There were sports stars and local business stars aplenty at the recent North Kildare Chamber Summer Business Expo.
More than 100 local businesses exhibited at the event on Thursday, June 26, which was hosted by Sheehy Motors, Naas, in their showroom complex on the Newbridge Road.
Rugby star Dave Kearney, who is a brand ambassador for Audi, and Oliver Kelly, senior vice president of global retail accounts at the Kerry Group, were among the guest speakers at the event.
Mr Kelly told the crowd that construction work on the group’s new Naas plant would finish in early January 2015, when 800 people will be at work there.
The group is currently leasing three buildings in Millennium Park, housing 500 employees.
“Some 250 people who work there have moved into the area, and we are employing 23 nationalitites here,” he said.
However, some of these new Kerry Group employees are having problems finding accommodation in Naas, he continued.
“Rental properties are hard to get in Naas,” he said.
“Colleagues of mine have tried to rent two-bedroom apartments and they just cannot get them. They have had to move towards Maynooth.”
Rugby star Dave Kearney told the crowd that it had been a great year for him on the rugby pitch.
The Leinster and Ireland winger got his first full cap in last Autumn’s New Zealand international.
He has been sidelined with injury in recent months, but said he hoped to make a full recovery by October.
Some 2,200 people visited the Expo, estimated Allan Shine, CEO of North Kildare Chamber.
“What was particularly interesting was that the sense of energy and positivity was so evident,” said Mr Shine.
Kildare Mayor Fiona O’Loughlin echoed his sentiments, adding: “We want to do everything we can to attract new business to Kildare.”