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04 Jul 2022

'Year of recovery for some, but not all' - Kilkenny Chamber President

Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce President Colin Ahern issues Christmas message

Kilkenny

Colin Ahern - President, Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce

As President of Kilkenny Chamber, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to share this Christmas message for 2021.

The last two years have not been without challenges for our Chamber and I am eternally grateful to our CEO, staff and Board of Directors for the way in which they have adapted and innovated during that time.

Whilst we haven’t had the opportunity to network and lobby, as we have been used to, we have continued with regular online engagement with our members, the Local Authority, with the Local Enterprise Office and other support agencies such as the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Failte Ireland.

Kilkenny Chamber remains the strongest and most relevant voice of business in Kilkenny City and County.

There is no doubt that many of us underestimated the extent and length of time the effects of this pandemic would have on our businesses and wider community.

At the end of last year, I spoke then about how most of us would be delighted to see the back of 2020 and that 2021 would be our year of recovery.

This has been the case for some but not all yet, I’m afraid.

What has struck me most, however, is how resilient and innovative our businesses have been in dealing with the challenges that have been thrown at them.

The manner in which Kilkenny businesses adapted to ensure their survival and the safety of their customers and staff must be commended.

This was certainly not the case nationwide and indeed Kilkenny has been widely commended in the media and is seen now as a leader in how businesses, communities and Local Authorities can work together, to navigate through and create a future, post COVID-19.

In any normal year the big news story of 2021 would have been Brexit and whilst it has been overshadowed by COVID, it has been a huge challenge for exporters and the retail sector, in particular.

When we stepped into the unknown at the beginning of the year, it was clear that most Irish businesses had prepared as well as they could have and had taken the consequences of Brexit seriously from the onset.

In Ireland, business will always find a way to do business and Irish people are better than most at that.

The shipping lines that opened up nearly overnight from Ireland to mainland Europe have laid waste to the concept of our
dependency to trade through the UK and I have no doubt that we will become an even stronger trading nation in the long run.

I am really excited to see what 2022 brings for all Kilkenny Businesses and for our Chamber.

We were heartened to see such a great turn out for our Annual Golf Classic last August in the beautiful setting of Mount Juliet Estate and we look forward to hosting the deferred 2021 Kilkenny Business Awards in February coming.

So the year ahead will, once again, be full of challenges, but it will also be full of
opportunities.

Kilkenny Chamber will continue to represent business interests here and ensure that our City and County continues to grow and prosper.

We will also continue to operate the very successful Kilkenny Gift Voucher scheme which has ensured that over €800,000 has been spent in Kilkenny since its introduction.

I would encourage you all, if you are inclined to give a voucher as a gift, to choose the Kilkenny Gift Voucher and support over
150 local businesses.

I look forward to continuing to work with the people and business community of Kilkenny over the next 12 months and I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a prosperous and safe 2022.

Colin Ahern - President, Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce

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