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Weekly News Roundup

Weekly News Items

Week 7, 16/2/24

  • Increased Cost of Business (ICOB) Grant Scheme
  • Tullamore Court Hotel achieves ECO status with Green Hospitality Awards and expands sustainable initiatives
  • Failte Ireland Industry Briefing 2024
  • De-risking the Security Threats to Ireland's FDI Success Webinar
  • Tullamore could become a rail freight hub
  • Durrow 'disappointment' at no reference to new link road in Minister's statement [N52 Upgrade]
  • Twelve bags of rubbish taken out of canal but CCTV on the way

Increased Cost of Business (ICOB) Grant Scheme

ICOB (Increased Cost of Business Scheme) will allow for a grant of up to a maximum of 50% of rates capped at €5K for business with a rates bill up to €30K introduced in Budget 2024 comes into operation this quarter. Local Authorities will administer this and will be in contact with eligible business. The criteria are;

  • The business must operate within a premises subject to commercial rates by a Local Authority.
  • The premises must not be vacant.
  • The business must have provided its bank details to the Local Authority.
  • The business must be current on rates payments (including those on phased payment plans) and tax obligations, with a valid Tax Registration Number.

 

Tullamore Court Hotel achieves ECO status with Green Hospitality Awards and expands sustainable initiatives

THE Tullamore Court Hotel has proudly announces its recent achievement of ECO status with the Green Hospitality Awards, solidifying its commitment to sustainability in the hospitality industry. This accomplishment comes on the heels of the hotel being honoured with the 'Best Sustainable Hotel' award at the Midland 103 Hospitality Awards, underscoring its dedication to environmentally conscious practices.

The Green Hospitality Awards, renowned for recognising and promoting sustainable tourism, have awarded ECO status to the Tullamore Court Hotel in acknowledgment of the hotel's efforts to minimize its environmental impact, support sustainable tourism and foster a greener future. From energy efficiency to waste reduction, the hotel has implemented a range of eco-friendly initiatives aimed at creating a more sustainable and responsible operation.

Building further on its green credentials, Tullamore Court Hotel extends its commitment to sustainability to The Spa, one of only six spas in Ireland using Kerstin Florian products. Kerstin Florian, a brand synonymous with luxury and sustainability, which blends harmoniously with Tullamore Court Hotel's dedication to providing guests with an environmentally conscious and holistic approach. The Spa embodies a green ethos rooted in phytotherapy, aromatherapy, thermal, mineral, herbal, and marine technology.

 

Failte Ireland Industry Briefing 2024

21/2 10AM-11:15AM Covering;

•            Challenges and Opportunities for 2024

•            New Climate Action Programme 

•            Regionality and Seasonality  

•            Marketing and Product Development 

•            Industry Supports and Initiatives  

Registration/further information here  (failteirelandeventshub.ie)

 

De-risking the Security Threats to Ireland's FDI Success Webinar

Hosted by Irish Training Solutions (Clara)

The above seminar with Pat Finucane Head of Global Security Operations at Pinterest, Jan Carroll CEO and Founder of Fortify Institute and John Mooney, an award-winning investigative journalist with the Sunday Times on the topics of security, politics, technology and public policy.

This webinar will feature three keynote addresses and a panel discussion, providing attendees with valuable insights from industry experts and professionals. Participants will have the opportunity to gain actionable strategies for mitigating security risks and safeguarding investments in Ireland's dynamic business landscape.

Date: Wednesday 21st February 2024

Time: 11:30am - 1pm

Register here: (https://bit.ly/41nwM2m)

 

Tullamore could become a rail freight hub

(news item courtesy of Tullamore Tribune, Camilla McLoughlin)

IRISH Rail is in the process of looking at a number of locations for in-land hubs as part of its rail freight strategy. No decision has been made at this point, a spokesperson said.

At a presentation made by Irish Rail to the February meeting of Tullamore Municipal District regarding its future plans for Tullamore railway station, Councillor Declan Harvey asked about the possibility of the station becoming a freight hub.

Cllr Harvey said his family has a long association with the station and his brother still works there. He recalled that the station used to have a goods yard and it has the infrastructure for a similar development today.

In response Derrick Curran, Regional Manager, Customer Experience, said it would depend on what industry Tullamore has.

However, those who advocate for a freight hub to be located at Tullamore station, say it could become a central point where trucks from around the Midlands came to collect freight from the station for distribution throughout the region.

Tullamore train station has served passengers for over a century, connecting the town to Dublin, Galway and beyond.

In its past, it boasted a goods yard, handling fertiliser and cement. Today, with the Midlands lacking a dedicated freight rail facility, the station's existing infrastructure and strategic location are sparking renewed interest.

Those seeking a freight hub, say several factors make Tullamore a strong contender. Its location in the heart of the Midlands offers easy access to the motorway facilitating easy onward distribution across the region.

The disused goods yard provides a ready-made foundation, potentially reducing development costs and time.

Passenger services could continue alongside freight operations, maximising the station's potential.

The lack of a dedicated freight hub creates a logistical gap,and Tullamore could fill that void.

For Tullamore to become a freight hub utilising the third rail track would be required. Without much tweaking, trains up to 400m could be accommodated in Tullamore. It would also have to attract enough freight to make it sustainable.

Those who support the cause say that if done right,Tullamore's train station could transform into a vital logistics hub, boosting the Midland's economy and offering a sustainable freight solution.

 

Durrow 'disappointment' at no reference to new link road in Minister's statement [N52 Upgrade]

(news item courtesy of Tullamore Tribune)

DURROW Community Development Committee has expressed disappointment at a recent announcement from Minister Pippa Hackett that Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has confirmed funding for safety improvements at Durrow junction.

Minister Hackett's statement does not mention the proposed new link road.

A statement from the development committee said that  it “and the community of course welcome any safety improvements that can be provided”

But it added that “the Durrow community will not allow the recent announcement by the Minister to sideline our main objective to have funds reinstated for a new link road.”

Deputy Barry Cowen said he understood the need for immediate safety works “but not at the expense of failing to reinstate the link road to the next stage including preparation for land acquisition.”

Deputy Cowen, who said he was “furious” at the issue”, added he has sought an “urgent meeting” with the Taoiseach to “raise his deep annoyance and concerns”.

The Durrow committee's statement said the Minister’s announcement, as published in the Tribune last week, “will not improve the safety at other junctions or the safety of N52 residents who have to negotiate access to this dangerous stretch of road on a daily basis.”

It continued: “Her announcement will not reduce the density of vehicles on this road, reported by a TII survey in May of 2023 to be in excess of 16,000 per day. A number that has since substantially increased. Any figure over 10,000 per day must surely raise red flags.”

“Her announcement will not reduce the speed of vehicles outside of the junction highlighted, even if safety measures make improvement at this point. Any planned safety at this point we do not object to. Her announcement will not in any way reduce the fear of the community of serious or even fatal accidents,” outlined the committee's statement.

It added that Minister Hackett's announcement “will not deter the community from fighting for their right to have funds reinstated for a new link road that has Government approval.”

“We have the support of local Deputies Barry Cowen, Charlie Flanagan and Carol Nolan, all whom have made representations on our behalf at the highest Government level and for which we are grateful.”

The Durrow committee also highlighted the major problem with access to and from the Durrow monastic site and the N52.

“This site is of world heritage importance, where over many years of effort by the Durrow High Cross Committee to have this site, including Durrow Abbey House and lands developed as a tourist attraction, only to be told by the TII and other Government agencies that this can not be approved or happen as access to the N52 too dangerous.”

Added the committee's statement: “What defies reality here is that the route for the new link road is chosen, with no objections from land owners involved, has full Government approval with funding allocated only to have the funds withdrawn by Minister Ryan on a visit to Tullamore last year.”

The public meeting held in Durrow last December, said the statement, at which Minister Hackett attended had only one item on the agenda “the reinstatement of funds to progress the next phase of the approved link road”.

 

Twelve bags of rubbish taken out of canal but CCTV on the way

(news item courtesy of Tullamore Tribune, Camilla McLoughlin)

 

LEGISLATION to install CCTV cameras in littering black spots around Tullamore can't come soon enough for the Tullamore Tidy Town's committee.

Chair Shane Murray says they are finding it increasingly frustrating and disheartening to continue cleaning up after those who have no respect for the town or county.

''We have seen illegal dumping in all the back lanes. At the back of the Bridge Centre near the  Millennium Bridge people are emptying the boots of cars into the river. It's hard to believe. It's only two weeks ago that we took 22 bags of rubbish out of the river and along the river bank. We have a fantastic otter population there and the water is clean.

We took 12 bags out of the canal last Saturday. Three times over the Christmas break we cleaned up back lanes. Chancery Lane is as bad as ever, and it's not local people who are dumping, they are coming from other places in their cars and dumping.

We need Offaly County Council to issue fines to those who are dumping. Without a deterrent, it will continue.'' says Shane.

''It's very disheartening, we (Tidy Towns Committee) should be planting trees and spending money on other things. It's not fair on the outdoor staff of the council either having to go around picking up mattresses. They are fantastic and keep the town looking great,'' added Shane.

Just recently Tullamore Municipal District was forced to remove the bring banks at the Daingean Road car park due to the large amount of illegal dumping taking place there. Shane says the bring banks in the Bridge Centre also had to be removed.

He says modern CCTV's are great and the footage is very clear and once local authorities are given the go ahead to install the cameras, a company will come and set them up in black spots. They are mobile so can be moved from place to place.

''They create revenue for the council and they pay for themselves This being an election year we need to get onto councillors and MPs to make sure this legislation is implemented. People want to see this, they don't want stuff dumped at their door.''

In fairness to the council, the town looks well and the Chamber do a good job,'' says Shane.

Councillor Declan Harvey has welcomed the legislation. Cllr Harvey has also helped out with clean ups and says ''we need to get those cameras up and running as soon as possible and catch those responsible for destroying our town.''

 

Week 5, 1/2/24

- Payment of Tips and Gratuities
- Circular Economy Training for SMEs
- Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)
- Laois and Offaly ETB showcases opportunities for training and apprenticeships   
- Nominations for 2024 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year programme now open
- .IE Digital AwardsGold for the Bridge House
- Work continues at pace on second Aldi store in Tullamore
 

Payment of Tips and Gratuities
An opinion survey and consultation on the Payment of Tips and Gratuities are open until Feb 22 where the government is seeking to understand weaknesses and areas for improvement. More info here


Circular Economy Training for SMEs
April and May dates now available for booking.
MODOS (modos.ie) is offering free Circular Economy Trainig Programmes over the spring. There are three sets of dates. The first course is now underway. The programme will help;
-Understand the benefits of the circular economy for business and the environment
-Learn how to unlock opportunities for your business in a circular economy
-Identify opportunities for improved resource efficiency that also improve your bottom line
-Engage customers to market your message more effectively
Get ready for new EU ESG reporting requirements for SMEs.
MODOS is a joint initiative of the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices and Dublin City Council (DCC), funded by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.

The MODOS training programme is suitable for SMEs across Ireland (companies of up to 250 employees) from all sectors but particularly: food, retail, manufacturing, textiles/fashion, electronics, construction and the built environment, plastics and packaging.

Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)
The DRS has now commenced. Retailers in the category are selling are reminded even if your business is exempt, registration is required. Over 3,500 business have registered at this stage commences.
Further information can be found here;

Laois and Offaly ETB showcases opportunities for training and apprenticeships   
[news item courtesy of Tullamore Tribune]
A RANGE of training and education opportunities were showcased on Tuesday by the Laois Offaly Education & Training Board    (LOETB).
Hundreds of people are undertaking courses and apprenticeships in centres across Offaly and Laois including Tullamore, Mount Lucas, Mountmellick and Portlaoise.
The Midlands Skills Centre in Tullamore has been open for about two years and is now an important location for training, especially for electrical apprentices.
They complete phase two of their apprenticeship, a 21-week in-house course, in Tullamore which has a fully equipped workshop.
The Midlands Skills Centre also has a clean room which is used by local med-tech companies like Zoetis to upskill employees.
The National Construction Training Campus in Mount Lucas is also run by LOETB and it has become a key hub for training in retrofitting and near zero energy building.
Scaffolding training also takes place on the site which covers 32 acres in all.
There are plans for a major modern building methods training and demonstration facility on the site.
A media day hosted by the LOETB also included visits to the Mountmellick Further Education and Training (FET) Centre and Portlaoise Institute.


Nominations for 2024 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year programme now open
The long running EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Ireland programme is now open for nominations. 
Anyone interested can find out more or complete an online nomination form at   www.eoy.ie
Those nominating someone else must do so with the entrepreneur’s consent.

.IE Digital Awards
The .IE Digital Town Awards are now open for nominations. This is the first year that individual business can enter.
More info here

Gold for the Bridge House
[news item courtesy of Tullamore Tribune]
Tullamore's Bridge House Hotel has added yet another accolade to their trophy case with a Gold Award in the 4 - star category at the IASI (Irish Accommodation Services Institute  ) Awards ,which took place in Cavan on Saturday, January 27.
The IASI Awards are the only awards in Ireland that are exclusively based on accommodation standards including cleanliness in public areas, bedrooms,corridors and public toilets.
Judging took place in December 2023 with the property receiving a higher score of 96%.
A massive congratulations to Sandra Berry ,Accommodation Manager at the Bridge House Hotel, and to her team of 18 staff.

Work continues at pace on second Aldi store in Tullamore
[news item courtesy of Tullamore Tribune]
WORK on a second  Aldi store in Tullamore is continuing at pace and old buildings are still being demolished.
Aldi has confirmed that the new store which is located at Kilbride Plaza will create 30 new permanent jobs while up to 50 jobs are being supported during the construction period.
The new store will open later this year.
In a statement the supermarket giant said the new store will bring greater choice and value to shoppers, ''while creating important well-paid jobs in the community. We look forward to opening the store and bringing unbeatable Aldi value to even more people in Tullamore.” Aldi's first store is located at Cloncollig.
Earlier this year Aldi announced a €33.6 million investment in four Midlands counties over the next two years.
As part of the company’s overall growth and development strategy in Ireland the supermarket chain has plans to open four new stores across the Midlands, in Tullamore, Moate, Granard (Longford) and Kilcock (Kildare). If they all go ahead the proposed stores are set to all open by 2025. The company said these stores will  create 120 permanent jobs across the region, with 200 jobs supported during the construction phase.


 

 

Week 2, Tues 9/1/24

- Revenue Enhanced Reporting Requirements
- Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)
- Minimum Wage Reminder
- Sick-pay 2024
- Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)
- Circular Economy Training for SMEs
- Grant Support for SMEs recovering from COVID from META
- Climate Action Newsletter

Revenue Enhanced Reporting Requirements
From Jan 1, revenue has new requirements for payroll reporting of; small benefit exemption, remote working daily allowance, travel and subsistence. See revenue.ie FAQ 

Minimum Wage Reminder
Now €12.74 from Jan 1 for over 20s.

Sick-pay 2024
Statutory sick pay increases from 3 to 5 days for 2024. More info here.
 

Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)
The DRS commences Feb 1. Retailers in the category are selling are reminded even if your business is exempt, registration is required.
Further information can be found here

Circular Economy Training for SMEs
MODOS (modos.ie) is offering free Circular Economy Training Programmes over the spring. There are three sets of dates. The first course starts Feb 2. (if you find sold-out, check back for cancellations). The programme will help;
-Understand the benefits of the circular economy for business and the environment
-Learn how to unlock opportunities for your business in a circular economy
-Identify opportunities for improved resource efficiency that also improve your bottom line
-Engage customers to market your message more effectively
Get ready for new EU ESG reporting requirements for SMEs.
MODOS is a joint initiative of the Regional Waste Management Planning Offices and Dublin City Council (DCC), funded by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.

The MODOS training programme is suitable for SMEs across Ireland (companies of up to 250 employees) from all sectors but particularly: food, retail, manufacturing, textiles/fashion, electronics, construction and the built environment, plastics and packaging.

Grant Support for SMEs recovering from COVID from META
META are again providing grants of up to €4000 to SMEs recovering from COVID for investment in sustainability projects.
More info here.
 

Climate Action Newsletter
The Governments latest Climate Action newsletter can be found here;
You can subscribe to the newsletter here
 

 

Week 48, Fri 01/12/23

Shop Local 2023
Our shop local campaign will kick off next week in print and online.

QUIDS 

  • Voucher sales are strong, well over €100K sold to-date. Make sure staff are familiar. Quick reference guide on web-site.
  • Employers, maximise your allowance this year. Dont wait until Jan when payroll reporting comes in.
  • Retailer Pack on website here

Deferred N52 Road Updgrade

  • Dec 4th. Public Meeting in Durrow Community Hall re the N52 road project at 8pm.

Retailer Deposit/Return Scheme

  • The Deposit Return Scheme will be introduced in February 2024. Following are some useful links to the Re-Turn website for Information on the Scheme including how to register, guides, tool kits, slide decks of past webinars and handouts.
  • Many small retailers can be exempted, but registration is a must. Find out more here;
  • Retailers Re-Turn here.
  • Producers Re-Turn here 

 

Week 47. Fri 24.11.23

QUIDS and Christmas Parking Arrangements

QUIDSVoucher sales are strong again this year with over €60K sold recently.

The 2023 Retailer Pack is now available here;

  • This includes information on accepting and social images for use.
  • New this year is a quick reference for point of sale. Make sure your staff are familiar with the vouchers.
  • A small number of window stickers are available 'QUIDS Accepted here' - email us.
  • Reminder 1 - The QUID voucher date-stamp is an issue date. There is no problem with redeeming vouchers that are several years old.
  • Reminder 2 - When a voucher is partially spent, it is a legal requirement to either (a) give the balance in a voucher or (b) give change.
  •  

Parking Arrangements

From December 1, 1-hour free parking is available in all Tullamore Municipal District car-parks and street parking until Dec 31st. In addition the first 3 hours are free at O'Neills place (Spollens).

 

Week 46. Fri. 17.11.23

We will circulate all you need to know about QUID shopping vouchers and any Christmas arrangements next week.

Meanwhile some dates for your diary this coming week:

NOV 17 - 19 – Tullamore Christmas Markets Friday/Sat/Sun. Big Switch-On Sunday 19th. Well done Tullamore Christmas Lights kicking-off the festive season for us in a big way once again. Over 30 stalls, entertainment and more with the big switch on Sun @ 6pm. Contributions most welcome (click-here)

 

NOV 20th (Monday). 2GoCup initiative – Do you use single-use cups? Would you participate in a town-wide scheme to move from single use cups in advance of the cup levy. 2GoCup with the Climate Action team from Offaly County Council are holding an information evening on Monday Nov at 6:30-7:15 at Tullamore MD offices.

 

NOV 23rd (THURS). Offaly County Council Climate Action Plan 2024 (draft) Drop-in event at Tullamore Library 6PM-7PM. Further info here;  https://www.offaly.ie/climate-change-action-plan-consultation/

 

NOV 25th (Sat) – Playing Our Part For A Sustainable Future. 2-4pm, Tullamore. The speakers on the day will include:

- M.C. Liam Walsh (Tullamore LEA Candidate for the Green Party

- Minister Pippa Hackett (Keynote Speaker)

- Niamh Dooley from BiaSol

- Paul Houlihan from Oxfam

- Bebhinn Kennedy from Mount Lucas Training Centre

Register here 

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