SECAD Launches Free Sustainability Training Programme for Food Businesses across South and West Cork


SECAD Launches Free Sustainability Training Programme for Food Businesses across South and West Cork

Free Practical Training Programme for Small, Medium and Artisan food producers to understand and commit to more sustainable business practices.

Food Business owners across South and West Cork will be eager to sign up to SECAD Partnership CLG’s newly announced and free Sustainable Food Training Programme which kicks off next month. The programme (which has limited spaces) has been developed with Small, Medium and Artisan food (and beverage) producers in mind and aims to educate and empower these businesses in various areas where they may be experiencing challenges regarding sustainability.

Having identified challenges faced by food and beverage producers in relation to sustainability such as; sustainable sourcing and supply chain practices, packaging, energy, water and waste, consumer education, carbon emissions, renewable energy and climate change, the trainers of SECAD’s Sustainable Food Training Programme, will share expert knowledge and advice based on years of professional experience in these areas.


In line with the Global Sustainable Development Goal 12.3: “By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses.” Ireland has committed, through the Food Waste Charter, to take responsibility and actions towards achieving this goal. Businesses, Industry leaders and individuals are encouraged to prioritize the prevention of Food Waste at every point within the supply chain. With that in mind, SECAD have developed this training programme which will give practical guidance to food business owners, so that they can further pursue environmentally conscious actions within their business operations.

The modules covered in the training programme will include:

  1. Sustainability – The What and The How (To include green finance and green procurement)
  2. Our Food and Our Environment
  3. Resource Efficiency (Managing energy, water and waste)
  4. Climate Change – Measure your Carbon Footprint
  5. Communication – Engaging the Marketplace – Understanding Consumer Behaviour and Sustainable Consumption
  6. Circular Economy Proposition Design
  7. Managing Food Waste
  8. Building a Sustainability Culture – Engaging Employees & Suppliers
  9. Packaging, Storage, Transport & Distribution: Sustainable Supply Chain Design
  10. Design Thinking, Innovation & Sustainability

Speaking about the launch of this new training programme, Assistant CEO of SECAD Suzanne Kearney said:

Globally, more than one quarter of food produced is wasted, with food loss and waste contributing 8 to 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Now, more so than ever before, it is vital that we all do our level best in being as sustainable as possible, and we here at SECAD are committed to doing just that. We are delighted to see such a high level of interest in this training programme so far. It will be undeniably beneficial to food and beverage businesses to enable them to become more sustainable, resilient and to gain competitive advantage in the market. This will also have a positive knock-on effect in their communities and the food producing sector in the region. The content of the training programme will be delivered by leading experts in their respective areas, and we are thrilled to have such talented and experienced industry professionals onboard.”


Experienced trainers on the course will include professionals from SustHub; one of Ireland’s leading Corporate Sustainability and Circular Economy companies, The Clean Technology Centre (CTC) based at Munster Technological University; providing consultancy to organisations in all key areas of sustainability, and finally Change by Degrees; a sustainability consultancy with over 20 years international experience in climate and environment strategy, communications and employee and customer engagement.  

This programme will run from April 2021 to November 2021(with a break across July and August) and attendees will take part in the following:

  • 10 x 3-hour training modules (delivered online)
  • Site visits to businesses considered to be pursuing best practice in the area of sustainability and/or resource efficiency (subject to COVID 19 government restrictions)
  • One to one training as relevant to their business needs
  • Networking opportunities with food businesses

The closing date to sign up for this free course is Monday the 5th of April 2021, with training starting on Wednesday the 14th of (South Cork) and Friday the 16th (West Cork). Places are limited and business owners are encouraged to log on to to register for a place now. #SustainableFood

Companies that wish to participate in this training programme must satisfy the following criteria:

The Sustainable Food Training Programme South & West Cork is funded under The LEADER Food initiative which is jointly managed by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Approvals for the awards of funding under this initiative are made by Cork County Council’s LEADER Local Action Groups which are a subgroup of the Local Community Development Committees. (LCDCs)


SECAD Partnership CLG (SECAD) is a Local Development Company established in 1995. SECAD has two main development objectives; promoting and enabling (i) Rural Development and (ii) Social Inclusion within the communities of South, East and West Cork.  SECAD delivers a range of local and community development programmes including LEADER 2014-2020, the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme, the Rural Social Scheme, Tus, PEIL 2014-2020, ERASMUS + and others.

LEADER 2014-2020 is funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development- Europe Investing in Rural Areas.

SECAD’s mission is to provide a range of innovative and effective rural development and social inclusion supports to motivate and enable communities to create a more vibrant, sustainable and inclusive society. Their vision is to be a leading European community development organisation delivering exceptional service to clients and promoting innovative collaborations to address issues of disadvantage and sustainability with their public, private, academic and community partners. As a local development company, SECAD works with a range of different clients and stakeholders in rural areas including: community and voluntary groups, disadvantaged target groups, job seekers, businesses (including private and social enterprise), farmers, schools and the corporate sector.

SECAD has evolved as an organisation managing a single funding programme into a platform managing a wide range of funds and services including, social investment and employment support programmes implemented on behalf of a number of Irish Government Departments and State Bodies. SECAD currently delivers a number of major programmes along with other smaller schemes and initiatives. See an overview of under the ‘Programmes & Funds’ tab of this website. For more information visit


Trainer Profiles

SustHub, a ClearStream Solutions Business

SustHub is a training division of Clearstream Solutions, one of Ireland’s leading Corporate Sustainability and Circular Economy companies. Although the process of Carbon Management and Sustainability training is relatively immature in Ireland, Clearstream has built up a strong local and international client base and has extensive knowledge and expertise in this specialist area over the past 12 years. We have a panel of both internal and external consultants who have completed many similar consulting and training projects.

Recognition - Clearstream has won the Green Small Organisation Award at the Irish National Green Awards, the EnviroCom Special Merit Category award and we were also awarded the Dublin Chamber Sustainable Business Challenge (SME). ClearStream is also a member of the Enterprise Ireland Green Service Providers.

Clients - Clearstream Solutions works with many industry leaders in Ireland including Mercury, Keelings, Kingspan, RDS, United Drug, ESB, Butlers, BOI and Gas Networks to implement sustainability best practice in their organisations and supply chains. In addition, we support the global operations of a number of multinational organisations including Microsoft, Flex, Cisco, Vodafone, Symantec, Honeywell, GE, and Bertelsmann.

Experience - The Clearstream team, and its partners, have delivered numerous internal and external training programs on the topic of sustainability since being established in 2009. Clearstream Solutions is the Irish partner of the global CDP organisation (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project). In cooperation with CDP, Clearstream manage the CDP Ireland Network, a group set up to support, train and encourage the development of corporate sustainability through the disclosure of Climate Change policy and carbon emissions performance. Clearstream has delivered numerous training courses, reports and workshops covering a range of Sustainability, Circular Economy and Carbon Management subjects as part of its global client engagements. It also provides coordination and project management services to a number of clients on their sustainability projects and is the secretariat for the CDP Ireland Network.


SustHub Trainer profiles

Brian O’ Kennedy

Brian is a co-founder of SustHub, and as CEO of Clearstream Solutions, he has over 20 years’ experience in sustainability, global supply chain management and procurement particularly in the areas of IT, Media, Print and Packaging. Brian has a degree in Economics from Trinity College Dublin and Certification in Sustainable Management/Training from BSI Group. He has delivered numerous local and international training programs on Sustainability and the Circular Economy, including as a trainer and advisor on the creation of DCC’s own MODOS programme. He is currently studying Circular Economy at TU Delft.

Dr Declan Bogan

Declan is co-founder of SUSTHUB and CEO of innovate2zero ( a strategy, innovation and sustainability consultancy business. Working with over 100 organisations, on multiple engagements, Dr Declan Bogan has been immersed in the world of innovation, systems and design thinking across all areas of business at strategic, product portfolio, human, service, process, customer experience and total proposition levels From the bench to the boardroom, with micro to multinational organisations, Declan has worked internationally and locally with senior leaders and executives in Fortune 500 global household brand names across the total value ecosystem as they look to evolve their proposition. He has also mentored and coached many start-ups on their business proposition evolution, all with a sustainability/climate focus. He has a particular interest in the employee as stakeholder. He ran the ClimateKIC accelerator in 2018 for 13 sustainability focused startups. He has a qualification in the circular economy from TU Delft.

The Clean Technology Centre (CTC), MTU

The Clean Technology Centre is an independent, not for profit organisation established within Munster Technological University and has been providing innovative and effective resource efficiency solutions since established in 1992. The team at the Clean Technology Centre have a proven track record and varied experience in research, technical environmental analysis and reporting, behaviour change, public engagement, training and communication.

Experience - CTC’s work in resource efficiency approaches and research has been highly acclaimed and has driven national and regional programmes and methodologies. CTC has managed 3 key NWPP Resource Efficiency Programmes between 2018 and 2020 (Green Business Programme, Green Hospitality Programme and Green Healthcare Programme). CTC has successfully carried out over 100 national and international, pure and applied environmental research projects since its inception - both individually and with over 120 partners from 31 countries. CTC has also worked directly with 25 Irish local authorities, provided assistance to 50 Irish hospitals and worked with over 300 Irish companies, through its own consultancy activities and in its past role in the Green Business Programme. CTC has assisted 12 companies in the implementation and certification of their environmental management systems to ISO 14001.

Clients - public sector bodies, local authorities, semi-state organisations, business and industry, tourism and hospitality, the waste management industry and others.

CTC Trainer profiles

James Hogan, Programme Manager, CTC

James Hogan is an environmental scientist and environmental consultant with the Clean Technology Centre since 1995. James has managed a number of national resource efficiency programmes which include the Green Business Programme, the Green Hospitality Programme, and the Savour Food Programme. He currently manages the “Going Green” programme for the LEO office in Longford which is providing resource efficiency advice and mentoring to 31 micro businesses in the midlands. James has delivered training to business on sustainability issues for 15 years through the programmes outlined, including the Green Business Programme which hosted regional resource efficiency seminars which attracted a wide range of business sectors and technology suppliers to discuss developments in resource efficiency, with a focus on energy and water efficiencies and waste prevention. He has hosted close to 100 seminars for businesses on the resource efficiency and cost savings. James has developed and delivered a resource efficiency module over the last 8 years for Tourism and Hospitality students at CIT. As a qualified Energy Auditor under the AEE he has carried out resource efficiency assessments for over 200 businesses.

Dr Colum Gibson, CTC

Colum Gibson is an environmental chemist who has worked with CTC for 18 years. He has extensive experience working with industry, the waste sector, LAs and communities. Colum has worked with a wide range of organisations, in terms of size and sector, through a variety of resource efficiency-based projects both in Ireland and abroad. Colum is currently involved in several national programmes including Green Seafood Business, the Local Authority Prevention Network and is the project leader of the EPA’s Stop Food Waste programme. He is also programme manager of the EPA’s Food Waste Charter business programme and co-manages the HSE’s Green Healthcare programme which involves work on water conservation, food waste reduction and energy efficiency. Colum is the project leader of an EPA research project looking at assessing and quantifying the reuse sector in Ireland and led the recent research project on reducing commercial food waste in Ireland. Throughout these projects Colum has been involved in producing reports, communication materials and the development of case studies. Through these projects Colum has been directly involved in the development and delivery of a variety of environmentally focused training programmes targeting SMEs.

Keelin Tobin

Keelin has been an Environmental Researcher at CTC since 2017. Formerly, she was the Coordinator of Cork Food Policy Council and continues to sit on the steering committee. Keelin leads the social media and online engagement of Stop Food Waste and is a consultant for Savour Food, a business focused project offering direct support to food service businesses. She is a trained and experienced Chef, recipient of the Young Chef Award at the 2012 Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery at Oxford University. She lectures to Culinary Arts students in the Department of Tourism and Hospitality. Keelin worked on the national commercial food waste research, participating in approximately 30 food waste audits in restaurants, canteens and retail sectors. She has contributed to the development of several food sustainability publications (e.g. the Stop Food Waste Seasonal Foods Calendar (2020), Less Food Waste More Profit (2019), the Food Waste Resource Pack for Home Economics (2019) and the Stop Food Waste Pocket Guide (2018)). She has extensive experience conducting on-site food waste assessments, presenting at seminars and conferences, carrying out research and writing reports. Keelin has an MA in Anthropology of Food, a Master of Business degree and a degree in International Development and Food Policy.

Change by Degrees

Change by Degrees is a sustainability consultancy with over 20 years international experience in climate and environment strategy, communications and employee and customer engagement. Our consultancy services enable businesses to grow better, by responding effectively to the increasing demand for sustainable business practice, through workshops, SDG mapping, strategy development and best practice policy guidance. We bring environmental sustainability and climate change know how to your business to help you assess climate risk, build resilience, secure supply chains, attract and retain staff, respond to changing regulations and communicate your impact with legitimately. Our tailored advice and communications planning will increase employee loyalty and productivity and ultimately reduce business costs. Change by Degrees have delivered training and workshops to businesses in Ireland on all aspects of sustainability policy and strategy, employee education and engagement and on reporting and communications. We tailor our training services to each clients’ needs and industry.

Clients – Change by Degrees clients include Musgrave, the National Treasury Management Agency, Gas Networks Ireland, Ervia, Irish Water, Poppulo, Dept of the Taoiseach, Depart of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Cork City Council, SECAD, and the Blue Haven Collection.

Recognition – Change by Degrees are Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awardees 2018 and were shortlisted for the Women Mean Business Awards and the Cork Chamber Digital Awards in 2019. We are members of the Enterprise Ireland Green Service Providers.


Change by Degrees Trainer profiles

Dr Tara Shine

Dr Tara Shine spent 20 years as an international climate change negotiator and adviser to governments and world leaders on environmental policy. She was Special Adviser to the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice and The Elders before setting up Change by Degrees, a sustainability consultancy based in Kinsale, Co. Cork. Tara is Chair of the Board of the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED) and a member of faculty and lead facilitator for the visibility stream of Homeward Bound, a global leadership programme for women in science. She is author of ‘How to Save Your Planet One Object At A Time’ published in April 2020 by Simon and Schuster. Tara has also recently been appointed as the co-facilitator of the Structured Expert Dialogue of the Second Periodic Review under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).Tara is a science communicator and TV presenter and will present the 2020 Royal Institution Christmas Lecture.

Madeleine Murray

Madeleine Murray spent six years in academia tutoring, teaching, writing and researching as an Archaeologist in the School of Archaeology UCD and the National Museum of Ireland. She also worked for years as an Archaeological Manager in the private sector. She is expert in employee sustainability engagement, narrative crafting and messaging and is passionate about making complex information accessible, helping businesses to create and tell their sustainability stories. Madeleine has a Diploma in UX Design making her the first Irish sustainability adviser to use sustainability and UX as a problem solving tool for business. She was winner of the 2020 Emerging New Business Award at Network Cork. Madeleine is also a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman holding several company directorships, one of which was incubated on the High Potential Start Up Course in The Rubicon Centre, C.I.T.

Reboot your Retail Business with LEAN Thinking

LEAN Thinking Course for Customer Faced Business

Join The Rebooting your Retail Business with Lean Thinking hosted by LEO Cork City and Cork Business Association.

This course is a sector specific program for consumer facing businesses based in Cork and with up to 10 employees. It will include 3 group sessions which will run on Wednesdays (21st April, 28th April and 5th May), with date for 1 x 3 hour individual mentoring session agreed between mentor and participant to be agreed. The course will run from 9:30am to 12:30pm.

Lean is involves thinking about the end user and taking out waste in the process in order to create a culture of continuous improvement. You start off by identifying one small improvement and then you ramp it up as much as you can. Lean is about people, it allows them to make a difference and it supports them on this journey.

Participants will learn how LEAN and other business improvement techniques can be used to offset the additional costs of lowered productivity due to new COVID-related processes.  This will be done through learning ‘Eyes for Waste’ and exploring how ‘Lean Workplace Organisation’ can be used to redesign processes to implement social distancing and maintain productivity.  The programme will also cover innovation techniques to find opportunities for businesses.

For further information and to book a place please see booking link,!-Rebooting-your-Retail-Business-with-LEAN-thinking.html

The Cork Dinner Party you Can’t Miss


~ This is what happens when a city comes together ~

~ Cork hotel chefs collaborate for the Cork Business Association’s President’s Dinner ~

~a ‘Taste of the City At Home’ ~


Hotels in Cork have come together to curate a Taste of the City At Home experience to showcase the wealth of producers and growers in the region.  The collaboration is for the upcoming Cork Business Association’s (CBA) President’s Dinner and Cork Business of Year Awards, which will be presented virtually on April 17th 2021.

It is being flagged as the Cork dinner party you can’t miss and is a testament to a City coming together in a challenging year.

Five executive head chefs in Cork city hotels and a director of the CBA have created six daring and delicate dishes that will highlight the best local produce that can be found in and around Cork from their favourite producers. The aim is to shine a light on the region’s smokers, growers, cheese makers and farmers, whilst also showcasing the creativity and talent of the Cork’s hotel chefs as they continue to push boundaries.

The Taste of the City At Home culinary experience is being coordinated by well-known Nash19 owner and CBA Director, Claire Nash.  Claire, who has been a leading organiser in Cork’s prestigious Long Table Dinner over the past few years, says “the quality of the food will be on a par with the Long Table and will showcase our favourite local producers and the extraordinary talent of local hotel chefs who are continuously innovating.  It will be an unmissable evening of fine dining at home – the Cork dinner party you can’t miss!  This is what happens when a city comes together.

Also commenting, President of the Cork Business Association Eoin O Sullivan said, “Our event will not only recognise businesses and individuals who have made an outstanding contribution or shown true resilience over the past year, but it will also be a stunning showcase for regional producers and the culinary talents of local chefs. This sharing dinner for two is the perfect way to thank teams who have put down an extraordinary year, as behind every good employee is a great partner or friend.

The Taste of the City At Home dinner will begin with a Carpaccio of Waterfall Farm Beetroot and Roasted Almonds, created by Trevor O’Keeffe in the Metropole Hotel.  This will be followed by a starter of Ballycotton Seared Scallop & Crab remoulade with Smoked Salmon, Blas Caviar, and Sea Asparagus, prepared by Jerome Joyce from the Imperial Hotel, while Christopher O’Sullivan from The Cork International Hotel will present a Soup of locally Foraged Nettle and wild garlic with Bacon salt.

The main is West Cork Angus, Filet of Beef Wellington with Fermented Barley, Celeriac & Black Garlic Puree, and Morel Jus, created by Tim Daly in The Kingsley.  Claire Nash from Nash19 will showcase local Cheeses, Mature Gubbeen & Ash Ardsallagh Goats, with Fig Confit.  To round it all off, the dessert will be a Rhubarb & Rosewater Posset with Gingerella & Pistachio Crumb, Cherry Flake, Apple Blossom Syrup from Adrienne Hillgrove at Cork’s Vienna Woods, who grows his own rhubarb on the estate.  Breads, Brown Soda & Sourdough will be supplied the local Alternative Bread Company.

The dinner also includes Champagne and Wine Pairing (a bottle of champagne, red wine and white wine per dinner for two) and a Shelbourne Irish Coffee for two with local Jameson, Mahers Fairtrade and Gloun Cross CreamOther treats will be included in the box on the evening for the one-off ‘Taste of the City At Home’ experience.

Fergal Harte, Chair of the Irish Hotels Federation Cork branch and General Manager of The Kingsley, one of the hotels involved in the dinner, said, “This collaboration in our city is giving everyone a boost.  Our executive head chefs have come together to create a menu we are all proud of.  We’re also delighted to bring the experience to Dublin as hopefully it will inspire visitors to Cork when the country reopens to get a bigger taste of Pure Cork.”

Those attending Cork’s biggest dinner party will be provided with chef videos demonstrating how to finish the meal off at home, along with wine tasting notes and more.  The chefs will also introduce their courses and the provenance of the produce used at the virtual event.

The Cork Business Association and Irish Hotels Federation Cork branch are keen to bring the experience to as many people as possible, so there will be two pick up locations on the 17th April – from The Imperial Hotel in Cork city and the Academy Plaza on O’Connell St in Dublin city centre.

In addition to the food, an exceptional evening of celebration, awards, entertainment, networking, and panel discussions with Cork business and civic leaders has been planned for the Cork Business Association event.  Taoiseach Micheal Martin will also make an address on the evening.


The CBA is encouraging everyone to dress up on the night and to share their experience on Twitter.  They will be linking into people’s homes via social media and there will be plenty of prizes for the best dressed, the best presented meal, and best dressed table!”


The event is a key fundraiser for the Cork Business Association, which is a not-for-profit organisation, and for their charity partner Marymount University Hospital & Hospice.  The awards and event are sponsored by JCD, Centra, Peninsula, and The Irish Examiner is the media partner.


Tickets are priced at €95 per person (€190 for the dinner for 2) and are on a first come first served basis.  There will be a collection point in Cork City and Dublin City. To book or for more information see, contact (021) 427 8295 or .


The Taste of the City At Home Menu:

Carpaccio of Waterfall Farm Beetroot, Roasted Almonds, Metropole Hotel

Ballycotton Seared Scallop & Crab remoulade, Smoked Salmon, Blas Caviar, Sea Asparagus, Imperial Hotel

Soup of Foraged Nettle and wild garlic, Bacon salt, Cork International Hotel

West Cork Angus, Filet of Beef Wellington, Fermented Barley, Celeriac & Black Garlic Puree, Morel Jus, The Kingsley

Cheeses, Mature Gubbeen & Ash Ardsallagh Goats, Fig Confit, Nash19

Rhubarb & Rosewater Posset, Gingerella & Pistachio Crumb, Cherry Flake, Apple Blossom Syrup, Cork’s Vienna Woods

Breads, Brown Soda & Sourdough, Alternative Bread Company


Champagne and Wine Pairing

Pierre Darcy Champagne Brut, (France)

Sponsored by Centra

Ribbonwood Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough (New Zealand) 2019

Supported by Enowine

Chateau Fontareche Corbières Tradition Red, Languedoc (France) 2018

Supported by Enowine

Irish Coffee, with Jameson, Mahers Fairtrade, Smothered with Gloun Cross Cream

Over 60 companies sign up to BITCI’s new Low Carbon Pledge and commit to setting science-based carbon emission reduction targets

Over 60 of the largest companies in Ireland have publicly committed to set targets based on science by 2024. They are the first signatories of Business in the Community Ireland’s new Low Carbon Pledge.

Business in the Community Ireland, the national network for sustainability, created the initial Low Carbon Pledge in 2018 with the aim of being a starting point for their member companies to commit to cutting their carbon footprint, report annually on their progress and develop a credible roadmap towards a net zero economy.

The new Low Carbon Pledge now calls on businesses to set science-based carbon emission reduction targets no later than 2024 (i.e. what science says is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C).

The 61 signatories are: A&L Goodbody, Abbvie, ABP Foods, Accenture, Actavo, AIB, ALDI, Allianz, An Post, Arup, Aviva, Bank of Ireland, Bidvest Noonan, Boots, Britvic, BT Ireland, Cairn Homes, Cisco, Cook Medical, Dawn Meats, Deloitte, DePuy Synthes, Diageo, Dublin Bus, EirGrid, Enterprise-Rent-a-Car, ESB, Fujitsu, Gas Networks Ireland, Grant Thornton, HEINEKEN Ireland, Hovione Ireland, Irish Rail, Irish Distillers,  Irish Water, Janssen, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, KBC Bank, Keelings, KPMG, Lidl, M&S, Momentum Support, Mercury Engineering, Musgrave, Ornua, Permanent TSB, PM Group, PwC, RTÉ, Sky, Sodexo, SSE, Tesco, Three Ireland, Ulster Bank, Verizon, Veolia, Virgin Media Ireland, Vodafone and William Fry.

The 61 signatory companies will commit to:

    • Record their entire Carbon Footprint, both direct (Scope 1 & 2) and indirect (Scope 3) emissions
    • Reduce emissions that they are directly responsible for (Scope 1 & 2), as well as play their part in reducing emissions across their Supply Chain (Scope 3)
    • Report individually through an Annual Report or Website or other publicly available equivalent source and collectively through an Annual Business in the Community Ireland Low Carbon Report
    • As our understanding improves, signatory companies are asked to commit to regularly Reviewing their carbon reduction targets to align to the latest Climate Science.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Eamon Ryan T.D. welcome today’s announcement and commented,

“As COP26 approaches, we must accelerate our climate response across our economy and society. I commend Business in the Community Ireland on this collective action especially as it brings together companies from different sectors and at different levels of maturity on their decarbonisation journey. A low carbon economy is imperative for our post-pandemic recovery as it will support our long-term competitiveness , job creation and social cohesion.”

The key strength of the Pledge lies in the collaborative platform which enables signatory companies to learn from each other’s successes and challenges. By working collectively, the Low Carbon Pledge movement builds capacity, fosters innovation and drives the ambition in delivering the changes needed.

Tomás Sercovich, CEO, Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), said, 

With yesterday’s publication of the Climate Action Bill which commits Ireland to be a net-zero carbon State by 2050, the role of business in reaching this target is vital. Investors, regulators, consumers, suppliers and employees expect business to lead the net zero vision we all aspire. Transparency and accountability are fundamental for the change to happen. The Low Carbon Pledge is a clear demonstration of businesses driving towards decarbonisation, creating the business models, innovation and jobs for a low carbon future. As more businesses join this Pledge, we will use our collective voice to drive the new systems thinking we need to overcome this fundamental challenge.”


Plans for a €140m regeneration of Cork’s landmark Custom House quays site have been approved.

Green light for Ireland's tallest building on Cork's Custom House site


An Bord Pleanála has upheld the decision made by Cork City Council last October to grant planning with conditions for the Tower Holdings hotel, retail, commercial and leisure project, which includes a soaring 34-storey 240-bedroom hotel.


The former Port of Cork site will be redeveloped with a mix of retail, office, food and beverage, distillery, tourism and leisure amenities.


The project includes the partial demolition of some protected structures, including the former Port of Cork Revenue Building, as well as conservation and repair works including alterations, extensions and changes of use of the existing and protected Custom House building, to provide a reception, bar, restaurant, function areas, plant and ESB substation for the hotel, as well as conservation and repair works to the Bonded Warehouses on the site.


The city council’s decision had been appealed by the Irish Georgian Society, by An Taisce Corcaigh, and by artist John Adams, who lives in, Cobh, who had all expressed concerns about the height of the tower, its visual impact on the skyline, and on the treatment of several historic but disused buildings on the site.



But in its decision which emerged today, the planning appeals board said the project would secure the re-development of strategic, under-utilised urban land in a prominent city centre location and would assist in the re-development and rejuvenation of this part of Cork City Centre, in accordance with the policies and objectives of the current Cork City Development Plan.


The board said there will be positive impacts on the cultural heritage of this part of Cork City arising from the restoration, extension and reuse of currently vacant or under-utilised historic buildings and the opening up of the site to the public and the extensive provision of public realm.


The planning decision comes just days after the state announced a €353m investment in the city's docklands to help drive future development.


Cork Airport to rebuild runways during downturn


Cork Airport is progressing at pace its critical long-term capital infrastructure programme this year given the decimating impact the COVID-19 global pandemic has had on the aviation industry.

With passengers numbers currently down 99% it makes prudent business sense to fast-track major capital investment projects now, while the airport is extremely quiet.

Management at Cork Airport has been engaged with all its major stakeholders, including Ryanair, in relation to the runway reconstruction and remediation project since last autumn. The majority of our airline customers are strongly in favour of the runway work being done this year. This runway reconstruction project is vital for the future of the airport and our aim is to complete with the least possible disruption and at the lowest cost. The reconstruction of the main runway which, when completed later this year, will be a key strategic asset for the South of Ireland for the next 20 years.

We have consulted more than dozen other international airports in the UK and continental Europe which have completed similar runway projects in recent years. Airports adopt a range of technical solutions and working windows, but the aim is always the same – to complete the project as quickly and efficiently as possible, using the optimum technical solution, at the lowest cost.

A number of options are being considered in the context of stakeholder views, with particular regard to the recovery of traffic with our major airline customers. This will be the key determinant to the delivery of these works so that we complete the runway project in the most effective and efficient manner. Public tendering commenced back in November in accordance with EU procurement guidelines for a project of this scale and we plan to be in a position to award the contract in May.

Cork Airport has been talking to airlines, including Ryanair, in relation to the types of incentive schemes we will offer to enable us to work together to build back our respective businesses. We will be tabling a generous incentive scheme, which will once again make charges at Cork Airport cheaper than those at Dublin Airport, to Ryanair and to other customers in the coming days. Charges at Cork Airport have not increased in more than 14 years.

Cork Airport was the fastest-growing airport in Ireland in 2019 and management is focused on working with our airlines and partners to secure strong passenger growth post-pandemic.

Launch of the Cork St Patrick’s Festival March 13 to March 17

Cork St Patricks Festival celebrates our city’s people, communities and culture


Organised by Cork City Council, the Cork St Patrick’s Festival will take place from March 13 to March 17 and will see over 30 buildings in Cork go green, plus online musical performances, exhibitions and parade workshops.


The theme of the Cork St Patrick’s festival is ‘Meitheal’ and the festival will reflect on what has been positive in our experience of the year past, and the rich seam of community spirit and support that the pandemic has brought into focus.


The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Joe Kavanagh said

“The past 12 months, for all their hardship, have revealed the best in us. They have shown that a sense of community and responsibility to one another remain core to who we are as a people and a community.


The Cork St Patrick’s Festival is a celebration of our city’s sense of solidarity and pride and we pay tribute to all our communities who have given so much of themselves throughout the pandemic”


To mark our national festival, many of Cork’s most significant buildings and structures are going green this year. From Blackrock Castle to the Shakey Bridge and from City Hall to Blarney Castle, over 30 green points of light will glow in the evening skies as part of the Cork St Patrick’s Festival.

Cork Community Artlink have been inspired by the legend of the Goddess Clíodhna, a patron of Cork, and her three brightly coloured birds to create an online installation called A Tale of Cork. The installation will feature an audio recording which will blend natural birdsong with the voice submissions of participants reciting poetry or poems they have written. A special gallery featuring beautiful images of the birds and their creation will also be live on from March 13. It is hoped that a physical large-scale installation of the project will be displayed in Cork at a later date.


Even though there is no Parade this year due to COVID 19, Cork St Patrick’s Festival will present several online interactive parade workshops. Cork Circus will host three face painting workshops where you will be shown how to use face paint to create different parade looks such as The Pirate, the Cat and the Shamrock.

Cork Puppetry Company will host puppet making workshops using materials that can be recycled at home. Each workshop will be introduced by the puppet of St Patrick and on March 17 there will be a special virtual Cork St Patrick’s Puppet Parade featuring videos and images sent in by those who take part in the workshop. The Virtual Parade will take place at 1pm on

Creative Tradition in partnership with Music Generation Cork City and Cork Academy of Music will present The Island of Woods, a traditional music and art project where young traditional musicians are invited to record audio of themselves playing the beautiful Liz Carroll tune 'The Island of Woods'. The performances will be compiled into a big video production which will be released online on March 17. To take part in the video, email


For further information on all events see



Paintings by Cork Artist Jennifer McAuliffe on exhibit at The Montenotte Hotel

A collection of paintings by Cork artist Jennifer McAuliffe is now on exhibit at The Montenotte Hotel until July 2021, as part of the hotel’s thriving artist in residence programme to support Irish artistic talent.

Jennifer McAuliffe is a Cork artist who graduated from Crawford College of Art, Cork in 2003. She experiments with styles, from traditional landscape to more impressionistic abstract work as well as plein air painting. The title of her exhibition at The Montenotte Hotel is “The Precious Hours” which pays homage to the time spent with her creativity during the Covid19 lockdowns during 2020.

Commenting on her new collection of paintings, on exhibit at The Montenotte, Jennifer said “the inspiration behind the collection was when everything stopped, there was time. I appreciated, more than ever, precious time with the people I loved, when we could visit houses, precious time spent in nature, precious time spent in my own creativity finding solace in my art. My colourful abstract water lilies are inspired by places in nature, but are more about the enjoyment of paint, piling on layers of gorgeous oil paint, watching colours marble together, I added gold for it’s magic, and how it changes in the light”

General Manager of The Montenotte Hotel, Brian Bowler said, “Jennifer’s paintings are a stunning memento of the times we live in, the joy of paint and the peace found in creativity. We are proud to support local Irish artists whilst also bringing unique and interesting works of art to the hotel for our guests and visitors to appreciate when it is safe to do so in the coming months as we reopen.”

The Montenotte Hotel’s artist in residence programme is run in association with The Gallery Kinsale, and all paintings on display are available to purchase from

Jennifer McAuliffe Bio: 

Jennifer McAuliffe is an Irish painter, based in Cork. 

She is an oil painter and works on gesso panels. She loves creating art and helping others to learn the skills. Landscape, old streets, sea, and rivers are her thing. 

For more on The Montenotte Hotel visit  


Local Enterprise Week 2021 – Making it Happen

Over 200 events for Local Enterprise Week are taking place across the country this year which will be of interest to entrepreneurs, start-ups and growing established businesses across all sectors.

The booking link is at the end of the following list:

Monday, 1st March

  • Funding the Digitalisation of SMEs, with Cork Smart Gateway

Tuesday, 2nd March

  • Cork-etail:   The Cork City Online Retail Event, with James Burke, Irish Retail Expert
  • Business Advice Clinic
  • Tips & Tools for Minding your Mental Health and Wellbeing during COVID-19, with Cork Healthy Cities & Counties

Wednesday, 3rd March

  • Partnership and Enterprise
  • Network @ Noon, with Cork Entrepreneurs Network
  • 3 Strategies to grow your revenue, with Network Ireland Cork

Thursday, 4th March

  • Da Silly Heads – Mental health Visual Advocacy Workshop

Friday, 5th March

  • LEAN for micro and small businesses – information session
  • Developing tourism opportunities for cultural and creative sector SMEs

For further information on the above and the National Spotlight Events, please click on the following link