County Kildare Chamber ¦ Policy Advisory Council

 

The Policy Advisory Council is composed of members, interested in actively contributing to the success of our lobbying. The Council meets 4 times per year, agreeing priorities and formalising working groups to develop specific topics for advocacy work. We aim to be impactful, output driven and outcome focused. The Chamber is represented on several boards/committees and forums both locally, regionally, nationally and internationally:

 

  • Chambers Ireland Board
  • International Chamber of Commerce Taxation Council
  • Chambers Ireland Workforce Council
  • Maynooth University Advisory Board
  • Kildare LCDC (Local Community Development Committees)
  • Kildare Leader Programme
  • Kildare Economic Forum
  • County Kildare Community Network
  • Kildare SPC’s (Strategic Policy Committee x 5)
  • Mid-East Regional Enterprise Plan
  • Kildare Economic Forum
  • ACDAL
  • Mid-East Regional Skills Forum

 

The Policy Advisory Council will guide the Chamber on our lobbying activities in relation to the below:

 

  • Pre Budget-Submission
  • Regional Spatial Strategy Plans
  • National Development Plan
  • Government and Chamber Ireland requests for submissions
  • County Development Plan
  • The Council will be briefed regularly on our lobbying activities in advance of meetings.

 

The Policy Advisory Council is represented by key members in each municipal district of Kildare, chaired by the Chamber CEO.

 

Policy Advisory Council

Luke Hanahoe

Hanahoe & Hanahoe Solicitors
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Luke Hanahoe

Luke is the President of County Kildare Chamber and the Managing Partner of Hanahoe & Hanahoe Solicitors. Luke has been a member of County Kildare Chamber for 11 years and was honoured to be elected as President 2019. Luke has also been a solicitor in Hanahoe and Hanahoe for the last 11 years and has been managing partner for the last five. Hanahoe and Hanahoe is a general practice law firm, with a particular emphasis on property law and commercial litigation. Hanahoe & Hanahoe operate offices in Naas & Dublin, with their primary office located at 16 North Main Street, Naas. Luke is always delighted to be involved with any Chamber initiative, but is particularly excited by the Policy Advisory Council and working with some of the most influential business leaders in the county . Luke acts for a number of Developers and Builders and as such he as a keen interest in the Local Area Plan, the County Development Plan and any other policy initiative effecting the county. Luke is married to Kate and has two boys, Charlie and Elliott. He is born and bred in Naas and has finally persuaded his wife after 11 long years to move from Dublin. Luke is also an avid rugby fan, whose happiness can sometimes be irrationally attached to the fortunes of Ireland and Leinster.

Mairead Hennessey

Taxkey
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Mairead Hennessey

Mairéad Hennessy is the owner of Taxkey, a specialist tax practice founded by Mairéad in 2016. Taxkey provides strategic and proactive tax advice to SMEs and their owners. Mairéad is a Chartered Tax Consultant (CTA AITI) and a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland (FCA). She also holds a Bachelor of Business and Law (BBLS) from UCD a Masters in Accounting (MAcc) from Smurfit Business School. Mairéad is a frequent contributor of tax technical articles and tax webinars for a number of accountancy bodies. Mairéad is a director of TerraNutriTECH, an award winning AgTech company based in Co. Kildare. She acts as Treasurer and is a Board Member of Rare Diseases Ireland. Mairéad has been serving as Vice President of Kildare County Chamber since November 2019, having previously served as the Chamber’s Secretary. Mairéad recently joined the Kildare Local Community and Development Committee (LCDC) as the representative for County Kildare Chamber.

Aaron McAleenan

Elsatrans
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Aaron McAleenan

Aaron McAleenan, Managing Director Elsatrans Transport and Logistics, Naas Enterprise Park. Lives in Kill, Co. Kildare. Married to Sinead and father to two teenage daughters. Aaron enjoys Golf, Walking and Travel when permitted. Educated in Castleknock College Dublin and CBS Naas. Love of the haulage industry from a young age, career started as a HGV driver learning the demands of the industry across Ireland, UK and Europe. The interest then extended to the supply chain and logistics sectors. Various Management roles followed in Transport Operations, Business Development and Logistics Management which gave a solid base and experience from which to start his own company. Aaron founded Elsatrans Transport and Logistics in 2004. Currently employing 65 colleagues operating from 3 Sites in Naas Enterprise Park covering over 80,000sqft. The company has a strong transport fleet and over 10,000 pallet spaces of racked storage providing specialised Logistic, Storage and Transport Services. Providing end to end supply chain solutions to our clients in both the Ambient and Refrigerated sectors. Clients include Retail, FMCG, Manufacturing, Food Processing and Logistics Companies with the majority of Elsatrans clients and Suppliers based in the Kildare area.

Allan Shine

County Kildare Chamber
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Allan Shine

Allan is Chief Executive of County Kildare Chamber. The Chamber proactively works to identify and progress developments that are facilitative of economic and sustainable growth. Representing an employer base of 400 businesses and over 38,000 employees across the county and is the largest business organisation in the mid-east region of Ireland. Given the significant breadth and depth of its membership, and its representation on various bodies at local and national level, County Kildare Chamber constitutes the representative voice for business in Kildare, a particularly important role given the current economic circumstances in the country. The Chamber manages an innovation hub which is home to 13 HPSU’s. The organisation is a registered lobbyist and lobbies on behalf of its membership both locally and nationally. Internationally, the Chamber is strategically aligned with the City of Boston, it visits Boston annually and hosts delegations from Boston on a regular basis. Allan is a board member and director of Chambers Ireland, a business appointee on the board of the Mid East Regional Enterprise Plan and the Mid East Regional Skills Forum. Away from work, Allan is married to Sinead and has 2 daughters (Leah and Olivia) and 1 son (Charlie), Allan is an avid golfer and enjoys politics both Irish and European.

Anthony Alexander

INIT
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Anthony Alexander

Anthony Alexander is the General Manager (site lead) for INIT Innovations in Transportation Ltd (INIT) in Maynooth. Anthony originates from Australia and has 25 years’ experience in the software industry, with the last 13 years here in Ireland. Headquartered in Karlsruhe, Germany, INIT provides IT solutions for public transport operators and authorities to manage and operate their business end-to-end, including software and hardware solutions for transport planning, automated vehicle location and realtime passenger information (as used by Dublin Bus for the last 11 years), smartcard and contactless ticketing, depot and personnel management, analytics and electromobility, among many other things. Anthony set up the subsidiary 3 years ago, the first outside Germany to employ software developers working on our core products, initially to expand our software development capacity and service our growing markets. This has been hugely successful given the talent pool available in Ireland. Anthony is also responsible for business development and project delivery for Irish customers, including Dublin Bus and National Transport Authority. You’ll find Anthony living up in the Dublin Mountains, enjoying running and cycling, many kids and many more pets.

Brian Purcell

Big Picture Communications
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Brian Purcell

Brian Purcell is the owner/founder of Big Picture Communications and has over 25 years experience working in the public and private sectors as a PR and Media Relations consultant, Public Affairs Specialist, Marketing Director and as a broadcaster as well as podcaster. He has devised communications plans, marketing strategies and B2B connections for global plc's, commercial semi-states, large private companies and SMEs and has media-trained many leading Irish business leaders, broadcasters and politicians. As a media expert he has appeared and acted as spokesperson for many different industries on both national and regional level as well as guesting as an expert commentator on national and regional media. An experienced broadcaster, Brian had a central role as a judge in the Irish version of "The Apprentice" TV programme. The award winning programme became the largest and most successful locally produced programme ever for Virgin Media. He has also co-presented the early morning breakfast show on one of Ireland's most successful radio stations with the second highest share of voice in the country. In the recent past Brian also presented the weekly business podcast for the Irish Independent which reached 140,000 plays and downloads per month. Brian has represented his county, Kerry, in hurling, and Ireland in showjumping at an amateur level.

Ciaran Murray

Queally Group
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Ciaran Murray

Ciaran Murray is an Executive Manager in Arrow Group. The Arrow Group is a Queally Family holding company with interests in Ireland, UK and USA operating in the food and beverage industries as well as the Cold Storage and logistics business. He has worked for over 40 years along side Peter and John Queally sharing their wealth of skills and experiences with him in developing businesses within the group which is now the biggest privately owned Agri-Food Business in Ireland. His record shows a particular skill of identifying opportunities and delivering value across the entire organisation. His experience has involved leading teams to many successes in generating value for shareholders across a range of different business throughout the group including cold storage, warehousing, logistics and property development in retail, office and industrial projects. Ciaran is married with 4 children and 1 granddaughter. He has a keen interest in mountaineering, polar trekking, Golf and holds a Helicopter licence.

Conor Brophy

Boston Access
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Conor Brophy

Conor is the managing director of a cluster of companies based out of Naas Industrial Estate, namely Boston Access, Boston Training and Facilit8. Following his completion of his degree in Accountancy and Finance Conor worked for several years in AIB Grafton Street. Conor achieved his MBA in Smurfit Business School and set up Boston Timber in London in 2008. He moved his business back to Naas in 2013 and expanded to hire, sales and erection of scaffolding. Boston Training was born out of recognising the need to provide industry specific training in a cost effective manner. FAcilit8 is a facilities management company which is employed by private and commercial customers for electrical, plumbing and general property maintenance. Conor is incoming Director of Youths Rugby in Naas Rugby Club where he coaches underage teams. Conor has strong roots in the Kildare community and has a vested interest in the progress of the county.

Dave Merriman

T&I Fitouts
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Dave Merriman

Dave Merriman is the co-founder and Manging Director of T&I Fitouts Ltd and a native of Straffan, Co. Kildare. A Bolton Street DIT graduate, Dave setup T&I Fitouts in 2010. Dave has established T&I as an industry leader with a blue-chip client list from a vast array of industries, in both the public and private sectors. The Construction Industry Federation have ranked T&I as one of the top three specialist fitout contractors in the country for the last four years. Dave instils his own principals in T&I and the team - integrity, diligence, hard work and an unwavering attention to detail. This passion for the finished product sets the tone in all Dave’s business dealings and ventures. Combining business and pleasure, Dave is at the forefront of the nett carbon movement and an enthusiastic member of the Irish Green Building Council. Appreciating the natural world through hiking, running and cycling, along with a passion for being part of the solution and not the problem, Dave was driven to establish T&I Carbon Neutral. Dave sees this Carbon Engineering division as the next step in his career as it embodies the culture of corporate social and environmental responsibility which he has fostered in T&I.

Evan Arkwright

The Curragh Racecourse
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Evan Arkwright

I have enjoyed a variety of roles working for the Curragh Racecourse since 2002. I am currently employed as Racing and Sponsorship Manager where my role includes managing a large portfolio of national and international sponsors and partners. I am also responsible to deliver, implement and develop the overall horse racing programme. Previously I have worked in management roles in Weatherbys Ireland and the Emirates Racing Association in the UAE. In addition to be my Directorship of County Kildare Chamber, I am an active member of the Marketing Institute of Ireland and Director of Kildare Failte, the tourism authority for County Kildare. I live in County Kildare and married with three children.

Frank Kelly

Sheehy Motor Group
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Frank Kelly

Frank Kelly is Dealer Principal of Sheehy Motors Naas & Audi Naas part of Sheehy Motor Group. The Naas site employs over eighty people and represent Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, ŠKODA and Audi brands. Mercedes-Benz is also part of the group through its Carlow branch. The Naas site has won national awards including Volkswagen Dealer of the Year, ŠKODA Dealer of the Year and numerous retail awards including the Kildare Chamber Retail Excellence Award. Sheehy Motors are proud to have many connections with local Sporting and Business organisations including Kildare Chamber of Commerce. We are particularly proud of hosting the very successful Kildare Chamber Business Expo over many years and it is the only occasion where the vast site including the three showrooms host a single event. We see the Chamber as a vital resource for Kildare and Sheehy Motors are delighted to have so many members of the Chamber as customers and friends. With a growing demand in the world of electromobility, we have invested heavily in an extensive infrastructure including a substation to provide the necessary platform that will be necessary for the extensive range of electric vehicles we have which we are glad to say will also grow exponentially over the next number of years. As one of the largest motor groups in Leinster, we fully understand the need to strike the balance between the new cleaner combustion engine vehicles, Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV). Cars that are suitable for everyday driving in a new era.

Gerry Prendergast

Millennium Park
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Gerry Prendergast

Gerry has had a wide career in the construction and development industries . He was a senior executive with Ascon for many years leading many high profile projects. He has been at the centre of the development of Millennium Park including the design, development and implementation of the business park’s infrastructure attracting many new clients including the Kerry Group. He has also developed a number of high quality residential schemes in the Naas area. Gerry is always keen to learn and develop and holds an MSc in change management and organisational behaviour, a diploma in corporate governance and a diploma in executive coaching . Gerry has been at the centre of the development of two of Naas’s leading sports clubs . He has helped to bring Naas RFC to senior status and is a former Treasurer of the Club . He has been a leader in the development of youth and team golf in Naas GC as well as the golf course itself and he was also Captain of the Club and manager of All Ireland Final teams. In other community work Gerry was heavily involved in the refurbishment of Caragh Church.

Maureen Bergin

Kildare Village
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Maureen Bergin

County Kildare Chamber Executive Committee member, Maureen Bergin has more than 25 years’ experience in the retail sector. At present, Maureen is a Kildare Village Director, being part of the senior leadership team since launch in 2006. Following a very successful expansion in 2015, Kildare Village will launch a third phase expansion later this year. Prior to joining Kildare Village, Maureen spent 10 years in Dunnes Store HO as part of the Group buying teams. Maureen held the position of County Kildare Chamber President for two years and represents the Chamber on the Community & Culture SPC. Maureen is also a member of KCC Economic Forum representing Kildare Village. Maureen supports a number of community initiatives in Kildare; she sits on the Board of Riverbank Arts Centre and also on the Board of Sensational Kids, where she chairs the Fundraising committee.

Rachel O’Connor

Colourtend
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Rachel O’Connor

Rachel’s background in Civil Engineering (Trinity College Dublin) and Masters in Engineering Management (Duke University) ignited her interest in technology, sustainability and innovation. Rachel spent several years working in San Francisco’s Silicon Valley before moving home to Ireland and joining the family business, General Paints Group (GPG), in 2016. GPG is the parent company behind exciting paint brands, Colourtrend, Curator and Sustain with distribution through 160+ independent retailers, 7 company stores and online. GPG was founded in 1953 in the Celbridge Workhouse, which remains our home today. Rachel was involved in the creation of Curator, Ireland’s first designer paint brand, and led the establishment of GPG’s US business. In 2020 Rachel moved into the Managing Director role guiding the company through the COVID pandemic, digital innovation and leading the company purpose beyond profit agenda. On a personal level, Rachel takes on triathlons and other outdoor activities including sea swimming and hiking.

Sasha Kerins

Grant Thornton
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Sasha Kerins

Sasha heads the Grant Thornton Kildare regional office which now consists of 50+ staff members and continues to grow. The office offers a selection of services e.g., tax, audit, financial services, employer solutions and transaction advisory. Sasha has previously worked in both industry and practice and has gained a vast range of experience she can bring to clients. She advises across a variety of sectors but principally food and agriculture, real estate and technology. She has extensive experience advising privately held businesses and multinational businesses on corporation tax and succession planning as well as working with international tax clients on international corporate re-organisations and structuring. Professional qualifications and membership • Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI) • Member of the Irish Taxation Institute (ITI) As a member of the Irish Taxation Institute’s branch network, Sasha liaises with the Revenue Commissioners on behalf of practitioners in Kildare. She regularly lectures and presents on topical tax issues to both industry and professional bodies. She currently chairs Horse Racing Ireland’s Audit & Risk committee in a voluntary capacity, sits on the Grant Thornton European Tax Advisory Council and in the past has led Grant Thornton’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) programme “EMBRACE”.

Tony Walsh

Pfizer
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Tony Walsh

Tony is the Site Lead for the Pfizer Newbridge tableting facility. Newbridge manufactures products for patients in the areas of Mental Health, Women’s Health, Anti Coagulation, and Immunosuppressants. Through Pfizer Global Health Teams, Tony has supported Non-Profit Organisations in Lymphedema awareness in Mexico City and underserved families in New York City and is passionate about global access to life saving vaccines. Prior to working for Pfizer, Tony designed and commissioned dairies and breweries internationally. Tony is a chartered engineer with an MBA from UCD. He is married with an 18-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter.

Will Coonan

Coonan Property
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Will Coonan

Member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. Will is an experienced property advisor with a wide variety of experience. In 1997 Will joined Coonan Property and worked in second hand residential property sales and lettings for three years. He then moved to the development land department which at the time was just a small division within the company. The department grew to be very a successful sector within the company and now provides a full consultancy service from sales to acquisitions, valuations and development appraisals assisting in bringing the projects from a green field site to the finished development. Will has been heavily involved in the new home sector for the past 15 years and manages a successful team selling new developments throughout Kildare, Meath and the greater Dublin area. As Dublin continues to expand there is still a strong demand for Coonan Property services and the firm has become the leading new home specialists in the greater Dublin area presently marketing over 20 schemes with sales in all ongoing.