Ibec launches latest campaign




  • Ibec launches new 2018 campaign – Better Lives, Better Business
  • Talent attraction and retention being hurt by housing and infrastructural deficits
  • 80,000 additional construction workers needed to build out new Ireland



Ireland’s economy is currently at an historic watermark. The pace of the turnaround from recession to recovery and into our new growth phase has been remarkable. Disposable incomes are rising and spreading through Irish society.


And yet whilst a greater private affluence is emerging, it is developing against the backdrop of wholly inadequate public infrastructure. Significant problems are becoming apparent across a range of areas from talent shortages to housing and transport congestion. In their everyday lives, people are experiencing a rationing in housing stock, road space, schooling and water services.


Better Lives, Better Business, is designed along four key pillars – housing, infrastructure, planning and sustainability


In Ibec’s new campaign, Better Lives, Better Business, we have designed a programme along four key pillars – housing, infrastructure, planning and sustainability.


To solve our problems over the coming decades, Ibec estimates that circa 36,000 new homes per annum will be required between 2018 and 2046 with at least 80,000 new construction workers required to deliver this level of output.


How do we get there? Our new report, ‘Better Housing: Actions to increase affordable supply’, has made recommendations that include:


• Measures to drive down the cost of development land including the introduction of a new land value tax.


• Convene the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs to map out how to provide the workers required to overcome considerable capacity constraints.


• A stable property related tax environment that offers a degree of certainty.


• A new urban housing regime that accommodates 21st century height and density requirements.


• Build more social housing – it is far more cost effective than spending billions of euro on rental assistance programmes.


To read Better Lives, Better Business, and for further information, please go to our dedicated website.

Photographed are, from left to right; Ibec President Edel Creely and Vice President International HR, Fitbit, Clodagh Logue

Dangerous employment legislation

  • New Employment Bill signals danger of populist politics
  • Draft legislation, including possible prison sentences, is disproportionate
  • Ireland’s reputation as business friendly economy to suffer if Bill continues in current form


Ibec is appalled at the progress of the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017 (commonly referred to as the “Banded Hours Bill”) in recent weeks.


The Bill was introduced by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection in December 2017 as a response to media reports of exploitation of employees on zero hours - which are very rarely used in Ireland - and variable hours working arrangements. However, the proposed legislation goes much further than introducing bands of hours on which employees may be placed after establishing a pattern of work over the relevant reference period of 12 months.

The Bill requires employers to provide a written statement of terms within 5 days of commencement of employment, even if the employment ceases within that timeframe. The statement must include an estimate of daily and weekly working hours – something that will be easily achievable in most cases but will pose a real challenge in certain sectors of employment, including the hospitality industry, to give but one example. Failure to provide the statement may result in a criminal conviction with a possible custodial sentence of up to 12 months attached. The bands of hours in the Bill as originally published last December would always have posed a challenge for business, but now that they have been further reduced, Ibec anticipates that this will cause real rigidity in the labour market as employers refuse to vary hours of work at all – unless absolutely necessary – in a bid to avoid being locked into unsustainable patterns of employment by the legislation when passed.

Amendments passed at Committee stage of the Bill included a narrowing of the band widths to as little as 3 hours in some cases and a new requirement to be placed on employers to offer any additional hours which become available in a business to existing part-time staff, regardless of skills, expertise or experience. A further amendment tabled at Report stage includes a proposal to criminalise the incorrect designation of an individual on a contract for services when, by a crude test set out in the amendment, they should have been described as an employee. This proposal also suggests that a prison sentence on conviction would be an appropriate penalty for an employer.

This disproportionate draft legislation has been an exercise in populist politics since inception, with political parties more concerned about optics than sensible, balanced regulation. Ibec and the business community now fears that unless political parties take a more responsible approach to creating legislation, a continuation of the current political structure risks serious damage to Ireland's reputation and competitiveness and does nothing to foster healthy industrial relations between employees and the businesses which employ them.

Ibec in images

Our ongoing international outreach saw a delegation from Ibec at the OECD Forum in Paris to promote the voice of Irish business. As part of this we were honoured to join our French colleagues in MEDEF at the Irish Embassy  to discuss multilateralism and global issues.


Pictured are Ibec CEO, Danny McCoy; Director General MEDEF, Michel Guilbaud; Ibec President Edel Creely; President MEDEF & incoming President Business Europe, Pierre Gattaz; Irish Ambassador to France, Patricia O'Brien; and Irish Ambassador to the OECD, Dermot Nolan.

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy addressed delegates at the Ministerial Council Meeting of the OECD, outlining the challenges and opportunities posed by the digital transformation and international trade.


He is pictured alongside European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, Pierre Moscovici.

Ibec were delighted to host the Petitions Committee of the German Bundestag (German Parliament) earlier this month as part of the group's fact-finding trip to Ireland.

We were delighted to be joined in Ibec recently by Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee to launch our Future of Europe report.


As part of the Ibec Podcast series, she joined Ibec Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Fergal O'Brien to discuss how Irish business opportunities in Europe can be strengthened, what is the Government view on potential challenges to Ireland's economic sovereignty and when will business have a clearer picture of the EU post-Brexit?


You can listen to the podcast here.

Ibec CEO Danny McCoy addressed the International Labour Organization in Geneva where he outlined how misleading information on the quality of jobs being created in the economy was distorting the debate on labour market regulation, and risked prompting a misguided policy response.


Read his full speech here.


Ibec is calling on Government to foster more ambitious policies to place Ireland as a global digital leader that delivers jobs and growth. Failure to adapt sufficiently to an increasingly digitalised global economy will erode Ireland’s capacity to compete internationally.


Pictured presenting the Ibec Digital Manifesto to Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D are Ibec Head of Digital Economy Erik O'Donovan, and Chairman of Ibec Digital Economy Policy Committee and Accenture Country Managing Director Alastair Blair.

Ahead of attending the Ministerial Council Meeting of the OECD in Paris, Ibec CEO Danny McCoy sat down with Political Editor at POLITICO Europe, Ryan Heath, to discuss the challenges and opportunities posed by the digital transformation and international trade.

The SFA officially launched its campaign for a national Small Business Strategy.


In Ireland, we know exactly what it takes to create real, transformational change, as we have successfully built a world-class environment for multinational companies. This know-how must now be harnessed for the benefit of almost a quarter of a million small businesses.


Pictured are SFA Chair Sue O'Neill; Leader of Fianna Fáil, Micheál Martin; and Managing Director of Commercial Banking, Ulster Bank, Eddie Cullen. 

Over several generations, Ireland has relentlessly adopted open economy policies, with the financial services sector central to this. This must continue to be the chosen strategy for the industry.


We were delighted that Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD joined us to give the keynote address at this years Financial Services Ireland (FSI) Annual Lunch.

The Irish Beverage Council  was a prominent feature at this year’s Bloom in the Park Festival. The Council sponsored a show garden designed by Kevin Dennis via their “Fruit Juice Matters” initiative with his design awarded a gold medal in the large garden category.


Pictured at the winning show garden are IBC Director Colm Jordan; An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD; Minister for Food Andrew Doyle TD; and IBC Chair Tim Casey from Innocent Drinks Ireland.

The Ibec Medtech and Engineering group recently held its “New thinking in Enterprise Excellence: Manufacturing Conference”, a special event that showcased how new technologies are driving better innovation and competitiveness.


Pictured at the event are IBM Watson Imaging, Steven Tolle; Seabrook Technology, Sean O'Sullivan; Irish Medtech Association Chair and Stryker, David Tallon; and Irish Medtech Association, Adrienne McDonnell

June saw the launch of the inaugural Retail Ireland Lunch. Keynote speaker Hamish Tayor outlined to delegates the challenges and opportunities facing the indigenous sector in light of Brexit uncertainties and the ongoing digital transformation. 


He is pictured here with Chairman of Retail Ireland, Willie O'Byrne and Director of Retail Ireland, Thomas Burke.

At Property Industry Ireland's recent annual conference, delegates heard from industry experts how Ireland’s housing problems have now clearly moved beyond being the social issue of our time and have also become a major risk to our future economic prosperity.


Pictured at the event are Tom Phillips, MD of Tom Phillips + Associates and Chairman of Property Industry Ireland; Dr. Mary Keeling, Business Development Executive, Long Term Signings, IBM; Marian Finnegan, Chief Economist and Director of Research, Sherry FitzGerald; David Duffy, Director of Property Industry Ireland.

Ibec and Technology Ireland were joined by the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG) earlier this month. The engagement provided a great opportunity to outline the ambition of the Irish business community for the completion of the European Digital Single Market.

In April, Ibec published the results of a major new Brexit survey with Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney at the All-island Civic Dialogue in Dundalk.


The survey revealed that a large majority of companies are now actively engaged in Brexit planning, despite the massive uncertainties that remain.


Learn more about the findings here.


In May, the Irish Spirits Association hosted a visit to Ireland by Mr. Ulrich Adams, director-general of spiritsEUROPE, the EU representative body for the spirits industry. The Irish Spirits Association (ISA) forms part of ABFI – the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland. During his visit to Ireland Mr. Adams addressed ISA member companies at a meeting in Bushmills Distillery, Co. Antrim and he also met with Ireland’s two largest spirits producers. Mr Adams met with Baileys (who form part of the Diageo group) during a visit to the Guinness Storehouse and he met with Irish Distillers (who form part of the Pernod Ricard group) during a visit to the Jameson Distillery at Bow Street in Dublin.

Mr. Adams also met with Mr. Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Mr. Adams was accompanied by Ms. Patricia Callan, Director of ABFI and Mr. William Lavelle, Head of the Irish Spirits Association. During the meeting with the Minister, Mr. Adams raised European concerns about the impact of the Public Heath (Alcohol) Bill on the functioning of the EU single market, while the current issues of Brexit and international trade were also discussed.


We were delighted to be joined in Ibec recently by Neal Suggs, Global Chief Commercial Lawyer at Microsoft, where he provided fascinating insights on recent developments in data privacy and extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Time to get moving!


April saw the 4th National Workplace Wellbeing Day take place, with thousands of employers engaging in events aimed at improving employee wellbeing by promoting physical activities and healthy eating in the workplace.


Ibec marked the day with a series of activities including walking a lunchtime mile!

June saw the inaugural Ibec KeepWell Summit in Croke Park. Head over to the Digest section of this edition of Agenda to learn more about the event!
Welcome Message

Dear member,

Campaigning is now a cornerstone of how Ibec seeks to effect public policy change and implementation. In running our various campaigns, we aim to set the agenda by building new narratives or challenging existing ones. Our campaigns reach out to multiple key audiences simultaneously, helping to create an environment that is receptive to policies which improve the Irish economy and business landscape.

In Ibec’s newest campaign, Better Lives, Better Business, we confront the many challenges that our economy and society face through severe housing and infrastructural deficits. We encourage you take the time to review our campaign research which is available on

Danny McCoy



Trump's tariffs - tit for tat



  • EU imposes tariffs on US goods worth €2.8 billion
  • Maize, motorcycles and steel caught in trade dispute
  • Ibec concern for Irish business


On Wednesday 20 June, the European Commission adopted measures to immediately impose additional tariffs on a list of US products worth €2.8bn. This was in response to the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium by the US. Concurrently, the EU is engaging the World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute resolution process arguing that the US has breached WTO law by applying these tariffs.

Further tariffs, on imports from the US valued at €3.6 billion, will enter into force at a later stage: either in March 2021 or if there is a positive finding in the WTO dispute settlement process that the US has acted unlawfully, whichever comes first.


€59 million worth of goods imported to Ireland from the US will be affected by the tariffs

The new tariffs are calculated as a percentage of a products customs valuation and came in to effect on Friday, 22 June 2018. A total of €59 million worth of goods imported to Ireland from the US will be affected by the tariffs. Maize and steel are amongst the most imported items. Overall the goods subject to tariffs account for 0.4% of total imports from the US, which is the second lowest share in the EU. In value terms, Ireland is 9th most exposed (as we import more from the US than other countries).

In March, Ibec expressed its concern with the US decision to introduce tariffs of an additional 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium products. The EU initially secured an exemption, which expired on 1 June 2018. Currently, Australia is the only country with an exemption.

Ibec accepts that the EU must respond to this action. However, the response must be proportionate and lawful. Europe and the US should work together to address shared global concerns at the multilateral level.

We remain concerned that this situation will escalate into a sustained trade war further impacting global supply chains with the resulting negative impacts on Irish business and consumers.

The full list of products that are subject to tariffs now and the proposed tariffs in 2021 is available here.

Brexit update - A new guide for business



  • Clock running down for negotiations as European Council meets
  • Business needs to prepare for all eventualities
  • Ibec launches Brexit guide with Accenture


June's 2018 European Council is an important milestone in Brexit negotiations. It had been hoped that significant progress would have been made towards resolving the Northern Ireland border issue. However, no major breakthrough is expected. Time is running out. The EU has set an October deadline for the details of the UK withdrawal to be finalised, but we have a long way to go. This is before we even get into detailed discussions on what the future EU-UK relationship will look like. The two sides remain far apart, and the UK is preoccupied with managing its own internal Brexit divisions.

All of this is bad news for business. We may yet see an outcome that keeps the UK closely aligned to the EU into the future, but there are no guarantees. Major employers in the UK are making their voices heard in the debate, highlighting the massive risks of a disorderly Brexit. But the lack of progress in talks means that there remains a possibility of talks breaking down altogether. The UK is not yet prepared to face up to the hard choices that Brexit presents, especially as the official position, with its red lines, will be hard to step back from politically.


The need for businesses to prepare for all eventualities remains

The need for businesses to prepare for all eventualities remains. Ibec, together with Accenture, has produced a comprehensive guide to support businesses in this process. We have just launched a new update online version of this guide which is available here. The guide sets out the potential high level economic consequences of Brexit, examines how different sectors and different parts of your business might be affected and provides practical advice on how to plan. It is an invaluable resource during these very uncertain times.

The latest Ibec Podcast


The Ibec Podcast series


Keep up to date on the latest news and insights from Ibec with our podcast series, available to subscribe to and download on iTunes and Soundcloud.


On the most recent episode, Ibec's Alison Wrynn and Aidan Sweeney join Director of Property Industry Ireland David Duffy to discuss 'Better Housing: Increasing affordability and supply'. This joint report from Ibec and PII highlights what the major challenges are and offers practical recommendations to deliver better housing and a better quality of life for all.



Ibec begins Budget 2019 process

A team of representatives led by Edel Creely, Ibec President, and Fergal O’Brien, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, participated in the National Economic Dialogue at Dublin Castle on June 27 and 28.
In advance of Budget 2019, Ibec is highlighting the need to focus on new supports for the indigenous enterprise sector including the development of a meaningful employee stock ownership scheme that helps indigenous SMEs attract and retain talent, and a significant overhauling of the capital gains tax regime to bring it into line with the wider corporate tax regime for business investments.
Other measures sought include amending the Employment Investment and Incentive Scheme to make it a more effective financing option for SMEs and a major fiscal response to address the crisis in higher education funding.
Ibec’s full Budget 2019 submission will be launched on Monday, 16 July, and will include a detailed series of recommendations.



Irish economy to grow by 5.6% in 2018

In the Quarterly Economic Outlook Q1 2018, Ibec forecasts growth of 5.6% in the current year with a buoyant consumer economy growing by 2.6% in volume terms. All indicators now point to growth clearly benefiting households through improving wages and incomes.
In the labour market, 2018 will see employment reach record levels with over 2.2 million people at work and the economy approaching full employment. In addition, Irish workers are experiencing the fastest real wage growth in Europe. As a result, total household purchasing power, excluding borrowing, has never been greater in the history of the State.



Planning process review urgently required


Ireland has set out its stall as a globalised economy that is open for business and investment. As the Apple Athenry case recently demonstrated, our planning system as presently constituted does not support this vision and urgently requires to be reviewed.

Projects of the magnitude proposed by Apple are capable of generating very substantial direct value and spin-offs to the economy and can act as catalysts for effective regional development. It is therefore worrying that Ireland’s planning regime is increasingly seen by potential investors as a bureaucratic black hole.

Even in situations where there is a broad range of interests in favour of investment, there are examples where the system appears to be perversely stacked against commercial development. The situation is not helped by a continuing lack of legal clarity on environmental impact assessments, and by the ease with which vexatious claims can be brought with little or no risk. However, it is uncertainty over decision timelines – whether for planning consent or for the almost inevitable judicial review – that is arguably the biggest hindrance.



KeepWell Summit 2018


On 21 June over 300 HR and occupational health and safety professionals, business leaders and wellness managers gathered for the inaugural KeepWell Summit in Croke Park.


This event explored the strategies smart organisations are employing to contribute to the wellness of their employees. It featured a mix of key note sessions, short TedTalk style presentations and panel discussions. Contributions were heard from wellness experts and companies at various stages along the wellness journey.

Highlights included Neil O’Brien, wellness expert and motivational speaker who led the discussion around the future of wellness, Chris Flack the founder and CEO of UnPlug who opened our eyes to reality of constantly being ‘connected’ to technology and the effect on personal wellbeing and Lisa Wilkinson the director of The Elbow Room on work-life balance, who also led the crowd in a series of mindfulness exercises.

We hope to make this an annual event so watch this space for updates. In the meantime sign-up to the Ibec Wellness Roundup – our monthly ezine that delivers content on corporate wellness related topics gathered from a variety of trusted sources, by clicking the link here.








Ibec Campaign Launch: Smarter World, Smarter Work

Globalisation, digitalisation, changing lifestyles and new consumer preferences mean jobs and career paths are being transformed. And the pace of change is accelerating. This brings new opportunities, but also risks.


At 9.00 – 10.00 am on Monday 9 July Ibec will launch a major new campaign – Smarter World, Smarter Work – at the Long Room Hub in Trinity College Dublin.


The campaign will set out a positive vision for the future of work, identify the priority actions needed to deliver this ambition, and influence policy decisions accordingly. It will cover key HR and employment issues, including talent, career transitions, flexible working and employer/employee relations. We will also launch detailed proposals on graduate employability skills. A panel discussion will include Margot Slattery of Sodexo, Paul Sweeney of augmented reality company DAQRI International and Prof Jane Ohlmeyer of Trinity.


To register your interest in attending the launch of Ibec's latest major campaign, click here

Ibec Webinar Series

Whether it is advice on HR practices, up to date insights on Brexit  or the latest on GDPR, Ibec Webinars provide support to your organisation.


Our webinars allow you to engage with our experts who can answer any questions you may have to make sure you get the best possible value from your membership.


To register your interest in any of our upcoming webinars, click here.