PCH chief urges city to tap into its spirit to get ahead

Rugby player Doug Howlett, Renate Murphy, Cameo Communications, and Paschal Sheehy, RTÉ at the Cork Chamber dinner last night. Picture: Jim Coughlan
Rugby player Doug Howlett, Renate Murphy, Cameo Communications, and Paschal Sheehy, RTÉ at the Cork Chamber dinner last night. Picture: Jim Coughlan

PCH founder Liam Casey told the Cork Chamber annual dinner that the city has an opportunity to be great if it uses its imagination and spirit.

Mr Casey, the guest of honour at the dinner, said that the international brands and companies he works with don’t talk about countries any more, but cities and regions.

“I was in Covent Garden yesterday and there is a roofed area. Why can’t we pedestrianise Patrick Street and put a roof over it. Can you imagine it? It would be an attraction all around the world. It would be a leading city in Europe,” he said.

It is this kind of audacious thinking that has allowed Mr Casey to build his supply chain company, PCH International, into a global brand with offices in China, San Francisco and Cork.

Mr Casey told the audience how he got his big break by travelling to Taiwan to attend a computer trade show.

But his rise from working in retail in Ireland to global technology mogul was not always smooth.

He had to leave his passport in the safe of a Chinese supplier after an Irish bank pulled the funding on a €73,000 deal, on another occasion exchanging his family car for a rental in order to get to Limerick to secure a contract.

Mr Casey said that looking back, some of his actions appeared risky, but at the time these were the tests he had to go through to see if he believed in his business.

Just as his own career went through testing times he sees Ireland’s financial crisis as merely a bump on the road to prosperity.

“The downturn here was nothing more than a stop on the journey; this journey is not over, this journey is starting, this journey will get better,” he said.

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