Fleadh Weekly Update No 10 – Clare Champion

3 June 2016

Inis le Chéile

A Fleadh Business Initiative

The Fleadh Executive Committee values the support which Ennis business is extending to Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann Inis 2016.  The sector is an important employer and makes a significant contribution to the economic life of Ennis. Over two years, the Fleadh will be worth €80m to the local economy. With an ethos rooted in volunteerism and community cooperation, Comhaltas is primarily a cultural organisation devoted to the promotion of Irish music and song. However, it is a happy coincidence that the Fleadh has now developed as an economic driver in the host town.

Origin of Inis le Chéile

Inis le Chéile is an initiative developed by the Fleadh Executive Committee to engage with the local business community in the build-up to Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. This initiative will centre on a Charter which encourages businesses to deliver Top Quality, Good Value, Excellent Service and a Warm Welcome to visitors during the Festival. Inis le Chéile, a sub-committee of the Executive is chaired by Michael Queally, a noted traditional musician, with his own accountancy practice based in Ennis town centre. Michael is assisted by an able team of volunteers familiar with the business community. A special email address has been set up for Inis Le Chéile This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. which will handle queries from the business community.

The Charter

Inis le Chéile is modelled on an idea that was introduced in Sligo. The purpose was to link the business interests of the town and the Fleadh Executive Committee in order to facilitate better communication. The focus was to provide value for money, encourage business to foster traditional music and to improve the experience of guests who visit the Fleadh. A special Charter, developed in Sligo based on a Fáilte Ireland’s Festival’s Charter, and now adapted for Ennis, will be circulated to the Business Community. It will outline the values that the Fleadh wants to encourage. It is not so much a contract between business and the Fleadh but rather an espousal of the values which are currently under discussion with Ennis Chamber and the Vintners representatives.

Business Promoting Trad

Clare is a fantastic place for traditional music, so it is very important that businesses don’t lose sight of the fact that the reason people are here is for traditional music and to hear traditional music and they should use the opportunity to showcase traditional music and encourage use of the Irish language. Inis le Chéile is developing a number of initiatives to assist businesses in this respect. It is hoped to make the Riches of Clare CD available to visitors free of charge to showcase the musicians of the region. The CD can be distributed by various businesses as a gift for their guests

Volunteer Discount Scheme

It goes without saying that the 1,500 Volunteers required for the Fleadh will make an enormous contribution to the smooth running of the event and that benefits business. Inis Le Chéile is working with business organisations to develop a Volunteer Discount Scheme that would operate from the end of the Fleadh to the end of November. This is an opportunity for Ennis business to say “thank you” to the volunteers for their work and it’s also an opportunity to attract 1,500 new customers!

Fair Pricing

It’s very important that pubs, shops, guesthouses and hotels portray as positive an image as possible. It is often said by visitors that Clare people are the friendliest and most hospitable people that exist. It is vital to ensure that we don’t lose sight of these values when the Fleadh comes to town. There are festivals where overcharging has been a critical issue and for the people who go to the festival, it generates a very negative recollection of that event and the region. The temptation is there when such a large volume of people come to town. Remember we must host the Fleadh again in 2017.

State of Readiness

Inis le Chéile believes that about half the businesses in Ennis understand what is coming down the tracks and half of them don’t. The half that hasn’t thought about the issues needs to think about it, they need to link in with Ennis Chamber and with their Vintners representatives. They need to start formulating plans with their suppliers. It was reported that when Clare won the All Ireland, many pubs ran out of refreshments, they ran out of glasses, there were crushes in bars and there was pressure on toilet facilities. This is understandable when an event can’t be predicted but the plans for the Fleadh are laid down. In liaising with town businesses, Inis le Chéile will identify core problems and find the right person to get them fixed.

Event Management Plan

This is a key document, the roadmap to the nine day festival. It provides details of health and safety arrangements, traffic management, medical plan, stewarding, casual trading locations as well as setting out locations for competitions and other events. For example, traffic management involves street closures, parking restrictions as well as temporary additional off-street parking. All this has implications for delivery of supplies and disposal of waste. Inis le Chéile will help businesses familiarise with the Event Management Plan. In fact, it is absolutely essential that the plan is communicated to all relevant stakeholders. The Green Fleadh initiative will have significant implications for the business community. It is a commitment by the Fleadh to have minimum impact on the environment. Measures are being put in place to prevent and segregate waste, minimise water and energy use, reduce carbon emissions and source goods and materials sustainably.

Keep It Simple

Inis Le Chéile believes that business should keep it simple but efficient and well run. For example, it is better for food outlets to abandon the “five page menu” and concentrate on a well-chosen “one page menu” that can be delivered fast and efficiently, nice choices but reduce the number. It is better not offer 15 different craft beers if you want your pub to successfully cater for large volumes of people. Keep it simple, the more complicated we make it the more issues we are going to have.