Wednesday 22 May 2019

Enniscorthy Chamber rejects merger plans

Pádraig Byrne

Enniscorthy & District Chamber has rejected the opportunity to amalgamate with the three other Chambers of Commerce in the county to form one County Wexford Chamber of Commerce.

It is understood that talks between Enniscorthy, Wexford, Gorey and New Ross Chambers in relation to an amalgamation have been ongoing for a number of months, however, Enniscorthy Chamber feels that an amalgamation would not best serve the interest of its members or the district at this time.

The topic arose last week following the announcement that CEO of Wexford Chamber, and former Acting CEO of Enniscorthy Chamber, Enda Kavanagh had been made redundant after just six months in the role.

Wexford Chamber President Niall Reck explained that this step was taken as the organisation begins a restructuring which would see the Wexford Chamber amalgamate with New Ross and Gorey. Conspicuous in its absence in all of this was Enniscorthy Chamber and a statement has now been issued which states that Enniscorthy will remain independent.

‘Enniscorthy and District Chamber of Commerce was established with the objective of promoting commercial activity in the town and district,’ the statement, issued by Development Officer Jimmy Gahan read. ‘It has been singularly successful in achieving that objective and while recognising the many values of a collective approach, such as an amalgamation with other Chambers might offer, we feel the best interests of our members can only be served by remaining independent at this time.’

Mr Gahan went on to list a number of important projects for Enniscorthy such as the new Technology Park, the re-generation of Templeshannon, the bypass and the development of long vacant sites in the town centre saying that they are ‘presently occupying the full attention of the Chamber’ and that they ‘feel it is imperative for us to see these and other projects through to fruition before embarking on a new chapter in any enlarged Chamber.’

‘We have sub-committees dealing with the many and varied aspects of the works in progress in Enniscorthy,’ Mr Gahan continued. ‘In view of the commitment undertaken by these sub-committees we feel their efforts should be allowed continue uninterrupted.’

Another rumoured stumbling block for the amalgamation talks was where the new-look Chamber would be head-quartered, with Wexford town being the preferred choice. This would be a major cause for concern for some of the members, who feel that it would dilute control and the importance of vital issues concerning the Enniscorthy District. Wexford County Council were believed to have been overwhelmingly in favour of a complete amalgamation with all four Chambers included, however, Enniscorthy has remained firm and stated it will not be partaking at this time.

On another note, the Chamber wished to pay tribute to outgoing Wexford Chamber CEO Ms Kavanagh, following her redundancy, saying that her ‘dynamic approach and unstinting support for the development of Enniscorthy’ during her time as acting CEO of Enniscorthy Chamber is ‘paying handsome dividends in terms of the town’s advancement’.

Enniscorthy Guardian