FEATURES
Welcome Message

 

Dear member,

 

For over two years, the Brexit process has been characterised by political uncertainty. At Ibec, we have attempted to focus on what we can control. In addition to our Brexit guide and tracker, we have held hundreds of meetings across Ireland to help members prepare for what may lie ahead.


In recent weeks, we hosted questions and answers events with An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, both of which were broadcast live to members gathered in our regional offices across Ireland and in Brussels.


Whatever the ultimate outcome of current events, we would like to reassure members that Ibec will continue to provide leadership and support in these most important of times.

 

Danny McCoy

Ibec CEO


FEATURES
The global voice of Irish business
 

 

 

 

 

As Irish business builds its influence globally, Ibec continued its international engagement programme in the US this month.

 

The high point in Washington DC was Ibec's corporate event, in partnership with Accenture, with over 80 companies - both US and Irish - at which we hosted guest speakers White House Adviser Gail Slater and Ireland's Attorney General Seamus Woulfe.  

 

Other highlights were representations with Congressman Richie Neal, Chair of the Ways & Means Committee, a powerful ally in a post-Brexit trade context. We also met with former Senator George Mitchell on the All Island economy. Colleagues attended the New York Stock Exchange's ‘Ireland Day’ in the company of Irish corporations who are scaling up in the USA. 

 

On business to business, our joint briefings with Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), US Council for International Business, National Association of Manufacturers, the US Chamber of Commerce and AdvaMed highlighted the joint concerns on trade tension between the US and China and uncertainty around digital taxation for future business models.

 

Interestingly, the disproportionate impact of Irish legislation on alcohol labelling was a significant topic raised with us as a concern on how legitimate business is treated in Ireland.

 

The big issues which dominated these discussions were:

1. Worries about growing protectionism globally and the threat from tariffs.
2. With the confusion of Brexit for deciding on investment into the EU, Ireland’s certainty on taxation and EU membership was seen as a differentiator.

3. Concerns on economic governance within Europe specifically on the issues of Data and Digital taxation but also on competition policy re digital technology companies.
4. A shared view that businesses both in the US and the EU remain committed to finding solutions through multilateral structures such as the OECD and WTO.

 

Pictured at the event in Washington DC were: Gail Slater, White House Adviser, and Danny McCoy, CEO of Ibec. 

Brexit: Uncertainty continues as deadline nudged out
 

 

 

 

The lack of clarity, even at this late stage, of if, how and when the UK will leave the EU remains a matter of deep concern. The inability of the UK government to ratify the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement means that a wide range of outcomes remain on the table, including ‘no deal’. Such an outcome would have devastating implications for the Irish economy and must be avoided.

 

With another vote on the Withdrawal Agreement now taken off the agenda at Westminster, the UK government and Parliament now has the task of agreeing another way forward. A new deadline of Friday 12 April has been set by the EU. If the UK remains in membership after that it will be expected to participate in European Parliamentary elections in May.

 

During these uncertain times, Ibec is working to ensure the concerns of Ibec members are heard and understood by key decision-makers. In the last couple of weeks Ibec has meet with Michel Barnier and his team twice to discuss the unique issues that Brexit presents, particularly with regard to a ‘no-deal’ exit. We remain in ongoing contact with Tánaiste Simon Coveney and his team.

 

Between 9.00 - 10.00 am this Thursday 28 March, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys will provide a special briefing for Ibec members on Brexit preparedness and the Government’s priorities for the future of Europe. To register for this members-only event at Ibec offices in Dublin, please visit the events page on the Ibec website.

 

Links to member resources

NEWS
Ibec in images
 
 

In February, Ibec was delighted to host An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD in our Dublin office.

 

In a detailed exchange, Mr Varadkar addressed a range of business concerns. These included: Ireland’s response to a possible ‘no deal’ Brexit, how to better attract and retain talent, carbon tax policy, third-level funding, regional investment and corporate tax policy. A video of the session is available to view here.

Last week brought Ibec to Brussels where we hosted 300 guests at our annual St. Patrick's Day event. Amongst the guests were Michel Barnier and Antonio Tajani, President of European Parliament, along with EU commissioners, MEPs from a number of member states, business and media stakeholders. 

 

To stay up to date with the latest Ibec insights into Brexit, head to our dedicated Brexit website.

In Washington DC, Ibec was delighted to host over 80 companies - both US and Irish - at a special event in partnership with Accenture, at which we heard from guest speakers White House Adviser Gail Slater and Ireland's Attorney General Seamus Woulfe.

Alastair Blair, Country Managing Director of Accenture Ireland, addresses delegates at the special Ibec-Accenture event in Washington DC. 
Pictured at the Washington DC event are Colin Crowell, Head of Global Public Policy and Philanthropy at Twitter; Gail Slater, Special Assistant to the President of the United States for Tech, Telecom, and Cyber Policy at the White House National Economic Council; and Johnny Harte, McCormick Distilling International. 
Pictured at the Washington DC event are Mac McKeen, MBA, RAC. Regulatory Fellow at Boston Scientific Corporation; Anne O'Leary, CEO Vodafone Ireland; and Alastair Blair, Country Managing Director of Accenture Ireland.
Meagan McCanna, Senior Manager, Federal Affairs and Engagement at Airbnb, at the Washington DC event. 
Alastair Blair, Country Managing Director of Accenture Ireland; Nathaniel Tipton, Senior Manager of Government Affairs, Stryker; and Gerry Amann, General Counsel & Secretary, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer at Accenture Federal Services at the Washinton DC event. 
Pictured at the St. Patrick's Day reception in the White House are Dalton Philips, Chief Executive DAA; Danny McCoy, CEO Ibec; and Paraic Curtis,  Ibec President and VP of TE Medical.

Ibec was delighted to recently host some of Ireland's leading female business and political stakeholders for a special Gender Pay Gap briefing.

Gender pay gap reporting is one part of a much-needed wider strategy to address female participation rates and employment gaps between genders. It will not on its own identify or solve the myriad of structural, cultural and policy causes for these differences, but it is a critical and welcome element.

To learn more about Ibec's ongoing work on gender pay gap reporting, download our guide, "Mind the Gap: An introduction to gender pay gap reporting".

Pictured at the briefing are Kate O'Connell TD; Aoife McFadden, Ibec Employment Law Solicitor; and Frances Fitzgerald TD.

The BBC's political broadcaster Andrew Marr was the keynote speaker at the Ibec Business Leaders Conference 2019, where he addressed what the UK's new relationship with the world might look like post-Brexit, and what the implications for Irish business may be.

 

Listen back to his address on the Ibec Podcast. He is pictured here with Ibec President and VP of TE Medical, Paraic Curtis, and Ibec CEO, Danny McCoy.

For over four years of the Brexit debate, Ibec has been working with the Irish Cabinet, Government officials in Dublin and Brussels, and subsequently with Michel Barnier’s team, to deliver the best possible outcome.

 

Earlier this month, Tánaiste Simon Coveney T.D. engaged with Ibec members in our Dublin office, providing insights into the latest Brexit developments.

Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group the represents the food and drink industries, has launched a new report that shows the decreases in sugar and saturated fat in Irish diets between 2005 and 2017 as a result of voluntary undertakings by food and drink companies.

 

Pictured at the launch of the report, entitled “The Evolution of Food and Drink in Ireland, 2005 – 2017”, were Dr. Pamela Byrne, CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI); Cronan McNamara, CEO and Founder of Creme Global; and Linda Stuart-Trainor, Director of Prepared Consumer Foods in FDI.

 

The Small Firms Association (SFA), has launched a new online platform as part of its National Grow, Scale, Succeed campaign to empower small firms to recruit and retain the right people.

 

To learn more about the platform, click here.

In a special edition episode to celebrate International WomensDay 2019, we were joined on the Ibec Podcast by Frances Fitzgerald TD, Anne Heraty CEO, Cpl Resources and Kara McGann, Ibec, to discuss dealing with everyday sexism and flexibility in the workplace and what more needs to be done to achieve better gender balance. 

 

Tune in here.

 

In partnership with the Data Protection Commission, we held a special Brexit members' event that explored what a ‘No Deal’ outcome would mean for data compliance for Irish businesses. 

 

For insights into what was discussed at the event, click here. It outlined the governance of personal data transfers by organisations from the Republic of Ireland to the UK in a potential ‘no-deal Brexit’ scenario and provides related background information. It is intended as general information and not detailed legal advice.

Future medical technology investment by Galway based Aerogen will be supported by a EUR 30 million loan agreed with the European Investment Bank highlighted at the first sector focused EIB-Ibec financing workshop.

 

At a special event in Galway this month, representatives from 80 medtech companies from Galway and elsewhere in Ireland heard how new financial products can address challenges holding back innovation related investment and ensure expansion opportunities are not lost.

 

Pictured at the event are Ibec Senior Public Sector and Regulatory Executive, Aidan Sweeney; Director of Irish Medtech Association, Sinead Keogh; European Investment Bank Vice President, Andrew McDowell; and Aerogen CEO and Founder, John Power. 

Ibec's continued OECD engagement on BEPS
 

 

 

 

Ibec, as evidenced through its interaction on the OECD BEPS initiatives over recent years, is actively supportive of international tax initiatives which seek to align profit with substance worldwide. In March, as the sole representative of Irish business, Ibec attended a global consultation of business, governments, and NGOs at the OECD in Paris on the tax challenges of the digitalisation of the economy. This forms part of the ongoing BEPS process and constitutes a much broader discussion than a previous focus on just US digital firms at a European level.

 

In ongoing discussions about the digital economy, it is important to ensure that tax policy facilitates and supports continued future growth. In this respect, Ibec continues to support the 11 principles for taxation of the digital economy set out by Business at OECD in January 2019. We also set out a number of key points with regards to the consultation:

 

• Change must be underpinned by a broad-based global agreement.
• We cannot isolate ‘digital’ from ‘the economy’.
• Solutions must be administrable, fair and avoid double-taxation.
• Consistency, clarity, and proportionality are needed on nexus and profit allocation.
• Marketing intangibles must have a credible basis and cannot be a ‘catch-all’.
• Further BEPS rules must have a clear evidence base and respect existing taxing rights.

 

The next steps in this process will be ongoing discussions at the OECD in the lead up to a proposal being brought before the G20 in June. If progress can be made significant change in global tax rules may be agreed before the end of 2020. Ibec will continue to represent Irish business interests both at Business at the OECD and the broader OECD forum.

Significant changes to immigration rules welcomed
 

 

Spouses and partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit Holders will now be able to access employment in Ireland without an employment permit. This significant and welcome change to immigration arrangements aims to streamline existing processes and result in a more attractive offering for both international talent and employers wishing to invest in Ireland.

 

At a time when Ireland is competing globally for skills across knowledge economies it is essential that we are not only ensuring that we have an agile, future focused domestic workforce, but that we also attract highly skilled talent from other countries for hard to fill roles.

 

The Critical Skills Employment Permit supports employers to recruit talent into “highly-skilled” roles from outside the Irish and EEA labour pool. It is designed to attract highly skilled people and encourage them to remain in Ireland. The occupations that are eligible under this permit are deemed critically important to Ireland’s economic growth and development; are in significant demand; and are in short supply in the labour market. This includes various ICT, Engineering and Technologist roles.

 

This new change to the immigration arrangements will remove an administrative burden that may have acted as a disincentive to the attraction and retention of highly skilled talent in Ireland.

 

To read the full press release from the Department of Justice and Equality, click here.

ISA celebrates impact on International Women’s Day
 

 

 

 

The Irish Spirits Association recently hosted the inaugural ‘Women with Spirit’ event in Farrier & Draper in Dublin that saw prominent women in the spirts industry gathering ahead of International Women’s Day.


The event featured a number of contributions including Carol Quinn, Archivist at Irish Distillers, who reflected on the history of the industry and the evolving role that women have played.


A panel discussion with a number a female leaders from the industry also spoke about their own experiences and the future of the industry, including:

 

• Aoife Clarke, chair of the Irish Spirits Association and Senior Director Public Affairs – International at Beam Suntory
• Rosemary Garth, Communications and Corporate Affairs Director at Irish Distillers
• Marie Byrne, Founder of Chinnery Gin
• Sarah Dowling, Distiller at Cooley Distillery.


For more from the event, click here.


Pictured are Aoife Clarke of Beam Suntory and Chair of the Irish Spirits Association and Patricia Callan, Director of ABFI

Business pushes for All Island growth
 

 

 

 

The North South Infrastructure Group was set up under the 2015 Fresh Start Agreement to maintain a strategic overview of planned all island economic and infrastructural investment. The Ibec-CBI Northern Ireland Joint Business Council (JBC) has met the group annually, most recently in Belfast last month.

 

Ibec’s ambition is for a fully connected all-island market that supports greater prosperity and employment. Cross-border economic activity drives growth in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. High quality infrastructure connecting both sides of the border is needed to underpin effective cross-border growth. This group can help ensure the necessary connectivity is ambitious, funded and prioritised in both jurisdictions.

 

Several infrastructure priorities were discussed, including:

  • The N2/A5 upgrade programme, which will be crucial to unlock the North West of the island.
  • The ongoing programme to upgrade the A6.
  • There was a strong expression of commitment to the North South Interconnector. This is one of the most critical pieces of infrastructure needed for the island of Ireland, in order to safeguard the security of electricity supply and the ongoing operation of the all-island electricity market.
  • Increasing the frequency of the Dublin-Belfast Enterprise train will be a near-term priority, along with reducing total journey time to under 90 minutes.
  • Joint spatial planning will need to be a focus of infrastructure investment over the next two decades. Ibec and the JBC have made submissions to the draft to the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies that focus on enhancing all-island infrastructure priorities.

 

Ibec continues to campaign for increased capital investment and cross-border cooperation, having previously published reports on all-island activity and the need for greater all-island investment. Future meetings with the group will consider Brexit-related challenges such as finance delivery.

EVENTS
Get ready for Workplace Wellbeing Day!
 

 

Ireland’s fifth National Workplace Wellbeing Day takes place on Friday April 12th 2019. Ibec is calling all employers to sign up and participate on the day and take this opportunity to get outdoors and get moving alongside their employees. As a nation, we all know that we need to get healthier and there is no better place to start than in the workplace.


Last year over 700 companies of all sizes from across the public and private sectors participated in the annual event which aims to improve employee wellbeing through promoting better health and wellbeing in the workplace. Companies that participated last year include Abbott, AIB, Bord Na Móna, Glanbia, Mars, Oracle, Sky Ireland, Tusla and Zazzle Ireland but to name a few!

 

Employers are becoming increasingly more aware of the significant effects the workplace can have on their employees’ health and wellbeing. In 2018, 76% of employees said they believed there was a positive link between employees’ health and wellbeing and the company productivity. This should come as no surprise, to put it simply, when people are feeling well and happy then they are in a better position to be effective and fulfilled in the workplace.

 

So, what can you do on April 12th to promote wellbeing and kickstart a healthy movement in your workplace? The “Lunchtime Mile” - a one mile cycle, jog, run, walk or swim for employees, in the vicinity of their workplace is an easy, accessible way to increase employee activity. Other popular activities organised for employees might include a healthy breakfast, health screenings, on-site massages, pilates classes, mindfulness and mental health talks.

 

To sign up for National Workplace Wellbeing Day and for a host of wellbeing tips, visit www.wellbeingday.ie.

 

Pictured at the launch of Ireland's fifth National Workplace Wellbeing are Aoife O'Hanlon, Chocolate Brand Manager, Mars Ireland; Danny McCoy, Ibec CEO; and Alan Quinlan, former Irish rugby star and Workplace Wellbeing Ambassador. 

Ibec Employment Law Conference 2019
 

 

The balancing of gender equality and caring responsibilities remains a key challenge in achieving diversity in the workplace.  The introduction of paid paternity leave in Ireland in recent years aimed to correct what had previously been an overwhelming emphasis on the role of working women in this respect. A number of employment law policies are now gaining traction on the sharing of maternity leave, longer (and paid) parental leave for both parents and the introduction of work/life balance measures. At this year’s conference, we evaluate which of these proposals are likely to become law, how soon and in what form.  

 

In addition, we will examine recent employment law developments and review the five most significant employment law cases of the last 12 months. As employers will know, equality challenges are not restricted to issues of gender, but cover every aspect of the employment relationship from recruitment to retirement.

 

To get a unique insight into developments in employment law from an employer’s perspective, register here to attend this year’s Ibec Employment Law Conference.

The KeepWell Summit
 

Thursday, 13 June 2019, Croke Park Stadium

 

An event targeted at HR directors, business leaders and individuals tasked with the management of employee health and wellbeing, exploring the strategies smart organisations are employing to contribute to the wellness of their employees.

 

The event is designed to help organisations embed a culture of health and wellbeing into their corporate culture in a way that enhances the mental, social and physical wellbeing and productivity of all staff. We will look at the companies that are excelling at corporate wellness and how they promote wellbeing through culture, the built environment and technology. Industry experts will share creative ways to promote wellbeing with innovative worksite wellness programmes.

 

The format will include a heart healthy networking breakfast and lunch, presentations by experts, case studies and great networking with others in the field. Delegates will leave the event with a toolkit of proven strategies to increase their return on investment in the area of employee health and wellbeing.

 

Confirmed speakers include Nigel Owens, International Rugby Union referee and John Grant, Author, Better.

 

Book now to avail of the early bird rate €250 + VAT. For group rates please email claire.gilroy@ibec.ie.