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In Pictures: Full house and huge energy as Laois Chamber of Commerce is officially launched

Laois Chamber Board members, from left: Paul Muldowney, Conor McGarry, Bernie Everard, CEO; Martin Crowley, President; Alison Browne, David Walsh-Kemmis and Ciaran Finane at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard. Photo: Alf Harvey

If the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce is anything to go by – when there was standing room only and a crowd of close to 300 people – then the new organisation is in for a bright and vibrant future.

The main room in the Heritage Killenard was packed to capacity for the early-morning breakfast launch today as business people from all around the county and a wide range of sectors was represented.

Bernie Everard, who previously held a role in Kildare Chamber, has recently been appointed as the new CEO of the Laois Chamber, and there is a high-profile and vibrant board behind it, including the Emo-based Martin Crowley, who is the new president.

Martin Crowley and Bernie Everard were two of the speakers at the event as well as Minister Charlie Flanagan, CEO of Laois County Council John Mulholland, Ian Talbot from Chambers Ireland and keynote speaker Louise Phelan, the Laois woman who headed up Paypal’s operation in Ireland before moving on from that role earlier this year.

She has since taken up a role with her brother Paschal’s global solar energy business Phelan Energy.

The tone of the event was upbeat and positive, with the message very much being that “Laois is open for business”.

Positive job announcements in recent times for Laois like the Glanbia Leprino cheese factory, Skout Security, Trifol waste to wax recycling plant and Greenfield Global.

“There are massive opportunities for Laois, It is my county, it is our county, we own it and I am asking you to collaborate with us ,support us to get stuff done,” said Louise Phelan in her speech.

“Most companies don’t want to be in Dublin, together let’s bring them to Laois”

Outlining the vision for the Chamber, CEO Bernie Everard told the assembled guests that “Laois is an untapped county that is a hidden gem and a vibrant Chamber is crucial to help and encourage growth”.

She said: “Laois has three unique selling points that I can see; it  offers great ease of movement from town to town with a superb road infrastructure that connects urban and rural locations quickly and conveniently, and from both inside and outside the county.

“It takes 90 minutes to get to our major cities from Laois and that is critical for business.

“There are tourist possibilities in the county that are under the radar and  we have a very vibrant Agri Food sector. All of these combine to make Laois a county of amenities and facilities that we can all work at promoting”.

The meeting was told that there is close to 12,000 people leaving Laois every day to work outside the county but that there is also a thriving business community with 2,000 businesses in total in the county.

Laois Chamber is now open for membership with packages starting at €250 and going up to corporate level membership.

The Chamber will be organising numerous events throughout the year including:

  • Networking bi-monthly and monthly meeting to be held in Chamber office and locations around the county
  • Weekly newsletter, with Chamber updates on activities. Opportunity for members to promote their businesses, offers and news
  • Business breakfasts throughout the year
  • Lobbying and advocacy
  • Support and advice for businesses
  • Education and information events
  • Business awards 2020
  • Occasional social events throughout the year

You can check out the Chamber website here. 

A full house for the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Bernie Everard, Laois Chamber CEO; Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan TD; Martin Crowley, Laois Chamber President and Louise Phelan, Deputy CEO Phelan Energy Group and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive Chambers Ireland at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Board members, from left: Paul Muldowney, Conor McGarry, Bernie Everard, CEO; Martin Crowley, President; Alison Browne, David Walsh-Kemmis and Ciar‡n Finane at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Alison Browne, Board member; John Mulholland, Chief Executive Laois County Council and Yvonne McKeon, McKeon Stone at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Brendan Farrell, Hektares; Liam Campion, Campion Concrete and Clement Herron, Clement Herron Real Estate at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Fergal Lawlor, Alpha Wireless; Barry O’Loughlin, Nostra and Carmel O’Connor, Laois Mobility Care at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Brendan Farrell, Hektares; Liam Campion, Campion Concrete and Clement Herron, Clement Herron Real Estate at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Emma McManus, Midlands Park Hotel; Fiona Hyland, Skout Cyber Security and Ken Finegan, Greenfield Global at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Paul Muldowney and Linda Cusack, Bank of Ireland; Liam Davis, Powerpoint Engineering and Paschal Naughton, Bank of Ireland at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Bernie Moloney, Rathdowney Centre; Paddy Buggy, MDA, Mountmellick and Pradip Verma, Travel Consultant at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.
John Mulholland, Chief Executive Laois County Council; Bernie Everard, Laois Chamber CEO; Martin Crowley, Laois Chamber President; Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan TD; Louise Phelan, Deputy CEO Phelan Energy Group and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive Chambers Ireland at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Cllr Aisling Moran, Cllr Conor Bergin, Michael Cobbe, Laois Partnership; Seamus Marnane, CIA and Conor McGarry, Powerpoint Engineering at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Antoinette Brennan, Laois County Council; Mary Keogh, Enterprise Centre, Portarlington; Honor Deevy, LEO and Margaret Guijt-Lawlor, Lift Inspect at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Louise-Antoinette O’Brien, Laois Tourism; David Walsh-Kemmis, Board member and Helen Gee, G’s Gourmet Jams at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Niall Kavanagh, McKeon Stone; Cllr Aisling Moran and Conor McGarry, Powerpoint Engineering at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Cllr Aisling Moran, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan TD; Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council Willie Aird; Bernie Everard, CEO Laois Chamber and Louise Phelan, Deputy CEO Phelan Energy Group at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Ian Talbot, Chief Executive Chambers Ireland at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

The official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

Laois County Council Chief Executive John Mulholland speaking at the official launch of the Laois Chamber of Commerce in The Heritage, Killenard.

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.