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Welcome to This Week's Issue | Here's What's Inside...

We're delighted to bring you another jam-packed issue of Dublin Chamber Weekly, kindly sponsored by PwC.

 

As the voice of the Dublin business community, Dublin Chamber is continuing to lobby on a range of policy issues facing our members.

 

Inside this week’s edition, you will find the details of our latest policy and advocacy work, as well as information on upcoming events you won’t want to miss.

 

Enjoy the issue!


Getting Safe in Cyberspace is Now More Important Than Ever
 

Data is the lifeblood of businesses today. It is valuable to organisations but also to skilled cyber attackers. Increased automation and transitioning to cloud platforms is resulting in companies being exposed to new threats, making an effective approach to cybersecurity critical. Getting safe in cyberspace is now more important than ever.


Getting safe in cyberspace is now more important than ever
By Pat Moran, PwC Cyber Leader

Data is the lifeblood of businesses today. It is valuable to organisations but also to skilled cyber attackers. Increased automation and transitioning to cloud platforms is resulting in companies being exposed to new threats, making an effective approach to cybersecurity critical. Getting safe in cyberspace is now more important than ever.
 
PwC’s Irish 2021 CEO survey highlighted that nine out of ten Irish business leaders are concerned about cyber threats, and is a record high in all the years of the survey, having shot up from 78% last year and higher than global concerns (85%). However, the survey also revealed that more action to combat this crime is needed: just 27% plan double digit investment in cybersecurity and data privacy in the next three years, lagging global counterparts (31%). 

With rapid digitisation and blanket remote working having hit all sectors, and the cyber thieves getting more sophisticated, the risks of a cyber attack have become even greater. Digital transformation also needs to happen with lots of checks and balances.
The infrastructure needed to enable digitalisation brings with it significant risks. The stakes are much higher than they were 12 months ago. Businesses have become reliant on technology for their very survival. As such, the risk of cyber attacks weighs heavily on CEOs’ minds.

The changes that happened last year are society wide. Organisations moved critical business processes and services online during the pandemic, and at haste. As a result, business resilience depends on cyber resilience, and any interruption to online services from cyber attacks may prove catastrophic. 
 
With every part of every organisation now more reliant on technology, and more reliant upon the technology of suppliers and other organisations within their ecosystem, business leaders need to appreciate the role they must play in securing their organisation. Securing a business goes beyond building the right technical controls. It is about simplifying the organisation to be securable. It is about assessing, understanding and managing the cyber risk impact of every business decision. And it is about recognising that much of cyber security risk originates from vulnerabilities outside their organisation. CEOs are right to be concerned about cyber security risk but the challenge they face is shaping their organisations to be securable.  Also critical is ensuring the organisation’s staff are trained to recognise clues to any possible intrusions, actions which may result in a cyber attack.

It is never too late to face the challenges and make the investment. 

We have all seen how attacks such as ransomware and phishing have increased during the pandemic to record high levels. Reliance is placed on online channels to sell products or services that hackers can take offline. In addition, the rapid acceleration of digital transformation programmes has led to the adoption of new processes, skill-sets, technologies and channels. They all bring with them new types of cyber risk, which are all increasing in complexity.

Now is the time for companies to undergo a cyber health check.They need to understand where they have weaknesses and what they can do about them. Not having regular assessments and cyber health checks mean that when incidents occur, the result can be devastating.  An assessment can take two to three weeks, based on a framework like ISO or NIST. It produces a report like an x-ray of where vulnerabilities lie. Having this intelligence gives companies the time to remediate in a controlled and measured way, rather than in a reactionary way if a cyber incident occurs.  

The five key actions to take now to be cyber safe are:
1.Conduct an independent cyber health check. Identify an independent third party to complete a short assessment of cyber risks within your organisation.This assessment should be based on an industry standard and will produce a report which allows you to decide on the remediation investment required.
2.Establish a Cyber Governance Forum. A group of senior stakeholders across the business that includes representatives of your Operations, Technology, Security and Legal teams should meet monthly to discuss remediation progress and report to the Board.
3.Create a cyber incident response plan. Don’t wait for the incident. Like your fire drill, have a cyber incident response plan, including your communications plan, and rehearse this with management. 
4.Cyber awareness. Your staff are a critical control. Establish a programme of continuous learning and phishing exercises to keep your people cyber aware. 
5.Brief the Board. It is key to have the Board engaged on one of the biggest risks facing the company. Look to present to them quarterly and design separate briefing sessions to improve their level of understanding and readiness.   

 
Lobbying Update
 

Last week brought good news with the announcement of the long-awaited National Economic Recovery Plan which delivers a number of Dublin Chamber’s key recommendations for the first half of 2021. The Plan attests to the strength of our evidence-based lobbying campaign to support businesses through the remainder of the Covid-19 crisis.


 

For months we have been advocating a graduated extension of Covid supports to avoid a ‘cliff edge’, and a widening of eligibility criteria to ensure that certain businesses are not unfairly excluded. Your feedback has been critical in helping us make this case to Government.

Key deliveries in the Economic Recovery Plan include:

  • Extension of the EWSS beyond 20 June 2021 to 31 December 2021. Current enhanced payment rates will be maintained for Q3 at current turnover thresholds.
  • Commercial Rates Waiver will be extended to end-September in its current form. No commitment beyond then – we had called for extension to end-2021.
  • Tax Debt Warehousing Scheme will be extended to end 2021 for all eligible taxpayers with an interest-free period during 2022. Covid related liabilities will fall to be paid from 1 Jan 2023.
  • Eligibility for the Small Business Assistance Scheme for Covid (SBASC) liquidity grant has been extended to businesses in non-rated premises, e.g. self-employed people working from home, who meet all other criteria.
  • Lower VAT rate for Tourism & Hospitality will be extended to 1st September 2022.

A dedicated new summary rescue process will also be set up for small businesses in difficulty – the Small Companies Administrative Rescue Process (SCARP). Meanwhile, details are awaited of a new events sector support for SMEs that do not qualify for the CRSS. For more information on business supports, click here.

 

Dublin Chamber has welcomed the Plan for the relief these assurances offer to businesses, but we also criticised the absence of a clear strategy for city recovery. Dublin – and urban Ireland in general – has been particularly hit by the pandemic due to a collapse in footfall and closure of premises, but so far there are scarce details of how it will be supported to recover. The unique and unprecedented challenges facing cities must be at the heart of the economic recovery. Covid-19 has dramatically accelerated existing trends in our cities, e.g. through remote working and the digitalisation of retail. These changes raise profound questions about the future of Ireland’s cities and the long-term viability of many of the jobs and businesses they support. We recently wrote to Taoiseach Micheál Martin calling for an action plan to support our cities as they struggle to cope with the significant changes wrought by the Covid-19 crisis, and we will continue making this case in the coming months.

 

Meanwhile, we are working with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and other stakeholders on a new regional economic plan for the Dublin region, and look forward to contributing to Dublin’s recovery. You can find out more about recent policy developments in this newsletter and can check out our recent submissions to Government here.

 

As always, we welcome input from all our members to help shape and inform the Chamber’s policy work. We are always keen to hear from you, whether on the specific issues raised in this newsletter or on any other matter.

 

If you have thoughts or feedback on policy from a business perspective, please get in touch with us by emailing: policy@dublinchamber.ie.

Statutory Sick Pay Details Announced
 

This week the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Leo Varadkar announced further details of his plan to introduce a right to paid sick leave for all Irish workers.

 

The Government’s statutory sick pay scheme will be phased in over a four-year period, starting with three days per year in 2022, rising to five days payable in 2023, and seven days payable in 2024. Employers will eventually cover the cost of 10 sick days per year in 2025. It’s being phased in to help employers, particularly small businesses, to plan ahead and manage the additional cost, which has been capped.


Sick pay will be paid by employers at a rate of 70% of an employee’s wage, subject to a daily threshold of €110. The daily earnings threshold of €110 is based on 2019 mean weekly earnings of €786.33 and equates to an annual salary of €40,889.16. It can be revised over time by ministerial order in line with inflation and changing incomes.

 

The rate of 70% and the daily cap are set to ensure excessive costs are not placed solely on employers, who in certain sectors may also have to deal with the cost of replacing staff who are out sick at short notice. The Bill is primarily intended to provide a minimum level of protection to low paid employees, who may have no entitlement to company sick pay schemes. The Government has indicated that the legislation will expressly state that this does not prevent employers offering better terms or unions negotiating for more through a collective agreement.

 

Dublin Chamber will continue to engage with Government on this issue over the coming months to ensure that the voice of business is heard as the scheme is developed. You can read the details of the Government’s announcement here.

 

Meanwhile, Dublin Chamber has been actively engaging with members and policymakers in relation to flexible and remote working and what this means for the future of work, female labour participation, and work-life balance over the past year. Most recently, we made a submission to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth Affairs in response to a public consultation on Flexible Working which can be found here.

Time to Plan a Return to The Office?
 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar this week signalled that it may be possible to return to a level of on-site office working in August, and with the many changes that have occurred over the past year in relation to flexible working practices and the need for increased health and safety measures there are many things to think about before employees can be welcomed back


With many businesses now considering how best to manage a return to office-based working in the coming months, Dublin Chamber has published a helpful guide, setting out the transition in four phases. Future Office – A Guide to Reopening the Office Successfully outlines the steps to follow and factors to consider so as to ensure a safe and positive return to a revitalised working environment.

 

Based on member feedback, a majority of businesses are planning a hybrid model of remote and office-based working where possible post-Covid, and accordingly the office is undergoing a period of evolution and renewal. But the future of the office is bright as a vital space of business collaboration, learning, and career development.

 

Check out the guide here.

 

We have a number of great virtual events, workshops and training sessions lined up over the coming weeks that you won't want to miss. Here's a snapshot of some of the highlights.

 

 

15th June: Leaders Series - Culture Change why it’s now or never. Book here.

 

22nd June: Digital Agenda - The Role of Culture in Digital Transformation. Book here.

 

23rd June: Reopening for Business: Navigating the post Covid workplace. Book here.

 

24th June: Maximise your Dublin Chamber Membership. Book here.

 

28th June: Bid Services Tender Training. Book here.

 

29th June: The Future of Dublin Port. Book here.

 

30th June: Monthly Speed Networking. Book here.

 

For a full listing of all our upcoming events please head over to our website here.

 

*Some of our events are only open to specific member categories.


The Future of Dublin Port - Briefing Tues 29th June @ 11.30am
 

Dublin Chamber is pleased to welcome Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Dublin Port Company, for a briefing on the changes that have taken place since Brexit, the impact of Covid-19 on cargo, trade, and what all this means for businesses and the future of the Port


Eamonn O’Reilly has kindly agreed to address business concerns about these changes and will also discuss the questions the Port faces about its development beyond 2040. The presentation will be followed by an opportunity for audience Q&A.

 

Click here to book your spot now and be sure to have your questions ready.

 

Event Title: The Future of Dublin Port

 

Guest Speaker: Eamonn O’Reilly, CEO of Dublin Port Company

 

Date:Tuesday 29th June

 

Time:11.30am – 12.30pm

Plan for the North City Centre Unveiled
 

Dublin Chamber has welcomed the unveiling last week of proposals for regeneration of an important 2.2-hectares site in the north inner city to include a fully integrated Metrolink station for O’Connell Street. You can see images of the design and further details here.


The entire masterplan area, known as ‘Dublin Central’, offers a major opportunity to regenerate a historic part of Dublin, while ensuring its long-standing traditions and heritage are retained and celebrated. The proposals include 2 new public squares, new pedestrian routes and the restoration of historically important laneways. It ensures the area around Nos. 14–17 Moore Street, a National Monument due to its role in the Easter Rising, is appropriately restored as part of a landmark destination.

Last week, Dublin Chamber member Hammerson plc submitted three out of six planning application for the proposed mixed-use development to Dublin City Council, with more to follow in the coming months. These initial applications comprise lands situated on the west side of the site and include residential, hotel, retail, restaurant and café and cultural uses.

The wider Dublin Central masterplan area, with almost 200m of continuous frontage on O’Connell Street Upper is bounded by Parnell Street to the north, Moore Street to the west and Henry Street to the south and includes proposals for:

  • 94 new homes with high-quality resident amenities
  • 8,000 sq. m. of restaurants, cafes and shops
  • 44,000 sq. m. of flexible, carefully-designed workspace
  • Up to 210 hotel rooms
  • A new public gallery and café use

 

The plan has been thoroughly researched and carefully conceived with a focus on delivering:

 

  • Restoration of a significant piece of O’Connell St Upper, Dublin’s pre-eminent street
  • New pedestrian connections linking O’Connell St to  Moore St via a new public square and  Henry Street to Henry Place/Moore Lane
  • Enabling works for an integrated Metrolink station
  • A re-imagined ‘White Building’ on Henry Place, restored as a gallery
  • A new 1,250 sq. m. civic square, open to the public with potential to host activities and events 
  • Restoration of the iconic Carlton façade including reinstatement of the former ‘Carlton Grill’
  • Restoration of No 42 O’Connell Street, the only remaining Georgian town house on the street
  • Retention of all pre-1916 buildings and fabric along Moore Street
  • A new archway to commemorate the Easter Rising for which the 1916 Relatives Association has suggested names
  • The restoration of Conway’s Pub on Parnell Street

 

Sustainability

Hammerson has also committed to sustainable development of the area. The ambitious sustainability brief for Dublin Central has ensured that buildings have the potential to achieve exemplar ratings under industry benchmarks (LEED, BREEAM, Passivhaus and Well).  Zero fossil fuels will be consumed directly on site, supporting a clean-air policy for the city centre championed by Dublin City Council via its membership of the UN Breathe Life Campaign

Planting at roof level will provide gardens for restaurants and increase biodiversity across the site.  High quality, sustainable materials with a low-embodied carbon footprint will be specified including the potential for timber-frame construction. The building fabric for Dublin Central will be optimised to reduce energy demands for heating and cooling in line with 2030 best practices guidance.  An innovative hybrid ventilation strategy will combine the best of natural and mechanical systems to reduce energy while improving air quality, circulation and comfort.  Roof-mounted photo-voltaic panels will generate renewable energy and heat pumps will be used for all heating, cooling and hot water requirements.

Did You Miss Our Events? Catch Up Here!
 

For our Wellness Webinar event this week sponsored by Investec we were joined by Irish professional golfer and Olympian Stephanie Meadow. Stephanie spoke about how she stayed positive throughout the pandemic and how she overcomes the mental challenges that come with a physical challenge such as an injury. Stephanie also gave us her top wellness tip of getting a walk or a bit of exercise done first thing in the morning. Watch it here.


Focus Group: Sustainable Development Goals & Your Business
 

Join us for a special focus group session on business engagement with the UN Sustainable Development Goals on Monday 28th June 12pm-1.30pm.

 

The outputs from this session will go towards informing a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

 

This focus group will be limited in numbers and will be filled on a first come first served basis. If you are interested in registering to participate, please contact carol@dublinchamber.ie


Chamber Calls for Businesses to Facilitate Vaccinations
 

As the national Covid-19 vaccine rollout continues, Dublin Chamber this month called on businesses to support their staff in attending pre-scheduled appointments for the Covid-19 vaccination if they fall within working hours 


Mary Rose Burke, CEO of Dublin Chamber and qualified pharmacist commented: “What we are calling on businesses to do is to support their staff in attending their scheduled vaccine appointment. As the national rollout of the vaccine programme starts to call forward the majority of the working population for vaccination, it will begin to impact businesses in a way in which it hasn’t previously."

 

“We want employers to be clear and consistent with their staff from the start, that they can attend their allocated appointment, that they don’t have to reschedule. Rescheduling will cause unnecessary delays to the vaccine rollout.”

 

“Wherever possible, we are calling on businesses to be flexible and to allow their staff to attend their appointments. We know in some cases this might be inconvenient, but it’s important that businesses, that employers play their part in reducing vaccine hesitancy, removing a potential barrier and helping to ensure the success and efficiency of the national vaccine rollout.”

 

“Of course there is also a significant business benefit, as more and more people are vaccinated, more sectors of the economy can reopen, such as retail and hospitality, and we hope that a return to the office is in the not too distant future.”

 

Sweet Suite Dreams
 

Treat yourself to some luxury with a stay at the Morrison in one of their Junior Suites from €399 for 2 people sharing. This package includes an overnight bed and breakfast in a junior suite, with a bottle of Moët Champagne, dinner, a cocktail and more. Read more here. 


Sustainability Transformation
Member Webinar
 

‘In Conversation with Q5’ webinar, ‘Sustainability Transformation – Beyond planting, pledges and promises’ will take place on Thursday 24th June at 9:15am. Hosted by Angela Fox, Principal Consultant at Q5, and Finlay Murphy, Senior Consultant at Q5, they are delighted to be joined by Andrea Abrahams, Independent Consultant – Net Zero, Sally Barrett-Jolley, Head of Corporate Affairs at Bakkavor, and Guy Wingate, Head of Sustainable Transformation at GSK. Register here .


Expansion for Tam Services
 

TAM Services has expanded its operations to become a nationwide service provider of outsourcing service solutions to clients in a variety of different industries. These include, utilities, logistics, facilities management, corporate and hospitality. See more here.


Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC) Opened Yesterday
 

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD, today opened the Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC) for a second round of applications from both SMEs and microenterprises. Businesses that received the grant in the first round can receive a second grant provided they are still eligible.


From today SMEs and microenterprises can apply for a grant of €4,000 for those with turnover above €50,000 and €1,000 for microenterprises with a turnover of between €20,000 and €49,999, via a new streamlined application process through their Local Authority or Local Enterprise Office.

 

Following on from a recent Government decision, businesses operating from non-rateable premises, such as a home office or hot-desk are also eligible to apply.

 

The Tánaiste said:

“This Scheme will help small businesses not eligible for our other schemes with their fixed costs. Both SMEs and our microenterprises, those with fewer than 10 employees, can apply for a grant of €4,000 or €1,000 depending on the size of the business.

 

“We extended the eligibility recently to include those businesses that are operating from non-rateable premises such as a home office or hot-desk. Our aim throughout the pandemic, has been to include as many businesses as possible with all the Government funding schemes that are in place.

 

“Interested businesses can apply from today through their Local Enterprise Office (LEO) or Local Authority and I’d encourage them to do so. I know it’s a modest enough grant but it will make a big difference in helping with utility, IT, legal and accountancy bills and the other fixed costs incurred by a business.

 

“My message to those running businesses today is that the Government will continue to help you as you get back on your feet. Brighter days are ahead.”

The Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID (SBASC) is for businesses which are not eligible for CRSS or other sector specific grants, that are down 75% or more of turnover.

Those who applied under Phase 1 are still eligible to apply for a second payment of €4,000 or €1,000 if they continue to meet the criteria. Interested businesses should contact their Local Authority or LEO. Closing date for  Phase 2 applications is the 21 July.

 

Businesses in receipt of the Employment Wage Subsidy can apply for and receive this grant without it affecting their claim.  It is a grant, not a loan or tax credit and is not re-payable.

 

These schemes are in addition to the comprehensive package the Government has put in place to help businesses and workers during the pandemic, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), low-cost loans, the deferral and warehousing of tax liabilities and the waiver of commercial rates.

 

The Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD said:

 

“With the economy now re-opening in clear phases, and the vaccine roll-out comprehensively underway, the SBASC is an important element of the Economic Recovery Plan which sets out our renewed package of assistance, investments, and policies for a new stage of economic recovery, providing a clear pathway for the labour market and enterprise towards new opportunities.

 

“SBASC will support those small and micro businesses in Ireland who will play a pivotal role in maintaining jobs and creating new opportunities for employment right across the country.  I urge qualifying businesses to apply for this support to help them through the next few months as the economy emerges once again from the impact of the pandemic.”

 

Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD said:

 

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and their recovery will be central to our jobs-led recovery. As we gradually reopen society, the expansion and streamlining of SBASC for Q2 applications to assist both small and micro enterprises will help address some of their fixed costs as they get back to business. While modest, Government is committed to supporting their long-term viability, particularly as we move into the early stages of recovery.

 

Through the various policies, financial support schemes available and regulatory responses currently underway we hope to rebuild a better, more resilient economy. Engagement will continue to ensure we are responsive to the needs of business and I encourage small businesses to ensure they are aware of the supports available to them.”