Cork Chamber of Commerce today launched their 200 year anniversary programme, with the announcement that the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, will give the keynote speech at this year’s Annual Dinner.

In his first address to a business audience since his second term inauguration, the President will address attendees at the sell-out Annual Dinner in Cork City Hall, where 1,000 of the city’s business leaders will gather on Friday, February 1st.

Over the past number of years, President Higgins has played an active part in the promotion of Ireland’s trade links, working with business leaders at home and abroad to encourage investment in Ireland. He will join the Cork business community in celebration of one of the oldest institutions on the island of Ireland, and use the opportunity to commend the Cork Chamber and its member companies for the work they do as they nurture relationships between business and society that place human flourishing at their core.

Speaking on the importance of 2019 to the organisation, President of Cork Chamber, Bill O’Connell said: “This year marks a huge milestone in Cork Chamber’s history. Founded 200 years ago, by a group of businesspeople committed to promoting and supporting the best of Cork business, Cork Chamber has remained one of the greatest champions of the region’s business community ever since.”

“This year is not just about reflecting on the successes of the past; more importantly, it is about looking at how the Chamber can support businesses to tackle some of the challenges of the present and about being ambitious for the future of the region, which is going through a very exciting period of growth at the moment. Two hundred years ago, the population of Cork city was around 80,000, while current projections for the region estimate that with the right investment and infrastructure, Cork’s metropolitan area could grow to 500,000 by 2050. Facilitating that growth and supporting our members will be a key feature of the Chamber’s work in the coming years.”

Cork Chamber’s 200 year celebrations include a series of events and initiatives celebrating the organisation’s history at the heart of Cork business while also looking to future opportunities for the local region. Events will include a Schools Art initiative, in association with the Glucksman Gallery in UCC. ‘Future Forms’ will see Cork schools, third-level students and community groups working with artists to create artworks that imagine what the city and urban environment will look like in 200 years’ time.

Cork Chamber was founded in November 1819, in what is now the Victoria Hotel on St. Patrick Street, against a backdrop of economic decline and high unemployment. From that initial committee of 11 businessmen, the Chamber grew rapidly, consistently championing Cork business as the region’s core industries evolved from shipbuilding, glass and textile manufacturing to a hub for global tech, life sciences and financial services companies. Cork Chamber of Commerce now represents the interests of 1,200 businesses employing over 100,000 people in the region. For more information, visit www.corkchamber.ie.

 

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