Connecting Business – Growing Opportunities

Meet the Chair…Tom Byrne, Ireland Regional Chair

Run by experienced committees in all three regions, Causeway membership covers Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Tasked with strengthening ties across the Irish Sea, building networks and opening up new markets to businesses the Causeway committee are always busy.


Appointed as regional chair for Ireland, Tom Byrne heads up the committee in Ireland and is responsible for developing and supporting business contacts between Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and delivering benefits for these members. He works closely with the Causeway Board and the fellow regional committees in Northern Ireland and Scotland.


Let’s find out more about the man heading up the Ireland committee and his vision for his time in the role.


How did you become involved with Causeway?

“With our company having offices in Edinburgh and Dublin, we developed a close working relationship with the excellent team representing Scotland under John Webster in the British Embassy in Dublin. Through this, I decided to get involved as I realised the importance of developing contacts between the two countries in these strange times and was delighted to be invited to join Causeway.”


What is your vision for Causeway?

“An organisation that builds and grows closer relationships between our two Celtic Nations through increased trade and social interaction. To work with the two Governments and to ensure their support to us is repaid with more active members here, in Northern Ireland and in Scotland.”


What do you hope to achieve as regional chair at Causeway?

“Initially, to grow our membership here with people and organisations, by demonstrating the benefits of trade and cultural ties between our countries. Ireland and Scotland have so much in common to make cooperation beneficial to both countries.”


Tell us a little about your professional background.

“By profession I am a Chartered Management Accountant (FCMA) and a former President of CIMA Ireland. I graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in Business Studies. My career has been in the Finance Sector with senior roles in companies like the Smurfit Group, BASF as well as in the Pharma Sector. In Telecoms I have held roles such as CFO of BT Ireland and BT Global.


“I have worked on Major PPP projects for the Irish Government and had an interesting time as CFO of the Health Service Executive (Irish Health Board).


“I have been a Partner with Pathfinder, a leading strategic change consultancy with offices in Dublin and Edinburgh, for a number of years now.


“Career highlights on the sporting front were playing Golf with Seve Ballesteros on the day he chose his “Wild Cards” as captain of the Ryder Cup Team.  On the business front it was probably being the CFO of the largest Pharma Company located in Ireland.”


What, in your opinion, are the challenges of the Scotland/Ireland/Northern Ireland relationship?

“As a Former Board member of Co-Operation Ireland, The North South Peace Keeping Charity, I am acutely aware of the fragile nature of peace on this Island and keenly aware of the wonderful work that has been done in recent years to foster such close relationships between North and South as well as between Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.


“It is incumbent on us to use our close commercial and business ties here and through Causeway to continue to drive this work and assist both Governments where we can.”


What, in your opinion, are the strengths of the Scotland/Ireland/Northern Ireland relationship?

“As I said, my time on the Board of Co Operation Ireland and these last years working in Scotland and Ireland has shown me that we really have more in common than many would suspect!


“This easy relationship makes potential trade all the more likely and easy. The cultural similarities and exchanges, many led by the two Governments’, give Causeway a great platform to continue this development.”


Can you give us 3 reasons why a professional should join Causeway?

“Firstly, the enormous potential for increasing business between the countries. Alongside the great opportunity to meet like-minded business contacts and, let’s not forget, social contacts.


“And as has been shown recently, the opportunity to gain insights from senior Government Ministers and officials and their willing support for business cross borders.”


How do you foresee Brexit impacting the business or trade relationship between Scotland/Ireland/Northern Ireland?

“I sat on the Brexit sub-committee of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce for a while and can safely say even the Oracle at Delphi would be hard pressed to answer that!


“However, even when Pandora’s Box was opened, hope was left inside.


“One must conclude that trade relationships will be difficult as result of what is currently proposed considering “red lines”. But as our nations have shown, we can, and will, have to adapt with the outcome.”


What advice would you give to businesses in Scotland/Ireland/Northern Ireland to prepare for Brexit?

“Plan for the worst…hope for the best. And remember what was left in Pandora’s Box...HOPE!”


In times of uncertainty the importance of building connections and gaining advice is never more prevalent. Causeway membership offers businesses these links to trade and new market opportunities. If you want to catch up with Tom, he’ll be at the Beyond Brexit event on 6th March in Dublin.



Would you like to find out who else is on the Causeway committee? Take a look at our Directors and Committees. Or if you would like to become a member of Causeway, take a look at membership options and join us today!  


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