Remembering Michael Hurley

The ICBA would like to express their condolences on the death of Michael Hurley, Deputy Ambassador to China. A much loved member of the DFA team, for the last five years Michael has supported and encouraged each ICBA trade mission to Canada. As Deputy Ambassador in Ottawa Michael helped plan the ICBA itineraries with the greatest enthusiasm. For all of us working with Michael was a pleasure through and through. Michael’s attendance at the ICBA Mission events was very much valued and we appreciated the efforts he made by travelling to Montreal and Toronto to welcome the ICBA Trade Mission participants. One of Michael’s last visits to Montreal was to to accompany the ICBA group and speak at the Ireland Canada Montreal summit. It is devastating for Michael’s family to lose such a special father and husband at such a young age. We know that Annemarie and the DFA team have lost a great man.

Michael Hurley

Article by Irish Ambassador to Canada Mr. Jim Kelly – 17 March 2020

Today is St Patrick’s Day, when Irish people celebrate our heritage and culture, together with our diaspora and friends around the world. In Canada, where one-seventh of the population claims Irish heritage, this special day recalls the deep historical connection between our countries, going back to the 16th century, when Irish fishermen first came to the Grand Banks off Newfoundland.

In the following centuries, generations of Irish people came to seek a new life in Canada, many fleeing famine, economic deprivation or political oppression. Canada welcomed Irish people with generosity, and in turn they helped shape Canada, from Confederation to the present day. Their contribution is commemorated in the names of streets and towns across the country, and their positive influence is found in all walks of Canadian life.

We are fortunate to be able to build on the sturdy foundation of our common history. Today, we are forging an ever closer partnership based on shared values and interests, which our Taoiseach Leo Varadkar articulated when welcoming Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Ireland in 2017:

“ … In an increasingly uncertain world, Ireland and Canada share the same outlook. We are like-minded. We believe in multilateralism, free trade, respect for personal liberty, the value of diversity, the benefits of migration, the need for climate action and openness to the world”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, shakes hands with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, at Farmleigh House, in Dublin, in a July 4, 2017, file photo.  PAUL FAITH/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The years since have seen rapid advances in that partnership, with strong growth in our bilateral trade, investment and tourism. This is all the more notable when set against the background of a turbulent period in international relations.

Two key developments have acted as catalysts for progress. The first is the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). By virtually eliminating trade tariffs and reducing regulatory barriers, CETA has created improved, more predictable trading conditions for business. The response has been dramatic. In the first year after the provisional implementation of CETA, the value of bilateral merchandise trade between our countries grew by close to 30 per cent.

The second, perhaps surprisingly, is Brexit.

Brexit presented significant political and economic challenges for Ireland, and continues to do so. The EU-U.K. Withdrawal Agreement meets our primary concern to safeguard peace and prosperity by avoiding any return to a hard border on the island of Ireland, while maintaining the Common Travel Area between Ireland and Britain, and protecting continuing North-South co-operation. In the upcoming negotiations, we will work with partners for the closest possible EU-U.K. relationship based on a balance of rights and responsibilities, including level playing field provisions for fair competition.

However, we know that in all scenarios Brexit will mean considerable change for our businesses trading with a U.K. outside the EU Single Market and Customs Union. We are preparing extensively for Brexit and have put measures in place over several budgets to support key sectors exposed to the British market, and to incentivize diversification. Even as Brexit presents ongoing challenges at home, however, it offers significant opportunities for the Ireland-Canada relationship. With CETA making it easier for companies to establish presences and invest in our respective jurisdictions, and Brexit driving diversification of our trade, Canada is a key target market for Irish business. Already, Canada is the 10th-largest market globally for Irish exports, while our companies are employing increasing numbers here in Canada in financial services, life sciences, business-to-business software and construction products.

Many Canadian companies and investors in financial services, technology and other sectors now look to Ireland’s unique offering as a culturally compatible, English-speaking, common-law country with barrier-free access to the 450 million consumers of the EU Single Market. With a business-friendly environment, a highly educated workforce and an economy averaging growth of four to five per cent per annum, Ireland provides the perfect gateway to the EU for Canadian business.

Since St. Patrick’s Day 2017, 21 members of our government have visited Canada in support of the growing bilateral relationship. In 2019, our government published its strategy to double our impact in Canada by 2025. To deliver this strategy, new resources have been provided to Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, our export and investment promotion agencies, as well as Tourism Ireland, whose efforts have seen Canada rise to become the No. 6 market globally for tourism into Ireland. Just over a year ago, we opened a new diplomatic consulate in Vancouver – our first new diplomatic office in Canada in 80 years. A second such consulate is due to be opened in Toronto in the next two years.

These are exciting developments at a moment of unique opportunity in our relations and demonstrate Ireland’s commitment to seize that moment. In these testing times, Ireland-Canada relations provide a welcome good news story, and one worth celebrating on this St Patrick’s Day.

Published: Globe and Mail, 17 March 2020

ICBA Newsletter – Christmas Edition

Season's Greetings from ICBA Chair, Chris Collenette

ICBA Chair, Chris Collenette, reflects on a very successful for year for the association and looks ahead to some significant events coming up in 2020

ICBA & ICUF Christmas Drinks 2019

Thanks to all who attended our 2019 Christmas Drinks this week, jointly hosted by the ICBA and ICUF. We enjoyed the great company of many members, friends and colleagues, including Deputy Alan Farrell in his capacity of head of the Ireland Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group and Penny and David Collenette PC.

Minister Paschal Donohoe delivers keynote at ICBA briefing

Paschal Donohoe

At a time in which our backs were really against the wall…Canada pressed the case for Ireland in some really, really important debates and some important decisions; and for that, I and we should always be grateful

Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, delivered a truly inspiring speech at November's ICBA business briefing, hosted by the National College of Ireland. He spoke about the growing economic and diplomatic relationship between Ireland and Canada and how our two nations can be true allies and champions of global trade. See the full interview HERE, and check out the short clip below where he describes being in the room with Ireland and Canada at the IMF.


Brexit will attract investors to Ireland ICBA

“If Ireland was a stock, I would buy. It’s probably ‘buy low’ right now still. I don’t think Ireland has achieved its full potential,” said Mr Hyder, who spoke at the annual Maple Leaf dinner of the Ireland Canada Business Association on Friday night.

Great coverage in The Irish Times of Goldy Hyder's recent trip to Ireland to be the keynote speaker at our annual Maple Leaf Dinner (photos below). Here's the full article.

The President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada joined ICBA Chair Chris Collenette for a quick chat 'backstage' in the Marker Hotel. Check out those socks!

Goldy Hyder & Chris Collenette in conversation

EU Economic Growth Forecast 2019

These figures from the European Commission’s Autumn 2019 Economic Forecast caught our eye. The European economy is forecast to grow for the seventh year in a row in 2019, with Ireland’s pace of growth forecast to be fastest at 5.6 percent, followed by 5.0 percent in Malta and 4.6 percent in Hungary.

Kevin Ahern of TD Securities Ireland on banking culture, attracting talent, and successful scaling. In conversation with Patrick Haughey.

ICBA Maple Leaf Dinner - Oct 2019

A short highlights video from the 2019 Maple Leaf Dinner

Thanks to everyone who joined us at the ICBA Maple Leaf Dinner 2019 - it was a fantastic night of socialising, networking and raising funds for our charity partners.

ICBA ICUF Christmas 2019

ICBA ICUF Christmas 2019
ICBA ICUF Christmas 2019


ICBA ICUF Christmas 2019
ICBA ICUF Christmas 2019


ICBA ICUF Christmas 2019

ICBA ICUF Christmas 2019
ICBA ICUF Christmas 2019


ICBA ICUF Christmas 2019
ICBA ICUF Christmas 2019


ICBA Trade Mission 2020

Following the success of this year's ICBA business mission to Toronto and Montreal, we're delighted to announce our 2020 mission to Western Canada. For all info email events@irelandcanada.com

ICBA Podcasts on Soundcloud


ICBA 2020 Events


Brexit will attract investors to Ireland, says Canadian business leader

Goldy Hyder says firms seeking stability want to avoid ‘short-term pain’ of UK’s exit

Brexit will present a “tremendous opportunity for Ireland” to attract investors concerned about the “short-term pain” facing the UK, the head of Canada’s most powerful business lobby group has said.

Goldy Hyder, president of the Business Council of Canada, which represents the chief executives of 150 large Canadian companies, said Ireland becoming the only English-speaking country in Europe under the EU-Canadian free trade agreement after Brexit made the State “an attractive destination for capital and talent”.

As the UK endures the “pain” of leaving the EU, Ireland could draw more investment from businesses in Canada that are looking for certainty in the political and business world, said Mr Hyder on a visit to Dublin.

“Businesses take a view of who offers me, as a business, the predictable, stable regulatory environment and also an environment that is attractive from the tax and talent side, and the Irish story is a very strong one,” said Mr Hyder, who represents companies accounting for half the value of Toronto’s stock exchange.

Ireland’s “resilience and rebound culture” in the decade since the financial crash and its embrace of an entrepreneurial culture, trade and multiculturalism “bode well for Ireland to be a magnet for both capital and talent” at a time when many other parts of the world were “going in other directions”, he said.

“If Ireland was a stock, I would buy. It’s probably ‘buy low’ right now still. I don’t think Ireland has achieved its full potential,” said Mr Hyder, who spoke at the annual Maple Leaf dinner of the Ireland Canada Business Association on Friday night.

Brexit an ‘anomaly’

Visiting Dublin after three days in the UK, which included a meeting at 10 Downing Street, Mr Hyder said Brexit was “unfortunate” and he hoped it was “an anomaly” while the world was breaking down into large trading blocs that provided businesses with predictability, certainty and confidence in markets.

Speaking a day after the EU and UK reached agreement on a new Brexit deal, he said he was “very pleased” to see the Irish-UK relationship remaining strong even on a bilateral rather than multilateral basis.

“Don’t short the UK,” he said, referring to the market bet against a share. “There may well be some short-term pain, but even their slogan – keep calm and carry on – has a certain applicability in this situation for them. There is a resilience and a resolve to continue.”

Mr Hyder expects the Conservatives to push for a UK-Canada free trade deal if Andrew Scheer unseats Canada’s liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau, in Monday’s election.

He urged the Irish Government to ratify the EU-Canada trade deal, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or Ceta, as soon as possible to give business “confidence” in the deal.

Asked about Aer Lingus’s postponement of a new Dublin-Montreal air route because of the unavailability of new aircraft, Mr Hyder said Canadian airlines Air Canada and WestJet had established routes with Ireland and that these routes would lead to the launch of more to serve growing tourism between the countries.

“I think tourism is going to see a significant bump. It’s just natural,” he said.

Source: The Irish Times, 19 October 2019 - Simon Carswell, Public Affairs Editor

ICBA Newsletter – Autumn 2019

Dear all,

Welcome to our latest edition of our newsletter. I would like to say how delighted I am to become vice-chair of the Ireland Canada Business Association and look forward to working with the ICBA Advisory Council and also engaging with our members to continue growing and promoting Ireland Canada relations. We have very exciting plans ahead which I look forward to supporting the association in their implementation

We would like to hugely thank Suzanne Drisdelle, the Canadian Embassy's new Senior Trade Commissioner and Charge D'Affairs, for joining us at our recent leadership council meeting. It is very pleasing to hear about the Trade Commission Services strategic plans and Canada's international trade objectives.  We look forward to working with Suzanne and the Canadian Embassy and supporting each other as we continue to work on building trade relationships between our two countries and ensuring we provide our members – YOU – with any support you need in achieving your strategic objectives in both Ireland and Canada.

We would also like to extend a warm welcome to our newest members, Greenfield Energy, Nephin Energy, Hanover Communications and Accelerated Payments.

Lastly, we were all so thrilled for Bianca Andreescu, first Canadian ever to receive a Grand Slam singles title and such an achievement for a nineteen year old!  Congratulations to Bianca.

We hope to see you all at our Maple Leaf Dinner on October 18th at the Marker Hotel in Dublin, where we are honored to have Goldy Hyder, President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, as keynote speaker. It promises to be a great event, and you will find more details about it below.

Thank you

Joanne McEnteggart

Joanne McEnteggart, Vice-chair

Gerry Mongey receives ICBA Honorary Lifetime Membership Award

Kate Hickey, Deirdre Giblin, Gerry Mongey, and Suzanne Drisdelle

We were delighted to present Gerry  Mongey with an Honorary Lifetime Membership of the ICBA on her retirement as Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Embassy in Dublin -  Gerry is the first woman to receive this accolade.  So, thank you Gerry for all your hard work for us at ICBA and the Canadian embassy over the years.

Read the full tribute paid to Gerry as she accepted the award: https://irelandcanada.com/gerry-mongey-tribute/

Laureen Regan

Laureen Regan

IN PROFILE: Laureen Regan - President and Founder, Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary

"The time has never been better for Irish and Alberta businesses looking for new markets. Businesses and visitors alike will find a world of opportunity, an affordable business climate, young and educated workforce and a warm welcome in Alberta"

In the latest of our series of profiles on the organisations  helping Irish companies to thrive in Canada, we meet Laureen Regan, who heads up the Ireland Canada Centre of Commerce, Calgary, and who is also Honorary Vice Consul for Trade and Investment for Ireland. Waterford-born Laureen outlines the top reasons for choosing Alberta as a base, gives her advice on how to get established, and delivers a message to the Irish government on successfully seizing current business opportunities. Read the full article HERE.

ICBA - Roundtable Discussion - September 2019

Thanks to everyone who joined us at the ICBA roundtable featuring contributions from Honorary Vice Consul for Trade and Investment for Ireland, Laureen Regan, Darcy Kerwin of Vermilion, ICBA Vice Chair Joanne McEnteggart of IQEQ and Suzanne Drisdelle, Senior Trade Commissioner and Chargé d’Affaires of the Canadian Embassy in Ireland.

The ICBA wishes the very best of luck to the Ireland and Canada International Rugby squads as they progress in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Chris Collenette, Chairperson - ICBA & Joe Shannon, CEO - G Golf Ireland

With Shane Lowry winning the British Open at Royal Portrush, and Adare Manor being announced as host of the 2026 Ryder Cup, the world of golf has been big news this summer. Our new chairperson Chris Collenette caught up with ICBA member Joe Shannon, CEO of  G-Golf Ireland, to chat about Ireland as a golf tourism destination, it's huge value to the economy, and the burning question of who has the best golf courses, Ireland or Canada?!

ICBA Podcasts on Soundcloud



“I’ve said this many, many times before. I’m going to say it again: It’s been a goal of mine to inspire many people, especially Canadian athletes. I think that this win will hopefully do that, not only this win but just what I’ve accomplished this past year because so many Canadian athletes have paved the way for me when I was young.”

Bianca Andreescu (19) became the first Canadian ever to win a singles Grand Slam when she beat Serena Williams in the final of the US Open. Congratulations Bianca from all at the ICBA.

We are delighted that Mr Goldy Hyder, President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada will be our special keynote speaker at the annual ICBA Maple Leaf Dinner on October 18th.

The Council represents the chief executives and heads of 150 leading Canadian businesses, employing 1.7 million Canadians and composed of every major industry across the country.

Prior to this role, Mr Hyder was President & CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies, and before that served as director of policy and chief of staff to The Right Honourable Joe Clark, former prime minister and leader of the then federal Progressive Conservative Party.

We look forward to hearing Mr Hyder’s insights on the great relationship and exciting opportunities that exist between Ireland and Canada right now. For more information and to book a place email events@irelandcanada.com

Ireland v Canada

RTÉ will carry live coverage of the Ireland's historic two-game Olympic qualifier against Canada at Energia Park in Donnybrook on 2nd and 3rd of November. Best of luck to both teams!

We wish Dan Costello the very best of luck as he moves from his role as Ambassador of Canada to the European Union on to pastures new. Dan delivered a fantastic address to last year's ICBA Business Summit and you can listen back to it here (introduction by Chris Collenette)


8th October ICBA member Geoscience Ireland, in collaboration with the Irish Mining and Quarrying Society,
will be hosting the ‘Mining Ireland’ conference this Oct 8th
at the Radisson Blu Airport, Dublin. For registration details please visit the IMQS

18th October - The ICBA Annual Maple Leaf Dinner, featuring Mr Goldy Hyder,
Business Council of Canada, as keynote speaker. Email events@irelandcanada.com.

21st November - Ireland Canada Trade Briefing - National College of Ireland.
Keynote address by Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe.

In Profile: Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary

Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary Laureen Regan

In the latest of our special series of profiles, Laureen Regan, President and Founder of the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary, talks about doing business in Calgary and the province of Alberta.

Can you tell us a little about the ICCCC?

The Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce in Calgary works to promote and support bilateral trade between Alberta and Ireland.  We create collaboration opportunities and business connections between Irish and Canadian professionals through networking and industry-specific events featuring key business leaders and diplomats.

What originally brought you to Calgary?

Waterford born, my family immigrated to Alberta for work many years ago. Here they found many opportunities, a strong entrepreneurial spirit to match their own and a welcoming community.

What advice would you give Irish companies about business in Alberta?

Irish Companies looking to start or set up a business in Alberta can see success if they are committed to maintaining a permanent presence here. It is difficult to gain traction when visits to Alberta are monthly or only every few weeks. Relationships are very important in the business community. It takes time, in market, to build connections and foster and grow the relationships needed to succeed.

Why Calgary? Top three things that make it a great place to live and do business

  1. Quality of Life

We are ranked in the top 5 most liveable cities in the world. The pool of highly qualified workers has made Calgary a global talent hub that is home to innovators and entrepreneurs.

The City has the benefits of having a large metropolitan centre,  friendly and relaxed atmosphere, clean and safe environment, abundant green spaces and parks, longest urban pathway system, and an hour’s drive from the Canadian Rockies.

Calgary is ranked #1, out of Canada’s 100 largest cities for the sunniest days year-round – over 2,300 hours of sunshine annually!

  1. Connected to the World

Calgary has the highest head office concentration per capita in Canada. It has ready access to global markets through a highly integrated transportation and logistics system moving people, products, and services. Calgary also provides access to the rapidly expanding markets in Asia by air and via the Port of Vancouver and is also regarded by many European companies as a gateway to North America.

  1. Low cost of doing business

Compared to other Canadian jurisdictions, Alberta has no provincial sales tax, no health care premiums, lower personal income tax rates and the lowest fuel tax among provinces.

Calgary businesses also benefit from the fact that Alberta has no inventory tax, no machinery and equipment tax and no payroll tax, which are common in many other provinces and U.S. states.

Albertans. across all income ranges, will generally continue to pay the lowest overall taxes compared to other provinces.

If you could give one message to the Irish government about how to improve the Ireland Canada relationship, what would it be?

Canada is a large and diverse country, with much to offer. Alberta has strong, established markets in many sectors including agriculture, advanced industries, energy, renewables, forestry, water, manufacturing and more. Alberta also has leading university and research institutions.

Direct access through WestJet is opening up the Alberta market to Irish businesses and Canadian businesses are eyeing up the Irish and European markets.

Building awareness of the market opportunities in both directions is a crucial first step.

Is the future bright for Irish companies operating in or exporting to Canada?

The future is very bright for Irish companies looking for market access into Canada. Alberta has a strong focus on market diversification and a history of successful partnerships with many countries around the globe.

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, direct flights and a vibrant province that is ‘open for business’ all work together to create a solid foundation for opportunities in multiple sectors.

Alberta opens the doors to Canadian, American and Asian markets.

Anything else you would like to mention…

The time has never been better for Irish and Alberta businesses looking for new markets. Businesses and visitors alike will find a world of opportunity, an affordable business climate, young and educated workforce and a warm welcome in Alberta.

Gerry Mongey – A Tribute

Image from left to right: Kate Hickey, Deirdre Giblin, Gerry Mongey, and Suzanne Drisdell

The ICBA recently presented Gerry Mongey with an honorary lifetime membership as she retired from her role as Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Embassy in Dublin. Here is the tribute paid to her on the evening.

The growth of Ireland’s relationship with Canada in tourism trade and in terms of the sheer number of young Irish people who leave Ireland every year to work in Canada is one of the great success stories in international relations.  It encompasses the recent appointment of an Honorary Consul in Vancouver and the fact that five airlines now direct flights between Ireland and Canada. But it also but goes beyond this, spanning a wide range of areas from education, government, innovation, business to culture and tourism.  

While many individuals and bodies can take credit for this great success, in both Canada and Ireland, it is widely recognised that one individual stands out.  This individual’s contribution can be traced back to one morning in February in 1981 when a young Gerry walked in to the Embassy offices. Gerry Mongey is often described as the central ‘common thread’ in the success of Ireland Canada. For the last 38 years and 8 months she has nurtured the relationship and has steered and guided many who came to work on the relationship down the years.  

Gerry has worked with many ambassadors and trade commissioners in promoting Canada in Ireland. She has helped literally hundreds and hundreds of Canadian companies come into the Irish market to become established and employ many Irish people. She has lead trade mission after trade mission and brought Irish journalist’s and industry experts to conferences in Canada to witness best practice. As a tribute to Gerry’s outstanding contribution Gerry received  a letter from PM Justin Trudeau upon her retirement last week.

Steve Jobs said “Choose to do something you love if not keep looking”. It is fair to say that Gerry’s love of her job made her a joy to work with. Her enthusiasm for Canada is infectious and her professionalism always impressed.

In today’s roller-coaster world, the terms ‘champion and visionary’ are often mis-used and over-used.  In the case of Gerry Mongey, they are completely apt. Since 1981 Gerry has more than delivered on her job in international business development. For Ireland and Canada over the last four decades a great gift has been bestowed, providing inspiration and models for many others in Canada and Ireland.’

Canada presents a significant opportunity for the Irish economy – ICBA

Kate Hickey, Executive Director, Ireland Canada Business Association (ICBA)

A delegation of the Ireland Canada Business Association (ICBA) recently returned from a high-level business mission to Canada. The mission coincided with a meeting in Paris between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, where Brexit, Northern Ireland and CETA were discussed.

Ireland and Canada already enjoy close bilateral business connections and the purpose of the ICBA mission was to further strengthen those ties and capitalise on the opportunities that Brexit, CETA, and NAFTA renegotiations present.

The ICBA mission revealed that Canada’s business and political leaders firmly believe in the vast potential of the Canada / Ireland relationship. With further efforts on a governmental level, a number of opportunities can be capitalised upon. They include:

  1. Canada’s desire to do more business with Ireland

Meetings held with the Board of Trade in Toronto and Quebec trade development agencies highlighted the attractiveness of the Irish market for Canadian businesses looking to export beyond the US. There is an opportunity for Ireland to showcase its attractive business environment across Canada, focusing on the country’s talented workforce, open economy and ease of doing business. With the continued efforts of the ICBA, IDA, Ambassador Jim Kelly, and Tánaiste Simon Coveney in highlighting what we have to offer, Ireland will become a real contender for Canadian investment this side of the world.

  1. Canada is looking for direct investment from Ireland

Roundtable meetings held with investment agencies in Ontario and Quebec confirmed that these provinces wanted strongly to promote themselves as a location for Irish direct investment. Irish and Canadian business cultures are very closely aligned and both share a legacy of common law. Meetings with Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney confirmed that this shared legacy is an important aspect of the Ireland Canada story. In fact, Ireland remains the last common law English-speaking country which is a member of the European Union.

  1. The changing Canada / US trade relationship presents Ireland with a big opportunity

Canada urgently needs to diversify trade beyond the United States and increase links to other market economies. For a long time, being right beside the US - the biggest, richest market in the world — has allowed Canadian companies export with ease. The experience of renegotiating NAFTA into USMCA has highlighted Canada’s vulnerability to a dominant trading partner that buys approximately 75% of Canadian exports. Only Kuwait, Bermuda, and Mexico have a higher geographic concentration of exports than Canada. When compared to countries where there are similar dependence issues such as Ireland & UK, Hong Kong & China, and New Zealand & Australia, Canada’s exports are much more concentrated. As a result of these factors, the delegation heard from well-placed sources that Canada is very open to increasing trade with Ireland and to using Ireland as a stepping stone for the wider EU market.

  1. Toronto Financial International (TFI)– a potential ally

TFI is a public-private partnership between Canada’s three levels of government, the financial services sector and academia with a mission to drive the competitiveness and growth of Toronto’s financial sector. Currently Toronto is the 2nd largest financial centre in North America. Aligning financial activities with a transition to a smart economy is a key concern for TFI and also for the Irish Government. Currently, the organisation is looking for international cooperation in the areas of Fintech and sustainable finance. Ireland, with its thriving international financial sector and a shared common law legacy with Canada, is very well placed to be a partner. There exists the opportunity to replicate the role of the Canadian financial sector in supporting actions that address climate change and collaborating with TFI.

The Ireland Canada Business Association strongly believes in the potential that lies in the economic and political relationships between our two nations. Already we have seen the number of jobs created by Canadian companies in Ireland grow by over 40% since 2014, and almost double-digit growth in the value of exports from Ireland to Canada. With Brexit strengthening Ireland’s position as a natural gateway to Europe for multinationals, boosted by the recent opening of an IDA office in Toronto, the opportunity is sizeable.

The ICBA’s recent business mission has confirmed that Canada’s industry and political leaders share our belief in the Ireland Canada relationship, and can clearly see ways to further strengthen it. We call on the government to continue to build on the great work it is doing in this regard, so that Ireland can make the very most of the opportunity currently presented.

ICBA Newsletter – May/June 2019

Dear ICBA members and friends,

As incoming Chairperson of the ICBA, I'd like to first thank Garrett Monaghan for his service as Chairperson over the past four years.  We have made great strides as an organization under his leadership.

During this period, and through the hard work of our Executive Director Kate Hickey and the Chair of our Membership Committee Dan O'Donnell, the ICBA has more than doubled its membership.  There is no question that the ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and Europe has provided an impetus for ICBA's growth as companies in both countries were looking to new trade markets as a result of Brexit and NAFTA (now USMCA) renegotiations.  However, it took a strong ICBA team to convert that interest into new members.

In addition, during Garrett's tenure, we have hosted two very successful business summits in Dublin, led two trade missions to Canada and held countless trade briefings, networking and social events. We have also increased our communications internally, through the creation of this newsletter, and externally, having revamped the website, created a twitter account and a Linked-in page, not to mention countless hits in traditional Irish media.

As a result, the ICBA has improved its ability to be heard by decision makers on key issues facing our members.   For example, following an ICBA advocacy effort, it was announced that the IDA would open an office in Toronto.  Finally, we recently updated the organization’s constitution from 1978 to modernize its operations and ensure compliance with the Companies Act 2014.

Moving forward, we will continue to build on this strong foundation to increase membership in the ICBA by continuing to demonstrate value through our communication and advocacy efforts, business events and social functions.

Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to welcome Joanne McEnteggart from IQEQ (formerly First Names Group) to the Board of the ICBA replacing myself as Vice-Chair.  Joanne has shown a real commitment to the ICBA and will no doubt help us drive the ICBA agenda into the future.

Thank you

Chris Collenette

Chris Collenette, Chairperson

ICBA Business Mission to Canada - May 2019

Trade Mission ICBA 2019

Trade Mission ICBA 2019
Trade Mission ICBA 2019


Trade Mission ICBA 2019
Trade Mission ICBA 2019


A delegation of the Ireland Canada Business association (ICBA) recently returned from a high-level business mission to Canada. Ireland and Canada already enjoy close bilateral business connections and the purpose of the ICBA mission was to further strengthen those ties and capitalise on the opportunities that Brexit, CETA, and NAFTA renegotiations present.

The mission was organised in co-operation with the Ireland Canada Chambers of Commerce in Toronto and Montreal, and the delegation was accompanied by Ambassador Jim Kelly and Deputy Head of Mission, Michael Hurley. Meetings were held with:

  • The Attorney General of Ontario, Minister Caroline Mulroney.
  • Mr. Goldy  Hyder, CEO Business Council of Canada
  • Former Deputy Prime Minister  John Manley, Chair CIBC.
  • Business Council of Canada
  • Toronto Finance International
  • Ontario Ministry for Economic Development
  • Invest Quebec
  • Toronto Board of Trade
  • Montreal International
  • Irish Park Foundation
  • Public Sector Investment Board

The mission revealed that Canada’s business and political leaders firmly believe in the vast potential of the Canada / Ireland relationship, and, with further efforts on a governmental level, there are numerous opportunities to further strength the economic, cultural and political relationships between our two nations.

Jackie Gilna, President, ICCCOTT

IN PROFILE: Jackie Gilna - President, ICCCOTT

In the second of our series of Ireland Canada Chamber profiles, we catch up with Jackie Gilna, President of the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce Ottawa.

Jackie talks about doing business in the city and region, top tips for success, and the Galway man that she is proud to call an ICCCOTT member.

You can read it HERE.




Banning Offshore Drilling Ireland Irish Examiner

The ICBA recently warned about the consequences of banning offshore gas and oil exploration in Ireland. The Irish Examiner (read here)  and RTE News (read here) carried the story.

Kate Hickey, Executive Director of the Ireland Canada Business Association outlined the ICBA's position:

"The ICBA and its members fully support Ireland’s move to a lower carbon economy, but it will take time. Oil and particularly gas are an essential part of the transition and we believe that is far preferable to source oil and gas through Ireland’s indigenous sources.

Canada and Ireland have close links in the resource sector through the likes of the North Atlantic Petroleum Systems Assessment (NAPSA) agreement, re-signed in 2018. The Petroleum Sector is a strong contributor to the Canadian economy and even as we transition to a low-carbon economy, developing our indigenous energy supplies can bring jobs to rural Ireland (as the sector has done in Canada in places such as Alberta and Newfoundland), inward investment from multinational companies, and a level of energy-security that we currently do not enjoy.

We welcome Minister Richard Bruton’s rejection, ruling out an immediate banning of fossil fuel exploration in Ireland, and we ask that the government continue to consider further the longer-term impact of this Bill.  We ask other political parties to consider the challenges that lie ahead for Ireland in terms of securing its own energy supply and the effect that energy security has on inward investment."

ICBA Inaugural Quiz Winners 2019

Congratulations to the winners of ICBA Inaugural Quiz on 27th June in Clontarf Castle. Top prize went to ISC/Enterprise Registry Solutions captained by Laurel Garven!


Do you know your Ireland - Canada history?

Robert G. Kearns, Ireland Park Foundation

What do Toronto’s healthcare system, the Home Rule movement, and Ireland’s departure from the Commonwealth have in common? They're all part of the fascinating shared history between Ireland and Canada. Thanks to Robert G Kearns of the Ireland Park Foundation for putting together a great article for the ICBA - you can read it HERE.

Mark O’Neill, CEO, Canadian Museum of History, Ottawa, and Robert Kearns, Chairman and Founder, Ireland Park Foundation, Toronto, will be special guests at the Thomas D'Arcy McGee Summer School next month. More information can be found HERE.  


4th September 2019 - ICBA AGM. Canadian Embassy Residence, Dublin.
18th October 2019- Annual Maple Leaf Dinner.
November 2019 -  Ireland Canada Trade Briefing (date and venue tbc)