On 4 December, Ambassador O’Brien, Honorary President of NetworkIrlande, hosted the annual NetworkIrlande Christmas reception. This last NetworkIrlande event of the year was attended by more than 75 members, and provided a convivial opportunity for networking in the Embassy salons. Among the companies represented were Transdev, Axway, BNP Paribas, Ecocem, Bank of Ireland, Veolia and EY.
In her opening remarks the Ambassador noted the importance of the relationship between the Embassy and NetworkIrlande to the broader Franco-Irish economic relationship, and thanked the network and its team for the work they do.
On the Irish economy, she indicated that it is expected to be the fastest growing economy in Europe again in 2017, with the economic recovery maintaining its momentum and depth. Unemployment is now lower than it has been for nine years, standing at 6% in October.
On Brexit, there is no doubt it will have a significant impact on Ireland’s economy. The government has taken measures to minimise the impact, coordinated by the Brexit Cabinet Committee which the Taoiseach chairs. All the state agencies, Enterprise Ireland, Tourism Ireland, the IDA and Bord Bia are working closely with their clients to help manage the many practical implications of the Brexit vote. However, the most important message in this context is that Ireland remains a strong and committed member of the European Union.
Following Brexit, France will be a more important economic partner than ever before, and in 2018 we will build on the engagement already started by the Taoiseach and President Macron when they met in October 2017.
Richard Dujardin, President of NetworkIrlande, thanked the Ambassador warmly for her hospitality and the support she and the Embassy give the Network, which is greatly valued.
He thanked all the members for their participation in the life of the association and welcomed the new members who were attending a NetworkIrlande event for the first time.
He commented that it has been a very active year for NetworkIrlande, with over 10 events organised, including the very successful 2017 Ireland France Business Awards, the highlight of the year and indicated that an exciting programme for 2018 was being planned. The first event will be a Rugby business Brunch on the 3rd February followed by an “Anglo-Apéro” networking function on the 12th February.
Richard Dujardin then extended special thanks to AXWAY for kindly sponsoring the annual Christmas reception. He congratulated Axway again on winning the “Best French Company in Ireland” at the Ireland France Business Awards 2017 on the 23rd November and invited Frank Keloglanian to say a few words.
In his response Mr Keloglanian stated that : » Pour Axway, c’est un peu notre deuxième Noël ce soir car comme vous le savez, AXWAY a déjà reçu un magnifique cadeau le 23 novembre en se voyant décerner le PRIX de la meilleure entreprise française en Irlande. Les plus beaux cadeaux sont ceux auxquels on ne s’attend pas et celui-ci était une belle surprise !
Donc en sponsorisant la soirée c’est un peu notre façon de vous remercier Cher Président ainsi que tous les membres du bureau qui ont voté pour Axway. »
Mr Kaloglanian concluded by expressing his thanks to IDA for the support the agency provided Axway when setting up in Dublin.
Guests then networked around the huge Christmas tree while enjoying specialities such as Irish cheeses and cocktail sausages and seasonal treats of mince pies, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake.