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10 Aug 2022

BIG READ: Governor of Central Bank is well impressed with Tipperary Technology Park

Makhlouf took up his position as Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland on September 1, 2019

Tipperary Tipperary Tipperary

Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Gabriel Makhlouf, with business owners and Project Manager, Chris Stapleton at Tipperary Technology Park PICTURES: MARTIN QUINN

Tipperary Technology Park had a VIP guest on Wednesday, July 13 when the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Gabriel Makhlouf, came to visit the centre and to chat to the business-owners based there.

Mr Makhlouf took up his position as Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland on September 1, 2019.

He chairs the Central Bank Commission, is a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank, a member of the European Systemic Risk Board, and is Ireland’s Alternate Governor at the International Monetary Fund.

The occasion was very informal and was an opportunity for the Governor to meet with the Board, staff and with some of the business owners based in the Park.

The Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council, Cllr Roger Kennedy, was in attendance along with Pat Slattery, Director of Services, Tipperary County Council.

Tipperary Technology Park was purpose built in 2002 as a provider of serviced office space to business- owners.
Since then, it has accommodated businesses across all sectors and continues to be the only flexible, serviced office space in Tipperary Town.

Ongoing refurbishment work in a section of the building will bring modern, open-plan co-working office space to the facility, under the name Tipperary ENGINE, which is linked with the Engine hub network throughout Limerick, Clare and Kerry.

This space will be available in September and will have the capacity for 40 – 50 workers in a top-quality, new, dynamic workplace.

Mr Makhlouf had the opportunity to view this development and was briefed by Pat Slattery and Paul Murray on its progress.

He was very impressed to see the scale of the development and asked as to why we don’t see more of this kind of development around the country.

In response the Cathaoirleach, Cllr Roger Kennedy said that there was a major enterprise ethos within the county.

“County Tipperary is one of the highest in the country for small business development. A small business will start and grow naturally if the incentives are there for it and if it has access to infrastructure and facilities like is on offer here in the Technology Park,” said the Cathaoirleach.

The Governor was briefed on the Tipperary Digital Hub, a hot-desking facility developed by Jobs 4 Tipp which is located in Tipperary Technology Park.

Project Manager, Chris Stapleton, told Mr Makhlouf that the Hub offers daily, weekly and monthly hot-desk facilities to students, remote workers and self-employed people, and is currently taking lots of bookings under the Connected Hubs free voucher scheme. Bernard O’Connor, Director of Eco Green Resources, told the Governor that they have developed a fantastic business which is growing rapidly.

“Our focus is to provide an energy efficient, low carbon environment through the installation of well designed, cost effective, and high standard renewable energy systems. We are passionate about renewable energy and providing our customers with the very best service. We pride ourselves on our ability to provide a personal and friendly service and our pricing is competitive with industry standards,” said Bernard.

The Governor was interested to know what attracts the business owners to the Technology Park.

Lucy O’Connor, who provides Soft Tissue Massage & Holistic Therapies, said that there were several good reasons for being based in the Park.

“It has very competitive rates for sole traders and for small businesses along with the facilities here such as ample car parking spaces, the cleanliness of the premises and the canteen facilities,” said Lucy, while Owen Hogan, who operates an IT company based there pointed to the lack of broadband in other locations as the reason for his move to the premises.

Another company that is located at the Park is Actual Insurances and Donal Browne told the Governor that their main office is located at the Park but that they have other offices elsewhere.

“Actual Insurances was founded in November 2014 and has grown into a major financial services company.

“The company now has 50 employees and eight are based here in the Park.

“The company has over 10,000 customers and we have a particular expertise in life insurance, mortgage protection, serious illness, income protection, pensions, savings and investments, health insurance, travel and dental insurance,” said Donal.

Mr Makhlouf previously worked in the UK civil service where his roles ranged from policy on domestic and international tax issues through to large-scale operational delivery.

He has also chaired the OECD’s Committee on Fiscal Affairs and was responsible for the UK’s Government Banking Service.
Before joining the Central Bank he was Secretary to the New Zealand Treasury and the Government’s chief economic and financial adviser from 2011 to 2019.

During his time as Secretary, he led reviews of New Zealand's three macroeconomic pillars (monetary, financial stability and fiscal policy) and the development of a new framework for the development of economic and public policy focused on intergenerational wellbeing.

Additionally, he was New Zealand’s Alternate Governor at the World Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Asian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

He was also co-chair of the Trans-Tasman Banking Council.

Mr Makhlouf is a very keen rugby fan so it was no surprise that the conversation moved on to sport and to the rugby series decider against New Zealand.

Mr Makhlouf said that whatever the result of the final game he would be able to claim it as a victory!

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