The new President of the employers' group Ibec has appealed to the Government to give businesses the "space and time" to stand on their own two feet again.

Frank Gleeson said Irish businesses will always be eternally grateful for the support and subsidies that have been "critical" for their survival.

But in a reference to the future of those supports, Mr Gleeson, who is President of Aramark Northern Europe, added that while everyone must remain vigilant on public health advice, firms need to avoid the inconsistency and uncertainty and 'cliff edges’ that put the most vulnerable of businesses and workforces at risk.

In an upbeat message to Ibec members at a dinner this evening to mark the start of his term of office, Mr Gleeson said he is extremely confident that business can lead the recovery from the pandemic.

He said this "confidence in our resilience" will define his term as Ibec President.

"The next 12 months will be extremely challenging, and the road ahead is still unclear, but we can rebuild even better – maybe, in a way we never imagined," he said.

Despite the hardships of the pandemic and Brexit, Mr Gleeson added that he is confident our national hospitality culture will bounce back again.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Mr Gleeson said there needs to be a renewed focus on innovation, collaboration, and competition on a scale never seen before.

However, he added that this all needs to be underpinned by an awareness for the impact of industry on our planet.

"While the challenges of climate investment and economic hardship can create more risk, we shouldn’t forget that it also creates opportunity to do things differently. To do things more sustainably. To do things even better than before," he said.

Mr Gleeson said that under his presidency, Ibec will champion an economy that is inclusive and beneficial for all – from businesses big and small, to workers, to local suppliers, to local partners, to local producers and consumers.