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Sustainable building technologies a 'key driver' of green economy

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Businesses from North and South have gathered in County Armagh to discuss collaboration in order to sustain growth within the renewable construction sector.

The event, hosted by Smart ECO Hub, took place at Northern Ireland's first zero carbon house to be accredited by the Government, where key speakers  delivered the message that sustainable building technologies is a key driver for the green economy in Northern Ireland.

Ciaran McGrath, a Technical Manager at Smart ECO Hub, said it is essential for businesses to work together and to promote sustainable building technologies to boost the green economy.

Speaking at the First Sustainable Energy Building Cluster, Mr McGrath said: "It's fantastic to see the range of people here from local authorities and various sustainable building companies from across the island.

"The M1 Energy cluster will support local businesses through the delivery of product and technology innovation. Joining the Smart ECO Hub will help create employment and growth in energy sector on both a local and regional level. This project is part financed by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Cross Border Programme managed by the Special EU programmes Body."

Mr McGrath provided an overview of the role of Smart ECO Hub and market opportunities that the sector offered to local businesses while John McClatchey, owner of Zero Carbon House, shared his experience of working within the sector and discussed the challenges that he had addressed over the years in order to sustain his business.

Mr McClatchey said: "The construction sector in Northern Ireland is on the move again and people are being very smart now in relation to the types of buildings they want to have built. We have heard so much in the news recently about rising energy prices but people now understand that they can completely avoid being at the hands of the volatile energy markets by buying homes which are energy efficient. It costs approximately £300 to heat and light this 3,000 sq ft house. It is vital that homeowners take energy costs into consideration when they are buying their homes."

This overview was complimented by a tour of the Zero Carbon House along with renewable energy technology demonstrations from Damien Philips of Green Energy Technology and Terry Hutt of August Biopro Ireland.  Cookstown based company, Atlantic Air, the company responsible for signing off on the Zero Carbon House in January 2012, was also at the M1 Energy Cluster with Peter Loughran explaining why air tightness is so important in the construction of homes.

Also attending were representatives from Belfast City Council, Cornett Design Associates Ltd, Orchard Property Services, Inovative Roof Systems Ltd, Health Direct NI, Joyce Clarke Ltd, CG Architects, Newry & Mourne District Council and New Innovation.


Environmental Innovation Funding Opportunities

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Please see some opportunities which may be relevant to your business.

Environmental Innovation Funding Opportunities

The aim of GreenEnterprise is to encourage better business practices, helping to reduce the consumption of resources and minimise environmental burden through process and product innovation. This provides a win-win solution as organisations become more

economically and environmentally sustainable. In keeping with ongoing support of Food Harvest 2020, applications are particularly encouraged from the food/drink production and processing sectors. In addition, applications aimed at developing behavioral change and suitable metrics are a key target area for this call. Available grant-aid will range from €5,000 to €60,000 depending on project scope. For more information, please see the attached flyer.

Enterprise Florida

At a recent US Embassy event, Chambers Ireland met a representative from Enterprise Florida. They are keen to support Irish companies whose growth at home is leading them to invest in the US. Florida and are open to assist any companies that Chambers in Ireland are working with if they are considering investing. Enterprise Florida can provide market information, help finding premises, recruitment, training and access to incentives, all free-of-charge. For more information contact Julia Mills, Deputy Director on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

See this link for more info.


“The Big Push for Small Business” Launched by Admailer.ie from An Post

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Nationwide Campaign to Help Small Business Owners Attract New Business Unveiled with 100,000 Potential Customers Up for Grabs

Research Reveals that 64% of Small Business Owners Say that Selling Existing Products to New Customers is their Top Priority

Admailer.ie, the revolutionary marketing service for small business from An Post has today launched “The Big Push for Small Business” a nationwide campaign to help small business in Ireland attract up to 100,000 new customers. By simply visiting www.admailer.ie small business owners can design their own postcard campaign, save to register their details, and be in with a chance to win their own marketing campaign – with the potential to attract up to 2,000 new customers per campaign.

“The Big Push for Small Business” will allow small business owners the opportunity to win one of 50 direct marketing campaigns. To be in with a chance to win log onto admailer.ie and tune in to The Sunday Business Show on Today FM this Sunday, 9th June from 10am – 11am. Professor Damien McLoughlin, Head of Marketing, UCD, Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School will feature on the show along with Jillian McGuirk owner of McGuirk Beggan Property who will share her experience of using admailer.ie.

Admailer.ie knows from talking to its customers that one of the main things keeping them up at night is how to raise their profile and target new customers.    While they know potential customers are “out there”, they are unsure how best to target and communicate with them to tell them about their business generally and their special offers specifically.

Recent research carried out by Amárach Research, on behalf of An Post, showed conclusively that selling existing products to new clients is not just high on the list of priorities for small businesses, but the number one priority for well over half of them - a staggering 64% of respondents.  While targeting new customers is often their first priority, many small business owners simply lack the skills or expertise to implement campaigns and ultimately end up frustrated; constantly re-thinking how they can target new customers effectively and ensure they sit up and notice them.  While more than half of those small businesses surveyed (51%) believe that direct mail is effective at reaching new households and targeting new customers, 38% don’t know yet what they plan spending on marketing this year – again pointing to the need for some clear direction and assistance.

The research conducted in Dublin and Munster, by An Post also revealed some positive results.  One in three of the companies surveyed said that business is “getting better.”


·         55% of companies surveyed in Dublin said that in the last 12 months revenue has increased significantly or somewhat;

·        52% of those surveyed said that increasing loyalty amongst current customers is top of their agenda

·        49% surveyed are prepared to invest in marketing to deliver results but lack the time or expertise to see it through


·     30% of companies surveyed in Munster said that in the last 12 months revenue has increased significantly or somewhat;

·     65% of those surveyed said that increasing loyalty amongst current customers is top of their agenda

·     43% surveyed are prepared to invest in marketing to deliver results but lack the time or expertise to see it through

While small business owners may find the question of targeting new business to be a complex one, thankfully the solution is simple. Admailer.ie is a marketing service that marries traditional mail and technology, giving small businesses a simple, one-stop-shop solution to this marketing conundrum for the first time.

Business owners can select the streets and areas they want to target with a unique mapping tool; then they choose a professional design template of a postcard with messaging or upload their own; approve the list and the card – and that local campaign will be printed and delivered by An Post within 3-4 working days, all for less than the price of a stamp.  They place a minimum order of 200 items (costing 58c ex VAT per postcard) and their problem is solved; the “campaign” is done and dusted, letting owners get back to the day job of running their business.

For further information please contact:

Deirdre McNamara, (01)6329 250, 087 239 1199, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



Double Success For Dromad In Paris

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Dundalk company wins second European award.

The awards, organised by the European Rental Association, were announced at a dinner Wednesday 15th of May at the Hyatt Paris Etoile Hotel in front of an audience of 300 rental managers and representatives from equipment manufacturers to recognise the tool hire industries elite
Dromad won the overall award - Small Rental Company of the Year (turnover <€15m)
The international judges stated Dromad Hire “was not a ‘wait and see’ kind of company. In an extremely difficult market they remained positive and looked for solutions. They found new markets outside of construction, including a departure into renting fitness equipment, and were successful in completely transforming the company.”
According to Dromad Hire’s Managing Director Seamus Byrne “ This award reflects on every one of the great people we have working at Dromad Hire, some have been here over 16 years and are still giving 110% day in day out. Everyone of them is so positive and I am delighted they have been recognised on an international stage for the professional people they are”.
“I also must take this opportunity to thank the people from Dundalk and county Louth, because it really is their award too. We simply wouldn’t be here today without them supporting us over this last 20 years"
Dromad Hire employs 23 local staff from Dundalk and surrounding areas.

This award comes just two weeks after Dromad Hire won the Hire association Europe’s ‘hire company of the year’ at their annual event held in the Savoy hotel London



Momentum Focus Your Talent project.

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Do you want to take on a skilled workforce placement for 13 weeks with no financial implication to your business ? Read more about Momentum Focus Your Talent project to benefit.

Dundalk Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Optimum Ltd is supporting a new and innovative government initiative which is being brought to Dundalk and the surrounding area.  Optimum Ltd is a first class professional training company specialising in Customer Service and Sales Negotiation skills. 

The candidates, who have come forward to participate on this programme, undergo an intensive 6 six week training programme in Customer Service and Sales Negotiation Skills which is delivered in Dundalk by Optimum Ltd. Following this training period they will commence a 13 week pre-employment period in a local business. All participating businesses have the opportunity to pre-select/interview the candidates to choose the most suitable for their business. It is envisaged that the company will retain the candidate following the 13 week placement as an employee. The project is being run out in conjunction with the local Chamber of Commerce to focus on the needs of both unemployed individuals and employers in the local area.

This fully funded programme engages with businesses, allowing them to expand and grow in a cost effective manner.  The MOMENTUM Focus Your Talent project is aimed at up-skilling participants with the relevant knowledge and skills needed for personal growth and sustainable employment.  The target profile for the project is long term unemployed 18-25 year olds as there are upwards of 50% of this category on the live register.  The aim is to return these young and enthusiastic participants to the work place through this programme with the view to increase productivity and competitiveness in your company as well as boosting the local economy. 

Course Title: Customer Service and Sales Negotiation Skills

Course Content:

  • Customer Service – FETAC level 5 & 6
  • Communications – FETAC level 4 & 5
  • Sales Negotiation skills – FETAC level 6

Benefits to the Employer:

  1. 13 weeks of skilled workforce placement with no financial implication to your business
  2. Candidates upskilled to the specific needs of the company.
  3. Full control over interview and selection process from trained candidates.
  4. Structured support and training through the work placement period.
  5. Improving productivity and increasing sales at a reduced cost.
  6. Increasing company profile in the local community.
  7. Availability of PRSI exemption for employment

Benefits to the job seeker:

  1. A unique chance to develop professional skills in customer service and sales
  2. An opportunity to put these skills into practice through a structured work placement in a local business and reveal your potential to the employer
  3. Benefit from personal mentor support and local business networks
  4. Develop knowledge and skills required to engage professionally with local businesses and enhance employability opportunities.

Project Coordinator – Lorraine Murphy [Lorraine Murphy Coaching & Training] will be in contact with you in the coming days, however if you have any immediate queries or questions please feel free to contact her on:: E – This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it T- 087 2549434

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