Sponsored By

It is one of the most fulfilling aspects of our work that we get to work with fantastic people and organisations.The Kanchi Network is supported by the Arthur Guinness Fund, 13 Founder Members and 2 Media Partners.

13 Founder Members

2 Media Partners

Diageo Ireland

Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks company with sales of over £12bn and a brand portfolio that includes Guinness stout, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Smirnoff vodka, Bushmills Irish whiskey and many others.  Ireland is the home of two of Diageo’s global brands Guinness and Baileys and represents the third largest market for Diageo.

Diageo Ireland has been a supporter of Kanchi since early 2010 as through the Arthur Guinness Fund programme. Kanchi was one of ten social enterprises that were selected for the Arthur Guinness Fund 2010.

Diageo is delighted to be a founder member of the Kanchi Network. We look forward to working closely with Kanchi and the other members of the Ability network which will allow Diageo to build on our Diversity and Ability agenda.


Abbott is one of Ireland’s leading health care company employers, employing almost 4,000 people. Abbott Ireland manufactures and markets a broad range of health care products including medical devices, and pharmaceutical, diagnostic and nutritional products. Abbott has eight manufacturing facilities located in Clonmel, Cork, Cootehill, Donegal, Longford and Sligo as well as commercial operations in Dublin and Westport.  Abbott has been operating in Ireland since 1946.

As a global health care company focused on improving lives, Abbott has a great awareness of the challenges faced by people with diverse needs.  Abbott’s Vascular site in Clonmel was named the Overall Winner in the private sector category at the 2010 02 Ability Awards for its work in meeting the diverse needs of employees. The company was honoured for programmes at the Abbott Vascular facility in Clonmel in the following areas: leadership, environmental accessibility, recruitment and selection, learning, development and progression, customer service, and retention and well being.

Abbott is enriched by diversity in its workforce.  The company focuses on identifying people’s different abilities, not disabilities, and helps each employee maximise their individual strengths and reach their potential through development programmes that provide support and extensive advancement opportunities. Diverse needs among Abbott’s workforce vary widely, from people with learning disabilities to employees with physical health conditions such as diabetes or visual impairment.  The opportunity to work with employees with diverse needs has had a positive learning impact on all employees, building on the company’s already extensive development programmes.

“At Abbott we are committed to creating an environment where people with diverse needs can fully reach their potential,” said Margaret Morrissey, Country HR Director Abbott Ireland.  “We strive to ensure they are valued members of our team.  As a business we benefit from their extensive contributions.”

Aura Sport & Leisure Management

Aura is a multi award winning company operating public leisure centres around Ireland. Aura staff go to extreme lengths to ensure that its members achieve their goals and the Aura mission is “To help people be healthier, happier and feel better about themselves”.

Playing a vital role within the community Aura is proud that all its facilities are fully accessible to the community.

In 2010 Aura were recognised as the safest place in Ireland to work.  In 2007, Aura was named the ‘Overall Winner’ in the private sector of the ‘O2 Ability Awards 2007.

“The decision to become a founder member of the Kanchi Network was an obvious and natural progression for Aura.  We are excited by the opportunities the Kanchi Network will provide us. When we received Overall Winners of the 02 Ability Awards it made a significant difference to three key areas of our business.

Customers – by providing products and services which are accessible to everybody we removed the barriers that made it difficult for any potential customers to do business with us.

Staff – We now think ability not disability as a result we have attracted, recruited and promoted the best people at all levels.

Finally understanding the “disability business case” has opened up new markets for us, attracted talented staff that might otherwise have slipped through our hands and increased customer and staff loyalty which has all contributed to the bottom line” Gar Holohan


Aviva’s business activities around the world are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £45.1 billion and funds under management of £379 billion at 31 December 2009.

Aviva is the sixth largest insurance group in the world and leads the insurance market in Ireland through looking out for 1.2million customers in life & pensions, health insurance, and general insurance.

At Aviva our brand promise to customers, employees, suppliers and all stakeholders is that “No one recognises you like Aviva”.  And this brand promise is at the heart of our approach to diversity because ‘Diversity’ is about everyone! It is about recognising the individual in all of us.

It is about creating and maintaining a culture that respects, celebrates and harnesses differences and abilities to the benefit of stakeholders and the wider communities in every market and territory where Aviva is present.

For Aviva, it means taking extra care to recognise our customers and our people as individuals.  “At Aviva, I am recognised for who I am and my contributions matters” is our employee promise.  This is a promise we can only keep if everyone plays their part.

Our success as the leading insurer in Ireland and the sixth largest insurance group in the world can only be sustained and improved by relying on people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives; people who feel valued for the positive contribution they can make; people who know that we recognise them as individuals and we are proud to be a founder member of the Kanchi Network.


Citi and its predecessors have had a presence in Ireland since 1965 and was one of the first foreign banks to open an office in Ireland.  The company now employs over 2,450 people in Dublin and Waterford.   The company offers a broad range of financial services and products and also operates the Dublin Service Centre.  The bank provides financial services and products for multinational companies, Irish companies and the government and public sector.

As an employer, Citi aims to raise awareness of disabilities in the community and work closely with employees to foster an environment where issues for employees with disabilities and carers of people with disabilities can be openly discussed and solutions developed.   Citi has a dedicated network, Citi disAbility, run by employees which hosts events, provides information and partners with other organisations on various aspects of disability.  One of our significant initiatives was the recruitment of volunteers for the Football Association of Ireland’s Football for All programme which provides specially trained football coaches for children with a disability.  Another initiative was the establishment of  sign language courses held in-house for employees and we are currently working with the National College of Ireland to include a Sign Language/Deaf Cultural Awareness course within the curriculum. We have also engaged with NIID and with Rehab to provide work experience opportunities. In recognition of the Citi’s best practices and leadership, Citi was the winner of the Recruitment and Selection Category at the O2 Ability Awards 2010.

Citi is proud to be a founding member of the Kanchi Network and looks forward to working with other companies and industry to develop frameworks and policies to provide a more inclusive working environment for people with a disability.


Covidien is a leading global healthcare products company that creates innovative medical solutions for better patient outcomes and delivers value through clinical leadership and excellence. Offering an extensive product line that spans medical devices, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, we serve healthcare needs in hospitals, long-term care and alternate care facilities, doctors’ offices and in the home.

In Ireland, Covidien has a 30 year hear and today we have four manufacturing sites, the European Customer Service Centre and our international headquarters based in the country.

Covidien is part of the local fabric of the communities where we operate; our Irish employees have a long history of successful philanthropic partnerships. As a founder member of the Ability Network, Covidien is proud to be a part of Kanchi’s next chapter.

As an employer of 42,000 people worldwide in more than 60 countries, diversity is one of our core values and we appreciate the abilities each of our employee’s brings to work every day.  Covidien understands that every employee has a unique perspective and we can take advantage of their experiences and skills to help us fully-understand and best serve our marketplace, our customers and our communities.


Deloitte’s 1,100 people in Dublin, Cork and Limerick provide audit, tax, consulting, and corporate finance services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. With a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries, Deloitte brings world class capabilities and deep local expertise to help clients succeed wherever they operate.

Deloitte’s approximately 170,000 professionals are committed to becoming the standard of excellence.

In Deloitte, we recognise that people are our greatest asset. Our strength as a firm lies in the collective ability of our people where each and every person contributes something different to serving our clients’ varied needs.  A fundamental part of this is ensuring the inclusion of people with disabilities in our organisation. We are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture at Deloitte, and a rich mix of individuals, viewpoints, talents and experiences within our firm is respected and valued. Our policies set high standards of fairness and equal opportunities and our designed to support our commitment to inclusion and diversity.

We are delighted to be a founder member of the Kanchi Ability Network.  The premise behind Kanchi’s work is that embracing diversity is good for business and we fully subscribe to this way of thinking. We are looking forward to both learning how we can improve our efforts in this area and also working with Kanchi in revolutionising the relationship between business and disability in Ireland.

Hewlett Packard

HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. The world’s largest technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure to solve customer problems. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com/

Hewlett-Packard started in Ireland in 1971 and today HP runs nine different businesses. The company’s offerings span Imaging & Printing, HP Financial Services, IT infrastructure and services, business and home computing. HP Ireland employees over 4,000 people in Dublin, Galway, Belfast and its headquarters in Kildare at the Liffey Park Technology Campus.

Hewlett Packard Ireland / Hewlett Packard Manufacturing is proud to be a founder member of the Kanchi Network because we believe that diversity is a key driver to business success and must be imbedded in the consciousness of how we as organizations conduct our day-to-day business.

HP has a long-standing commitment to people with disabilities in the workplace and community and they are an integral part of our global diversity vision to provide an inclusive environment that benefits from diversity at all levels, values, individual differences and enables all employees to develop and contribute to their full potential.

At HP, we work hard to create a work environment where each individual has an opportunity to fully participate in creating business success and is valued for the distinctive skills, experiences and perspectives they bring to the workplace.  People with disabilities are valued customers and represent a valuable resource for HP’s workforce.

Diversity is defined in HP as the existence of many unique individuals in the workplace, marketplace and community that includes men and women from different nations, cultures, ethnic groups, generations, backgrounds, skills and abilities.  Diversity includes all the unique differences that make each of us who we are.  Individuals with disabilities are embraced as an integral part of HP’s diversity vision.

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer is a major retailer with 40 stores in Ireland, 21 of them in the ROI employing approx 3,000 people.

Disability is such and important subject for us at Marks and Spencer.  Two reasons for that, one is that clearly we are a service industry and we serve a huge proportion of the population and we have to make sure that we have the facilities to allow these people to come into our stores and have a fantastic shopping experience regardless of their disability. Secondly, because having people that work for you that have disability just gives you a fantastic balance, it brings the reality home of what the population is about, the mix of cultures and disabilities and able bodied people and it just provides a superb workforce.


McDonald’s has been operating in Ireland since 1977 and there are now 77 McDonald’s restaurants across the country.  Overall, McDonald’s employs 3600 people in Ireland and is one of the largest multinational employers in this country.  As an employer, we are committed to our crew and we have been recognised as one of Ireland’s ‘Best Workplaces’ for the last 6 years, finishing 5th on the overall list in 2010 and the best place to work in the hospitality sector.

The company has a strong commitment to supporting local agriculture, sourcing 100% of its beef in Ireland.  Additionally, McDonalds supplies €80m worth of Irish beef to its European operations and facilitates exports of close to €200m of Irish produce into its international operation of beef, milk, cheese and other dairy products. In total, McDonald’s contributes €198.7 million annually to the Irish economy through labour and non-labour contributions.

McDonald’s is very proud to be a Founder Member of the Kanchi Network. We are acutely aware of the importance of exceeding customer expectations on every visit. As the number of potential customers with a disability continues to grow in Ireland, we identified the business requirement to become a restaurant of choice, accessible to everyone, both customers and employees, regardless of ability. As an employer of people from diverse backgrounds, we are passionate about the opportunities given to those with disabilities to play an active part in the workforce.


Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services, and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.  Microsoft first opened its doors in Ireland in 1985 with a small manufacturing facility employing just over one hundred people. Since that time, Microsoft Ireland has grown to encompass four distinct operations at its campus in Sandyford in Dublin, employing over 1,200 full time employees and 700 full-time contract staff. Microsoft’s activities here include software development and testing, localisation, operations, finance, IT, HR, and marketing, both here in Ireland and across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Microsoft is inspired by Kanchi’s mission and therefore delighted to join the Kanchi Network as a Foundation Partner and to have the opportunity to increase global awareness of how technology can improve the lives of people with disabilities. Accessible technology enables the way we work, live and play. Our mix of employees and customers with obvious or non-obvious disabilities is critically important in helping us to provide the best possible technology solutions which are accessible to all. We hope that by working with Kanchi and other great Irish businesses, we will share and learn how accessible technology can assist even further, said Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft MEA Operations Centre.


Newstalk 106-108 fm was launched on April 9th, 2002, determined to provide the people of Dublin with a real-talk alternative radio station. Following unrivalled success, the station was granted a licence allowing them to broadcast across the Republic of Ireland. Newstalk hit the national airwaves on September 29th, 2006. Since then, the station has delivered breaking news as it happens, informative debates, expert analysis, entertaining discussions and the best sports coverage to all corners of the country – and continues to do so.

The action-packed weekday schedule kicks-off with Newstalk ‘Breakfast’, presented by Ivan Yates and Chris Donoghue. The programme delivers national and international breaking news, business and market updates, the latest sports developments and key interviews. Following Newstalk ‘Breakfast’, Tom Dunne graces the airwaves providing listeners with some light entertainment and the opportunity to voice their opinions. Damien Kiberd and Jonathan Healy then deliver the most up-to-date breaking news and analysis on their ‘Lunchtime’ show. Afternoon programming is led by the infectious Sean Moncrieff followed by the hard-hitting ‘Right Hook’, presented by George Hook.

Newstalk’s multi award-winning sports show, ‘Off the Ball’, broadcasts every weeknight from 7pm to 10pm. Considered one of the best sports analysis shows in the country, Eoin McDevitt and his co-presenters offer listeners an audio-encyclopaedia on breaking sports news from across the globe, as well as securing exclusive interviews with the world’s biggest sport-stars. Newstalk Sports Saturday and Sunday also recently received exclusive rights to broadcast Heineken Cup games, GAA fixtures and Barclays Premiership games on Sundays.

Newstalk 106-108 is delighted to be a founder member of the Kanchi Network. We believe in recognising people with disabilities and putting them at the heart of the organisation. Newstalk will continue to work with the Kanchi Network to raise awareness to challenge people’s attitudes towards colleagues with disabilities and ensure opportunity and inclusion exists in the organisation. Newstalk 106-108 is proud of its association with the Kanchi Network and the values it represents.

Telefonica O2 Ireland

Telefónica O2 Ireland is one of Ireland’s leading telecommunications companies, with over 1.7 million customers. Headquartered in Dublin’s Docklands, and with a Customer Care Centre in Limerick, O2 has a total workforce of over 1,150 employees and a retail network of 80 stores nationwide.

Having been involved with Kanchi since 2005 when the first O2 Ability Awards were launched in Ireland, it is a natural progression for Telefonica O2 Ireland to be one of the founding members of the Kanchi Network. O2 has constantly endeavoured to improve its policies and practices regarding the inclusion of people with disabilities, both as employees and customers. Our involvement in the O2 Ability Awards has played an important part in this and the Kanchi Network is the next natural step in that journey. By being a member of the Network, we will be able to share best practice and benefit from information, tools and advice provided by Kanchi and its expert partners.

The Irish Times

The Irish Times is Ireland’s leading quality daily newspaper which after 150 years currently enjoys a daily readership of 359,000 readers and an online audience of over 2 million who read and interact with the publication on irishtimes.com. The Irish Times has also developed into a significant multi-media publishing group with a strong portfolio of leading print and online interests which include Metro Herald, Gazette Group Newspapers, The Gloss, myhome.ie, ireland.com and entertainment.ie.

The Memorandum and Articles of Association of The Irish Times Trust Limited outline the fundamental aims and obligations of The Irish Times Limited which include the progressive achievement of social justice between people and the discouragement of discrimination of all kinds, and that special consideration shall be given to the reasonable representation of minority interests and divergent views. As Kanchi points out, “the greatest disability is attitude. To change the way society behaves we have to change the way it thinks”.  The Irish Times occupies a special position as a pacemaker for change in the society which it serves and as a Media Founder Member of the Kanchi Network, it will continue to work to change attitudes about disability within society at large and within its own organisation, by encouraging a culture which supports the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace.

John Sisk & Son Ltd

John Sisk & Son Ltd is the largest general contracting company in Ireland. With offices in Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Sligo and Waterford we have completed major projects throughout Ireland for a wide range of clients across all sectors. The company has a proven track record in the Construction Industry and has worked with many of the world’s leading companies. Whatever the form of procurement, Sisk believes in working with its Clients and Designers as members of a team focused on the successful delivery of every project. At Sisk we are committed to helping our clients achieve competitive advantage through a flexible and innovative approach to design, construction and fit-out. As Ireland’s largest construction company, we pride ourselves on exceeding customer expectations in the areas of responsiveness, flexibility, quality and value.

Why our organisation values people with disabilities: We are a professional services company that is dedicated to excellence. We put safety first. We believe protecting our staff from injury and retaining staff who acquire a disability is critical. We want to lead a step change in the industry from a belief that “You’ll never stop accidents” to “Achieving Zero incidents and Zero accidents”. The Kanchi challenge that we all need to “Think Differently” is the message we want to support.

We are also keenly aware that outside of work many of our staff will acquire a disability during their working life and this is where we believe retaining these staff is critical. Ultimately we believe protecting and retaining our staff is and will continue to be key to our success.