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Batt O’Keeffe Speaks At Chamber Autum Luncheon

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Cobh & Harbour Chamber Michael Martin with Minister Batt O'Keeffe

Cobh & Harbour Chamber Michael Martin with Minister Batt O'Keeffe - Photos by Cobh Edition

The Cobh & Harbour held their annual Chamber Lunch at the Crows Nest in Rushbrooke on Friday last with Guest speaker Batt O’Keeffe, Minister for Enterprise Trade & Innovation.

Minister O’Keeffe has a vast amount of experience in the political arena having been elected to Cork County Council in 1985 and in 1987 was elected to Dail Eireann. Michael Martin, President of Cobh & Harbour Chamber, in welcoming the Minister said with Cobh striving to develop new business and promote the tourism and leisure potential of Cork harbour that Minister O’Keeffe was a welcome and appropriate speaker.

Members Of 'Suits Distributors with Minister O'Keeffe

The Minister began his speech by thanking the Chamber for the invitation and said he was delighted to get the opportunity to meet the Cobh & Harbour Chamber Members.  He spoke of how the Government are looking to the future through initiatives to help create jobs and assured those present that Ireland’s competitiveness was holding firm with labour unit costs decreased by 6%.  “Ireland” he said “has the 4th highest skilled labour base in the world and this will stand to us.  The IDA has 48 new job announcements and 50% of these enterprises have an R&D facility. Ireland is in a position to recover faster than in the past and he stated that with this commitment the growth of the economy by 2012/2013 would be 4- 4 .5%.

In terms of creating jobs Minister O’Keeffe said how there are over 700,000 people in Ireland working in the SME sector and it is vital to services that the Government sustain this sector. The Minister confirmed that he and his team are in meetings with the banks to ensure that credit is available for SME Business’s over the next two years.

Michael Martin, Minister O'Keeffe & Kathleen Geary

When speaking about Tourism, the Minister told the members how over one million visitors had come to Cork in the past year and that Cobh played a large part in that not least because of the visiting cruise liners. He outlined the importance of the harbour and the Chamber being closely aligned with Fáilte Ireland and it remaining the centre for excellence for Angling and family holidays.  In conclusion the Minister reiteraed that he had a listening ear and was there to help sell and grow business in Ireland.  Before leaving the Minister met with the Executive of the Chamber to discuss important issues relating to Cobh and the Harbour Area.

The President of the Chamber Michael Martin presented Minister O’Keeffe with a limited edition print of Cobh by local artist Mark Hathaway as a memento of his visit to Cobh.

All Photographs by Cobh Edition

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