RAI President Update – June

It was an honour and a privilege to welcome you to the 2015 Restaurant Awards recently and what a night it was.You could really feel the positivity in the room along with the air of anticipation. Over the last 7 years these awards have become the biggest in the country and this is down to your commitment and dedication.

They have grown in popularity and stature to become the most coveted and respected show in town and we were delighted to honour the best and the finest in our industry. A heartfelt congratulations to all the winners, commiserations to those who didn’t win. A huge thanks to the Hilton Double Tree management team, and to Head Chef Anthony Duggan, for facilitating the team of chefs who prepared your fabulous dinner on the evening. Cooking for 900 people is no easy feat and we must extend our sincere thanks to Frankie Mallon of An Port Mor, Brian McMonagle of The Brewers House, Kevin Ahearne of Sage Midleton, Stephen Gibson of Pichet and Billy Whitty of The Brewers House for the fabulous dishes they created.

It’s a mammoth task and once again we need to take our hats off to Adrian and all the RAI staff and the council for driving this event. The Awards would not be as successful without our sponsors and I would like to thank them for the huge support they give the Awards. We are extremely lucky to have such great people to work with, whose objectives align so closely with ours to celebrate the work of the food and hospitality industry. We indeed must strive to support them back.
Now it is straight down to business with our campaigning and lobbying. I do hate mentioning this word so early but with this year budget we must shortly start to lobby on issues that directly affect are livelihoods and families.

When a restaurant opens or expands, they will create several jobs and generate business for the area and their suppliers. The government must understand this.
The budget takes taking place in early October thus narrows our window of opportunity to lobby our local TD’s and senators before the summer recess. We as an organisation have to make sure that Minister Noonan and the Cabinet understand how important our issues are not alone to restaurants but all our suppliers producers customers and general public.
While we welcome the vat rate staying the same we must voice our concerns on possible minimum wage increases, calories on menus and the continued hikes in excise duty which continues to cripple our industry.

Remember effective membership is about participation. Make the association work for you. While there is great work going on behind the scenes every day on your behalf, we need your feedback; we need your energy to keep the momentum going forward.
If there’s anything we can do to assist your business over the summer, be sure to let us know. We are here to serve you throughout the year.

FinnallyThe RAI Golf society enjoyed another great day out at Shivas Captains Day and our next outing takes place at Powerscourt for the RAI Jameson Gold Inter Restaurant Cup on the 29th of June and (I’m really looking forward winning this event and brining the cup west) So enter your team early to avoid disappointment call Kristina in the office for tee times etc. Tel: 01-6779901

Just a wee note for your diary. In 2015 Ireland and Sligo celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Nobel Prize-winning poet, William Butler Yeats on June 13th. The So Sligo Yeats Food Trail and festival, takes place between the 10th to the 14th.

Now, don’t forget to enjoy the sunshine on those rare days off over the summer ! Remember the lines below.

For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle
And the merry love to dance:

Anthony Gray
President – RAI

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