Cham­ber drops top job in re­dun­dan­cies

THREE CHAM­BERS SET TO AMAL­GA­MATE AS A COUNTY OR­GAN­I­SA­TION

Enniscorthy Guardian - - NEWS - By ANNA HAYES

LIT­TLE MORE than six months af­ter her ap­point­ment to the role, the CEO of Wex­ford Cham­ber Enda Ka­vanagh has been made re­dun­dant, along with an­other mem­ber of staff, as the or­gan­i­sa­tion be­gins a restructuring that will see the amal­ga­ma­tion of the cham­bers in Wex­ford, New Ross and Gorey.

Ms Ka­vanagh stepped into the role on March 12, hav­ing been an­nounced as Madeleine Quirke’s suc­ces­sor at the be­gin­ning of Fe­bru­ary.

Orig­i­nally from Dublin, she has been liv­ing in Wex­ford for the past 17 years and had voiced her de­ter­mi­na­tion to pro­mote pos­i­tive team work and col­lab­o­ra­tion to drive the cham­ber for­ward.

How­ever, at the end of Au­gust, the cham­ber con­firmed that they had had to let two staff mem­bers go due to fi­nan­cial rea­sons and it has emerged that one of those staff mem­bers was the CEO, Ms Ka­vanagh.

Cham­ber Pres­i­dent Niall Reck said that, for the mo­ment, the staff and board mem­bers of the cham­ber would carry on the day-to-day busi­ness of the or­gan­i­sa­tion as work goes on in the back­ground to amal­ga­mate the cham­bers in Wex­ford, New Ross and Gorey.

He paid trib­ute to Ms Ka­vanagh say­ing her de­par­ture was a pity, com­pli­ment­ing her work and com­mit­ment. The sec­ond staff mem­ber af­fected had been on an 18-month con­tract.

Ms Ka­vanagh could not be con­tacted for a com­ment on the mat­ter.

The process of amal­ga­mat­ing the cham­bers of Wex­ford is one that has been in the pipe­line for the last year, a pro­ject which started un­der for­mer Wex­ford CEO Madeleine Quirke, who has main­tained a role in fa­cil­i­tat­ing meet­ings to bring the or­gan­i­sa­tions to­gether.

In a joint press re­lease from Wex­ford, New Ross and Gorey Cham­bers, they say that the move had the po­ten­tial to cre­ate one of the largest re­gional cham­bers in Ire­land with a po­ten­tial over­all mem­ber­ship of 450.

Billy Sweet­man, Part­ner PwC, who has been pro­ject man­ag­ing and work­ing with cham­bers on this ini­tia­tive, said: ‘ There is a grow­ing in­ter­est in merg­ers among vol­un­tary, com­mu­nity and busi­ness or­gan­i­sa­tions in re­sponse to a com­bi­na­tion of in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal fac­tors. The Cham­bers of Com­merce in County Wex­ford have of­ten worked to­gether in the past, but there is now an am­bi­tion to achieve some­thing more sub­stan­tial and per­ma­nent with the for­ma­tion of a Coun- ty-wide Wex­ford Cham­ber. While change of this na­ture is of­ten daunt­ing and gives rise to le­git­i­mate con­cerns, the op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide an in­creased value propo­si­tion for their mem­bers and stake­hold­ers is be­ing em­braced by the Cham­bers, who are de­ter­mined to build on the in­flu­en­tial busi­ness prac­tices and services that they cur­rently of­fer. The ob­jec­tive is the cre­ation of a vi­brant County Wex­ford Cham­ber, pre­serv­ing the in­di­vid­ual strengths of each of the cham­bers, while de­vel­op­ing a new ar­ray of op­por­tu­ni­ties that a larger, County Cham­ber will af­ford the busi­ness com­mu­nity.’

Di­rec­tor of Services with Wex­ford County Coun­cil, Tony Larkin said: ‘Work­ing to­gether in or­der to cre­ate and ad­vance busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for the county will cre­ate a very strong and in­flu­en­tial voice for busi­ness in Wex­ford. Wex­ford County Coun­cil looks for­ward to work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tively with the new County Wex­ford Cham­ber.’

CEO of Cham­bers Ire­land, Ian Tal­bot said his or­gan­i­sa­tion was de­lighted to sup­port the merg­ing of the cham­bers in County Wex­ford.

No date has been given for the amal­ga­ma­tion of the cham­bers but it is ex­pected to hap­pen within the first half of 2019.

Given the con­sid­er­able in­vest­ment in Wex­ford Cham­ber’s Hill Street build­ing in re­cent years, it is also ex­pected that this lo­ca­tion would be the head­quar­ter build­ing of the new Wex­ford County Cham­ber.

Enda Ka­vanagh, pic­tured in Fe­bru­ary on the an­nounce­ment of her new role as Wex­ford Cham­ber CEO.

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