Guaranteed Irish symbol comes with trust and history, Oireachtas hearing is told

Symbol ‘does not mean that the product is made in Ireland’, but Irish jobs created and support for communities

The trust people at home and abroad have in the Guaranteed Irish symbol can be better leveraged to allow businesses with substantial roots in Ireland to grow further, the joint Oireachtas enterprise committee has been told.

To mark its 50th birthday senior executives with the not-for-profit group appeared before TDs and Senators to outline its role in Irish commercial life over the past 50 years.

Chief executive Bríd O’Connell said the Guaranteed Irish umbrella group represents more than 2,000 members who employ above 120,000 people and she noted that the symbol is recognised by three-quarters of Irish consumers with 90 per cent of its members saying it had financially benefited their business.

“Our members who are committed to Ireland and its workforce span indigenous businesses to locally based global leaders, support over 120,000 jobs throughout Ireland,” she said. “It is through their continued commitment to supporting sustainable jobs, contributing to local communities and commitment to Irish provenance that allows us to grow our offering and we look forward to continuing this commitment into the future.”


She told the committee that many companies “spend a fortune on brand development, brand messaging and communicating, creating a sense of purpose in an effort to build trust” and suggested that in the Guaranteed Irish symbol, there is “a national brand that has achieved all of these things over the last 50 years”.

She told the committee that the umbrella group was relaunched in 2016 “as a national symbol of trust to support all business based in Ireland, homegrown and international, who supported jobs, community and provenance in a sustainable manner”.

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She said that while it was not an environmental group people who support local businesses are not just securing local jobs, they are “reducing carbon miles and building trust equity into [the] supply chain. There is a value in that.”

In response to a question from Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly, Ms O’Connell said the symbol “does not mean that the product is made in Ireland”.

She said the criteria for using the symbol were based on how many Irish jobs were created, the level of support for local communities and provenance with a requirement that “50 per cent or more added value has to be made to the product or the service” in Ireland.

Ms O’Connell accepted that there could be “confusion in the marketplace and Guaranteed Irish is absolutely clear [that] it’s the business that gets the licence, not the product”.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast