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 County-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.