Business people ‘must have role’ in influencing government decisions

BUSINESS people are not involved enough in forming policy and influencing Government decisions.

This was one of the calls from the annual UCC Commerce conference when some of the country’s top business people said that the corporate world needs to be more involved when it comes to making decisions at a political level.

Group finance director with the O’Flynn Group, Brendan Lenihan, said that people in business are very busy at the moment and don’t tend to seek to offer advice, but this has to change.

“Businesses are not there in the debate and they should be,” he said, adding that businesses are significant drivers of wealth in the economy and creators of employment so they should have a say in how the country is run.

He said business people are sometimes being “edged out” in terms of their ideas.

Donal Horgan, managing director of Londis and Budgens, which are Musgrave brands in Britain, said the situation is different in Britain where businesses have more of a say in formulating policy.

Mr Lenihan also said that just because people or groups may have a self-interest in debate that shouldn’t mean that they can’t get involved.

He also called for reform of corporate governance and a “radical rethink” of the political system. He said too that Ireland’s reputation will take a number of years to restore.

Meanwhile Mr Horgan said that there are opportunities for growth of his business in all of their markets.

He said that restoring consumer confidence is a “huge necessity”.

He said that during the recession Musgrave were faced with the challenge of being competitive on price.

“In 2009 we were faced with the massive challenge of falling consumption and food deflation,” he said.

He said the company has embraced “new media”, such as running competitions on Facebook.

Yesterday was the 29th UCC Commerce conference which is organised by the commerce society. It was broken into three sessions which were chaired by chairman of Thomas Crosbie Holdings, Alan Crosbie, Deputy Deirdre Clune and Cork Chamber chief executive, Conor Healy.

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