Can businesses soar again after pandemic?

A Cork company features in the latest series of Open for Business, which gets underway on Thursday
Can businesses soar again after pandemic?

NEW SERIES: Ella McSweeney and Richard Curran present a new run of Open For Business on RTÉ1 on Thursday. Picture: Tony Kinlan

WITH the summer holidays looming, when can we realistically start to think about travelling safely again, including booking our trips abroad, and what are our consumer rights with regards to last-minute cancellations?

These topical questions will be among those answered when Open For Business returns for a new series on RTÉ1 on Thursday (April 29) at 7pm, presented by Ella McSweeney and Richard Curran.

The series will highlight the big themes affecting both businesses and consumers over the last 12 months since the onset of Covid-19 — our ways of working, shopping and eating have been transformed, but will they last after lockdown is lifted? The series also examines the real impact Brexit is having on businesses, both big and small, across the country.

Episode one looks at vaccines, exploring what it takes to mass produce such a vital drug, and highlighting Irish manufacturers playing their part.

From the dry ice that keeps vaccines chilled to the machinery that processes its raw materials, Open For Business follows the complicated supply chain that could make or break Ireland’s bid to vaccinate the entire country.

The episode will feature ABEC in Fermoy, Co. Cork, and Polar Ice in Portarlington.

Despite boasting one of the largest pharmaceutical industries in the world, the hosts discuss why Ireland can’t produce a vaccine overnight and why it often makes more sense to produce medicines abroad.

The episode also looks at the different financial supports the Government put in place to help businesses weather the pandemic. Which grants worked and which one didn’t go far enough?

We hear from the owner of Begley’s pub in Co. Longford and a beauty products company in Co Louth.

We also meet people who have changed direction. Marcus O’Laoire, a DJ, MC and pub owner, bought and recommissioned an ambulance, and turned it into a food truck — The Sambo Ambo, lifesaving sandwiches. It is now in the old horse yard of the Iveagh market in Dublin and Marcus wants to pass on the opportunity that was passed to him and create a ‘hub’ in the area.

Later in the series, Ella and Richard take a look at sport and sponsorship — has the old business model for this sector changed for good?

On the domestic front, one of the unexpected consequences of the pandemic is the big rush to buy property outside Dublin.

The presenters promise to tell us the truth about rising house prices and securing a mortgage during a global pandemic.

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