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OPINION: Brid O'Connell CEO at Guaranteed Irish on the Opportunities for the Irish Construction Sector Post Brexit.
11 September 2019|News, Opinion

On Thursday 12th September 2019, Guaranteed Irish will host its third roundtable & panel discussion for the construction industry.

Each September Guaranteed Irish host this annual event to mark Construction month as the sector creates significant employment throughout Ireland, and after all that is what Guaranteed Irish is all about – jobs.

Guaranteed Irish has always been about securing employment here in Ireland – the only difference is the Irish business landscape today has changed to include both multinationals as well as home grown businesses – both are welcome at the Guaranteed Irish table and both are equally important when it comes to securing opportunities for the nation’s future both at home and abroad.

The upcoming industry roundtable will focus on ‘Planning for a Sustainable Construction Sector Post-Brexit – The Challenges and Opportunities’ – but the reality is no one in the room this week can control what is about to happen in this country due to Brexit. What we can manage is how we grasp any opportunities that arise from Brexit as business lost to the UK may become an easy win for Irish based companies. We need to be smart, ready, innovative and competitive. As always, the business will not come to Ireland, we must go out and win any new opportunity that arises.

An area we can impact change is in relation to our commitment to climate action and our need to reduce our carbon footprint. If we are to reach zero miles or as close as possible to that, we need to start looking at materials we can source locally, manufacturing options we can rely on locally and local supply chains that are short, smart and sustainable. In short – we need to start trading closer to home and buying local as much as possible. This gives real strength to the argument long held by Guaranteed Irish – ‘by supporting local enterprise, we are making all together better choices for our communities and for our environment.’

If you travel for work in any of our fellow EU countries, you will note how they always take great pride in supporting their EU family members equally, but, this is after they are satisfied that they have sourced locally where possible. After all it helps their environment and by default if it helps their immediate economy and retain jobs locally, who can blame them?

Ireland has always been associated with ‘green’ – we enjoy a mild climate and moderate weather. This is one area we need to invest in and ‘dial up’ sufficiently in a business world that wants to reward leaders who focus on a sustainable environment with ‘good news stories.’ Project Ireland 2040 is the Government’s long-term overarching strategy to make Ireland a better country for all of its people. If we are planning for an additional one million of a population by 2040, we need to act now in a manner that will protect our environment, our economy and our jobs for the future. As we all work longer, it is important that we work smarter and closer to respect and protect our environment.

Guaranteed Irish has invited An Bord Pleanala, RIAI, Saint Gobain Ireland, Tegral, SISK and Grafton Group to speak at its upcoming event this week to start the conversation between all the relevant parties. The aim being to safe-guard jobs and support innovative thinking in the construction sector that will go towards protecting the green image Ireland has benefitted from in times past. Retrofitting, technology and innovative solutions will help sustain what is a vibrant sector in Ireland.

Buying local has never been more in vogue, and if Ireland is to meet its environmental targets of reducing carbon levels, is it the time to make ‘buying local’ a pre-requisite for planning and development?

The Guaranteed Irish roundtable Thursday Sept 12 at Croke Park should prove a lively discussion.

RSVP today: events@guaranteedirish.ie