Pictured: Danny McCoy, CEO Ibec and Taoiseach Micheál Martin
Ibec’s incoming president, Alastair Blair, has warned of the effects of Covid 19, compounded by Brexit, on businesses while urging the Government to continue State supports for businesses.
Blair, who is country managing director for Accenture in Ireland, made these comments in his first speech as Ibec’s new president for 2020 to 2021. He succeeds Pat McCann, CEO of Dalata, as Ibec’s president.
“We know that these twin crises bring long-term structural damage to our economy, and so the withdrawal of supports must not happen without a long-term recovery plan in place.”
“The need for better infrastructure, for example better transport, and the rapid roll out of broadband to all parts of the country could not be more stark at this time. We need to ensure that no part of the country is left behind – we cannot create a divide – least of all a digital divide.”
Blair also called for better healthcare and the provision of affordable housing. He said: “Access to strong education has been at the heart of Ireland’s appeal over many decades – coupled with a ‘can-do’ attitude. Skills will be key to our nation’s economic recovery. As a small but highly adaptable nation we need to refocus on the learning path – not the path to learning.”
Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said that Blair is a “recognised leader in the field of European business. His experience and insights will no doubt support our efforts over the coming year to help navigate the economy through the dual threats of Brexit and Covid.”
He was speaking the president’s dinner which was held remotely. Taoiseach Micheál Martin, also in attendance, said: “We are at present at a difficult and uncertain period for our country and Irish business. In a few short months we’ve gone from record employment and a balanced budget to a deep recession, the type of which we have not seen before. I’m confident we will not be found wanting in our response.”