It has been a good week on the employment front for Ireland with two major companies in the Kerry Group and Paddy Power announcing expansion that will lead to almost 2000 new jobs over the coming years.
Both companies are heavily involved in sport in Ireland and their expansion can only be a positive sign for those with whom they partner.
Sport for Business was a guest of Ulster Bank at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner last night and as you would expect the speeches were peppered with sporting references from the less than illustrious playing career of MC Matt Cooper at Sundays Well Rugby in Cork to Enda Kenny confiding that he may have to introduce legislation to see that Mayo finally win the Sam Maguire Cup.
The keynote speaker was Niall Fitzgerald, a Limerick native who rose to head the powerful Unilever Group and is on first name terms with kings and presidents. He spoke positively about the restored reputation of Ireland in the international marketplace and highlighted the importance of next year’s Gathering Festival as one in which business could and should work on making sure that visitors were impressed by the capacity and ability to do business in Ireland.
Israel’s efforts to attract direct investment from the diaspora community yielded a five fold better return that Ireland, in a less stable political environment and one outside of the European Union. A major opportunity awaits for those who can open dialogue and bring investment that will create jobs and return the country to a level of greater prosperity.
Sport will of course play a role in this, whether as a hook to bring people to Ireland, as a sponsorship vehicle to attract attention and entertain those whose eye has been caught, and as an expression of the ways in which business in Ireland can be seen as a socially responsible sector.
Any challenge is difficult however and while it was overall a positive week we should take note of the closure of Olhausen meats, with the loss of 160 jobs. They have been long time sponsors of GAA in Dublin, particularly in Camogie.