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Thurles Chamber’s Christmas Dinner – Not Just a Traditional Festive Treat

dsc_3014Traditional festive treats were not the only delights served up at this year’s Thurles Chamber of Commerce Annual Christmas Dinner.

Some 250 business men and women were in attendance and this year’s special guest speaker was business tycoon and  former supermarket supremo, now turned gym boss, Mr. Ben Dunne.

Ben Dunne was born on the 3rd March 1949 in Cork. He was a director of the fully Irish owned company Dunnes Stores for many years, having  made his start in the retail industry at the age of sixteen. He did every job possible at Dunnes stores, including stacking shelves and worked his way through the ranks. He took over the family business in Dunne’s when his father Ben Dunne Senior died. He finished working with the Dunnes Empire some 10 years ago and after spending time investing in property and retail ventures, he eventually settled into his present gym business. He has built his gym empire with three gyms to date and more planned for 2009. He has successful gyms presently operating at Westpoint in Blanchardstown, Northwood in Santry and Carlisle in Kimmage.

In his address to the Thurles Chamber dinner guests, Mr. Dunne discussed a number of topical issues, most notably the current economic recession. At a time when economic reports, correspondents and predictions cultivate an ambience of impending doom, Mr. Dunne urged attendees to “Hold on to their personal values“, emphasising that “It is your character that will see you through the rough times, just as much as it is your character that will bring to the top in good times“. Whilst he conceded that “We are all in for tough times in the foreseeable future” Mr. Dunne highlighted that “There is one sure thing about recession, it always passes“. Indeed, Mr. Dunne’s address reflected a positive and proactive atmosphere on the night.

Austin Broderick, President of the Thurles Chamber of Commerce, highlighted an abundance of successful Thurles Chamber events and activities, including the 2008 fashion show, golf classic, collaborative meetings with the Thurles Town Council and the production of a new local Chamber magazine. In addition, Mr. Broderick emphasised that the Chamber had and will continue to take all action needed to secure future employment opportunities for the citizens of Thurles. He highlighted the contributions made by Shannon Development to the town, the Chambers recent application to the North Tipperary Enterprise Board and the commitment to ensure that the government delivers on its Decentralisation promises.

On the night, local enterprise was honoured and amongst those highlighted were Moran’s Drapery of Friar Street, Ryan’s Daughter of Rossa Street and Imps and Elves of Croke Street.  Mr Broderick praised the contributions of business to the town and gave special mention to Jack Blake of Dew Valley Meats and the Carney Brothers. The excellent work of the Thurles Town Council was also celebrated and Mr. Broderick thanked the Town Council for their consistent efforts over the past year.

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