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Wednesday, November 13, 2019
New York
57th Annual Dinner of the Council
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now available
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Thursday, December 12, 2019
Member-Guest Reception
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Council Event Calendar
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2019 Events Calendar
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2018 Annual Report
The Council's 2018 Annual Report is now available online for download.
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The Ireland-U.S. Council 2018 President's Report

Brian W. Stack - Ireland US Council President
Brian W. Stack
The Ireland-U.S. Council

Mark 2018 as a year in which new records were made in the blooming economic relationships between the United States and Ireland. Several factors underpin this continuing positive trend. Ireland’s economy has fi nally hit its stride in a high gear after a slow and at times painful recovery from the 2008 economic catastrophe caused by the collapse of the Irish banking industry.

Another key factor has been the rapid economic growth in the U.S. economy which most commentators agree is the result of the Trump Administration’s pro-business policies – principally the tax cuts enacted in December of 2017 and which came into eff ect earlier this year, plus the signifi cant easing of the regulatory environment for business which has caused a sharp upturn in business confidence.

When the U.S. economy booms, Ireland’s economy feels it quickly – and in spades. This is because there are some 700 American companies operating in Ireland, employing about 150,000 workers - about 7% of the total workforce. Their role in the economy in Ireland is important and signifi cant. When the economic outlook improves for these companies, it is refl ected in more investment and more employment creation in both the U.S. and in Ireland.

Of course, a component of the dynamic economic relationships between the two countries that is often overlooked, is investment by Irish companies in the United States. Indeed, Irish businesses employ almost as many Americans in America as U.S. fi rms employ Irish people in Ireland. There is now business investment from Ireland in all 50 states. Clearly, the big changes in the corporate tax regime in the United States has improved their forward planning also. This part of the two-way economic highway between Ireland and the U.S. is also showing positive expansion.

While Ireland is not over-dependent on American mobile industrial investment, it is clearly a very important part of the overall structure of the Irish national economy. From the vantage point we occupy, the Ireland-U.S. Council sees the economic relationship between America and Ireland built on a very solid foundation. Ireland continues to be a highly-attractive investment destination for U.S. firms. The reasons are well-known: The positive attitude to business; very low corporate tax environment; tariff -free access to the largest consumer market on earth; educated workforce – these and many other factors are strong selling points in Ireland’s favor. Even with the substantial reduction in America’s corporate tax rate, it is our view that compared with competing destinations outside the U.S., the Emerald Isle still holds a winning hand.

The breadth of American investment in Ireland is impressive and multi-dimensional. Ireland specializes in the full lifecycle of business, from research & development to production, sales, marketing, logistics and fi nance. For example, Ireland is the source of manufacture for one third of the world’s contact lenses, three quarters of global orthopedic knees, and four out of every fi ve stents globally. Ireland is globally competitive in human capital and research. For example, the proportion of non-Irish in the national workforce is double the European Union average and is twice as likely to be educated to third-level. Ireland has the European Union’s highest proportion of workers in high-tech manufacturing and other high-technology sectors.

So, a key question is - if Ireland’s corporate taxes are low, have they become less attractive now to American firms because the corporate tax in the United States has been lowered from 37% to 20%? Our view, based on member-company feedback and our own analysis and research, is that Ireland still off ers the best deal around – in comparison with Ireland’s competition for such investment location decisions. The vast majority of American companies do not decide to invest overseas purely for tax reasons. Most, meaning almost all, such decisions are driven by marketplace necessity to be close to their customers.

Every successful company, it seems to us, understands that excellent customer service is usually the key to retaining and growing sales and, therefore, profi ts. Thus, the newly-lowered U.S. corporate tax rate is highly unlikely to cause a signifi cant disruption in the fl ow of American industrial investment chasing dynamic international expansion. And, Ireland continues to be well- positioned to benefit from this process.


Last year, we viewed the Brexit dilemma with alarm and concern. One year later, and ever-closer to the event occurring, it remains a dilemma that is taking on the look of a slow-motion train crash. The impact on the island of Ireland is sure to be felt severely if “bad Brexit” happens, as some commentators describe it, where Britain will exit the European Union with no negotiated deal in place.

The process has implications for the economic wellbeing of citizens both north and south on the island. Key among these is the issue of physical border controls plus the matter of companies in Ireland being able to continue to trade seamlessly with customers in Great Britain (and vice versa) without major tariff , quota or red-tape complications. We will be keeping a close eye on developments here.

Ireland’s Political Climate

The next General Election must happen in Ireland before April 12, 2020. Most likely is that it will be called before then – within the coming year many political soothsayers suggest. Bear in mind, that the timing of the election is not exclusively a matter for the current Government – a coalition led by Fine Gael (led by An Taoiseach, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar TD) and other smaller independent parties. Its survival in the Dáil as a government depends on support from the large Opposition Fianna Fáil party (led by Micheál Martin TD). It is entirely possible that it might suit Fianna Fáil to force an election sooner rather than later in the coming months. The results of the next General Election in Ireland will bear watching to see if the improved economic conditions in Ireland will cause a softening in support for the more radical, left-leaning parties and candidates that mushroomed in the wake of the economic disruptions caused by the bank collapse in the country.

55th Annual Dinner of the Council in 2017

The 55th Annual Dinner of the Council saw another full house in attendance for this important event in the Council’s annual calendar which was a great success, staged in the Metropolitan Club in New York City on Thursday, November 9, 2017. The Ireland-U.S. Council’s Award for Outstanding Achievement was presented to Bernard Byrne, Chief Executive of Ireland’s banking giant, AIB Group. The Council’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Diarmuid Hogan, a Dublin-born insurance industry veteran who has been a member of the Council’s Board for many years.

2017 Member-Guest Reception in Dublin

The popular Annual December Member-Guest Reception of the Ireland-U.S. Council was held on Thursday, December 14, 2017 at the InterContinental Hotel, in Ballsbridge, Dublin (formerly The Four Seasons Hotel).

We had two guest speakers at the event. Eamonn Brennan who was then Chief Executive of the Irish Aviation Authority & Director General-Designate of Eurocontrol, Europe’s air traffi ccontrol organization. Also speaking was Reece Smyth, Chargé d’Aff aires at the U. S. Embassy, America’s top U.S. diplomat in Ireland and a great friend of this Council.

2018 Winter Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida

The 27th annual edition of the Council’s Winter Meeting series was held in Palm Beach, Florida from February 14 thru 16, 2018 and was sponsored by CIE Tours International. The Winter Meeting kicked off in style with a splendid opening-night dinner party on Wednesday, February 14 hosted by Council President Emeritus Michael J. Gibbons and his wife Cynthia at the picturesque Sailfish Club in Palm Beach.

On Friday February 16th the Council hosted a luncheon meeting at The Beach Club at which we had a doubleheader speaking program featuring two interesting the Guest speakers was Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States Dan Mulhall and John McLaughlin, CEO & Partner of McLaughlin & Associates.

2018 St. Patrick’s Luncheon in New York

The 2018 edition of the Ireland-U.S. Council’s St. Patrick’s lunch was held in the Big Apple this year on Friday March 16, 2018. Guest speakers at the event were the Grand Marshal of the 2018 New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the popular Loretta Brennan Glucksman; Ireland’s Government Minister Denis Stanton TD and Danny McCoy, Chief Executive of Ibec, Ireland’s largest employer representative organization.

2018 Council Spring Corporate Lunch in Dublin

The Council’s Spring Corporate Lunch was held in Dublin’s InterContinental Hotel (formerly The Four Seasons Hotel) on Friday, April 13, 2018. His remarks in Florida at our Winter meeting were of such interest, we knew our Ireland-based members would also enjoy hearing the remarks of John McLaughlin, CEO & Partner of McLaughlin & Associates. Also speaking at the event was Ireland’s Minister for Education, Richard Bruton TD.

2018 Scholarships Program Lunch in New York

The Council’s annual program of Student Work Experience Scholarships for 2018 was celebrated this year at an awards luncheon held at The Metropolitan Club in New York City on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

Council President Brian W. Stack, welcomed the 2018 Council Scholars to New York. He also noted that “this year’s scholarship awards represent the 34th year in which the Council has operated this successful and admired Scholarship Awards program. We are proud of this program as it exemplifies in a practical way the Council’s interest in building closer links between the United States and Ireland.”

2018 MidSummer Gala Dinner in Dublin

Enterprise in Ireland was the theme and Dublin Castle was the venue for the Ireland-U.S. Council’s MidSummer Gala Dinner which was held on Friday, June 30, 2017. A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Martin Naughton, one of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs at the Council’s Midsummer Gala Dinner on Friday, June 29, 2018 at a dinner in Dublin Castle. The award celebrated his notable business achievements and his contributions to building business bonds between America and the Emerald Isle.

Guest Speaker remarks were also delivered by Gerry Kennelly, another successful entrepreneur in Ireland from the younger generation. Also, at the event, Liz Rackard was presented with this year’s Award for Outstanding Portraiture, sponsored by the Council, in conjunction with the Irish Arts Review and the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA). The award is presented in Ireland to an artist whose work is judged to be of outstanding merit. The Award is an important part of the Council’s program to support the arts and arts education in Ireland.

2018 Council Golf Days in Ireland and in the U.S.

In 2018, many members and their guests in both countries enjoyed the opportunity to participate in Council-organized Golf Days. The Annual Golf Day in the United States saw another successful event staged under sunny skies at Rye Golf Club in Rye, New York – on Monday, July 23.

In Ireland, the weather conditions were relatively benign as a strong turnout of Council members and their guests participated on September 7, 2018 at the excellent Dún Laoghaire Golf Club in County Wicklow near Dublin.

Council Membership

The Council is a membership organization and welcomes new members for its mission and activities on both sides of the Atlantic. Council Membership Chairman Peter Hooper is keen to hear of potential new member candidates.

A Word of Thanks

There are clearly improved business conditions in both Ireland’s economy and in the United States. Our goal and our mission is to make whatever contributions we can to ensure that the business bonds and commercial connections between the United States and Ireland continue to blossom.

We extend our thanks to all our members, supporters, sponsors and friends in the United States and in Ireland for their participation and support of our programs and activities this past year. In the year ahead, it is our hope that you will sustain that tradition of support, loyalty and commitment.

Brian W. Stack - Council President

Brian W. Stack
Council President
Thursday, November 8, 2018
New York City

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