Gay Byrne – President of the EIFI

Gay Byrne, newly appointed President of the Electrical Industry Federation of Ireland, outlines his mission concept for the future development of the organisation. The EIFI is the national collective of the major industry trade associations operating in the Irish Electrical Industry.

Given the ongoing and future impact of Covid-19, the impending impact of Brexit, and the fact that 2021 will undoubtedly bring a whole new trading scenario, we need to re-appraise the federation’s aims and objectives so that they are fit-for-purpose in this dramatically changed world.

The key fundamentals remain the same, but brave and imaginative strategies are now essential to realise them.

We can start by formulating a plan of strategic action that will build on the work done by Mark Keogh during his tenure in office.  To engage effectively, a number of sub-committees, drawn from across the membership, with sole responsibility for particular areas will be established. Their role will be to identify key areas of concern for discussions with the membership at large, and to then devise and implement approved plans of action to address them.

Internal initiatives: Cohesion and unity — EIFI will promote cooperation and cohesion between all sectors of the electrical industry.  Apart from training and technical seminars, this should include a social programme and promotion of the use of quality products that are fit-for-purpose and regulation compliance.  We will also promote and encourage quality installations and industry best practice.

Education & Training — Devise a programme of seminars and courses dealing with topics and subject-matter that impact on the technical and business front.  We have the advantage of the bursary funds to support this initiative, and Mark Keogh has agreed to oversee the eligibility of the courses for such support.

Cooperation and mutual support — Members should freely transfer and share information on national and international best practice within the industry by supporting members, and the public, with first class information and education.

The real strength of any organisation lies in the collective strength of its membership. EIFI is already a formidable organisation but is something of a sleeping giant. We need to rouse ourselves, and perhaps take in new members.

External initiatives: Brexit  — We need to update and advise members on the impact of Brexit, irrespective of what agreement — or any — is arrived at. Either way there will be challenges for members but remember, there will also be opportunities. We need to arm ourselves with the knowledge base to protect and grow our businesses.

Covid 19  — Individually, we all know the detrimental impact the pandemic is having on our businesses. However, there are many common challenges and impacts. We need to survey the membership to identify these, and then to implement collective strategies that will benefit all.

Climate Action Plan  — The business/trading activity of all members has an impact on the environment and general wellbeing. We will develop a policy based on such matters, as the EU’s Green Deal and Renovation Wave initiatives, and especially on the Irish Government’s Climate Action Plan. We need to project the many benefits EIFI members have to offer in the drive towards sustainability and energy saving, and to realise the goals set out in the Government’s Climate Action Plan.

Industry Position — EIFI needs to be more active in promoting the affairs of the industry and its members. We must raise the profile of the EIFI to underpin and promote its position as the “voice of the electrical sector”, by lobbying relevant statutory and legislative bodies and impact on Government policy. When Government Departments or Ministers are considering policy changes and new regulations affecting our industry, they should automatically think of EIFI when they want to get the view/opinion of the electrical sector.

EIFI will promote and pursue engagement with other relevant professional bodies, trade associations and organisations operating in the electrical and allied trades.  An ‘open door’ invitation is offered to other organisations operating in the industry for cooperation and promotion of good practice in all aspects of the Irish Electrical industry.