24 May 2017
By Bryan T. Smyth
Cork Chamber has elected Mr. Bill O’Connell as its new President at the Chamber’s 198th Annual General Meeting (AGM) this week.
Speaking at the AGM, Bill O’Connell emphasised the positivity and optimism evident everywhere in Cork. “Cork is in a good place. We are near full employment, more people are coming to live, work and visit the region, and new and exciting businesses are opening their doors every month, creating a new buzz and enthusiasm throughout the city and county.”
“In the year ahead, the Chamber’s focus will centre on Cork becoming even more attractive. Cork Chamber’s submission to the National Planning Framework places emphasis on creating an environment that is regionally, nationally and internationally connected. Our submission presents a vision for a community that is healthy, sustainable, educated, skilled and confident. It aims for an internationally competitive high-density city region with a diverse and resilient economy.”
“In my role as President of Cork Chamber, I will be pushing for this ambition to become reality by advocating for Cork to take a central role in the future direction of the country, and see that reflected through increased investment in critical projects such as the M20, public transport, additional housing and our workforce. We currently have momentum to change Cork for the better. Together we must work to make sure we seize every opportunity that comes our way”, he continued.
Reflecting on the challenges ahead, Mr. O’Connell added “While Cork has immense potential we operate in an increasingly competitive and often uncertain national and international marketplace. Right on our shores, Brexit creates challenges for businesses big and small throughout the region. From my experience working in a multinational company, it is clear to me that remaining competitive and avoiding repeating past public spending mistakes will be key to Ireland’s future success.”
Mr. O’Connell concluded by paying thanks to the work of outgoing president Barrie O’Connell highlighting his “relentless positivity and energy over the past two years in representing the voice of members and advocating for Cork at every opportunity.”
The AGM also saw the election of four new board members: Mr. Mark Fitzharris, Head of AIB Cork City; Mr. Leo O’Leary, Head of Large Business, Vodafone Ireland; Mr. Eoin Motherway, Head of Operations AMX, Willis Towers Watson; Mr. Hugh Smiddy, Head of Business Development, Tyndall National Institute. Meanwhile, Ms. Orla Flynn, Vice President of External at CIT was elected Honorary Secretary, whereas Mr. John Higgins Managing Partner and Head of Transaction Advisory Services at EY’s Cork office was elected Honorary Treasurer.