Building Business and Community

Published Date: November 30th, 2023

Author: ICCC Montreal Office

A Message from Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce President, Ruth Hanna

It was a privilege to be appointed President of the ICCC in June this year, to help this non-profit organisation pursue its mission to foster trade and business between Ireland and Canada and to promote our members’ business interests. I am proud to carry on the legacy of its many dedicated presidents including most recently Paul Dunne, whose deft stewardship of the chamber resulted in it exiting the COVID pandemic with an expanded network and corporate membership base.

As we transition into a new year, the ICCC team is proud to highlight our efforts in 2023 including:

  • four in-person events, of which
  • a virtual presentation on Irish unity by Neale Redmond T.D., sponsored by the Ireland-Canada Business Association in Dublin
  • advocacy for a full-time General (Irish) Consulate in Montreal 
  • discussions regarding our potential membership of the newly formed Ireland-Canada Business Council (ICBC), which aims to develop and nurture a national network of ICCCs in Canada  
  • promotion of the ICCC and your business using social media, newsletter, website and French media op-ed 

Highlight of the year was undoubtedly the ICCC’s launch of advocacy for an Irish Consulate General in Montreal, with the active involvement of many board members through the year. Past-president Conor Barry led the first charge with Irish politicians, with vice-president Michelle Sullivan taking over the baton during the Global Irish Civic Forum in April in Dublin. These were followed by an in-person presentation by past-president Vivian Doyle-Kelly directly to the Oireachtas, the Irish parliament, in June. Lobbying continued through the summer, leveraging a Montreal visit by Séan Fleming T.D., Minister for International Development and the Diaspora, with post-visit momentum maintained electronically and by telephone.  The ICCC posits that Quebec merits an Irish consular post due to a unique combination of economic, strategic, and cultural factors. These include the size of the Quebec economy (taken independently as about the 28th largest economy in the world) and of its relative population (20% of all Canada); Ireland-Quebec economic sector similarities and cultural affinities; the disproportionately high percentage of Quebecers with Irish origins; and persistent Irish official underrepresentation in Quebec, which results in the Ireland investment case and Irish businesses flying under the radar. 

For 2024, we have another robust schedule planned as we focus on building business and community, with an especial focus on building community. To do so, we are placing emphasis on proactive, purposeful communication with the aim of enhancing our digital presence and membership messaging as we move the chamber into the second third of its century. In line with our new hybrid work reality, we will be offering monthly professional development/networking events in either format that will prioritise the showcase of member businesses and expertise. We will continue to collaborate and co-organise events with our government and business partners including a potential February event together with Enterprise Ireland. You can expect us to represent your best interests as we fine tune the detail of our relationship with the ICBC. Lastly, we will continue to advocate on behalf of the Montreal-Irish business community with regard to an Irish Consulate General in Montreal and any other relevant issues. The ICCC is resolved to maintain visibility of its consulate advocacy with key stakeholders throughout 2024 as part of its long-term approach.

We would like to thank our members for adding their voice to ours in 2023, and partnering with us as we continue to anchor the ICCC as the go-to platform for Montreal-Irish business. As always, we welcome your feedback on what we’ve provided and are open to any suggestions on how we can best support you.

I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow board members as the ICCC endeavours to be the resource, advocate, convener, and lynchpin for driving economic success for our members and our two countries.