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20111606 TÄINISTE HIGHLIGHTS €85 BILLION EUROPEAN TRADE  300 European Chamber guests gather for Summer Get-Together 

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore T.D. addresses European Chamber of Ireland
16 June 2011

In an address to over 300 members of the European business community and 17 European Ambassadors in Dublin the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore T.D. praised the role of the European Chamber of Ireland in promoting relations between Ireland and other European countries.   

Mr. Gilmore said “I believe that the European Chamber can play a valuable role in helping to develop positive European-Irish relations and in bringing our business communities together. The Minister went on to say “the EU and EFTA alone account for 62% of Irish merchandise exports. Merchandise trade with these countries in 2010 amounted to over €85 billion - a staggering amount- and despite some challenging economic circumstances, our trade figures continue to grow”.

The European Chamber of Ireland was established in 2009 to further trade links between Ireland and other European countries. Its membership is made up of trade bodies from 19 states. The discussion surrounding direct foreign investment rarely focuses on European companies yet the European Chamber of Ireland estimates that there are well over 800 European companies active in Ireland employing over 75,000 staff. Many of these are well known and long established heavy hitters such as Zurich, Novartis, GSK, Roche, Nestlé, Philips, Veolia, Citroen, and Yves Rocher. A sign of their commitment to their Irish operations is the fact that 20 IDA-supported companies alone are currently reinvesting in Ireland, leading to a significant number of new jobs.

A number of Austrian companies operate in Ireland. Andersen Ireland Ltd. employs 200 staff in Rathkeale, Co. Limerick where it manufactures high quality costume jewellery. Through sales offices in Vienna and in Germany it services markets in Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. In Shannon, Co. Clare, Kraus and Naimer Ireland Ltd. produces electrical switches and has 80 employees.  Doka Ireland Ltd. designs and installs concrete cladding from its facilities Droghed, Co. Louth and Swarovski Ireland Ltd., famous for it's synthetic diamonds, has several braches around the country.
But it‘s not all one-way traffic. European Chamber Patron CRH plc, headquartered in Ireland, first entered the mainland European market in 1973 through the acquisition of a concrete products and distribution company in The Netherlands. Today, CRH’s European operations comprise over 1,800 operating locations in 24 countries which generated sales of €9 billion and employs 40,000 people. Group HR Director at CRH, Jack Golden emphasises that: “The European market offers great potential for Irish exporters and indigenous Irish companies seeking to expand. I can only encourage all Irish companies to focus on developing their business in Europe, a market of 500 million people with enormous potential at our doorstep.”

Representatives of European trade had reason to celebrate yesterday at their Summer Get-Together on the swish 6th floor roof terrace of Byrne on Grand Canal Dock yesterday. Managing Partner Paul McGennis of ByrneWallace says “Economic ties with Europe are extremely important to our firm and our client base. We are delighted to host the European Chamber of Ireland annual summer event in our offices and facilitate the type of high level commercial and diplomatic networking that Ireland needs.

With 17 European Ambassadors present at this event and other important trade destination also represented, such as the US, Japan and China, this event is a major part of Ireland’s reputation rebuilding. Ireland has a good story to tell and it is at events like this that we need to sell the positive investment location that we are. With over 300 people in attendance, what better way of demonstrating that Ireland is absolutely open for business”.