This is my third message as President of the Chamber since taking over from Vivian Doyle-Kelly at the AGM in June 2017. A lot of positive events have taken place since I became President, though I absolutely cannot take credit for them!
Highlights of the year have been the short visit from an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in August 2017 and the announcement by Air Canada of a new summer schedule between Montréal and Dublin last fall. The recent announcement by Aer Lingus that it plans to launch a year-round service between the two cities has the potential to be a game changer. I, for one, will not miss the pleasures of sitting around Heathrow waiting for an early morning connection to Dublin.
In May, the then Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál Mac Donncha visited Montréal to attend the annual “Walk to the Stone” and offer his support to the Irish famine memorial project. The Chamber had a productive meeting with him and Michael Hurley, Deputy Head of Mission, at the Irish Embassy in Ottawa. This allowed us to highlight the Chamber and the work we do on behalf of the Irish business community in Montréal.
Also in May, the Chamber was well represented as the Montréal Shamrocks celebrated its 75th anniversary with a gala dinner at the Evo Centre Ville. Ambassador Jim Kelly and retired Cork hurling star, Sean Óg Ó hAlpín, were the guests of honour. Many of our members are active members of the Montréal Shamrocks. We would like to congratulate them on their 75th anniversary and especially congratulate Tony Cunningham and Ronan Corbett for organizing the excellent weekend activities.
Our AGM took place on a wet and blustery night in June, which forced us indoors at Hurley’s. As outlined at the AGM, the Chamber is on a solid financial basis and is successfully growing its membership. Two directors, Joe Kinsella and Diana James, stepped down at the AGM. I would like to thank Diana and Joe for their great contribution to the Chamber over the years.
Diana’s office in Montréal was the Chamber’s head office for many years. I am pleased to report that we have replaced Diana and Joe with two excellent new directors, David Crandall and Eoin Ó hÓgáin. David is a lawyer at Norton Rose and is an active member of the Montréal Irish Rugby Football Club. Eoin arrived from Dublin in 2016 and is Vice President of Strategy at Power Corporation. We are delighted to welcome them both to the board.
Finally, an upcoming event for your calendar is the Ireland Canada Business Association summit in Dublin on November 8, 2018. The last summit in April 2016 was a great success and our chamber was well represented. If you are planning a trip to Dublin, please keep this in mind.
Our mission is to foster trade and commerce between Ireland and Canada and to promote our members’ business interests. We are working hard to do this, but we need your support. If you can contribute your time and skills, we can certainly use your help. In the meantime, come to one of our events and help keep the chamber active and relevant.