How will a No-Deal Brexit impact Cork Airport?

Brexit – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will flights be cancelled or delayed if there is a no deal Brexit?

A no deal Brexit is not expected to have any impact on flight operations at Cork Airport. The EU has introduced new laws to ensure that flights between the UK and Ireland will continue to operate as normal even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The UK has confirmed that it will mirror these arrangements.

What queue should UK passport holders use at airport immigration if the UK leaves without a deal?

At present, UK passport holders are processed through the EU channel at Cork Airport. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), which operates immigration at Cork Airport, has confirmed that UK passport holders will continue to be processed through the EU channel – however, this EU channel will be re-designated as an EU/UK channel. This means there is no real change at Irish immigration for UK passport holders.

In the event of a no deal Brexit, we will be changing the signs at immigration to make things clear for passengers. Cork Airport staff will also be on hand to help passengers to deal with any queries that may arise.

If the UK leaves without a deal, what customs channel should UK arrivals use?

In the event of a no deal Brexit the UK will no longer be in the European Union and ALL passengers arriving from UK airports will have to use the Green customs channel or the Red channel if they need to make a customs declaration.

No passenger arriving from a UK airport is entitled to use the Blue channel post Brexit, irrespective of their nationality. Revenue Commissioners staff who manage Customs at Cork Airport will be on hand to help passengers and to deal with any queries that may arise.

Will duty-free shopping return for passengers flying to the UK in a no deal scenario?

Duty-free shopping will return on alcohol and tobacco products if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The UK government has said it will reintroduce duty-free for passengers travelling to EU countries in the event of a no deal Brexit. In that context, the Irish government has said duty-free will be available on alcohol and tobacco products for passengers travelling on flights to UK from Irish airports in the event of a no deal Brexit.

What allowances will people have if duty-free returns on flights to the UK? 

The duty-free allowances are likely to be the same as those currently in place for non-EU countries. These are as follows:  200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of smoking tobacco; 1 litre of spirits; 2 litres of liqueur, port or sherry; 4 litres of wine, and 16 litres of beer.

Will passengers travelling to the UK from Cork Airport be able to buy duty-free perfume and cosmetics?

No. The Irish Government has said that under a no deal Brexit scenario only duty-free alcohol and tobacco will be available for passengers on flights to the UK. The Loop at Cork Airport will continue to offer Ireland’s best deals for beauty and cosmetics for all passengers, regardless of their final destination, with prices that are at least 15% cheaper than downtown stores.

Will there be any impact with respect to security screening for Irish or UK passengers in a no deal scenario? 

No. We’re not expecting any security changes for UK passengers or for any other nationalities travelling to the UK from Cork Airport. UK citizens and those travelling to the UK should continue to comply with all existing security processes and requirements. 

What about the Common Travel Area (CTA) between Ireland and the UK, does it still apply?

Both the Irish and British governments have said the Common Travel Area (CTA) will continue to apply. Under the CTA, Irish and UK citizens can move freely and live in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and entitlements. 

The Government of Ireland, the UK Government, and the EU have committed to maintaining the CTA and its associated rights and entitlements in all circumstances, including in a no deal Brexit. 

Some airlines let me use just a driving licence as ID for flying to Britain, will that change after Brexit? Will I need to have a passport?

The Common Travel Area (CTA) will continue to operate between Ireland and the UK in a no deal Brexit.

However, passengers will still have to present proof of their identity to avail of CTA arrangements and therefore will need official photo identification. Passengers should check with their airline to clarify the type of identification the airline requires and should travel with their passport if there is any uncertainty.  

The CBA Has Had A Busy Summer! 

Flood Insurance

Flood insurance or the lack of same has long been a bitter bone of contention for many businesses in Cork city. I have seen at first hand the devastation that flooding can cause to premises and the stress and worry it causes to the operators who in many cases didn’t have and couldn’t get flood insurance cover. This problem is, of course, not unique to Cork city and is indeed a national issue. Hence the reason several years ago the CBA formed a strategic alliance with the Irish National Flood Forum. Our objective was and is to ensure locations which have seen Flood Defences installed to the 1 in 100-year standard by the OPW, must subsequently be offered affordable Flood Insurance cover. This regrettably is not happening and I can refer to Fermoy, Clonmel, & Mallow as examples where the state has invested close to €130 million on flood defences yet businesses and indeed many private residences are refused flood insurance cover.

In April this year, the Cork Business Association along with the INFF met with Insurance Ireland and challenged them on why they were not offering flood insurance cover particularly in the newly defended areas. Their main argument was the use of demountable defences and the lack of agreed protocols for their deployment. This position to pardon a pun does not hold water, demountable defences are an integral part of most flood schemes and Insurance Ireland has failed to work with any of the key stakeholders to agree on such protocols. Simply put it suits them for the status quo to remain and they can use this lack of agreed procedures relating to demountable defences as an excuse not to offer flood insurance cover.

In July this year again on the issue of Flood Insurance, the CBA & INFF met with the Central Bank where we expressed our concern at the lack of flood insurance cover specifically in areas where the OPW have spent hundreds of millions of Euro on completing world-class flood protection schemes in 18 towns across Ireland. The issue of non-independent data being collected by the government on the penetration of flood insurance in towns that have had a flood scheme delivered was highlighted. The Director of Consumer Affairs with the Central Bank did believe the information we presented warranted further investigation. The Central Bank position was they needed to reassess the situation and revert with their findings.

 It is the view of the Cork Business Association & the Irish National Flood Forum that legislation is the only method that will resolve the issue of affordable flood insurance cover. In this respect, we have been most fortunate to have the support and advice of Michael McGrath T.D. who has tabled a private member’s Flood Insurance Bill 2016. This bill is currently before Dáil Eireann, Third Stage better known as committee stage. The next phase is to get the bill out of the committee stage into the report stage / final report stage and thence to the Seanad. This, of course, will not be a straight forward journey and there are powerful interest groups who don’t want to see this happen. The Cork Business Association is committed to achieving this objective for property owners both local & national and will continue to support the INFF in this endeavour.

Delegation who met with representatives of the Irish Central Bank:

  • Cathal O Donovan Director INFF
  • Jer Buckley PRO INFF
  • Paul Kavanagh MD McCarthy Insurance Brokers
  • Michael Tully Balinasloe Flood Alleviation
  • Lawrence Owens CEO Cork Business Association
  • Eamon Downey – Development Director Owens McCarthy Loss Adjusters ( not in picture also attended )

Street Performers / Busking Bye-Laws

Street performing will always be an integral part of what our city offers. It greatly adds to the atmosphere and vibrancy of our wonderful city. I don’t think many would argue with that position and neither would the CBA. However, whilst most street performers take into account their surroundings and what is the appropriate volume for the area, there are unfortunately a few who feel whatever volume they decide on is acceptable. This over-amplification, sometimes to absolutely ridiculous levels, is unreasonable.

We have received many complaints from businesses in the city on this issue particularly on the level of amplification being used which is impacting on our members who are trying to conduct their business. What we are proposing is to regulate the art of street performers, particularly when it comes to the volume that some performers choose to use. The current situation is that Cork City has no bye-laws in place to regulate street performers and we are seeking to have this situation corrected. We have met with Councillor Joe Kavanagh, Fine Gael, on this issue and asked him that this matter be brought before city council to enact bye-laws that will give the Gardaí power of enforcement in this area. In essence, it’s all about balance.

VAT: Hospitality & Services Sector Competitiveness

Many of our members have expressed to us their serious concern that the change in the Vat rate from 9% back to 13.5% in the 2018 Budget is having on their business. In our view, no commercial logic was applied to this decision a 50% increase and in one budget. No consideration was given to adjusting this rate over several budgets to allow businesses to cope, instead, it was applied in full at 13.5%.

In the Tourism sector alone VAT increase from 9% to 13.5% has meant an additional tax burden of €466 million on the tourism industry this year. Ireland now has a higher VAT rate than 27 countries in Europe, to improve competitiveness Ireland’s tourism VAT rate needs to be urgently reviewed so that it is line with European peers.

Submissions for the 2019 Budget are now being made by various sectors across the country. In partnership with the Irish Hotel Federation, (IHF) Cork Vintners Federation (CFI), Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) & representatives from the services sector.

The Cork Business Association facilitated a number of meetings with key politicians to convey to them the seriousness of the issue and the urgent need for the vat rate to be adjusted back to 9.5%, particularly as the uncertainty that Brexit and the fall in the value of sterling is bringing to the tourism & hospitality sector.

We met with Michael McGrath Fianna Fáil spokesperson on finance on Thursday, September 5th & An Tánaiste & Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney later on the same day.

Following these meeting, the below Press Release was issued:

Business Leaders Meet with Key Politicians in relation to Budget 2020

The Cork Business Association in alliance with representatives of the Hospitality, Services & Tourism sectors held separate meetings last Thursday 05th September at the CBA offices at no. 5 South Mall, with Michael McGrath, Fianna Fail spokesperson on finance, and later with An Tánaiste, Simon Coveney.

The meetings focused on the upcoming Budget for 2020 as well as the measures that need to be enacted to stop the erosion of the sector’s competitiveness, viability and the long-term sustainability of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and biggest regional employer.

The meetings were frank and open and the serious concerns of the representative organisations who attended were conveyed. The consensus was that the existing VAT rate of 13.5% needs to be restored to 9% in the forthcoming budget in order that these vital sectors future, and the significant levels of employment they maintain, is secured.

In attendance at the meetings were An Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, Michael McGrath, Fianna Fail spokesman on Finance, Lawrence Owens, Chief Executive CBA, Philip Gillivan, CBA President and owner of The Shelbourne Bar, Aaron Mansworth, Managing Director of the Trigon Hotel Group, Mike Ryan owner of the Cornstore & Coqbull restaurants and representing the RAI, Sean McCarthy publican & restauranteur and treasurer of the CVF, Neil Grant, General Manager of The Celtic Ross Hotel and representing as branch chairman of the IHF, Kathleen Healy, Darcy’s Hair Salon representing the services sector, Claire Nash, owner of Nash 19, Michael Magner, owner of the Vienna Woods Hotel.

L-R – Lawrence Owens, Mike Ryan, Michael Magner, Neil Grant, Philip Gillivan, An Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Claire Nash, Aaron Mansworth, Sean McCarthy, Kathleen Healy, Sarah Bennett

L-R – Lawrence Owens, Michael Magner, Mike Ryan, Michael McGrath, Neil Grant, Claire Nash, Kathleen Healy, Sean McCarthy

Retail Initiatives / Review

The retail committee of the Cork Business Association has had several highly positive and constructive meetings with members of Retail Excellence Ireland. Looking at a range of innovative initiatives to improve the retail offer in Cork city. This is very much a work in progress and of course must include all the other key stakeholders in our city such as the Cork Chamber of Commerce, Cork City Council and others. International experience tells us that cities that work together in collaboration and partnership do best. Progressive retailers are embracing technology and driving an omni-channel approach within their stores for the benefit of us, the customers. Physical stores are part of our culture and investment in technology is being used to deliver a customer-centric retail experience, through click-and-collect, electronic shelf labels, real-time pricing, digital receipts/mobile vouchers, in-store virtual dressing rooms, etc. However, the core of the customer experience remains the physical store, and these innovations merely augment and add to the experience. The reality is that the retail landscape is forever changing, but while trends and preferences are cyclical, the delivery of a consistent, excellent customer experience remains at the core of all successful businesses. Cork in this respect through innovative initiatives such as the Customer service charter is well placed to deliver the consistent excellence in service that is needed. To keep our customers coming into town going into shops and interacting with people as opposed to shopping online.

Better Building Awards 2019

The search has begun for Cork’s best designed and maintained buildings.

Entries for the 2019 Cork Better Buildings Awards 2019 are arriving in their droves with business owners and building occupants right across the greater Cork area keen to show off the exterior of their establishment.

The Cork Better Building Awards congratulate staff, managers, property owners, developers, architects and designers for high standards in design, conservation and creativity, and also salute the window cleaners, painters and maintenance staff on their good practice in the presentation and upkeep of the buildings. This significantly contributes to a positive public perception of the city as a vibrant and dynamic place to live, visit, invest and do business in.   

This year in particular, we want to recognise the huge amount of expansion and planning in Cork. To acknowledge this, we are delighted to announce that the 2019 Cork’s Better Building Awards are open to any building in the greater Cork area. Whether the building you consider worthy of nomination is in Ballincollig, Glanmire, Blarney, Douglas or in the City Centre the CBA welcomes your nomination and is urging every business owner, heritage building owner, architect or conservationist to apply before the September 23rd deadline. You do not need to be a member of the CBA to enter these awards.

The beauty of Cork’s Better Building Awards is that the public can also get involved and nominate a building that they admire and believe is a stand-up feature in Cork City. You do not have to own or operate the building itself to enter it in the Cork’s Better Building Awards so please, share with us some of your favourite Cork buildings.

The Cork Better Building Awards are supported by Cork City Council and our media partners, The Echo.

For more information on these awards or to enter today please visit

Cork’s longest running business association and the Irish Management Institute partner to “equip leaders to build the future” in Cork.

At the beginning of July Cork Business Association was delighted to announce our new partnership with the Irish Management Institute (IMI) to continue our mission to support businesses of all sizes in Cork.

Founded by business leaders for business leaders, the Irish Management Institute (IMI) has been empowering world-class executives for over sixty years. This year, IMI was officially ranked as one of the top 50 executive education institutes in the world by the Financial Times. Through sharing the latest information on upcoming executive development programmes running in Cork, we will be in a position to provide our members access to world-class professional development.

We, the CBA, are extremely keen to continue to work closely with the IMI to provide our members in the Cork region with the highest level of speakers and panelists that will both educate and inspire attendees to propel their business forward through their own personal development. 

The Insurance crisis affecting SMEs
A Cork Business Association event

Businesses in the retail, hospitality, tourism and events sectors are facing significant challenges in procuring sustainable insurance premiums. Some are facing closure due to insurance issues. Industry representative bodies are working hard to bring about change through extensive lobbying of government and through the media, however, SMEs affected by these issues need to take action in their own businesses now.

The Cork Business Association is hosting an insurance event for businesses in Cork city on 17 September at 5.30pm in the Metropole Hotel with a number of industry experts.

Peter Boland heads up the lobby group Alliance for Insurance Reform which enjoys a very broad base involving over 35,000 members seriously concerned about the insurance crisis in Ireland, who are immensely frustrated at the slow pace of reform. Peter will discuss the insurance crisis, the impact for retailers and the hospitality trade, and what they are doing to bring about insurance reform. 

Bill Cremin, MD of Cool Running Events Ltd., who runs (including Cork on Ice) and is a partner of The Nightmare Realm, will give insights into insurance for festivals and events.  Bill’s company deals with claims every year. Despite this they manage to maintain sustainable insurance cover for their business.  Bill will provide insight about how his company manages risk and continues to thrive in a challenging insurance environment.

Brendan O Connell, Partner at Ronan Daly Jermyn, acts for some of Ireland’s leading retailers and he will provide insight on strategies to employ in determining when a case is worthwhile defending/settling.

Clara O Neill from Total Planning Solutions and Chair of the CBA infrastructure committee will speak about Cork’s proposed Flood Defences and their effect on the availability of flood insurance for businesses in the city.

The takeaways for attendees will be among the following;

  • Learn about the insurance crisis in Ireland and how you can lobby.
  • Insights on how to manages claims to ensure sustainable renewal premiums in risky business
  • Practical advice on how to identify and manage risk in your business.
  • How to position your business to secure sustainable insurance premiums.
  • Flood Defences for Cork and how they may impact on the availability of flood insurance

Date:  Tuesday 17th Sept

Time:  Registration from 5.30pm, Presentations from 6-7.30pm, followed by a Q&A. 

Venue:  The Metropole Hotel Cork

Cost:  Free for CBA members, €15 for non-members

Purple Flag

The Cork Business Association has been working closely with the Cork City Council, An Gardaí Siochanna, Cork Chamber of Commerce and various other stakeholder, over the summer months in order to retain Cork’s Purple Flag status. The international accreditation, awarded by the Association of Cities and Towns Management, celebrates areas of excellence in the night-time economy and has to be renewed every two years.

The ‘vibrant Victorian Quarter’ and the success of the public bike scheme were some of the reasons given for Cork retaining its coveted Purple Flag status back in 2017. We are confident that Cork will meet, and even surpass, the necessary criteria required to retain our Purple Flag status this year.

Members of the ‘Athlone A Capella’ ladies barbershop chorus celebrating the purple flag renewal award of Cork city centre, as part of International Purple Flag weekend, before taking part in the barbershop convention in City Hall, Cork. Picture: David Keane.

Q-Park Rewards App

At the beginning of the summer the CBA met with representatives from Q-Park on order to discuss the introduction of the new parking rewards app which they had previously launched in Dublin and the UK.

The Q-Park Rewards app is an innovative card linked app which works with Q-Park and Retail Partners. Customers can earn cashback rewards from spending on parking and retail spend, simply by registering the bank card in the secure app. Following in-depth discussions into the processes and benefits of using this app, what we found most interesting about this parking initiative is that the individual business essentially controls what level of discount they offer and they can make it appropriate to their business model. The app is totally independent of Cork City Council as it only applies to Q-Park locations.

We were happy to welcome Cork City business owners into the CBA office for a briefing session with members of the Q-Park team allowing them to share the information about their new app and begin to build relationships between the retailers and Q-Park.

CBA Meeting with Garda Superintendent

In July President Philip Gillivan & I, Lawrence Owens, met with Superintendent Colm O’Sullivan who is in charge of Governance and operates from Anglesea Street. We had a long and detailed discussion on the lack of Garda resources for Cork City. We stressed our concern and that of the many businesses who have raised, and continue to raise, this issue with us.

We advised the Superintendent that we have written to the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, & Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin all on the same issue of Garda resources for Cork City.

Our request is very straight forward we want to see Gardaí on the streets of our city, not in patrol cars but essentially boots on the ground. We received a commitment from Superintendent O’Sullivan that he would revert to the CBA in September on this matter. We look forward to his response and will keep you updated on developments regarding this vitally important issue.

Events Centre

Where does one begin on this project which we all fully agree is so critical to the future prosperity of the city, as it will have such a positive impact on so many sectors.

During the summer the CBA, in partnership with the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), and the Cork Vintners Association (CVA), held a number of meetings with all the key players involved with the Events Centre; Ann Doherty CEO Cork City Council, Theo Cullinane, CEO BAM Ireland and An Tánaiste Simon Coveney TD.

The objective was to try and understand where the delays were in moving this project forward and what our organisations could do to assist in the matter. It was during this consultation process that, in late July, we learnt as you all did that BAM was given notice that it must supply a Natural Impact Statement on the impact to the Cork Harbour Protected Area (SPA) and the Great Island Area of Conservation (SAC). Furthermore, they had been given six months to provide this report.

To say we, along with most interested observers, were baffled is an understatement. Since the sod was turned on the site back in February 2016 this project has been dogged by set back after set back. However, I now believe the requested information has been supplied to Cork City Council planning department. We now await planning permission and of course, await the objections to same which I’m pretty sure will follow. Why does An Taisce suddenly come to mind?

Then the last elephant in the room must be addressed; that of the finance for this project which has yet to be resolved. However, despite the chequered history of this project, I am still confident it will happen, I just can’t say when.

CBA Welcomes land deal that will further accelerate Cork’s Docklands Development

A huge €47m land deal paves the way for a near €1bn waterfront precinct on Cork’s south docks which could sustain thousands of residents and thousands of new jobs.

News of the largest ever single property deal in the city emerged yesterday just days before details are due to be released of an ambitious plan for a near 30-storey skyscraper on another key docklands site nearby.

Agri-services company Origin Enterprises confirmed yesterday it has reached a “conditional agreement” to sell 31 acres of land it owns on several sites in Cork’s south docks to O’Callaghan Properties.

The site contains waterfront real estate running east from the city, several landmark buildings including the R&H Hall grain silos and the historic red-brick Odlums building. It extends southwards to include the Gouldings fertiliser complex

It is hoped a mixed-use project here, which property experts say could represent an investment of up to €1bn and take over a decade to deliver fully, will create a new city precinct, with thousands of new houses, offices, shops, cafes and restaurants capable of sustaining up to 15,000 jobs.

There are an estimated 4m sq ft of development potential on the site, with a requirement that 40% be set aside for residential.

It prompted calls from Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill last night for the Government to introduce measures to incentivise apartment construction.

The conditional agreement to sell the site was announced to the Irish Stock Exchange yesterday.

(Sources Irish Examiner )


Planning permission granted for the 15-storey Prism skyscraper set to transform Cork’s skyline

by Alan Healy

An artist's impression of the planned Prism Building. Pic: Pedersen Focus

An artist’s impression of the planned Prism Building. Pic: Pedersen Focus


Planning permission has been granted for a landmark 15-storey skyscraper that is set to transform cork city’s skyline.

The €20 million office building called The Prism will be located on the small triangular site at Clontarf Street next to the city bus station.

Construction of the development is set to begin in the coming months and the Prism Building will create more than 100 jobs on site during development and a multiple of this figure over the next 18 months once occupied.


The Prism will be located on the small site on Clontarf Street. Photo: Billy macGill.

The Prism will be located on the small site on Clontarf Street. Photo: Billy macGill.

Cork City Council had already granted planning permission for the building but their decision was appealed to An Bord Pleanála by heritage group An Taisce.

An Taisce opposed the development on a number of grounds, including the height of the building.

“A structure of this kind will be the dominant feature on the east of the island when viewed from many parts of the wider city,” they said.

However, in a decision this week the planning appeals body said the Prism would make a “positive contribution to the urban character of the area” and would “enhance the skyline of the area.”

It “would not have a significant and detrimental impact on any important views and vistas within the city.”

The Prism building on Clontarf Street. Pic: Pedersen Focus

The Prism building on Clontarf Street. Pic: Pedersen Focus

The Prism development had received the support from the Cork Business Association and the Cork Chamber.

Commenting CEO of the Cork Business Association Lawrence Owens said,

“We warmly welcome the decision to approve planning for this impressive new development, which has the capacity not only to transform the skyline but the local economy as well”.

Tower Holdings Group, owned by Kevin O’Sullivan, will oversee the development of the proposed new office building.

Along with his brother Donal, the pair from Kerry has been responsible for a number of skyscraper developments in New York.

They have also acquired the triangular site at Custom House Quay where both channels of the River Lee meet and are planning another major skyscraper for this site.

Reacting to the news on the Prism this morning, Tower Holdings Director of Operations Conor Lee said the development will be transformative for Cork’s city centre.

“There is a strong demand for offices and commercial buildings within Cork city centre. In order to continue to attract investment into Cork, to accommodate commercial expansion and to meet the projections of Project Ireland 2040, Cork needs to have a supply of modern, fully equipped buildings where the growing population of Cork can work in a vibrant and dynamic environment,” he said.

“We are delighted that An Bord Pleanála upheld the decision by Cork City Council to grant permission for this important commercial development for Cork. In particular, the size and scale of this commercial development, which accommodates 300 work stations over 60,000 square feet is very much in demand in Cork.”

“We, at Tower Holdings, are ambitious for Cork, because we believe that Cork has enormous potential to rival other European cities in providing a world-class place for citizens to live and work.”

Asked about a construction start date Mr Lee said preparations were ongoing while awaiting planning and now they will be ramped up to commence as soon as possible – within the next number of months.



Source: Alan Healy, The Evening Echo

Cork International Choral Festival 2019 – Overview and Competition Results


The 65th Cork International Choral Festival drew to a phenomenal close on Sunday May 5th with its closing gala concert of international choirs in Cork City Hall.


The festival which took place from May 1st – 5th, drew 5,000 singers and 50,000 visitors to Cork for five days of music and song and gave an estimated €10 million economic boost to the city.


This year’s festival was attended by An Tánaiste, Minister Simon Coveney T.D and Minister for Culture, Josepha Madigan T.D, who took time out from their busy schedules on day one of the event to meet some of the choirs and team at Cork City Hall.


Highlights from this year’s Cork International Choral Festival included gala concerts by the Cork School of Music Symphony Orchestra, junior and senior choruses with the Fleischman Choir; a performance of music written ‘Before and After Bach’ by Chamber Choir Ireland; an other-worldly concert by Norwegian jazz/folk singers, Pust; as well as the annual national and international trophy competitions including the much coveted Flieschmann International Trophy, won this year by Chamber Choir KGBL from Slovenia.


The Sean O Riada Composition Competition trophy was awarded to UCC MA student, James May for his work, street after street alike, while Cór Scoil Oilibhéir, from Ballyvolane in Cork were named winners of the National Primary School Choirs competition.


The festival team would like to thank everyone who supported this year’s hugely successfully. We are already gearing up for another unforgettable event in 2020. Mark your calendars for 29th April – 3rd May 2020.




Fleischmann International Trophy Competition Prize Winners


1st Prize

Chamber Choir KGBL, SLOVENIA

Conductor: Ambrož Čopi



2nd Prize

Hamburg Academy of Music and Theatre Choir, GERMANY

Conductor: Cornelius Trantow

92.00 %


3rd Prize

The Women’s Choral Society of the University of Oslo, NORWAY

Conductor: Marit Tøndel Bodsberg Weyde




International Awards


Lady Dorothy Mayer Memorial Trophy

Donated by Chris Mahon

Special Award for the performance of a piece in the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition.

Awarded to:

Hamburg Academy Of Music And Theatre Choir, GERMANY


Conductor:  Cornelius Trantow

For the performance of: Iuppiter by Michael Ostrzyga



Schuman/Europe Trophy

In memory of Moira Pyne (1916 – 2009)

Special Award for the performance of a piece by a living European Composer in the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition.

Awarded to:


Kamarikuoro Näsi, FINLAND

Conductor:  MarkusYli-Jokipii

For the performance of: Vinternatten by Juhani Komulainen


Heinrich Schütz Perpetual Trophy

In memory of Hans Waldemar Rosen

Special Award for the performance of a choral work by Heinrich Schütz in the National or International Competitions.

Awarded to:

Mornington Singers, IRELAND

Conductor: Dr. Orla Flanagan

For the Performance of:  Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes



The McCurtain and McSwiney Memorial Trophy

Donated by the Cork Council of Trade Unions

Special Award, decided by the members of the International Jury, to a conductor in the International Competition for the performance of an imaginative and artistic programme. The recipient of this Trophy also receives a special award, kindly donated by Musica International, which offers them full access to the Musica International website and their virtual choral library.  Musica International is a major project of the International Federation for Choral Music.

Awarded to:

Conductor:                         Ambrož Čopi

Choir:                                  Chamber Choir KGBL SLOVENIA



PEACE Trophy

Donated by the P.E.A.C.E Movement Cork

Awarded to the choir that best embraces the spirit of the Festival, and fulfils the intentions of the trophy’s benefactors, the P.E.A.C.E. Movement, Cork.

Awarded to:

Cheep Trill, AUSTRALIA

Conductor:  Emma Dean



Ireland’s Choir of the Year




Recipient of The Victor Leeson Perpetual Trophy

Donated by The Guinness Choir in memory of its founder Victor Leeson

1st Prize

Mornington Singers, Dublin

Conductor:      Dr. Orla Flanagan



2nd Prize

Maynooth Chamber Choir, Kildare

Conductor:      Ruaidhrí Ó Dálaigh



3rd Prize

Dublin Youth Chamber Choir

Conductor:      Lynsey Callaghan




National Adult Competitions


National Competition for Chamber Choirs

1st Prize

NUIG Alumni Ensemble, Galway

Conductor:      Dr Peter Mannion



2nd Prize

Euphonics, Dublin

Conductor:      Ciarán Kelly




National Competition for Female Choirs

1st Prize

The Park Singers, Dublin

Conductor:      Orla Gillan



2nd Prize

Dulciana Ensemble, Dublin

Conductor:      Judith Lyons




National Competition for Male Voice Choirs

1st Prize

Portadown Male Voice Choir, Co Down

Conductor:      Gordon Speers



2nd Prize

Wicklow Male Voice Choir, Wicklow

Conductor:      Anthony Norton




National Competition for Mixed Voice Choirs

1st Prize

The Carrigaline Choral Group, Dublin

Conductor:      Robbie Pender



2nd Prize

The Carrigaline Singers, Cork

Conductor:      Alan Carney




National Competition for Youth Choirs

1st Prize

Dublin Youth Chamber Choir

Conductor:      Lynsey Callaghan




National Competition for Light, Jazz and Popular Music

1st Prize

Douglas Harmonia Singers, Cork

Conductor: Lorna Moore



2nd Prize

Gorey Choral Group, Wexford

Conductor: Eithne Corrigan




National Competition for Church Music

1st Prize

UCC Singers, Cork

Conductor: Ben Jacob



2nd Prize

Cappella Lyrica, Cork

Conductor: Maria Judge



Special Awards – National Adult and Youth Competitions




Recipient of The Victor Leeson Perpetual Trophy 
Donated by The Guinness Choir in memory of its founder Victor Leeson

Awarded to:

The Mornington Singers Dublin

Conductor:      Dr. Orla Flanagan


Trofaí Cuimhneacháin Philib Ui Laoghaire 
Donated by Cór Cois Laoi

Special Award for the performance of a choral work in Irish.

Awarded to:

UCC Singers, Cork

Conductor:      Ben Jacob

For the performance of: Fornocht do chonac thú  by Criostóir Ó Loingsigh in Ireland’s Choir of the Year Competition  



Perpetual Trophy for the Performance of Irish Contemporary Choral Music
Donated by The Contemporary Music Centre

Special Award for the performance of an original choral work by an Irish composer written after 1975 and chosen from the library collection of the Contemporary Music Centre.

Awarded to:

Mornington Singers, Co. Dublin

Conductor:      Orla Flanagan

For the performance of: A Nywe Werk by Seán Doherty in Ireland’s Choir of the Year Competition  



The John Mannion Trophy

Donated by the family of John Mannion

Special Award to a Chamber Choir for the performance of a work in the National Competitions.

Awarded to:

Choir:                          Maynooth Chanber Choir, Co. Kildare

Conductor:     Ruaidhrí Ó Dálaigh


For the performance of: It’s Strange about Stars by Séan Doherty in The Irelands Choir of the Year




Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition

The Seán Ó Riada Trophy

Awarded to Composer, James May, for his work street after street alike


National Competitions for Schools

National Competition for Schools: Section 1 (Primary School Choirs)

1st Prize

Cór Scoil Oilibhéir, Cork

Conductor: Angela Ward



2nd Prize

Cór Scoil an Spioraid Naoimh Cailíní, Cork

Conductor:  Maeve Ann O’Brien



National Competition for Schools: Section 2 (Equal Voice Post-Primary School Choirs)

1st Prize

Laurel Hill Colaiste FCJ, Limerick

Conductor:  Orla Colgan Ahern


2nd Prize

Ursuline Singers, Thurles (Co. Tipperary)

Conductor:  Joan Butler




National Competition for Schools: Section 3 (Mixed Voice Post-Primary School Choirs)

1st Prize

Wesley College Senior Choir, Dublin

Conductor:  Helen Doyle



2nd Prize

Newtown School Choir, Co. Waterford

Conductor: Fearghal Ó Conchubhair




Special Awards – National Competitions for Schools



and the Recipient of The John Cunningham Trophy.

Awarded to the school choir who received the highest overall mark in the National Competitions for Schools.

Awarded to:

Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Limerick

Conductor:  Orla Colgan Ahern


The Sing Ireland Trophy

Special Award for the performance of a piece in the National Competitions for Schools.

For the performance of:  The Seal Lullaby by Eric Whitacre, in the National Competition for Schools: Section 3: Post-Primary Equal Voice


Awarded to:  Wesley College Senior Choir, Co. Dublin

Conductor:   Helen Doyle



The Irish Federation of Musicians & Associated Professions Trophy

Special Award for the performance of a choral piece in Irish in the National Competitions for Schools.

Awarded to:

Ursuline Singers Thurles, Co. Tipperary

Conductor:  Joan Butler


For the performance of: Sí Do Mhaimeo Í by Michael McGlynn in the National Competition for Schools: Section 2: Post-Primary Equal Voice


The Sing Ireland Bursary for Conductors

Special bursary award to a conductor in the school competitions to attend Sing Ireland’s Annual Summer School.

Awarded to:

Angela Ward

Conductor of Cór Scoil Oilibhéir, Co. Cork

Let the countdown begin!

Cork Christmas Lights to be switched on this Sunday November 18th

Organised by Cork City Council, the countdown to Christmas has truly begun with the announcement that the switching on of the Cork City Christmas Lights will take place on Patrick’s Street this Sunday November 18th.  The Christmas Lights will be switched on by the Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Mick Finn and there is a rumored appearance of Santa!


The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Mick Finn said,


“Cork’s Christmas starts here! The Switching on of the Christmas City Lights officially marks the start of the countdown to Christmas in Cork. The Switch on will take place at approximately 7.15pm and I would encourage people to come into the city to experience this wonderful free family festive event. I would also encourage people to shop local for Christmas and help keep jobs and shops alive in Cork.”

Beginning at 6.30pm on Patrick’s Street, the Switch on Party will be hosted by KC and Ros Browne from Cork’s 96FM.


Ireland’s leading pop music school, The Academy of Popular Music will perform a selection of much-loved Christmas songs including All I want for Christmas, Merry Christmas Everyone and Fairytale of New York. Students from The Academy of Popular Music, have previously performed on the Late Late Toy Show, the Voice of Ireland, and Cork’s Got Talent.


They will be joined on stage by the Cork Deaf Choir who will sign and sing a selection of Christmas Songs, and they invite everyone to ‘Sign Along’ by learning the chorus of Santa Claus is Coming to Town which you can find  here: or by searching ‘Irish sign language santa’.


Throughout the evening ISL Irish Sign Language Services will be on offer, and patrons with additional mobility needs will be accommodated close to the stage.


Due to the large volume of people who annually attend the Switching on of the Christmas Lights, members of the public are being asked to give themselves plenty of time to come into Cork City on Sunday. Normal Sunday parking restrictions will apply and traffic wardens will be on duty. Some additional road closures and lane restrictions will be in place from 12 noon to 10pm on the day, so drivers are advised to check the website. Park and Ride will operate on a Monday to Friday frequency from 11am-8.30pm from Black Ash to Lapps Quay, and with the last Bus leaving the City Centre at 8.10pm.


See for details on parking in the city.

The switching on of the Christmas Lights will kick start the city’s seasonal celebrations and a big promotional drive by Cork City Council and the Cork Business Association to encourage people to come into the city centre and to shop locally in the lead up to Christmas.


Cork will be transformed into a festive wonderland with the opening of GLOW on Friday November 30th which will run for four weekends in the build up to Christmas. Cork’s 96FM and C103 and the Evening Echo are the media sponsors of GLOW 2018.


For further information contact Eimear O’Brien PR

086 8900364/

Incredible Jazz Weekend In Cork

Corks 2018 Guinness Jazz Festival certainly hit new heights this Bank Holiday Week End. From the ‘Dia De Los Muertos’ (Day of the Dead) Jazz Parade to launch the Festival on Thursday 25th to the last gigs on Bank Holiday Monday. This must go down as one of the most successful events in its 41 year history! Attracting record crowds of over 40,000 to the city who fully enjoyed the carnival like atmosphere and the good weather also helped enormously.

From a CBA perspective we would like to congratulate all involved, especially the title sponsor Guinness (Diageo) who have supported this festival since the 1980’s. Aside from the commercial benefit the Jazz Festival brings to business in the city, one couldn’t put a value on the positive marketing such an event generates.

Congratulations also to the new Festival Director Sinead Dunphy who, in her first year in the role, has brought a new vision to the event. Typical of Sinead she is already planning for next year to make the 2019 festival even bigger and better!

A special nod to Executive Committee member Niamh Murphy and her team for their work behind the scenes promoting the festival and to everyone at The Metropole for carrying on the vision created by Jim Mountjoy 41 years ago.

Well done to everyone who worked tirelessly across the city and county this bank holiday weekend to make it one of the most memorable Guinness Cork Jazz Festival’s to date.


CBA Urges Government to retain 9% VAT rate in the Hospitality & Services Sector

The CBA fully supports the stance taken by RAI cheif executive Adrian Cummins when he outlined that, “Brexit is the hospitality industry’s most immediate threat in 2018 and that danger will follow into 2019. We must retain measures such as the 9% VAT rate to allow businesses remain competitive while we continue to measure the potential damage that Brexit could introduce to the industry.”

To retain the growth that we have seen specifically in the Cork region within  the Tourism / Hospitality and Services sectors, it is essential that the VAT rate of 9% is retained until 2022. It is also important to acknowledge since the VAT cut, 54,400 jobs have been created in these sectors nationally. Consequently it is imperative that the reduced VAT rate is kept in place until 2022 in order for the Irish economy to remain competitive.

We must not eaisly forget when the economy went into decline, restaurants & service providers endured falling numbers , rising prices and great financial uncertainty, with many having to close their businesses. Money generated by this reduced VAT rate, however, has kick-started a reversal of fortunes. Since the VAT cut, employment in the Restaurant Tourism &  Services sector increased by approximately 54,400 direct jobs with an additional 25,024 indirect jobs which gives a total employment increase of 79,424. This growth will continue if VAT at 9% remains in effect.”

Commenting Lawrence Owens CEO of the Cork Business Association said ” Many of our members operate in the sector that will be seriously impacted by any upward change in the 9% VAT rate. We urge the Government not alone to heed the significant warnings from the sector but to factor in the uncertainty that Brexit poses to the industry. In essence we would simply say if it ain’t broke don’t fixit”



Engaging with our Youth – The Retail Experience in Cork City

The Cork Business Association and Cork City Council have come together with St Angela’s College to work on an exciting new project for the present academic year. With the growth of online shopping ever increasing there is an inevitable knock on effect on our local retailers in Cork City centre. Cork Business Association and Cork City Council are aware of this potential threat to local business, and with the help of Ms Muireann Curtin of St Angela’s College, they have designed a Project Brief for the current transition year students attending St Angela’s College.

The general objective of this project is to “raise questions about the spending habits of young people in Cork City and promote the development of small local retailers”. This project is being guided by Ms Julia Campi from Sao Paulo who has worked on similar projects back in her home country of Brazil. This is a very practical live project that will greatly benefit both the transition year students and local retailers alike. The project is broken down into four stages and students will work over the course of the academic year to identify what types of products are available in Cork City, how the youth in Cork consume these products and what the overall retail experience is like for our younger generations shopping in Cork City. The students will then be given the challenge of identifying the global retailers who are continuously innovating and positively reaching the youth through various different channels and seeing how they can apply their findings on a local scale.


Philip Gillivan, President of the Cork Business Association, said,

“This is a fantastic new project, the first of its kind in Cork City and possibly even the whole country. I firmly believe we can learn a lot from these students and readjust our business models to reach this target market. Students of this age are very impressionable and if we don’t attempt to curb their spending habits now they will continue to shop online, to the detriment of our local small retailers.”

The CBA and Cork City Council launched this project today, Thursday 13th September, and met with over one hundred transition year students who will be taking part.

“The students are very eager and excited to take part in this new project with ideas already flying around the room. If we fail to listen to their needs and concerns now, we will lose them as they progress in life and the concept of shopping local will be alien to them. Cork City has so much to offer with an eclectic mix of products and services available on our doorstep and we look forward to working alongside these students and hearing their ideas on how we can improve their overall retail experience in Cork.”, commented Lawrence Owens, CEO of the Cork Business Association.


“We need to start a conversation between these transition year students, their generation, and the business community in Cork City. It’s a two way street – how the businesses can learn what the transition year students want regarding online shopping and how the students can learn the impact of buying everything solely online and how that will affect the vibrancy of the city going forward, their city. It’s a two-way conversation; the students learn the benefits of spending in the local economy and the business community learning that they need to be able to adapt and change to attract the next generation of shoppers to their shops, whether it be online or instore.”

“This is the first year this project will be rolled out with St Angela’s College however we hope to open this up to all Cork schools next year as we feel it’s a great opportunity for students to really interact and engage with the retail sector in Cork for mutual benefit.”, commented Mr Gillivan.


Paul McGuirk, Cork City Coordinator, said of this new live project,

“We are delighted to partner with the Cork Business Association on this exciting and innovative project which has a dual capacity to assist the transition year students at St Angela’s College in their learning process and will aid the Cork City retailers in their ability to adapt and change with the evolving consumer trends”.

Cork Pubs Champion at the Bar of the Year Awards 2018

Celebrations are well and truly in order ‘cross the bridge this week as The Shelbourne Bar and Cask bring home a total of four awards from the Bar of the Year Awards 2018.


On Monday 20th of August, the Bar of the Year awards gala was held in the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road, Dublin and was hosted by Newstalk’s Tom Dunne. It was a joyous evening for the Rebel County with seven awards coming Leeside.


The Shelbourne Bar was crowned Whiskey Bar of the Year on the night. Home to over 300 Irish whiskey bottlings, The Shelbourne Bar boasts a range of new releases, vintage bottlings and everything in between. The bar prides itself on its extensive Irish whiskey offering, which they believe to be the largest in Cork City and thus the team was truly honoured to be awarded with the prestigious title of Whiskey Bar of the Year Award 2018.


“We are always striving to maintain the largest and best collection of Irish whiskey in Cork so we were overjoyed to be acknowledged at the Bar of the Year Awards 2018!”

Scooping the coveted “Bar of the Year 2018” award was none other than Cask. With hundreds of bars across the country eager to claim the title, Cask came out on top! This is an incredible achievement for a bar than opened just over a year and a half ago. The judges deemed the cocktail bar to be outstanding across all aspects, with particular accreditation to its unique design.


But it didn’t stop there; Cask was also crowned Cocktail Bar of the Year and Contemporary Bar of the Year bringing their title tally to three!


Andy Ferreira, manager of Cask, said, “I’m thrilled for everyone involved in Cask. We’re incredibly passionate about what we do and winning these awards is reward for a lot of hard work. Cork city is really buzzing at the moment; there’s such a great variety of places to eat and drink and the service you get is so genuine and unpretentious. Winning Cocktail Bar of the Year for a second year running is an amazing feeling. When you do four drinks’ menus a year and really immerse yourself in seasonality, it’s an incredibly rewarding way to develop drinks and menus. We keep pushing ourselves to be better with every menu.”


And last but certainly not least The Oyster Tavern were crowned City Bar of the Year, a title that was well and truly deserved! They paid a special thanks to their loyal customers and hardworking staff whom made it all possible.


A special nod to the Franciscan Well Brew Pub upon winning Tourist Bar of the Year and Traford Murphy of Ballymaloe House was crowned the Bushmills Cocktail Bartender of the Year on the night.