – 8th at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. This year however, one event holds particular significance for everyone associated with the Chamber. At the Annual Luncheon on Sunday March 8th Chamber Past President Eddie Brett will be the fully deserving recipient of the 2015 Irish Person of the Year Award. Eddie’s contribution to the community over the five decades since his arrival on these shores in 1964 cannot be overstated and we sincerely congratulate him on his achievement.

Looking beyond March, we are very close to finalising the details of a high profile business breakfast in April featuring a very prominent Irish business leader. We look forward to revealing more details on that event along with our plans for the remainder of the year over the coming weeks. 2015 is shaping up to be another great year and there is no doubt that the Chamber continues to go from strength to strength.

In the near term we very much look forward to connecting with the broader community across the full spectrum of events over the coming weeks.

Matthew Cotter

President, ICCCTO

 

President’s Update – Fall 2014

The first time I encountered the phrase “busy season” was as a trainee accountant 10 years ago. Back in those days it referred to the period between January and April when the majority of companies were required to undergo their annual audit. If there was such a period in Chamber terms we would currently be right in the thick of it!

The first two events of this year’s busy season focused on the upcoming Mayoral Election in Toronto. On the evening of September 3rd we hosted an informal audience with Olivia Chow at PJ O’Brien’s and followed this with a breakfast event at the Hot House featuring John Tory on September 25th. Both events offered our members a unique insight into the motivations of two of the leading candidates to be the next Mayor of Toronto. In between, we partnered with the Ireland Canada Immigration Centre on their annual new arrivals networking event on September 9th. As an organization engaging with the next generation of Irish Canadians is of critical importance and yet again the night was a great success.

That brings us to October 9th! We once again collaborated with our good friends at The Ireland Canada Business Association in Dublin and the Ireland Fund of Canada to present the 3rd edition of the Ireland Canada Business Summit. The King Edward Hotel was the venue for this very well attended event which showcased a top class line up of speakers from both sides of the Atlantic. There is no question events of this nature have reinforced the strong business links and increased trade opportunities between the two countries and we are delighted continue to build on the momentum that has been generated in recent years.

Also on October 9th, we hosted our Inaugural Presidents Dinner at One King West. David Walmsley, Editor in Chief of the Globe and Mail was the keynote speaker and we were also delighted to hear from the Honourable Dr. Kellie Leitch, Canada’s Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women. The evening was a great success and we hope this event can become a fixture on the Chamber calendar for many years to come.

Busy season continues next month with our Annual Quiz Night at the Hot House on November 13th before signing off 2014 in our usual style with our Christmas party at PJ O’Brien’s on December 5th.We look forward to connecting with you before the year is out!

Matthew Cotter

President, ICCCTO

 

President’s Update – July 2014

It is July 1st and I am sitting here enjoying my 5th consecutive Canada Day on home soil. Looking out the window, one might easily be misled into thinking the location was somewhere along the west coast of Ireland rather than mid-town Toronto as the rain thunders down. Thankfully unlike the west coast normal service is expected to resume later in the day. Despite the good weather, the summer period has traditionally been an off season of sorts for the Chamber but as always we have a lot going on behind the scenes.

On the events front, the 2014 Brian Dolan Memorial Golf Classic took place on June 19th and was a terrific success.  Thankfully the weather cooperated and gave us a beautiful day at Nobleton Lakes. The evening banquet was particularly poignant as we remembered Chamber Founding Member Vince O’Reilly. We were honoured to have Finola O’Reilly and her two sons Mark and Ryan in attendance. Following the meal we also paid a special tribute to Smitty (William Smith), everyone’s favourite photographer, who has recently announced his retirement (of sorts!). Smitty’s contribution to the Chamber and indeed the Irish Community has been monumental over the years and I have no doubt that we’ll see that camera in action again many times in the future.

In other news the Canadian Chambers across the country are currently working with our Irish counterparts, the ICBA, on a potential Ireland Canada Summit later in the year. Although still to be confirmed this would potentially involve a multi-city visit to Canada by a delegation of Irish companies seeking to showcase their businesses to a Canadian audience. This backs up the very successful Summit held in Dublin last September and clearly highlights the very strong business links that exist between the two countries. We look forward to sharing more detail on this event in the near future.

In less exiting news we are pleased to advise that under the new anti-spam laws, not-for-profit member-based organizations like the Chamber may continue send out periodic communications to its membership. That being said please make sure your membership is up to date so we can keep you informed of upcoming events.

So all in all the Chamber continues to drive on. We look forward to unveiling our fall schedule over the coming months and connecting with you all very soon.

Matthew Cotter

President, ICCCTO

 

President’s Update – February  2014

Living in Toronto for the last five years has certainly given a new meaning to the importance of St. Patrick’s Day. While back at home we politely tip our cap to the great man’s achievements and enjoy a day of rest and relaxation in his honour, here in Toronto the occasion is embraced with a verve and enthusiasm that I never could have imagined.

2014 will be no different! The events are all lined up and the Irish community is in a collective crouch position awaiting the starter’s gun. Some will go hard at the start but other more experienced campaigners know that this is a marathon not a sprint. However, it must be among the most enjoyable marathons out there. It all kicks off on February 28th with the Toronto Irish Film Festival which the Chamber is once again very proud to support.

A particular highlight for the Chamber this year will be our partnership with Enterprise Ireland for a St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast with Ireland’s Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan. Minister Noonan has been instrumental in restoring economic stability in Ireland and has played a pivotal role in executing Ireland’s recent exit from the EU/IMF bailout program. His achievements are such that the FT’s influential magazine “The Banker” recently named Minister Noonan as European Finance Minister of the Year.

Other highlights include the Irish Person of the Year Luncheon which the Chamber co-presents and this year honors the outstanding achievements of former Olympic Champion and Hockey Legend, Geraldine Heaney. Furthermore, this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 16th promises to be a great occasion and we look forward to welcoming Olympic Boxing Champion, Katie Taylor to Toronto as Grand Marshal.

Although we tend not to look backwards since our last update we were delighted to kick start our partnership with Scotiabank in February with an excellent seminar on the Financial Aspects of Running Small Businesses. This was hosted by Scotia in the elegant board room on the 63rd floor of their Corporate office and I am glad to say many of our members availed of this opportunity to take their careers to new heights!  We look forward to further collaboration with Scotiabank and indeed our other sponsors in the months ahead.

So all in all a very busy period ahead but a lot to look forward to.

Matthew Cotter

President, ICCCTO

 

President’s Update–December 2013

When historians sit down to document the significant events of November 2013 in years to come one wonders what stories will dominate. In entertainment no doubt the release of the second instalment of the Hunger Games franchise will feature, in business perhaps the Twitter IPO will take centre stage while closer to home in politics the Rob Ford revelations will likely reign supreme. All indisputably notable events I’m sure you’ll agree but likewise all pale in significance when compared to the 10th Anniversary of the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce Table Quiz!!

This annual event has long proven to be a highlight of the calendar and this year was certainly no different. Indeed folklore suggests that it has for some time been used as a screening tool for prospective Chamber Board members with many a bright young spark having their hopes of higher office dashed on the back of their performance at the quiz! On a more serious note however the quiz has in many ways become the embodiment of all that is good about the Chamber. An intellectually stimulating gathering of Irish and Canadians, spanning multiple generations across a range of professions and backgrounds unified by the desire to connect and expand their network in an enjoyable environment. Need I say anymore!

While undoubtedly a great success the quiz was not the only significant event to impact us in recent months. In September, the Chamber, led by Cormac Monaghan in conjunction with our sister Chambers across Canada, was instrumental in coordinating a very successful Business Gathering event in Dublin. The aim being to celebrate and strengthen the business links between Ireland and Canada. Over 200 people attended and were treated to a range of speakers from varying business backgrounds from both sides of the Atlantic. The keynote address was given by the Honourable John Manly, former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada who focused on the importance of the Free Trade relationship between Canada and the EU. The links between Ireland and Canada have always been strong and events of this nature only serve to enhance this relationship. As a Chamber we intend to build on the momentum generated in Dublin in September and look forward to contributing to the next edition in Canada in 2015.

Then in November, after three years of inspirational leadership Cormac Monaghan decided to step down as Chamber President. Cormac’s contribution to the Chamber and indeed the Irish community cannot be overstated and on behalf of the Board and the membership I sincerely thank him for his dedicated service. On a positive note he hasn’t completely hung up the boots and will remain on the Board ensuring we continue to benefit from the wisdom and humility which were the hallmarks of his tenure. Similarly I extend my sincere thanks to outgoing Board Member Deirdre Slowey who has also decided to step down after five years of loyal service.

Taking over from Cormac is an honour and privilege and I look forward to embracing all of the challenges that lie ahead. As the 2013/14 Board meets for the first time in the coming weeks we will seek to design a roadmap for the Chamber that will best serve our membership for the next twelve months and beyond. Part of this strategy will undoubtedly be to leverage from the enthusiasm and ambition of the next generation of Irish Canadians who are arriving on these shores on a daily basis. Furthermore, while continually building on our important role in the community we will seek to remain true to our roots as a Chamber of Commerce by providing our membership with opportunities to foster existing and develop new business relationships.

Given the changing demographic of the Irish community in the city this is an exciting time to be involved in the Chamber and as always our membership gates are open. Details on how to join are available on our website at www.icccto.com. On the event front our Christmas Party is already looming large on the horizon and we look forward to connecting with as many of you as possible on December 13th in PJ O’Brien’s from 6pm.

Finally, as incoming President, I am acutely aware of the history of the Chamber and in particular those who have laid the foundation for the successful organisation that exists today. In that regard, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the enormous contribution of Eamonn O’Loughlin, our long serving Executive Director who we sadly lost so unexpectedly earlier this year. Eamonn’s business acumen, spirit and love of all things Irish were instrumental driving the Chamber forward over the last twenty years and will remain at the core of the Chambers philosophy in the years ahead.

Matthew Cotter

President, ICCCTO

 

 

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