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 10thAnniversary 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