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Spotlight on CAST Committee

Spotlight on CAST Committee

In our latest Member and Expert Opinion Series article, Susan Kirby, CEO, St Patrick’s Festival discusses the British Irish Chamber of Commerce’s Culture Arts, Sport and Tourism (CAST) Committee as she takes up her Chairmanship of the Committee. 

The CAST committee membership is a diverse one representing as it does transport, tourism and hospitality providers and agencies, National cultural institutions and independent artistic companies, sporting interests and National educational institutes. Members are drawn from all over Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain and operate in Ireland and Britain. This is a committee which recognises the powerful synergy of these sectors in making our countries desirable places to visit, to live and to invest in. This is a cross-sectoral group which creates international collaboration opportunities, connectivity and of course which sparks passionate discourse, all through the lens of the networking nirvana that is ‘soft power’. Individually and combined, the economic impact of these sectors is significant with tourism related employment alone reporting 230,000 employed in the sector.

Commenting on taking up the Chairmanship of the committee Susan Kirby said ‘I am delighted to take up the Chairmanship of the Committee and build on the work achieved to date. The committee are actively recruiting new membership and working on some engaging events in the coming months, we would be delighted to hear from you if you are interested in being involved’. The committee published a policy paper in 2017 which focused on the need to enhance competitiveness, support Ireland’s connectivity to the rest of the world and incentivise the culture, arts, sports and tourism sectors to work more closely together to harness opportunities. These goals are still relevant and the committee will be focusing in the months ahead on revising this policy and looking to identify deliverables for the next two years including planning some engaging events on both sides of the water.

St. Patrick’s Festival

St. Patrick’s Festival, is one of the largest festivals in the World which since its inauguration, has developed a major annual international programme around the national holiday over which the ‘owners’ of the festival, the Irish people, stand proud. It sets out to reflect the talents and achievements of Irish people on many national and world stages, and it acts as an exciting showcase for the manifold skills of the people of Ireland, of every age and social background. It is also an unprecedented opportunity to project ourselves globally, as a creative, professional and sophisticated country with wide appeal. The festival has an international programme strand which includes regular exciting collaborations with partners in the UK and in 2019 featured a special poetic exchange between Edinburgh and Dublin supported by the Scottish Government, British Council & Dublin UNESCO City of Literature. Most recently St. Patricks Festival was delighted to have won Best Festival/Event Experience at the Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2019, and to be awarded the EFFE label. The EFFE Label is Europe’s quality stamp for remarkable arts festivals showing their engagement in the field of the arts, community involvement and international openness.


The objectives of the Culture, Arts, Sports and Tourism (CAST) Committee are to advance, support and promote the Culture, Arts, Sports and Tourism sectors, for the mutual benefit of enterprises located in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Britain in furtherance of our goals as follows:

  1. In the light of the ‘leave’ vote following on from the UK Referendum on EU Membership, to identify the key policy issues that are impacting and will continue to impact on the sector.
  2. To engage with the Chambers key stakeholders across the two islands from relevant agencies and government departments, regulators, consumers and industry at large, to advance the views of our committee members in influencing policy, improving markets and supply chains and assisting our members grow their business base.
  3. To improve the Chamber’s capacity to engage with the CAST sectors.
  4. To advise the Chamber on the formulation of policy at an Irish, British and EU level.


The CAST Committee’s vision is to:
• Be the voice of the British and Irish CAST sectors focusing on matters with a key British Irish dimension, advocating on pivotal issues affecting the sector between the jurisdictions;
• Be the sector’s preferred member organisation for British Irish business networking, providing relevant initiatives, events and opportunities, to learn, engage with peers and develop future business.

Susan Kirby, CEO, St Patrick’s Festival 

Susan has worked in the arts and specifically festival sector in Ireland for over twenty years, joining the award-winning St. Patrick’s Festival in 2007. Susan has held the position of CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival since 2009 where she has grown the impact of the festival exponentially including the Government recognizing the festival as ‘strategically important to the National agenda’ and independent analysis shows an economic return, derived from cultural tourism, to the economy of €73 million along with a significant positive social impact.

Career highlights prior to joining St. Patrick’s Festival include Marketing & Communications Director at The Gaiety Theatre, the iconic 1,100-seater theatre and performance venue in Dublin city and Marketing Manager at Triskel Arts Centre, Cork. Susan has also delivered other major events and festivals including; the GAA 125th Anniversary celebrations including a stadium fireworks spectacle, Skyfest fireworks and live broadcast spectacular in multiple locations around Ireland, Dublin Contemporary 2011, Bram Stoker Festival,  UNESCO Dublin City of Literature designation signature event and DublinSwell featuring luminaries such as Seamus Heaney, Roddy Doyle and Paula Meehan.

The views and opinions expressed by authors are their own and do not reflect the official position of the British Irish Chamber but are simply an illustration of the various opinions reflective of the diverse Chamber membership. Should you wish to contribute to the Member and Expert Opinion Series, please contact neil.dee@britishirishchamber.com for further information.


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