Seán Gallagher wants to do for job creation what Mary McAleese did for peace

On Thursday last the North Cork Business Alliance hosted a meeting with a special guest, independent presidential candidate Seán Gallagher. Claire O’Neill, current NCBA chair, opened the meeting by introducing the NCBA, “The North Cork Business Alliance has been in existence for 10 years and still includes original members providing invaluable experience.

We meet in the Hibernian Hotel every Friday from 7.30am to 8.30am. Currently we have 34 members. There’s only one profession / category within the group to avoid competition and to create support. The focus of the NCBA is to exchange referrals, to provide support for members and improve business skills. There has been a huge focus on keeping our meetings positive, especially in the current climate.”

By way of both introducing Seán Gallagher and linking his beliefs to those of the NCBA, Claire then quoted Seán in saying: “Seán believes that Irish entrepreneurs are vital to the creation of jobs and the recovery of the national economy. He is certain that despite the changing nature of our economy Ireland continues to offer opportunities for those courageous enough to pursue their dreams.”

Seán began his address attesting to the importance of positivity as integral to the creation of opportunities for employment and community growth. He said that entrepreneurs need to be celebrated and supported in their endeavours and that there is no greater public service than that of creating jobs. He commended those who have the courage to step forward and create work for themselves and others as jobs are the glue that hold our communities together. He spoke about the need for competitive resources and the value of coming together to gain confidence and comfort.

If elected President, Seán said: “I want to do for job creation what Mary McAleese did for the peace process.” He spoke about enterprise and community going hand in hand and said that we all have the power to make a difference. “We need to turn away from the problems to find the solutions. We need to work together to create the next chapter for this country – to come together to put our strengths to work.”

It was then time to open the discussion to the floor, and Seán was asked for his top three tips for businesses in the current climate. His first tip was to focus on quality in everything a business does. His second was to a encourage businesses to maintain a strong customer service policy because, he said, it’s imperative businesses concentrate on retaining the customers they have first before investing their energies in finding new ones. Thirdly: to provide value for money. He added that businesses ought to investigate expanding the services their business provides so as to potentially uncover new opportunities, expand their customer range and include new markets.

The next question from the floor addressed the lack of governmental support for self-employed people who find themselves out of business through no fault of their own. Seán told a story of how he had heard of a man who had 10 employees and had to close his doors due to defaulting debtors. His 10 employees were afforded social welfare support while he was left with nothing. Seán expressed his frustration that social welfare policies can serve to discourage entrepreneurs who might otherwise have started businesses and provided jobs. Without some kind of safety net the risk is often too large. He stated that every department of government needs to join up the dots to make sure this issue is resolved.

Finally, Seán spoke about the need to provide leadership skills training and encouraging enterprise in schools so that we have the skill sets to move the economy forward.