Chambers Ireland Weekly Digest: 18th April 2017

  1. CSR Awards application deadline extended – Applications open until 27 April

The CSR Awards celebrate the work being carried out by companies across Ireland to improve the lives of their employees and to enhance the civic environment in which they operate. The CSR Awards offer the business community a chance to promote and highlight the best practice CSR activities taking place in companies of all sizes across Ireland.

The award categories include Excellence in Environment, Community (divided into Charity, Volunteering and Community Programme), Workplace, Marketplace, Supporting Youth Employment, CSR Communication, CSR by an SME and one company will be awarded the Outstanding Achievement in CSR 2017.

The deadline for applications is now open until noon, Thursday 27th April 2017. Applications can be made online at the following link:

Please visit for further information

  1. NCC Competitiveness Bulletin: Benchmarking Competitiveness

The National Competitiveness Council published a report and bulletin on Benchmarking Competitiveness: Ireland and the UK, 2017. The bulletin highlights that competitiveness is key to meeting the economic challenges of Brexit and provides a statistical snapshot assessment of Ireland’s current performance with specific comparison and reference to the UK. It highlights 5 key policy areas which need to be addressed to enhance competitiveness: public finance, capital investment, diverse export base, skilled labour, and innovation and productivity.

You can read the Bulletin here and the more detailed report is available here.


  1. Employers Disability Information Service – Seminar with UK Business Disability Forum

Lessons for Ireland from UK Business Disability Forum  is an information seminar hosted by the National Disability Authority on 27 April 2017, 10am-4pm at Enterprise Ireland, East Point Dublin.

We would like to invite all chambers members and businesses who are interested in learning more about the employment of people with disabilities or retention of employees with disabilities to come along to the seminar to find out more and to raise any questions you may have. We encourage chambers to share this with members that may be interested.

Brendan Roche from the UK’s Business Disability Forum will be leading the seminar to discuss how they work with employers and the benefits of peer networking. The seminar will address the key barriers and aids to the retention of employees with disabilities and will provide an overview of the guidance for employers and how it is developed.

Those interested in attending the seminar please contact to register or for more information. If Chambers or Chamber members have any issues relating to disability provision that they would like to raise in confidence please contact the Employers Disability Information Service for more information.

  1. Irish Rural Link Annual Conference –  Friday 5th May, Sheraton Hotel, Athlone

The conference; “Micro Enterprise: A Key to Rural Employment – Outlining Pathways to Europe’’ will allow participants to reflect on the many issues facing rural microenterprises and the effect of Brexit on export opportunities. Please find invitation attached.

The conference will look at how mirco enterprise and rural entrepreneurs are responding to these issues and explore supports available in order to create a pathway to the EU Single Market.

Irish Rural Link will be promoting a new programme – MICRO, to promote growth and employment in rural areas by leveraging under utilised EU opportunities and promoting participation to EU single market by Microenterprises. The idea behind MICRO is to develop and deploy Open Educational Resources (open and widely available training content and modules) targeted at micro and craft type enterprises in rural areas to foster their chances of growth and access to the EU single market and EU opportunities to ultimately enhance their competitiveness.

IRL’s target group include microenterprises and micro entrepreneurs in rural areas, who wish to explore / develop strategies for their entry to the single EU market.

So whether there is a need to influence policy makers to remember rural enterprises or simply to get advice, Irish Rural Link will be delighted to welcome all comers to the event

Conference will be opened by  Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Speakers on the Day Include;

  • Patricia Callan, Small Firms Association
  • Dr. Michael Brougham, Enterprise Ireland
  • Michael Kenny, NUIM
  • Harald Felzen, Sparkassen, SBFIC
  • Christine Charlton, Westmeath Enterprise Board
  • Ann Marie Walsh, The Tipperary Kitchen

Friday 5th May – The Sheraton Hotel, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Conference starts at 9.00am – 2.30pm Including IRL AGM & Lunch

Tel. 090 6482744 or Email:


  1. Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2017 launched

Minister Heather Humphries and Minister for State Michael Ring announced €20 in funding for the Town and Village Renewal Scheme in 2017. Building on the success of the scheme in 2016, the money will be made available through Local Authorities over the next 15 months to support rural regeneration.

The scheme is specifically targeted at rural towns and villages with populations of less than 10,000. Applications from towns can range from €20,000 to a maximum of €100,000. Funding of up to €200,000 will also be considered for a limited number of projects which can deliver exceptionally strong economic benefit to a town and its outlying areas.

Selection of projects will be by means of a competitive process, initially at Local Authority level, with the final project selection being made by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Local Authorities will be required to advertise for expressions of interest from towns/villages in their area before the end of April and will select up to 15 proposals for development into detailed applications to be submitted to the Department by the end of June.

The final project selection will be made in July by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Successful projects will be expected to commence immediately and can run up to mid-2018.

More information available here

  1. National Life Sciences & Engineering Expo

National Life Sciences & Engineering Expo will be held in Mullingar Park Hotel on 15th, 16th June 2017. Please find attached poster with further information or visit

  1. New grant aid scheme for community-based CCTV systems

The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. recently announced a new grant-aid scheme to assist community groups to assist the establishment of community-based CCTV systems.

Under the scheme, eligible community groups can apply for grant-aid of up to 60% of the total capital cost of a proposed CCTV system, up to a maximum grant of €40,000. Upon approval of the grant, the applicant will receive an up-front payment of 50% of the grant with the balance to be paid when the system is fully operational.

Some of the key objectives of the Scheme are to enhance existing policing provision within the community, to assist in the prevention and reduction of local crime, disorder and anti-social activity and to increase community involvement in the provision of legitimate, integrated responses to prevent and reduce crime in local areas in association with appropriate agencies.

Further information and the relevant application forms are available here