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Twenty-one local winners announced as first ever recipients of the GSK Cork Community Investment Fund

Cork-based charities and organisations will benefit from €24,000 fund

aimed at health and well-being in the local community


From the creation of a “shooting star room” for children with ASD needs to installation of four beehives, from bibs for park runs to student chemistry club supports: these are just a small selection of some of the initiatives that will benefit from the first ever GSK Cork Community Investment Fund. This new programme aims to promote health and well-being in the local communities close to GSK’s Currabinny site.

Speaking at a presentation ceremony to celebrate the awards, GSK Cork Site Director, Mike O’Sullivan commented, “GSK supports healthcare in communities all over the world. This is mainly through the medicines, vaccines and products we develop and manufacture, but behind all of this is our people, and the communities in which they live and work. At GSK we believe our mission to help people do more, feel better and live longer, starts at home. As a healthcare company and local employer, these awards allow us to recognise organisations committed to improving the health of our local community and the lives of people who live here.”

Over 50 applications were received with 21 local organisations receiving donations from the fund. Organisations were required to be based in the local community, and to operate in the areas of health, wellbeing, science education, environmental protection or have an affiliation with a GSK Cork employee.

2019 GSK Cork Community Investment Fund recipients

  • Acquired Brain Injury Ireland
  • Ballincollig parkrun
  • Ballincurrig National School Hall Fundraiser
  • Ballinhassig Village Association
  • Bartlemy Parish Hall Ltd
  • Bessboro Day Care Centre Alzheimer Society of Ireland
  • Big Brother Big Sister Foróige
  • Cork Cancer Care Centre
  • Cork City FC Community/Family section
  • Cork Institute of Technology (‘A Healthy CIT’ – the Institute’s Campus Health Promotion Initiative)
  • Cosmos Education CLG
  • Edmund Rice College
  • Gaelscoil Charraig Uí Leighin
  • Glenfields Community Childcare
  • Harbour Call
  • Scoil Bhríde Crosshaven
  • Scoil Chros tSeáin Crosshaven Boys’ Primary School
  • Scoil Mhuire Lourdes STEM Academy
  • Shanbally National School
  • SVP Sacred Heart Conference Monkstown.
  • UCC Chemical Society

For more information on the awards, visit


Spark Foundry, part of Core, ranked No. 1 media agency in Ireland by independent assessment agency RECMA

Core remains the dominant marketing communications company in Ireland, increasing

its lead to 29 qualitative points

Spark Foundry, the media communications agency, which is part of Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications company, has been ranked No. 1 in the latest qualitative report released by RECMA, the global independent assessment agency.

RECMA is the only independent global research company that evaluates media agencies worldwide.

By collecting and analysing data from over 1,400 media agencies in 90 countries, the mission of the organisation is to provide strategic intelligence reference tools to help the Top 500 global advertisers in their decision making and agency sourcing.

RECMA ranks networks and groups according to the RECMA Qualitative Evaluation. This is based on 18 criteria, which are grouped into four sets:

  • Competitiveness in pitches over three years
  • Momentum, which includes new business balance and growth rates as well as hiring talent and awards
  • Resources in digital and diversified services including data and content
  • Agency capability to manage major accounts, as well as relationship stability

Spark Foundry Ireland scored an ‘A’ grade in the 2018 report, and Core remains the dominant marketing communications group in Ireland, increasing its overall lead from 25 to 29 qualitative points.

Speaking about the ranking Sandra Alvarez, Managing Director of Spark Foundry, said: “We are very proud with our ranking. This result is a combination of having an extraordinary team working with extraordinary clients. Last year, we had great success welcoming new clients into the agency and high rates of business retention. Being part of Core is a key part of this success as we have access to leading experts in the market across Creative, Investment, Data, Research, Strategy and Sponsorship. None of the success would be possible without such a collaborative and diversified structure.”

Speaking about the ranking Aidan Greene, Deputy CEO of Core, said: “The continued focus for Core will be the strengthening of each of our practices under the leadership of highly experienced specialists. We see the RECMA results as an affirmation of Core’s vision and strategy.”

Core has a team over 300 people across nine practices – Creative, Data, Investment, Learning, Media (comprising of Mediaworks, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith), Recruitment, Research, Sponsorship and Strategy.

Core has been voted Agency Network of the Year for the last six years at the Media Awards and the company was also recently voted one of the top workplaces in Ireland by the Great Place to Work Institute for the tenth year running.

Pictured: Spark Foundry Board of Directors – Gemma Corbett, Board Director; Aileen McDaid, Digital Board Director; Sandra Alvarez, Managing Director; Helen O’Rourke, Deputy Managing Director; Dave Kirkpatrick, Digital Strategist and Board Director


For more information about Core, please visit




Brexit-linked downturn looming for UK SMEs will have significant knock-on consequences for Irish SMEs – research from Bibby Financial Services

UK SMEs are at risk of a downturn, according to new research from independent financial services provider, Bibby Financial Services (BFS) in the UK, and Irish SMEs are being warned that they should expect knock-on consequences as a result.

Faced with incredibly challenging trading conditions, UK SMEs are experiencing a decline in sales and increasing costs as the value of the pound continues to linger at historically low levels, according to new data.

As UK SMEs face into further political and economic uncertainty, independent funder, Bibby Financial Services UK, is calling on the British government to provide reassurance to the business community, amid concerns that a no-deal Brexit would cause confidence to fall further still. The SME Confidence Tracker research found:

  • Sales growth slowed for SMEs in 2018 as the number of businesses that saw their sales increase fell to just over a third (35%) in Q4 2018 from 39% in Q1 2018
  • This outcome is set to flatten in 2019 as just over a third (36%) anticipate increased sales in Q1 2019, compared to exactly half of SMEs (50%) a year ago in Q1 2018
  • Nearly a third (32%) of SMEs have linked a rise in business costs to a fall in the pound
  • Over a quarter (27%) say that uncertainty arising from the UK’s exit from the EU is holding back investment

The research also found that SME confidence has declined by 6.7 points from 64.7 in Q1 2018 to 58 in Q4 2018. This decline in confidence has also impacted SMEs’ investment intent as those engaging in capital expenditure dropped 14 percentage basis points from 80% Q4 2017 to 66% in Q4 2018.

Mark O’Rourke, Managing Director of Bibby Financial Services Ireland, says: This research by BFS UK highlights how the UK’s intention to leave the EU at the end of March is already having a serious effect on SMEs and their plans for 2019. This will undoubtedly have knock-on consequences for Irish SMEs who trade with the United Kingdom.  

“No matter how big or small an Irish SME is, Brexit is going to affect their business. The Irish SMEs that will succeed in the long-term are those that are planning now for Brexit and thinking strategically about how they can protect their business.” 

Edward Winterton, UK CEO, Bibby Financial Services said: “Our research should be sobering reading for policymakers and the wider business community alike. Despite positive economic growth last year, many SMEs are feeling the full brunt of continued political uncertainty on the Brexit issue.

“Whatever happens between now and March 29, there is a real urgency for the Government to create stability and act to support our SMEs and high streets. I fundamentally believe the UK is a good place to do business and there will be plenty of opportunities in 2019 for SMEs to thrive, but the storm clouds of uncertainty continue to loom large.”  

The data also suggests that there has been a gradual decline in the amount SMEs are prepared to invest in their businesses. The data shows that the amount invested fell each quarter in 2018 from £103,648 in Q1 2018 to £68,697 in Q4 2018 leaving an investment gap of £34,951 since the star of the year.


Winterton added: “If SMEs are hesitant to invest in their businesses, it means they’re at risk of going into recession territory. Growth does not come from sitting on cash or waiting for things to get better, and so conversely even as costs are rising, I urge SMEs to look at their spending for the year and set aside capital to invest in their people, products and plans. Investment of this nature is crucial for generating growth.” 


Cork student named Student Baker of the Year in the ‘CEIST All-Ireland Bake Off’, supported by Odlums

Talented students from Clare and Cork win the ‘CEIST All Ireland Bake-Off’, supported by Odlums


  • Aoife Kelly from Co. Clare and Sarah Clifford from Co. Cork claim top-spots to be named Ireland’s ‘Best Student Bakers’


  • Odlum’s Catherine Leyden and Great British Bake-Off contestant Imelda McCarron judged the competition


Two students from Clare and Cork have been named Ireland’s ’Best Student Bakers’ in the ‘CEIST All Ireland Bake-Off’, supported by Odlums, Ireland’s favourite home-baking brand.

The students beat off stiff competition from finalists from 13 secondary schools across Ireland who went whisk to whisk to bake an array of delicious creations. The aim of the ‘Bake-Off’ is to encourage a new generation of bakers, with students asked to design, plan and bake a novelty cake. The ‘Ceist All Ireland Bake-Off’ has two categories – Junior (1st – 3rd year) and Senior (4th – 6th year). While students in the Junior category were asked to design, bake and present a cake based on a theme of their choice, students in the Senior category were required to design, bake and decorate a cake around the theme of ‘Family’.

Aoife Kelly from St. Joseph’s Secondary, Tulla, Co. Clare was chosen as the winner of the Senior category for her design, an intricate family tree topped off with delicious green and pick icing.

Sarah Clifford from St Marys Mallow, Co. Cork was chosen as the winner of the Junior category for her design, an adorable white and pink bunny, decorated with swirls of pink, blue and purple icing.

Hundreds of submissions were received from schools nationwide for the ‘CEIST All-Ireland Bake-Off’ and after a tough judging process, these entries were whittled down to just 14 finalists who took part in the ‘Bake Off’ final in Ardscoil na Trionóide in Athy, Co. Kildare. Seven junior finalists and seven senior finalists worked hard to create their cake in front of judges, including Odlums ambassador Catherine Leyden and Great British Bake-Off contestant Imelda McCarron. Over a three-hour duration, the finalists mixed, whisked, baked and iced their cakes to create their shortlisted designs.

For the past four years, Odlums have been a proud supporter of this initiative, witnessing first-hand the truly talented student bakers we have across the country.

Judge Catherine Leyden, Odlums’ brand ambassador and a home baking expert, says: “It is always encouraging to see the high calibre of entries we receive every year from student’s around the country, and this year was no different. Watching our 2019 finalists pour their heart and soul into their designs, their passion for perfection and desire to create something truly unique has been eye-opening. We have a highly skilled and talented number of bakers across the country. Well done to everyone who submitted entries, to those shortlisted and our overall winners Aoife and Sarah, it has been a fantastic effort by all”.   

The 2019 Junior finalists were:

  1. Ardscoil na Trionoide, Athy, Co. Kildare – Amy Larn
  2. Ardscoil Mhuire, Co. Limerick  – Sadhbh Ryan
  3. Colaiste Muire Ennis, Co. Clare – Ciara Mulligan

St Joseph’s College Lucan, Co. Dublin – Heather Burke & Ella Byrne

  1. Presentation Secondary School Thurles, Co. Tipperary – Aoibh Carroll
  2. St Marys Mallow, Co. Cork – Sarah Clifford

The 2019 Senior finalists were:

  1. Presentation College Tuam, Co. Galway – Lora Dimihrova
  2. Scoil Chriost Ri Portlaoise, Co. Laois – Asma Zulfigar
  3. Mean Scoil Muire Gan Smol, Co. Roscommon – Eleanor Walsh
  4. St Anne’s Secondary School, Co. Tipperary – Aine Looby
  5. St Vincent’s Dundalk, Co. Louth – Sophie O’Hagan
  6. Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Road, Co. Cork – Eimear O’Sullivan
  7. St Joseph’s Secondary, Tulla, Co. Clare – Aoife Kelly

Originally established in Portlaoise by the Odlum family in 1845, Odlums has been an integral part of Irish baking and cooking for generations. To this day, Odlums are dedicated to developing the finest quality ingredients and products at their Mill in Portarlington. Co. Laois.

CEIST, the ‘Catholic Education, An Irish Schools’ Trust’ is the Trustee body for 110 Voluntary Catholic Secondary Schools in Ireland. CEIST is a joint trusteeship comprising congregations of the Sisters of Mercy, Presentation Sisters, Daughters of Charity, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and Sisters of the Christian Retreat and has been in existence since 2007.

Advertising spend in Ireland expected to increase by just 0.6% to €1.044 billion this year according to ‘Outlook 2019’ report from Core

  • Print spend to fall by 11.1%, radio to drop by 5.5%, television revenue to decline by 2.9% while Out-Of-Home (OOH) will increase by 1.8% and cinema will grow by 0.6%
  • Overall online market to increase by 6.3% to €519.5 million, with online video increasing by 24% – Facebook and YouTube to secure as much as two thirds of additional online video spend this year
  • Core calls for industry-wide approach, managed by the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland, to provide accurate, approved figures for the value of Ireland’s media market
  • Core conducting viability study into the founding of a new graduate school of marketing that establishes ‘licence to practice’ for all marketing practitioners in Ireland
  • Government urged to commission an independent report to examine state of the news media in Ireland


Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications company, is forecasting that total media spend in Ireland will grow by just 0.6% in 2019 to €1.044 billion.

As with previous years, online will deliver the growth in the market, albeit at a slower rate than before, while offline media will see a third consecutive year of decline, with overall spend falling 4.5% to €525 million. Meanwhile, the level of total media spend in Northern Ireland is expected to increase by 2.1% to £188.8 million (€214.5m).

The figures are contained in Core’s annual ‘Outlook’ report which forecasts spend for 2019 across a variety of media, including Video, Audio, Print, Online, Sponsorship and Out-of-Home. The report also outlines the key developments and important issues that will impact the industry this year.

Key predictions from Core Outlook 2019 include:

Television – While television revenue grew by just 1% to €221.3 million in 2018, driven by sponsorship and promotions, TV spend will contract in the Republic of Ireland in 2019, dropping by 2.9% to €214.9 million. TV remains the medium of choice for brand-building, accounting for one third of media spend for Ireland’s top 20 advertisers. However, the next few years will be challenging with modest growth levels, as Facebook and Google continue to increase their share of the video market.

Online Video – The online video market in the Republic was worth €77.8 million in 2018, representing growth of 29% on 2017. This year, the market will increase by 24% in the Republic of Ireland to €96.1million, with Facebook and YouTube securing as much as two thirds of the additional €18.3 million spend this year.

Radio – In 2018, radio recorded a 4.6% decline in spend to €117.6 million in the Republic

of Ireland. Core expects 2019 will be another difficult year for radio, with overall revenue in the Republic of Ireland falling by 5.5% to €111.1 million. Podcast listenership is growing, with 19% of internet users in the Republic of Ireland listening to this format on a weekly basis, across an increasing array of platforms.

Print – Overall print spend in 2018 fell by 10.6% to €119.9 million. Core predicts that the Republic of Ireland print market will contract by 11.1% in 2019 to €106.7 million, with national newspapers falling by 12.0% to €85.2 million.

Cinema – 2018 was a tough year for cinema in the Republic of Ireland, with overall spend falling by just under 5% to €7.37 million. A decline in the alcohol category was the major factor in the decrease. An increase in audiences, coupled with a minimum of four new cinema openings planned this year, should see marginal growth of 0.6% to €7.41 million.

Search – Investment in search is expected to grow by 9% in 2019. This could fuel further inflation, but with Amazon search expected to become available in Ireland late in 2019, costs could drop towards the end of the year. Search advertising will account for over half of all online media spend in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Online – The overall online market in the Republic of Ireland is expected to increase by 6.3% to €519.5 million. Despite all the issues surrounding Facebook last year, it will continue to increase its share of the online display market from 44% to 49%, with revenue totalling €108 million. This is driven by an estimated 30% growth in video revenue at Facebook this year.

Out-Of-Home – Advertising investment across all OOH formats is expected to increase by 1.8% in 2019, with revenue of €84.4m, with Digital OOH achieving a 25% share of all OOH spend. 2019 will be an interesting year for OOH, with the implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill imposing significant restrictions on how alcohol brands use the medium. Up to 60% of all panels in the country could be disqualified from alcohol advertising.

Sponsorship – Growth of 8% in all sponsorship to €189 million is expected, with sport continuing to dominate with rugby and GAA assets in greatest demand

A hard Brexit is not factored into the predictions for Core’s Outlook 2019. In the unlikely event that the UK does crash out of Europe, the impact on marketing budgets both here and in the UK will be significant.

While commentary from the UK suggests that a hard Brexit could result in a 5% decline in advertising investment there, the Republic of Ireland market is even more exposed: approximately 25% of advertising spend here is allocated from the UK in sterling. Economists believe that a hard Brexit will result in sterling falling in value by a further 10%, which (when combined with weaker sentiment in the Republic) would see investment levels contract by as much as 9% here.

In the case of Northern Ireland, a hard Brexit would result in a smaller decline, of circa 4%, due to anticipated increases in government spending on information campaigns specific to that region. Government spend remains a significant category in Northern Ireland. Offline media would bear the brunt of the declines in each market.

As estimates of the value of the media market across Ireland are often based on opinion and conjecture, often resulting in very different figures from different organisations, Core is now calling for an industry-wide approach that reports real approved numbers.

Alan Cox, CEO of Core, says that Core has invited the industry’s representative body, the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland, to manage the project:

“In 2019, we still rely on conjecture to estimate the value of the media market in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. This approach results in very different figures being quoted across the market. This needs to stop; we must agree an industry-wide approach that reports real, approved numbers. To facilitate this, Core has invited the industry’s representative body (IAPI) to establish a committee, with representation from all stakeholders, to manage this project. We are not suggesting that the advertising revenue of each individual media owner be published – that is unnecessary;

but what is necessary is an accurate breakdown of total spend by medium. 

An independent third party, such as an accountancy firm, could facilitate this, while protecting the confidentiality of company-level information. A similar process is already in place for TV (managed by TAM Ireland) which employs a third party to establish an accurate commercial revenue number for TV (as a whole) from individual spends supplied by each.” 

In a bid to ensure that Ireland has a sustainable media market for the future, Core is also calling on the Government to commission an independent report to examine the state of the news media in Ireland, the threats of the financial stability of publishers, the impact of search engines and social media platforms and the role of digital advertising.

The organisation says that it is critically important for Ireland to have a thriving, ambitious, inquisitive, energetic news media and the Irish government must realise the pivotal role that all our indigenous media play in our culture, values and national identity.

Alan Cox, CEO of Core, says: “There is a strong, positive link between media consumption and national belonging. We cannot take risks with this – it is a national crisis-in-waiting. Other countries are taking this matter seriously. For example, the Cairncross review into the sustainability of high-quality journalism, commissioned by the UK government, was published recently. The report found that investigative journalism, public-interest new and democracy reporting are the areas of journalism most worthy and most under threat for the market power of online platforms. It made several recommendations to create a better balance between publishers and platforms and to persuade the online platforms to use their position in more accountable ways. The Irish Government should follow the UK’s example and conduct a similar review here.”

Core is also calling on the Irish marketing industry to agree a plan that establishes a ‘licence to practice’ for all marketing practitioners – client and agency side – that will result in an exclusive education channel which will provide marketing graduates in the future.

The organisation says that for this professional-level qualification to achieve the standard required in a quality assured way, the industry will need to invest in building a new not-for-profit graduate school of marketing dedicated to this goal.

This college would provide students with a compulsory foundation in general marketing in the first year, including finance, business strategy, leadership and business case development. In year two, the students would specialise in their chosen field, be it brand management, media planning, research, data, public relations or creative. Once qualified, graduates would commit to 80 hours of CPD per annum to retain their licence to practice. This is an essential element of the plan; without this commitment to continual learning, the graduates’ initial qualification would become less and less relevant with each passing year. 

Alan Cox adds: “Just 2% of third level graduates consider a career in marketing as very appealing. With this in mind, we should think of the new school of marketing as more than just a centre of learning; it needs to be a place of inspiration and creativity that inspires visitors and projects a powerful image of what marketing can achieve. 

This plan will only succeed if the industry unites around this issue and establishes a true and long-lasting commitment, not just to the school, but to only recruiting graduates who have achieved the required professional standard. This means that the new college would be the exclusive channel for providing marketing graduates in the future.”

Core is currently working with a consultant to scope this project and conduct a viability study, which it will share with industry stakeholders before the summer. The purpose of this session will be to listen to feedback and discuss alternative ideas that people may have.

Other trends noted in Core Outlook 2019 include:

Television – While TV will not always retain its unassailable position, as viewing patterns continue to shift and live viewing ebbs, it is important to note that for the next five years or so, TV will continue to be the number one choice for mass-market brand building

Creative – Campaigns are often developed using a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to creative development. 30 or 40-second commercials are still being produced for online video channels, even though the typical viewing completion rate for ads of this length is only 14%. Advertising must always be designed to work in the medium in which it sits. We must never ‘shoehorn’ creative into any support medium, be it an online channel, or a traditional poster format. This is mission-critical, yet it is frequently missed by marketers and agencies alike.

Short Term Investment – Core estimates that 47% of advertising investment in 2018 was short-term in nature – a worrying increase from 43% in 2014. This is despite clear and compelling evidence that to optimise the long-term profitability of a brand, marketers should only invest 38% of budgets in short-term activation campaigns (using rational messaging) and 62% in long-term brand-building campaigns (using emotional messaging).

Brand Recall – The Core Brand Image Monitor highlights a worrying trend; recall of the top 100 brands in Ireland is dropping, despite the growth in advertising investment. This tells us two things; firstly, that the threat is real, and secondly, that volume of advertising alone isn’t enough to stop the decline. What matters is how budgets are invested. Businesses need to employ both short and long-term techniques in the correct proportion.

Instagram – Core expects Instagram to continue testing new features in 2019 as it grows its position as the key social shopping force. By the end of 2019, the Stories format is expected to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends.

Market Research – In the past, market research delivered value through hindsight. In the future, market research will deliver value through foresight. The role of research and the value it can deliver must evolve from explaining what has happened to predicting what is likely to happen and providing clear direction for brand growth.

GDPR – We can expect to see several GDPR-related fines applied this year. A key concern is that many companies have been distracted by their privacy and cookie policies and haven’t focussed sufficiently to ensure that data is held securely and is only available to authorised personnel

Core has a team over 300 people across nine practices – Creative, Data, Investment, Learning, Media (comprising of Mediaworks, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith), Recruitment, Research, Sponsorship and Strategy.

Core has been voted Agency Network of the Year for the last six years at the Media Awards and the company was also recently voted one of the top workplaces in Ireland by the Great Place to Work Institute for the tenth year running.

To learn more about Core Outlook 2019, please visit



Limerick company 4site to visit local schools during Engineers Week 2019 to encourage students to pursue a career in engineering

4site engineers will discuss how piloting drones, scaling 100m high masts and using 3D scanners is part of their day to day working life

As part of Engineers Week 2019, taking place from March 2nd – 8th, engineers from Limerick company 4site will visit schools in Limerick and Kerry to encourage students to consider pursuing a career in engineering.

Headquartered in Limerick, with offices in Dublin and the UK, 4site employs over 80 highly skilled professionals, mostly engineers, to design, survey, build and maintain world-class communications networks. The 4site team adapt technology, tools and processes to deliver reliable and future-proofed turnkey services for clients such as Vodafone, SIRO, Cignal, Huawei, 2RN (RTE), Three, Ericsson, Nokia, CityFibre, CommScope and enet.

Engineers Week 2019 is a week-long festival of nationwide events aimed at introducing young people to the world of engineering and encouraging them to explore the diverse career opportunities the discipline offers. During the week, the 4site team will be visiting the following schools:

The 4site engineers will chat to the students about their everyday working lives. For example, one day they could be climbing masts the height of the Spire, while the next they could be piloting drones to map a mountainside site. They will also talk about the range of technology they use, such as 3D scanners and other Apps that they have developed in-house.

Speaking about the school visits, Ian Duggan, CEO of 4site, says:

“Engineering touches every part of our lives. However, not enough young people – particularly young girls – think that it is the industry for them. As a result, the sector is looking to encourage and nurture future talent. Engineering is a fascinating industry that is vital to our everyday lives and, with these talks, we hope to change the way that young people think about engineering, and introduce them to a whole new area of study.”



For further details, please check out

or follow us on Twitter @4siteHQ


53% of Guaranteed Irish members forecast employment growth in 2019 as organisation celebrates 45 years of championing businesses in Ireland

Guaranteed Irish members spent €4.66m on formal CSR programmes in 2018 – an average of €475 per employee.

74% of 45-54-year olds recognise the Guaranteed Irish symbol while two thirds of Irish consumers feel it is important to purchase from businesses that create jobs in Ireland

‘Guaranteed Irish Month’ launched by Helen McEntee, Minister of State for European Affairs, to encourage consumers to support businesses, jobs, and communities in Ireland


Guaranteed Irish, the not-for-profit business membership organisation championing 550+ homegrown and international businesses in Ireland, expects employment among its members to increase by 4,151 in 2019, with 53% of members reporting that they expect to hire new staff by the end of the year.

This continued growth comes as total employment at all Guaranteed Irish member businesses reached 71,390 in 2018, an increase of 43.3% (21,573) on the same figure for 2017. As well as existing members increasing their employee numbers, this figure also reflects the fact that 200+ new members joined the organisation last year.

Total revenues among its members increased to €26.2bn in 2018, up €350m in just 12 months. Turnover figures for sales in Ireland by member companies also increased last year – rising by 2.3% to reach €11.2bn.

With Guaranteed Irish celebrating its 45th anniversary, Helen McEntee TD, Minister of State for European Affairs, launched Guaranteed Irish Month 2019 with a breakfast event at Croke Park. The ‘Ireland’s Winning Business Teams’ briefing offered Guaranteed Irish members an opportunity to meet with the Minister and discuss how the outcome of Brexit negotiations will affect businesses in Ireland.

To tie in with its theme of teamwork, Guaranteed Irish Month was launched at the home of Irish sport, Croke Park, by Minister McEntee, who was joined by an expert panel featuring:

  • Peter Sherrard, CEO of the Olympic Federation of Ireland
  • Paul Rellis, CEO of Viatel
  • Fiona Muldoon, CEO at FBD Insurance
  • Fergal Murphy, General Manager at Kingspan Ireland

Guaranteed Irish Month is an annual event which aims to shine a spotlight on businesses in Ireland that create sustainable jobs and add significant value to their local communities, and encourage consumers to buy products, gifts and services from businesses based in Ireland.

Research unveiled by Guaranteed Irish at the event highlighted the importance to consumers of supporting businesses that contribute to Ireland’s economy and society. A third of respondents believe it is ‘very important’ to buy from businesses that create jobs in Ireland. A business’s involvement in its local community was also deemed to be significant, with 48% of respondents said it was ‘quite important’ or ‘very important’. Accordingly, 134 Guaranteed Irish members spent €4.66m on their formal CSR programmes in 2018 – an average of €475 per employee.

The research revealed that the Guaranteed Irish symbol continues to enjoy strong brand recognition among the wider Irish public, particularly among those aged 45-54 where the recognition rate was 74%. The organisation considers three core criteria when assessing an applicant for membership – evidence of delivering quality Irish jobs, supporting local communities and a commitment to Irish provenance. Only businesses that fulfil these criteria can display the Guaranteed Irish symbol.

Running for the entire month of March, a range of activities are planned for ‘Guaranteed Irish Month’, including partnership campaigns with leading brands such as SuperValu, FBD Insurance and Harvey Norman, and an extensive marketing campaign showcasing members’ success stories from across the country. Guaranteed Irish has also launched a new website which features a dedicated members’ portal, allowing Guaranteed Irish members to easily contact, trade and do business with one another.

Brid O’Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish, said: “Guaranteed Irish Month is all about supporting businesses in Ireland, helping them go from strength to strength and continue to provide more high-quality jobs for communities across the country. As confidence in the Irish economy grows, it’s crucial that businesses continue to expand at home and abroad, strengthening Ireland’s reputation for quality goods and services, innovation, and competitiveness in business. 

“However, it’s clear from speaking to our members that Brexit represents a significant existential threat to that growth, and our panel of speakers will address how it will affect a range of sectors, and what can and is being done to mitigate its effects and create new possible opportunities.” 

Helen McEntee, TD, Minister of State for European Affairs, said: “I am delighted to launch this year’s Guaranteed Irish Month, which aims to promote businesses in Ireland that create sustainable jobs and add significant value to their local communities.

“It’s vitally important that we encourage people to shop and buy local. If we all do this we will boost local economies, helping to make towns and villages more sustainable throughout Ireland.”


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