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The Consumer Market Monitor - Q2 2018

Posted By The Marketing Institute & UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Friday 24 August 2018
Updated: Thursday 23 August 2018

consumer market monitor Q2 2018Brexit negatively affects new car sales in Ireland 


- Imported second hand cars doubled in two years up to 100,000 from 50,000 in 2015 

- Imports likely to overtake new car sales of 120,000 next year if trend continues 


read report


Dublin, August 24, 2018: The latest Consumer Market Monitor (CMM), published today by the Marketing Institute of Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School has revealed that the number of imported second hand cars has doubled in two years up to 100,000 from 50,000 in 2015. Sales of new cars were down by 10.5% in 2017, a trend which is continuing into 2018, with sales down 4.9% in the first half of the year. 

Professor Mary Lambkin of UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School said: “Two thirds of items on supermarket shelves are imported and that percentage is even higher for clothing and household goods. However, despite our reliance on a high proportion of imports for many types of goods, fears of Brexit have not materialised yet in most consumer sectors, except for car sales. Car sales are the one sector in which Brexit has had a clear and dramatic effect, driven by the significant fall in the value of sterling which has made car imports cheaper. While this is beneficial to the consumer, it is damaging Irish car dealerships,” she added.  

Consumer spending is growing at a steady pace and continues to be one of the main drivers of economic growth in Ireland, along with construction. Growth continued in both sectors in 2017 and this pattern is continuing in 2018. Consumer spending was up 3% for 2017 in current terms, while construction grew by 4.2%. Both retail and services, which make up the bulk of consumer spending, are up by an average of more than 4% annually, which is in turn driving strong vat returns which are up 5.5% this year so far.

Tom Trainor, Chief Executive of the Marketing Institute of Ireland said “The increasing number of people employed, together with increases in hours worked and, to a lesser extent, pay increases, have led to a substantial increase in disposable income and contributed to growth in consumer spending”.



General Summary

Consumer spending is growing at a steady pace and continues to be one of the main drivers of economic growth in Ireland, along with construction. Growth continued in both sectors in 2017 and this pattern is continuing in 2018. Consumer spending was up 3% for 2017 in current terms, while construction grew by an even higher 4.2%. 

Consumer spending is projected to increase by 4% this year in current terms, equal to 2.6% in real terms. This pattern is also expected to continue through 2019 with growth of 4% in current terms or 2.5% in real terms. 

The main drivers of this growth are population expansion, along with increasing employment. Employment growth has averaged 3% every year since 2012. Employment is forecast to increase by a further 2.6% this year, followed by 1.9% in 2019. There are now 2.2 million people at work, up 48,000 year-on-year, and up by 344,000 (+19%) from the low point in 2012. 

The increasing numbers of people employed, as well as increases in hours worked, is leading to a substantial increase in the amount of disposable income circulating in the economy. There has been a remarkable increase in gross disposable income -- it has increased up by about 5% a year in each of the past three years. In sum, it reached €102 billion in 2017, eclipsing the 2008 peak of €101 billion.  Disposable income is continuing to grow in 2018, at about the same rate of 5%, and this is expected to continue in 2019.

Pay increases have also contributed to the rise in disposable income, but by a smaller amount. Pay rates were up by around 2% per annum for the past three years. Increases of about 3% are forecast for this year, and a similar rate for 2019. Households across the economic spectrum are now starting to gain from strong employment and wage growth. 
Consumer confidence is also very strong here at present, and significantly higher than in the UK and the rest of Europe. It fell a little bit in recent months reflecting concerns about global risk factors and higher fuel costs, but it remains largely positive. 

Retail sales were strong in 2017, up by 4.3% in volume and by 2% in value, following growth of 3% in volume in 2016 with value static.  All retail categories performed well with household goods growing by double digits and out-performing all other categories.  

Sales of new cars are one important exception showing significant weakness, down by 10.5% in 2017 for a total of 127,045. New car sales are continuing to be weak this year, down 4.9% in the first half for a total of 83,037.

In contrast, there was a dramatic increase in the number of imported second hand cars, up 47% in 2016 and up the same again in 2017, to a total of 92,508. This growth is continuing in 2018, up 12% in the first half year suggesting a total of more than 100,000 for the year.

Sales of services are also strong, up by 4% a year for the last three years. Vat returns were correspondingly strong, up by 7.1% for 2017, and by a further 5.5% for the first half of 2018.  

Services sectors such as accommodation and food, and information/communications have grown by double digits in recent years. Others such as wholesale and transport have had mixed fortunes, possibly influenced by the bad weather early in the year.

Residential property is the sector under most pressure, as is well known. There were 50,000 homes sold in 2017, up by 11% on 2016, despite an acute shortage of supply -- just 18,900 properties were for sale in December 2017, or 1% of the national housing stock of 2 million homes. This strong demand is continuing in 2018, with 60,000 sales expected for the year. 



Consumer Confidence

Consumer confidence has been recovering in Ireland since 2013, reaching a record high in June 2015. At that point, it was well ahead of the last peak in 2007 and significantly higher than our European neighbours.

Confidence fell slightly through 2016, reflecting uncertainly about Brexit and industrial unrest. It picked up again in 2017, however, and ended the year on a high level, well above the EU average. 

Consumer confidence is remaining strong in 2018 although there has been a slight weakening in recent months. The current level is still consistent with a growing economy, with increasing employment and economic benefits expanding across the country.

Consumer confidence in the UK has been negative since Q2 2016 due to worries about Brexit as well as general political uncertainty. Confidence declined steadily through 2017, reaching a low of -8 in December. In contrast, consumer confidence has improved across the rest of the EU, reflecting strengthening economies.


Consumer Incomes and Spending

The disposable income of Irish households rose by 5% in 2017 to a total of €102 billion, eclipsing the last peak of €101 million experienced in 2007. Increasing numbers in employment was the main driver of the increase in disposable income, with pay increases contributing slightly also. Lower fuel prices and a weakening in the value of Sterling also boosted disposable income. 

Personal consumption, of which household spending is over 90%, closely mirrors income, increasing from €62bn to €95bn (+48%) from 2002 to 2008. Spending then declined for five years, a reduction of -15% in current terms and -7.5% in real terms.

Personal spending began to recover in 2014, up 2%, and up 4.5% in 2015. It continued to grow in 2016, up 4% in real terms, and was up 3% in 2017 to €100 billion, of which households accounted for €94 billion.

Consumer spending is continuing to grow this year, with forecasts suggesting that spending will be up by 2.6% for 2018, and by 2.5% for 2019.


Consumer Borrowing

Borrowing by Irish households grew at a record level from 2000 and peaked in March 2008 at €150 billion, but declined steadily from there, down 40% to €86 billion by Q1 2017. The trend finally reversed in 2017 with debt increasing by 2%, the first sign of a return to normal conditions. Total household borrowing stood at €88.5 billion in Q1 2018.

Loans for house purchase, which account for 84% of household borrowing, peaked in Q1 2008 at €124 billion, but dropped to a low of €73 Billion by Q4 2016, a cumulative decline of 40%. Mortgage lending has begun to increase again since then, up to €75 billion by the end of 2017, an annual growth of 5%. 72,489 (10%) of accounts were still in arrears at the end of the 2017. 

Lending for other consumption accounts for 18% of total borrowing. This category peaked in Q1 2008 at €30 billion but declined to €12 billion by December 2016, a reduction of 60%. It resumed growth in 2016 and grew by 5% in 2017 to €13.5 billion. 

Overall, the ratio of household debt to disposable income has fallen by 60%, from a peak of 215% in mid-2011 to 140% in Q3 2017. Despite this improvement, however, Irish households are still the fourth most indebted in the EU. 


Residential Property

Residential property is the sector under most pressure and this has been the case ever since the economy started to recover.  There were 45,342 homes sold in 2016 which was lower than the 47,313 sold in 2015 in a situation of very short supply. 

Sales strengthened in 2017, up 10% to 50,000, the highest rate of sales since the recession. This was despite a lack of stock; there were just 18,900 properties for sale in December 2017, or 1% of the national housing stock of 2 million homes. 

This upward sales trend is continuing in 2018, with 20,000 sales transactions in the first five months, and 60,000 sales expected for the year. This will be assisted by the increase in new homes being built, estimated at 20,000 this year, up 58% from 2015. 



The services sector recovered more quickly from the recession than the retail sector, showing modest growth from 2011 onwards, and overtaking the 2007 peak in 2014.

The services index grew by 4-5% per annum on average for the past four years, including 2017. 

Growth accelerated in Q2 2018 to 9.3% year-on-year, a considerable lift. Vat returns were also up more than expected, by 5.5% for the first half of the year.

The fortunes of individual service sectors have varied considerably over recent years; for Q2 2018 year-on-year: accommodation and food service are up 12.5%, wholesaling (+12.9%), administrative and support services (+19.8%), information and communication (+15.5%), transportation/storage (+11.2%), professional/ technical services flat (-0.8%), while other services fell (-14.8%).


Car Sales

Car sales began to recover in 2014, with sales of 92,361, a 30% increase, and this rate of growth continued in 2015 with 121,110 sold. Sales continued upwards in 2016, with 142,688 cars sold, a slightly lower growth rate of 18%. 

New car sales were weaker in 2017, down 10.5% year-on-year, for a total of 127,045. 83,037 new cars were sold in the first half of 2018, down 4.9% year-on-year, suggesting a figure of 138,000 for the year. 
In contrast, there was a dramatic rise in the number of imported second hand cars, up by 47% in 2016, and by a further 46% in 2017 to a total of 92,508. This reflects the weakening of sterling which made imports better value.

Imported used cars are continuing to increase in the first half of 2018, up 11.9% to 50,272, suggesting a total of more than 100,000 for the year. 


Retail Spending

Retail sales were strong in 2017, up 4.3% for the year in volume terms, and up 2% in value. Growth accelerated as the year progressed, to a level of 7% in Q4, summing to annual spending of €40 billion which is back to the levels seen in the last boom.  Vat returns were also very strong, up by 7% in 2017 for a total of €13 billion.

Retail sales excluding the motor trade grew by 4.5% in volume in H1 2018 and by 3% in value, year-on-year.  Household equipment continued to be the fastest growing category, up 9.7% in volume and 3% in value. Supermarkets and other food stores also performed well, and newsagents enjoyed a lift of 5.8% in volume and 6.7% in value, a positive boost after several years of negative figures.

  • Food sales up 4.9% in volume and up 3.3% in value; 
  • Non-specialised stores (supermarkets) up 5.6% in volume and 4.1% in value; 
  • Fuel up 1.6% in volume and 6% in value; 
  • Clothing, footwear & textiles up 2.3% in volume and 0.5% in value; 
  • Household equipment up 9.7% in volume and 3% in value;
  • Department stores up 4.2% in volume and 1% in value;
  • Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics up 5.9% in volume and 1.2% in value;
  • Bar sales up 1.1% in volume and up 3% in value.
  • Books, newspapers, stationery up 5.8% in volume and 6.7% in value. 


infographic consumer market monitor q2 2018


About the Author


Mary Lambkin

Mary Lambkin is Professor of Marketing in the UCD School of Business where she teaches courses to undergraduate and postgraduate students and is involved in a range of research projects under the general heading of marketing strategy.  She has written extensively on this subject in academic journals, and also writes commentaries on marketing topics of contemporary interest for professional publications. She has served as Head of the Marketing Group, as Dean of the UCD Business School and as a member of the Governing Authority of the university at various times, and also holds a number of positions in companies and professional organisations outside the university.

About UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School


In 1964, University College Dublin became one of the first universities in Europe to offer the degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA).  In 1991, the graduate business school opened its own campus in Blackrock, County Dublin.  With over 100 faculty members, 1,300 students and 75,000 alumni worldwide, UCD Smurfit School is one of a small number of business schools worldwide and the only school in Ireland, to hold triple international accreditation (US - AACSB, European - EQUIS and UK – AMBA). The school’s programme has been consistently ranked among the leading European business schools’ programmes by the Economist and Financial Times, since 2000.


The School is also a member of CEMS and the Global Network for Advanced Management, which are alliances of leading global business schools.

About The Marketing Institute of Ireland

The Marketing Institute is the professional body for Ireland's marketing people. It exists “to enable marketers to build great brands and great careers”. It does this by sharing best practice, insights and expert content, building the community of marketers, and aiding marketers in career progression. The three themes of content, community and career underpin all Institute activities. The Marketing Institute also owns and operates the All Ireland Marketing Awards, the CMO Summit, and DMX Dublin, Ireland's largest marketing conference.

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Picture perfect: 10 Instagram-friendly food and drink innovations

Posted By Amrin Walji, Senior Innovation Analyst at Mintel, Wednesday 22 August 2018
Updated: Tuesday 21 August 2018

In 2018, food must be as documentable as it is delicious. Flavour has long been the focus of innovation in the food and drink sector, but the rise of image-centric social media like Instagram is increasingly inspiring brands to focus on visually stimulating and shareable products. Brands are experimenting with vibrant colours, innovative shapes and multifaceted textures to make packaged products worthy of consumer praise and social media posts. There’s an opportunity to create products that engage more senses than just taste, be it through colour-changing special effects, by tapping into popular foodservice trends - like the ever-present smoothie bowls - or by creating a unique eating experience. 

Looking at Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), we highlight 10 products launched across the world which would get all the likes on social media.

Sharish Blue Magic Gin

Sharish Blue Magic Gin (UK), launched as a special edition in summer 2017, it changes from a vibrant blueish purple hue to pink when tonic is added. Colour-changing effects can help a product attract attention online and on social media, especially if the drinks are mixed by, or in front of, on-premise consumers who can take photos or videos of the special effect.



Fjordland Litt Mat Smoothie Bowl

Fjordland Litt Mat Smoothie Bowl with Mango, Pineapple, Banana, Ginger and Granola Topping (Norway)  
is designed for time-poor consumers. Smoothie bowls are extremely popular on Instagram, with influencers sharing their breakfast concoctions on a regular basis. 



Hershey Ice Breakers Ice Cubes Summer Snow Cone Glitter Gum


Hershey Ice Breakers Ice Cubes Summer Snow Cone Glitter Gum (US) adds an element of whimsy by incorporating edible glitter to make each piece of gum sparkle.




Wow Raspberry Activated Charcoal Drink



Wow Raspberry Activated Charcoal Drink (UK) is made with coconut shells transformed into activated charcoal and added to cold-pressed raspberry juice. The visual impact of black foods makes this especially Instagrammable!




Happy Cheeze Der Frische Spirulina Chili


Happy Cheeze Der Frische Spirulina Chili (Germany)  is a vegan cheese alternative made with cashew nuts and spirulina micro algae, which gives the product an unusual blue hue. The addition of chilli gives this vegan cheese a kick.



Doritos Corn Chips with Chilies and Spices



Doritos Corn Chips with Chilies and Spices (Mexico)  uses a unique packaging shape to introduce a new product. The pyramid-shaped bag opens horizontally to form an eat-from tray, making it the perfect snack to share with friends at parties.



Lolli & Pops Unicorn Bark


Lolli & Pops Unicorn Bark (US)  
is described as mystical swirls of artisan white chocolate adorned with sprinkles and colourful sweetness.




Baackes & Heimes Unicorn Sliced Mild Gouda


Baackes & Heimes Unicorn Sliced Mild Gouda (Germany) 
features lactose-free slices of gouda cheese cut into a unicorn shape.






Arnott's Tim Tam Chill Me! Iced Coffee Flavoured Biscuits

 Arnott's Tim Tam Chill Me! Iced Coffee Flavoured Biscuits (Australia) are inspired by Gelato Messina, who has been leading the gelato movement in Australia since 2002. They can be eaten at room temperature or chilled in the fridge, where the packaging will change colour when they’re ready.


Lidl Flamingo Shaped Chicken Nuggets

 Lidl Flamingo Shaped Chicken Nuggets with Curry and Sweet & Sour Dip (Austria) are made with seasoned, breaded and fried minced chicken meat. Flamingos are giving unicorns tough competition this year, with plenty of pink flamingo innovations popping up in the food and drink sector.



Aboutthe author

Amrin is a Senior Innovation Analyst who specialises in analysing trends driving product innovation and development across the food and drink industry.

Mintel is the world's leading market intelligence agency. For over 40 years, Mintel's expert analysis of the highest quality data and market research has directly impacted on client success. With offices in London, Chicago, Belfast, Düsseldorf, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Munich, New York, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto, Mintel has forged a unique reputation as a world-renowned business brand.

For more information on how Mintel can help your business, contact Ciara Rafferty, Director Mintel Ireland on +44 (0)28 9024 1849 or

mintel logo

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Marketing Trends for 2019 with Meabh Quoirin

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Wednesday 15 August 2018
Updated: Friday 3 August 2018

We recently hosted an open lecture in Dublin Institute of technology with Meabh Quoirin, CEO at Foresight Factory and lecturer on the MSc Digital Marketing & Analytics

Meabh discussed the digital marketing trends that will impact 2019. The presentation deck is now available to view.

We are still taking applications for the MSc Digital Marketing & Analytics starting in September. If you'd like to know more contact Etain Kidney at


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Why Marketers Should Develop Their Career Capital

Posted By Steven Roberts, Head of Marketing at Griffith College, Wednesday 1 August 2018
Updated: Tuesday 31 July 2018

career capital

A recent report identified that 85% of the jobs today’s learners will be doing in 2030 have not yet been invented. In a world where roles are emerging and disappearing with increased frequency, how do marketers build a successful career?

In our profession, we are given certain advice on where to get the best training – a position with one of the big brands, international experience or joining a big tech firm. Exposure to a number of roles while we’re still in our twenties. Perhaps a mix of agency and client-side work. 

Apart from the obvious goal of role advancement, what should we be seeking from each of these positions? 


You are your own CEO

Firstly, it’s important to remember no-one owes you a career. In that sense, we are all ultimately self-employed. This is a difficult but essential message to absorb. As your own CEO, how are you investing to improve your skills and the value you generate as a marketer?

Would you invest in a company that wasn’t setting aside resources to upskill and develop its staff? Why should it be any different for an individual in the current market?

“Managing oneself demands that each knowledge worker think and behave like a chief executive officer.”  Peter Drucker


Build your Career Capital

So what steps can we take to reinforce our employability and job options? 

A great way to frame your thinking is the concept of Career Capital, discussed by author Cal Newport in his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You. He posits that by developing a set of rare and valuable skills, employees can increase control over their career.

Doing this requires a craftsperson’s mindset. Forget the idea that you have arrived at the conclusion of your training; rather, consider each day how you can improve and add to your existing skillset. In this respect, it is very similar to the idea of a growth mindset that I have discussed previously.

These skills will deliver what Newport identifies as the ultimate goal for any career – autonomy to choose the roles you want, competence in your chosen area, and a related set of skills that give flexibility and insurance against the vagaries of the job market. 

A core element is commitment to continuous personal improvement. It seems simple, but the compound effect of your actions means that any activity you devote time to consistently on a daily basis will deliver substantial results if done correctly. 


Undertake Deliberate Practice

 The next step is to use deliberate practice. This involves improving specific skills in a targeted and strategic manner. It is how sportspeople and musicians improve. They identify a weakness and focus their regime on strengthening this area through repeated training.

“This is a fundamental truth about any sort of practice: If you never push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you will never improve.” Anders Ericsson

Athletes build muscle and endurance through exercises that push them to the edge of their current ability. Musicians practice their scales for hours to improve speed and dexterity. Newport argues that developing your own skillset is no different; there is an element of strain involved in order to push through to the next level of accomplishment.


Test Yourself

 How do you know if you have really absorbed and understood a new skill? Try presenting at your next team meeting, write a blog article or contribute to an industry or in-house journal on the subject.

“No one learns as much as the person who must teach his subject.” Peter Drucker


Develop a Routine

So, how to build this into a workable plan that fits within our own busy lives? 

Firstly, identify your current skillset. Then assess which aspects of your career capital need enhancing. There can be a trade-off. Do you focus on improving existing strengths or on reducing a weakness? Some experts such as Drucker advise to take the former route – in many cases it’s easier to go from good to great in an area where you are already showing competence. 

Next, take steps daily towards your goal. This will provide small wins that will give you encouragement and motivation to progress further. 
Build a routine. Ultimately, so much of life comes down to process and habit. It could be taking 30 minutes in the morning or evening and devoting this specifically to skills development. 

If that doesn’t fit your schedule, try setting aside a chunk of time once or twice a week where you can really immerse yourself. Focus on the process first, results will follow. 
If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive – no matter how skilled or talented you are. Cal Newport.

None of us can predict the future. However, taking a focused, strategic approach to our career capital and skills development will pay dividends no matter what challenges we face in our working lives.

About the author

Steven Roberts is head of marketing at Griffith College and a certified data protection officer. He writes on marketing, GDPR, data protection and personal development.


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Rugby Success Drives Sponsor First-Half Wins

Posted By Onside, Wednesday 1 August 2018
Updated: Tuesday 31 July 2018

John trainor Onside

22nd July 2018: In what is traditionally the busier of the two-halves in a calendar year for sponsorship deals, 2018 continues to uncover growing levels of investment in sponsorship by businesses in Ireland, with ONSIDE consultants tracking a 12% rise in sponsorship investments in Ireland in the first half of this year.

Sport continues to command a lion’s share of the sponsorship activity in Ireland in 2018, with 6 in 10 deals reported so far this year played out in the sports arena. It was a busy start in terms of high-profile major renewal deals including Aviva’s 5 year extension of the Aviva Stadium sponsorship, AIG’s sponsorship of Dublin GAA, and Supermac’s tie with Galway GAA.  Landmark new venue deals included Energia’s deal with European Champions Leinster Rugby’s Donnybrook Stadium and the Nissan Driving school sponsorship at Tayto Park.

Strong year on year gains were made by rights holders across Rugby, GAA, basketball, and hockey in particular in the first half of 2018.  Meanwhile broadcast and cause and community-based announcements, including Boots new deal with the Irish Cancer Society’s Daffodil Day, were also significantly ahead so far this year according to the ONSIDE sponsorship market monitor.

Commenting on sponsorship market dynamics at play to date in 2018, John Trainor, Founder and CEO of ONSIDE notes that “sectors most active in terms of closing new deals included financial services and retail, with the auto sector also driving more deals in H1 2018 than the same period in 2017.” Other areas of momentum included brands in what Trainor identified as ‘less traditional big spenders’ including firms in the professional services, including Grant Thornton’s innovative partnership with Dublin Airport Fast Track service, as well as B2B and tech based sectors that are “upping their game in this sponsorship arena.”

Also noteworthy is the continued momentum behind brands developing sponsorship deals
geared specifically toward women’s sport and entertainment, with as many such deals completed in the year to date than across all of 2017.

In terms of the Irish public’s buy-in to sponsors advances, Trainor notes “a sharp rise in admiration for sponsors has developed so far this year as sponsors invest in better activation of their rights.” 9 in 10 Irish people have a sports sponsorship that appeals most to them to date in 2018 – up from 2 in 3 the same period last year. 

Telecoms brands again topped the ONSIDE list of most appealing sport sponsors among Irish adults for the seventh quarter in a row, with Vodafone again retaining No.1 most appealing sports sponsor through a period of unprecedented success for the Irish Rugby team.  Rugby and Community Games sponsor Aldi also was also singled out by the public research as being noteworthy across both sport and non-sport investments in the past 12 months, while sponsors Bank of Ireland, Lidl and Heineken also show good momentum in the latest research.

Despite the FIFA World Cup 2018, a quieter start to the year was recorded for soccer related sponsorship deals, although
looking ahead to the second half of the year, the ONSIDE consultants note that a new cycle set to kick off shortly for UEFA Euro 2020 in 12 different European cities including Dublin in summer 2020 will undoubtedly reboot interest in soccer opportunities as sponsorship planning for 2019 begins this autumn.

About Onside

ONSIDE is a leading specialist in marketing and sponsorship consulting and research services – With a proven track record and strong industry experience in a cross section of sectors, ONSIDE is currently feeding into the marketing and sponsorship decision making of circa €50m+ of Irish spend – working on many of Ireland’s premier sponsorships – on sporting, music, cause-related, broadcast and other platforms.


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