This was followed by a warm welcome by the Chamber President Daragh Connolly, who also outlined the Chambers progression during this difficult economic year. Members of the public are very aware and appreciative of how important local contacts and local business is to each and every enterprise. The Chamber’s membership increased by an additional 25% throughout 2009 due to the many benefits of membership experienced.

Jim Power’s (Economist) audience address was certainly honest and frank. Agree or disagree Jim is very definite about his views and on what needs to happen to achieve economic recovery. Jim, who believes social partnership is part of the problem not the solution, called for strong political leadership. Jim Power also announced his concern regarding a potential brain drain and the importance of pushing for a University in the South East.

Now with a genuine hunger guests were treated to an extraordinary menu with dishes and wine served by professionals adorning white gloves- a very special occasion, perhaps the first time many guests experienced such finery. With glasses that never emptied and plates replaced course by course.

John Treacy Olympic Medalist and CEO of the Irish Sports Council addressed guests as they digested their fine meal. John motivated the audience by announcing he still believes we are the best in the world. John spoke about how sport connects people and communities through volunteerism and many other ways.

John also gave a brief breakdown to the value of sport to our economy (using an example of a recent rugby match at Croke Park generating €83 million to the Irish economy) , this is an area that should be exploited for the greater benefit, not contained. Indeed our own Waterford Sports Partnership with John Treacy has devised an annual run which attracts many to the county in Spring.

Following this positivity, the night continued along the same vein as the winners in the FBD Business Awards were revealed. The announcement was made by Jim Power and the prizes presented by FBD representative Michael Colivet.

Best New Business Winner; Sleady Boarding Kennels

Best Customer Service Award Winner; Murrays Pharmacy

Best New Business Idea; Nude Food

All those shortlisted received a framed award. Winners accepted a prize of €500, a framed award and a commemorative piece of crystal.

Many spot prizes were also won throughout the night including a hamper from the Waterford Festival of Food, Flahavans and gifts for all attendees were provided by Sam McCauleys.

Sponsors of the fine wine and champagne were Garveys Supervalu and Springfield Nurseries donated the presentation gifts to the guest speakers of miniature Christmas Apple Trees – indigenous to Dungarvan.

Closing the official speaking part of the evening MC, Nichola Beresford then officially thanked speakers and sponsors.

The evening was then in the hands of the very capable band; Juke Box who treated the large crowd to a range of musical genres keeping feet on the dance floor throughout the night. So from swing to rock, and everything in between, dancing queens and even those with the proverbial ‘two left feet’ took to the dance floor to enjoy the many songs the band so obviously enjoyed playing! Next the guests were treated to equally great party tunes from the DJ which kept everyone rocking until the early hours. A truly successful evening and a wonderful time had by all it seems, where new business contacts were made by many, other business relationships rekindled, meanwhile socially, a most enjoyable night for each guest.

Sincere thanks to all who supported the Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber throughout the year and to those who attended the popular Chamber Business Ball. For further details about the Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber, please don’t hesitate to contact the Chamber Office on tel; 058 45054 or email;