RAI Presidents Report – February 2017

Count down is on in lots of ways with this being my second last presidents report ever. What a quick two years it has been and I must add that I enjoyed every minute of representing you as your President of our great association and I know next months report will be an emotional one for me so be prepared.


What a phenomenal success the Irish Restaurants Awards have become. This year, the Irish Restaurant Awards has seen the largest number of nominations cast ever- and I would like to thank you all for your efforts. Over 80,000 individual public nominations will help decide our county nominees and winners. Without your hard work, the restaurant landscape in Ireland would be very different. Our sponsors deserve the highest of praise with their help, we have been able to increase the scale and quality of the awards.


These are the Islands biggest and best restaurant awards. The #foodoscars have grown from strength to strength over the past five years. May I take this opportunity to wish you the very best in achieving acknowledgement and accolades for doing what you do so well, and remember you are only as good as your last service!


On a personal note I would like to extend our thanks to our media partner, The Irish Times, for their on-going support along with our new car partner Renault Ireland and all our new and existing sponsors who will start to travel the country with myself and team RAI. Please try to support them wherever you can. With their help, we have been able to increase the scale and quality of the awards so thanks again.


You as members should be very concerned with Brexit looming. Unfortunately, I’m very concerned for my county and rural Ireland. Brexit will have huge implications on border towns across this country. We need to see a coherent Brexit plan from Government and without one it will seriously affect the agricultural sector in turn effecting us as restaurateurs as it will on tourism.


On top of this some counties are getting rate evaluations be ready as you are only allowed 40 days to dispute your re-evaluations and with some businesses getting 300% increases we need to be very mindful of this.


This year our AGM, Restaurants Symposium and President’s Dinner will be held in the World famous Lodge at Ashford Castle on the March 6th. The symposium promises to be a great day with an impressive line-up of speakers. This is an important date for your diary and your attendance will be appreciated. Please see our website for full details.


The Restaurant Association’s Golf Society is some 30 years in existence and has produced many great days in its long history our first outing of 2017 will take place the day before our AGM the 5th of March and will be held at 2.00 pm and over 9 holes at Ashford castle so all our welcome to attend. We will also shortly announce a list of venues for 2017 and its look really exciting year for all golf fans. Please feel free to contact the office as we would love to have new members join up.

Finally, I look forward to seeing you in county Mayo at our AGM.

Slan go Foill

Anthony Gray

President Restaurants Association of Ireland


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