2015 was a very good year for Irish food. The Restaurant Association was delighted to see such significant growth in our membership, which now stands strong at 1,560. The success of our Restaurant Awards help celebrate some of the people and places who have made 2015 a more positive year for the industry.
In addition to the fact that our restaurants offer great value for money with Irish produce being pushed to forefront, our artisan producers have all prospered. As a result of this, our country has gained in stature as a recognised food destination of the world and our food culture continues to develop right throughout Ireland.
The association and I continue to fight for you. Each year, we contribute two billion to the economy and represent 72,000 jobs – that’s a very healthy 1 in 4 jobs in the hospitality industry!
I urge you to voice any issues that directly affect our livelihoods and families to myself and the association. I, along with others continue to fight these battles but I urge you as members to be more vocal. You must be ready to stand beside us when called upon. I will strive to have many of my resolutions brought to light in 2016. To name one, I want to see Home Economics on the National Curriculum, to give young people a better understanding of what they eat. Not forgetting boosting tourism and investment should be the main focus of our government. Finally, we must never forget all of our fellow restauranteurs who have suffered in any form of illness the last year, we continue to support them all. You are all inspiring to us, and we wish you well in your recovery for 2016. I salute you all as you continue to fight your different battles; you are a credit to our industry and association.
A huge thanks to our wonderful sponsors for their support throughout 2015. Indeed, we must strive to support them back.
I urge you as members to try unwind after a busy Christmas and take January as a time to reflect, refuel and recharge. Remember, it’s not what we eat between Christmas and New Year that we should worry about – it’s what we eat between New Year and Christmas! Ps. you don’t need to count calories to know that.
Happy New Year
President of the restaurants association Ireland.