Bringing the Community Back to Port #60 #cong19


As a busy city centre Dublin Port has changed and evolved over the ages.  However community remains central with its deep history and heritage with the local people who helped to build the port and the community who live in and share the space.

Key Takeaways:

  1. CSR is a lot more than sponsoring the local sports clubs
  2. Heritage, especially in an area such as the Port is really important to communities
  3. Commitment to keep investing in community with 1% of profits going to CSR
  4. We also work and live in this area so the community is shared

About Cormac Kennedy:

Cormac is the Head of Property in Dublin Port Company. Dublin Port control over 300ha of land in Dublin Port and also own a further 44 ha in North Dublin where they are building an Inland Port. The company is in the middle of an ambitious investment programme with an expected investment of €1bn over the next 10 years. Cormac has over 20 years of property experience having previously worked with CBRE, Easons, Tesco and Jones Lang laSalle.

Contacting Cormac Kennedy:

You can reach Cormac by email or check out Dublin Port’s CSR Initiatives.

By Cormac Kennedy


“You must never despise the Port you were born in because no matter how small or how bad it is, it is the place you have started sailing to the universe.”

-Mehmet Murat ildan

Every person is defined by the community s/he belongs to and generations of Dubliners identify themselves and their families as Dockers. It isn’t an understatement to say that the community made Dublin Port. Stories on the Dublin Port community have been told in numerous books, plays, films and documentaries. Locals identify themselves as being from Inner city, Dublin Port and more particularly from streets and areas close to the Port such as Ringsend  East Wall and Pearse street.

Having not taken on board the views of our community for many years with ill fated plans to expand eastwards into Dublin Bay, the Port is now working hard to reintegrate itself with Dublin city and her community. We now invest 1% of our pre tax profits into CSR initiatives.

The company works with locals through the more obvious sponsorship of local clubs (Soccer, GAA, Rowing, Sailing and Scout Clubs) and through education initiatives such as supporting training and employment opportunities (St Andrews Resource Centre) and sourcing jobs for graduates along with paying college fees for qualifying students. We sponsor annual Liffey Swim and Tall Ships regattas. These do deliver positive results but it’s some of the more subtle, novel and modern ways of engaging with the community that I want to talk about here.

Recently a new play was commissioned in the Abbey called Last orders at the Dockside. At many showings of this play we had Dubliners laughing at the local jokes and cheering when their street was name checked. Each left with a sense of pride that their people from Dublin Port featured in a main stream play.

This week we will launch a book, through the Roddy Doyle Fighting Words charity called Dublin port Diaries. Last year we sponsored the photographic exhibition called Port Perspectives. This is not simply giving money to an event – we pull the community together to get involved through our Port Heritage and Community Team.

We opened up the Port Centre precinct with gardens, viewing deck of the Port, a refurbished crane and a replica of the time ball, once hosted at Ballast house. These publically oriented changes were designed around encouraging people to visit its Port.

The company commissioned the Binden Blood Stoneys diving bell museum on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.This was and is a manifestation of Dublin Port Company’s commitment to publicly promote the Port’s unique heritage.

We have been heavily involved in the Rinn Voyager project since 1993. This came about in response to feedback from the community for educational training facilities for the communities around the Port. Liffey Ferry 21, the last remaining ferry of its type was launched in 2019 and now operates a service between Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Custom House Quay and North Wall Quay. DPC paid for its refurbishment and a local crew runs the service. History and community, coming together.

We regularly host groups of local historians including a series of presentations earlier this year to discuss the location of the WW1 ammunitions factory which was located in the Port. When this factory was in operation it was mainly staffed by local women who were very well paid. This resulted in a short lived social change with women becoming the main bread winners. When the war ended the silver lining for the rest of Europe became their cloud in losing their jobs.

In 2020 we will begin work on a 3km greenway cycle route hugging the coastline around the Port. What a better way to invite the local community into its Port.

Our most ambitious project is yet to come when we re purpose the former Odlums quarter into a major Port Heritage development. This will encompass a tourism element, a Port heritage archive, a refurbishment of the light ship, the Kittiwake, amongst other things. The community will be central to the success of this project as it will tell the Dublin Port story in way not yet told.

How you communicate so many messages can be a challenge. In recent years some of these surrounding locals have gentrified resulting in a need to communicate in a different style. These new locals dont necessarily have the same shared history but they do have the same shared interest in their new community.

Dublin Port Company (DPC) has maintained a digital presence since 2001 via its corporate website; however social media was a communications space not entered before. Since 2013 DPC recognised social media as the perfect channel to educate the citizens of Dublin and local communities on its daily activities, with its main goal to set about integrating Dublin Port with Dublin City.

Social media allows ports to build closer relationships with their local community. Online users now expect organisations to respond and engage with them directly, making them feel more important and that their voice is heard. They expect more varied forms of communication including imbedded video content and info graphics. This has enabled Dublin Port to capture a unique insight into real port stories covering a wide range of themes including its rich maritime history, operations and staff perspectives, allowing citizens to experience what really happens day to day, offering a distinct perception of port operations.

Content on the various social media channels highlight projects and events and communicate key operational information on traffic, arrivals, departures and notice to mariners.

Ports have extremely interesting and varied stories to tell and Dublin Port’s online maritime community is intrigued to learn about and engage with these stories. We tell our stories and listen to theirs.

We create linkages between the Port, the local community groups and port citizens by including in our monthly content calendar’s information on local maritime events; boat and yacht club regattas, Port heritage events, employment opportunities, notices to mariners, ship arrivals, Masterplan updates and CSR initiatives. We take a rounded, integrated approach to our content, ensuring that all in our online maritime community are included and informed, resulting in a greater user experience.

What we are trying to achieve is that despite the changes in transportation meaning less workers employed in the port that we want to generate a real sense of pride and ownership with the Dublin community in its Port.

We invest so much time and resources to reflect the commercial and social importance that Dublin Port has in the middle of a very busy (and populated) area. The community we spend time with is the community that work and live in, and beside the Port. We believe that it is  important to also remember the sacrifices that Dockers made in making Dublin Port and Dublin and important to remember and acknowledge the Ports place in history. When we get this right, the community in turn respects what we are doing and also understand that the changes we are trying to implement are being done for the right reasons and in the right manner. At the end of the day we all live and work in the same community.

Time for Companies to be Called to Account #20 #cong19


Coming soon.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Coming soon

About David Gluckman:

David Gluckman was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on 1st November 1938, the day that Sea Biscuit and War Admiral fought out the Race of the Century at Pimlico Park, Baltimore.  Educated in Johannesburg, he joined a local advertising agency after university and soon fell in love with business. He made the pilgrimage to London in 1961 and worked as an account executive on the introduction of Kerrygold butter into the UK.  Always a frustrated creative, he escaped into brand development in 1969, met a man from a drinks company called IDV, and his life changed forever. A lover of cricket, he considers his greatest achievement bowling the West Indian legend, Joel Garner, first ball in a pro-am 6-a-side tournament.

In 1973 David invented Baileys, the world’s most successful cream liqueur, which has since sold over 1.25 billion bottles.

Contacting David Gluckman:

You can connect with David on LinkedIn or see his book ‘That Sh*t Will Never Sell’

By David Gluckman

Since my book was first published, I have travelled abroad quite extensively, talking to students and ‘performing’ at business conferences.  One of the things that has really struck me has been the change in attitudes amongst liberal-minded, community-conscious people of all ages and all over the place.

In Sydney last September, I listened to Derrick Kayongo, a Ugandan living in the USA, talk about recycling used bars of soap in hotels by sanitising them, reprocessing them and making them available to people in Third World countries. Apparently when Derrick started his venture, there were 800 million bars of soap thrown away in US hotels.

Visiting a local street market in London last Autumn, I came across a couple of young men selling a vodka brand called SAPLING they’d created.  “What’s so special about it?” I asked.  “Well,” one replied “apart from tasting great, we also undertake to plant a tree for every bottle of vodka we sell.”

In Athens, early in the year, I listened to a captivating story told by a young Dutchman of Kenyan origin.  His name was Paul Kangangi.  His tale was about a Dutch journalist investigating work practices in the Cocoa fields of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.  His conclusion?  That owners of all the major plantations were using kidnapped child slave labourto work the plantations.

The result of his investigations was the launch of the world’s first ‘slave free chocolate’ brand.  It’s called TONY’S CHOCOLONELY, it’s reputedly the biggest-selling chocolate brand in Holland, and it’s now being sent abroad for export.  This says a lot about the people of Holland who bought into the ethical basis of the TONY’S idea.  It’s also a very good chocolate.

The stories above are all about individuals or small groups trying to make a difference to help improve the lot of the communities we live in.  The time has come for large organisations to front up and join the crusade for better living.

Rumour has it that the global chocolate giants like Nestle, Mars and Cadburys are planning to go ‘slave free’ by 2025.  By that time, the management who made the promises will all have moved on and there’ll be a new corporate approach which probably won’t have the ‘slave-free’ manifesto built into their business plans.

I am intrigued by the stance taken by the drinks companies and the betting organisations. DRINK RESPONSIBLY, whispered in a drink advert is hardly likely to persuade a binge drinker that he’s losing control.  And WHEN THE FUN STOPS, STOP is a catchy phrase which will have absolutely zero impact on some poor unfortunate soul who has become enslaved by a gambling machine.

The trouble is that to take the quantum leap that they need to take, they will have to admit that their products are bad for us. And that is a tough ask.

But things are changing.  Social responsibility and care for the community are top level issues in Scandinavian countries.  And I even read recently that a corporation as large as Unilever is considering culling those brands in their portfolio which they consider are being harmful to the community and the environment.  (I wonder where they stand on Palm Oil?)

If I was starting out as a new brand consultant, I would build into every brief that I received a directive TO LOOK FOR AN ELEMENT THAT WOULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE WELL-BEING OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE HUMAN COMMUNITY.

This is something I ‘preach’ when talking to business or student groups these days. It adds to the innovation challenge. But it should not be beyond the reach of intelligent creative people.