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Ireland’s dedicated Magazine for the public sector, semi state bodies and civil service

the magazine for public sector providers & decision makers

Ireland’s dedicated Magazine for the public sector, semi state bodies and civil service

Joanne Richardson


Celebrating 50 years of American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland

Public Procurement Improving Productivity Tourism Takes Off Maintaining


Corporation Tax

Flood Prevention Solutions

Building Controls

Interview with john Bruton

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Public Sector Magazine

P21 Joanne Richardson

Contents Ireland’s dedicated magazine for the Public Sector, Semi State Bodies and Civil Servants

P114 Flood Prevention Solutions


News All the latest public sector news.

14 Foreword Finance Minister Michael Noonan on the vital contribution of US multinationals to Ireland’s economy. 17 Looking Forward US Ambassador to Ireland looks forward to renewed business success. 18 Opportunity knocks US investment in Ireland can drive recovery say Irish Ambassador to the US Michael Collins.

P101 Building Controls

32 Tax Talk Research reveals the key factors attracting investment to Ireland.

59 Display Solutions High quality electronic information systems.

35 Market Access John Bruton argues that Ireland’s EU membership is vital to inward investment.

61 Public Procurement Small firms voice unhappiness with public procurement system.

36 IDA Delivers Interview with IDA chief executive Barry O’Leary. 40 Winning Ways Award ceremonies showcasing the best of Irish business.

21 Driving Investment Joanne Richardson on the key issues for inward investment.

49 Departures A surge in numbers retiring could spell trouble for public services.

25 Tax on the Table Resisting pressure from the EU to increase our corporation tax.

51 Volunteering VSO calls on people retiring to share their skills in developing countries.

29 Healthy investments MD of MSD, Neil Boyle on the importance of US investment.

53 Hard Times Charities battle to raise funds in harsh economic climate.

31 Banking on Support NIB on the role of international banks in supporting inward investment.

57 Tendering Opportunities Public sector and SME’s working together.

Managing Editor Tommy Quinn

Design: Minx Design A Devlin Media Publication Tel: 01 – 880 3944

62 Solving Conflict A guide to alternative dispute resolution. 64 Life Balance A guide to living well, working well and achieving more. 66 Productivity Gains A Grant Thornton guide to improving performance. 68 Poor Perception Irish citizens have a low opinion of the quality of public services. 70 Problem Solving Tight budgets, an aging population: where too next? 73 Cosmetic Surgery An industry in need of regulation. 75 ‘Lean Methods’ Creating a more competitive and productive healthcare system. The Public Sector Magazine is an informative guide for Government, Civil, Public Sector and Semi State decision-makers. It is distributed to, amongst others, Government Ministers, Ministers of State, Dáil Members, Senators, Secretaries of Departments, Deputy Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Principal Officers, CEO’s of State and Semi-State Bodies, County Managers, County Councillors, Purchasing Officers, Press Officers, IT Managers and Training Officers, Doctors, Financial Institutions, Unions, Representative Bodies, Embassies, Public and Private Partnerships and Political Commentators.

the Public Sector Magazine


Ensuring a sustainable energy future through continued investment Supporting Ireland’s continuing economic development Delivering a value for money service and promoting energy efficiency to all our customers Reducing our Carbon Emissions by 30% by 2012; 50% by 2020 and becoming Net-Zero by 2035

Public Sector Magazine

P110 Safe Driving

P75 Productive Healthcare

P53 Charity Funding

77 Software Solutions A guide to some of the latest software solutions.

99 Regulations Required RIAI call for stronger enforcement of building regulations.

114 Flood Defences A proven flood defence system from MW Hire.

80 Critical Connections Improving strategic and tactical decision making.

101 Building Controls Self-Certification has resulted in a decline in our building control system.

119 Sustainable Transport A long term vision for our transport system is essential to success.

83 Learning Languages A growing need for foreign language skills in the public services. 90 Winning Solutions Go green with geothermal heating. 92 Priory Hall Lessons to be learned. 94 Certifying Materials Irish Concrete Federation discusses standards in building materials. 97 Reckless Builders The CIF slams the developers of Priory Hall.

P22 Promoting Ireland

102 Right Attitude High standards are not just about money but also about attitude. 105 Council Local authority news. 107 Emergency Services Call out charge for fire-brigade services. 110 Safe Driving Safe driving through the harsh winter months. 113 Property Protection Keep your property safe this winter.

122 Dublin Port A new master plan to guide development through to 2040. 125 Tourism & Travel Tourism makes a vital contribution to employment, economic activity and exports and plays a vital role in shaping the international perception of Ireland. 147 Inspiring Interiors Our lives are centred around interiors with most of us working and living inside buildings of some form or another. Achieving beautiful interiors is not a matter of chance. It requires careful planning and attention to detail.

P32 Tax Talk

P66 Inspiring interiors

the Public Sector Magazine


Public Sector News

Negative Response to Reforms Seven out of ten company bosses are more positive about Ireland’s economic prospect now than a year ago, according to research from MERC Partners. The report also reveals that almost nine out of 10 bosses who regard public sector reform as the key issue for the Government are dissatisfied with the rate of

progress on the issue. The research conducted among senior Irish executives by Amárach Research on behalf of MERC Partners, conducted surveys on three main issues: the prospects for our economy, their priorities for Government and their willingness to contribute to national recovery initiatives. The research found that 69% of respondents are slightly or much more positive about our economic prospects compared with this time 12 months ago while just 14% said the outlook was more negative. The creation of a better job creation climate was the most urgent issue for Government with 43% saying that it was the Government’s single most urgent short-term challenge. A high number of those surveyed - 86% are dissatisfied with the level of public sector reform and 72% of respondents identified this issue amongst their three most important issues to be addressed over the next five year. This represented a higher ranking than any other issue. Meanwhile

65% of the company bosses surveyed said they are willing to participate on a state board, with one third (32%) prepared to go on a full-time secondment to a state organisation for up to six months. Managing partner of MERC Partners, Barry O’Connor, said while most executives are positive about our economic prospects, they have identified job creation and public sector reform as the most pressing short and medium term issues to be addressed by Government but added the study also reveals a high level of willingness by executives to play a part in assisting national recovery. Mr. O’Connor said that Government should consider ways of involving business executives in a voluntary or part-time capacity. “The Government’s recently published public sector reform programme will require significant change management expertise and our study suggests that business executives are more than willing to give up some of their own time to assist Government,” he said.

EU Contract Reforms

Meat contract Goes North

Groups representing small-business have voiced s support for a proposal for a Europe-wide consumer rights law which will facilitate freer trading across European borders. The so-called ‘28th regime’, outlined by the European Commission recently will be an optional law that small businesses and their customers can use in place of national sales contract laws. At present, any business selling in one of the 27 EU member states has to comply with the sales contract and consumer rights law in that country. The EC proposal stressed that the legal compliance costs of selling into new countries, each of which has its own sales contract regulations, can dissuade businesses from venturing into new markets. It added that businesses spend an average of €10,000 in legal costs when setting up sales channels in EU countries for the first time. The Commission said a pan-European contract would save businesses money by providing a common set of sales regulations that would be acceptable in all EU countries. Businesses would just have to comply once and then could trade freely across borders – provided they and their customer have agreed to make a transaction in accordance with the 28th regime.

The Irish Prison Service has awarded a contract for supplying meat to the country’s prisons to a Northern Irish company, Crossgar, based in Co Down. It comes after a contract to supply flour to prisons was also awarded to a Northern Ireland based company, Lynas Foodservice. A prison service spokesman said that all its tender competitions are carried out in accordance with domestic and EU law governing the award of public works, public supply and public service contracts. The contract for meat supply is estimated to be worth €1.5 million annually and Crossgar has also recently won food contracts with the Health Service Executive and the Irish Defence Forces. The issue of public sector procurement has been controversial in recent years, with supplier representative groups arguing they cannot compete on cost with businesses from the UK, while public bodies maintain they cannot discriminate in favour of any group of suppliers due to EU law. In tender competitions for Irish Prison Service contracts, 70 per cent of points are awarded on costs, with 30 per cent on ability to meet delivery requirements and level of resources.


the Public Sector Magazine

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Public Sector News

Food Can Drive Recovery A report by Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII) set out how the industry can help drive the wider economic recovery and calls on government to play its part by ensuring better coordination across departments in its approach to regulation. The report entitled ‘Consumer Foods: Feeding the Recovery’ and said more can be done to support consumer foods companies building their brands. FDII head of consumer foods Shane Dempsey said: “The food industry is central to recovery, but the Government can do more to drive growth and job creation in the sector. There is a real risk that badly though out regulation will damage the sector and increase the costs to consumers. A balanced approach that recognises the major role the sector can play in the recovery will help create jobs and hasten recovery.

“With the right support, a healthy consumer foods sector can build on the growth in primary sectors, such as meat and dairy, and help the overall food sector lead Ireland’s economic recovery. The consumer foods sector is a dynamic part of Ireland’s food industry and has significant export growth potential. The sector adds significant value to Ireland’s agricultural and primary food sectors, with Gross Value Added of €4.4 billion and exports of nearly €1.5 billion of product, mainly to the UK. The sector has turnover of €11 billion and employs 12,000 people directly. The report set out a range of steps the government must take to support growth in the sector and calls on the government to: n Engage with, rather than stigmatise food companies in addressing population health issues. n Co-ordinate the implementation of regulation across Government departments. n Support consumer food companies in building their brands. n Introduce a code of practice and ombudsman in the grocery sector. n Reduce business costs such as energy prices, local authority rates, waste costs. n Increase R&D support and innovation in the sector.

NewEra plan for 1000,000 jobs Government plans to transform the semi-state sector under the NewEra plan could create up to 100,000 new jobs over the next four years, according to Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd. The company established to oversee the implementation of NewEra - which was the central plank in Fine Gael’s election manifesto - will be responsible for setting up utility companies in the areas of energy, water provision, natural resources and telecommunications. A proportion of the €6.5 billion budget planned for NewEra will be raised through the sale of state assets and the first 2,000 jobs will be created by the installation of water meters in Irish homes, according to Minister O’Dowd. A number of utility companies will be provided under the plan including a national water company, Irish Water, a company to manage the national energy network, Smart Grid and a company to oversee the roll out of high-speed broadband throughout the country called Broadband 21. In a statement on NewEra, the government said that it would also reform the management of commercial semistate companies such as the ESB, Bord Gais, Coillte and Bord Na Mona and that NewEra would be involved in an advisory capacity in the disposal of state assets. The Government is also to launch a strategic investment fund which will draw funding from the National Pension Reserve Fund to channel towards “productive investment in the Irish economy.” Dr Eileen Fitzpatrick from the National Treasury Management Agency has been appointed as director of NewEra.

More than a Number TV career coach and human change management expert, John Fitzgerald has said that reform of the public sector should not just be about achieving staff cuts and should “follow a clear map of what the new service could look like”. He has called on the Government to set up career clinics for people considering leaving the public sector. The Coalition wants to cut numbers in the public sector by a further 23,500 and they want to do it without resorting to compulsory redundancies. Mr Fitzgerald, who is the founder and MD of Harmonics, said the Government should help people make decisions about their future.

Super rich tax The Domicile levy, a tax imposed on super rich tax exiles by the former finance Minister, the late Brian Lenihan has taken in a paltry 870,000 so far. The information secured by Labour TD Gerald Nash show that the levy introduced in Minister Lenihan’s 2009 budget is likely to raise less than 1 million for 2011. The levy was introduced on those who are nominally tax exiles but who earned an income of 1 million or more and who had capital assets of more than 5 million in Ireland. In its first operational year, just five exiles paid a total of 879, 586 according to the Labour TD. “It appears as though our tax exiles are as enthusiastic about their patriotic duties in the field of taxation as our judges were when it came to the judicial levy,” the Labour TD said.

the Public Sector Magazine


Public Sector News

A level Playing Field The proposed changes to betting tax must be enforced across the entire sector or the government will risk loosing business and jobs from Irish based bookmakers. Finance Minister Michael Noonan is due to publish a bill allowing the extension of betting duty of 1% to offshore betting firms as well as a 15% tax on the gross profits earned by betting exchanges from commissions. The enforcement of the laws are still at preparatory stages and the changes are expected to take effect before next summer, raising â‚Ź10 million in 2012 and about â‚Ź20m a year from 2013. According to a spokesperson from the Department of Finance the new measures will apply to online and phone betting and a license with a range of conditions attached will now be required by any organisation which provides such services in this jurisdiction. The conditions will stipulate that the company is liable for the payment of the duty. Many bookmakers appear willing to accept the new provisions provided they are applied across the entire sector and not just to Irish based firms. While they appear willing to withhold judgement until the finer details emerge they

have expressed concern in relation to the ability to enforce compliance by betting companies operating outside of Ireland. The Department of Finance has expressed confidences that operators will comply with the requirement to hold a licence as the majority have significant operations here but critics argue that the government will be reliant on an exchange owning up to the volume of business it undertakes here and it will be extremely difficult to police. Meanwhile Irish bookmakers are not prepared to be singled out and subject to charges which reduce their competitiveness if not universally applied. Bookmakers warn that jobs will be lost in an industry which employs thousands of people across the country if the changes are not enforced on an equitable basis. The issue brings into focus the question of how to manage the multitude of commercial operations taking place across an internet without borders. How can the government or Revenue commissioners accurately determine the level of tax which should be paid by betting companies which are based overseas but which retain many thousands of Irish customers. And while they may establish an effective means of calculating the tax due - collecting it will present a whole new set of challenges.

Irish Bookmakers Association Employment Over 6000 people are employed in Irish Betting shops, providing employment in almost every village and town across the country

Irish Bookmakers Association Taxing turnover not profits

Only business in Europe paying tax on turnover and not profits, causing severe difficulty for many small employers in the industry Archaic Legislation

Archaic legislation preventing shops from competing with computerised products offered via online or mobile platforms Massive potential to collect a lot more tax from operators escaping the tax net, but current proposals such as taxing exchanges on commission is flawed and must be reviewed. Contact Sharon Byrne 087 4181408 or for further details.


the Public Sector Magazine

Public Sector News

Swift 3000 Code of Practice Richard Bruton, Minister at the Department for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation recently presented the Swift 3000 Code of Practice for Corporate Governance to Enterprise Ireland. Enterprise Ireland is the second public body in Ireland to be certified by NSAI for Swift 3000. This new code provides a best practice standard for an independent evaluation of an organisation’s compliance with existing corporate governance codes such as OECD principles, the combined code on corporate governance and the code of practice for the governance of state bodies. The code is the first of its kind in the EU.

Pictured are (l-r): Maurice Buckley, Chief Executive Officer of NSAI, Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, with Hugh Cooney, Chairman of Enterprise Ireland and Frank Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Ireland.

To the Wall

Global Location Trends

Nine firms are going out of business every day as the recession continues to make life difficult for small firms. Video Surveillance firm which carried out the report said nine were declared insolvent every working day during the month of October. A total of 172 companies went bust with business and professional service companies (17%) now ranking alongside the construction sector (18%) as the sectors worst affected. And many more embattled firms are at risk, according to the research. Of the companies surveyed in the sample, 5,983 (41%) are viewed as high risk in terms of the likelihood of failure.

IDA Ireland has welcomed IBM’s 2011 Global Location Trends Report, which ranks Ireland as the top destination in the world by quality and value of investments. Ireland also ranks as one of the top destinations globally for jobs by inward investment per capita. The report further highlights that significant growth in foreign investment was achieved in Ireland in the past year. Ireland’s position as the top ranking destination for quality and value of investments is based on global measures of productivity, knowledge intensity and occupational profile composition represented by wages and skills, and highlights the value and exceptionally strong contribution that foreign direct investment makes towards Ireland’s economic development. Ireland leads a group followed by South Korea, Taiwan, Austria, Switzerland and Singapore. The report highlights Ireland’s move to higher value investment types and in particular a strong performance in high-value sectors and business activities such as R&D in Life Sciences and high-end electronics. The report highlighted the attractiveness of Ireland as an investment location due to its structural competencies such as a favourable business environment, skills availability and track record of cluster/ sector strengths. Dublin ranks 17th globally in top destination cities by number of investments. Of the world’s top 25 destination cities, 7 are from Asia, 12 are

Out-Earning Enda As many as 2,000 public sector workers are earning more than the Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has revealed that 1,755 public servants are earning in excess of 200,000 with 77 earning more than half a million euros. The Minister also revealed that 15,692 public servants earn more than 100,000. He said the numbers are from 2009 and do not include pay cuts which have been introduced since then.

form Europe, 3 are from North America, 1 from Latin America, 1 from the Middle East and 1 from Oceania. Welcoming the report Barry O’Leary, IDA CEO said, ‘The IBM Global Location Report highlights Ireland’s continued high standing in the world as a leading location for foreign direct investment. Ireland’s ability to rank as a top destination country for jobs and quality of inward investment is in line with IDA Ireland’s strategy, Horizon 2020, which is focused on winning high value, knowledge intensive investments. Ireland has a long-established reputation as a leading FDI destination and this reputation has been endorsed further by recent investments from world leading companies such as Coca Cola, IBM, Intel, Google, EA, Facebook, Amgen, Quest, Analog, Allianz and D&B”.

the Public Sector Magazine


US Investment

US Investment in Ireland Foreword By Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan.

Ireland will continue to work in 2012 to build our relationship with the US and to boost our attractiveness as an excellent base for US companies

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan I am very pleased to be invited to contribute a foreword for the Public Sector Magazine Yearbooks supplement on U.S. Investment in Ireland. I welcome the opportunity to highlight the important contribution which U.S. multinationals make to the Irish economy and to restate the Government commitment to the 12.5% corporation tax rate. The hugely successful visit of President Barack Obama to Ireland in May this year served as yet another example of the excellent friendship that exists between Ireland and the United States. This historic visit will have been one of the highlights of many people’s year and marks yet another chapter in the story of the friendship between our two nations. From my many trips to the States, I can personally vouch that the welcome I, as an Irish person, receive is always humbling and last May shows that we reciprocate this level of hospitality to our American friends. I hope that the welcome received by President Obama will encourage many more visitors to our beautiful country in 2012. The deep and enduring friendship between our peoples is mirrored in the economic and commercial ties between our two nations. Many organisations and individuals, including those who have contributed to this publication, ensure that the historical links and friendship that unite our two countries are built upon to advance business, economic and commercial interests. This


the Public Sector Magazine

US companies represent the single largest source of Foreign Direct Investment to Ireland with approximately 600 US companies represented in Ireland employing over 100,000 people directly. Our 12.5% corporate tax rate is central to this and there will be no change in this rate in the years ahead.

US Investment

The hugely successful visit of President Barack Obama to Ireland in May this year served as yet another example of the excell

commitment to strengthening our ties has never been more important than it is today. Ireland is seen by many U.S. and foreign companies as a very attractive destination for substantial foreign direct investment into Europe and the wider region. I am delighted to say that this relationship has continued to grow in recent years. US companies represent the single largest source of Foreign Direct Investment to Ireland with approximately 600 US companies represented in Ireland employing over 100,000 people directly. These companies operate across a diverse range of sectors including Financial Services, Technology, Digital Media, Consumer and Business Services and Life Sciences. Our 12.5% corporate tax rate is central to this and there will be no change in this rate in the years ahead. In addition, the availability of a skilled, English-speaking workforce, access to the European Single Market, a flexible labour market and the positive can-do attitude of the Irish people ensures that U.S. companies continue to invest successfully in Ireland. The decision to invest in Ireland has played an important role in the global success of the 600 US companies based here and I am sure that these companies will continue to invest and that new companies will follow in 2012 and beyond. Of course the relationship between the US and Ireland is one of significant two-way trade and investment that generates jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. In that respect it is worth noting that while US companies employ more than 100,000 people in Ireland, Irish companies now employ almost an equivalent number across the United States. I read with interest a recent report by the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, entitled Built to Last, which highlights how deep the commercial links between Ireland and the United States have become. It shows that U.S. firms have

invested more capital in Ireland since 1990 than they have in Brazil, Russia, India and China combined. In addition, the report shows that over the past decade, Ireland’s share of US investment in Europe has risen from just over 5 per cent to nearly 9 per cent. This is confirmed by recent strong inflows of Foreign Direct Investment to Ireland from US firms. In my recent Budget announced in early December I highlighted the key importance of foreign direct investment to Ireland’s economic growth and recovery. While the package that Ireland offers in respect of inward investment continues to be very successful, we have endeavoured in Budget 2012 to further improve Ireland’s offering so as to stimulate more activity and create more jobs. As part of that strategy, I am introducing a number of incentives in the Budget and further initiatives will follow in 2012, particularly in the International Financial Services Sector. The measures to be introduced next year include the “Special Assignee Relief Programme,” which allows multinational and indigenous companies to attract certain key personnel to Ireland to facilitate the development and expansion of businesses in Ireland. In addition, I also introduced a “Foreign Earnings Deduction” to support companies seeking to expand into emerging markets. The Irish economy has started to recover and grow again in 2011 and this growth is forecast to continue into 2012 and later years. The attractiveness of Ireland as a place for inward investment is central to this growth and recovery. I believe that the historic events of 2011 have further enhanced the friendship that exists between our two countries. This relationship is a great advantage to both Ireland and the U.S. in these challenging times. Ireland will continue to work in 2012 to build our relationship with the US and to boost our attractiveness as an excellent base for US companies who are looking to expand into Europe and the wider region.

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US Investment

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Note: The above notice in respect of adjustments to repayment rates will not apply during any period when the loan is at a fixed rate. If you or your dependants intend to use the property as a principal place of residence, you must show evidence of mortgage protection insurance, unless you are exempt under the Consumer Credit Act 1995 (you can seek this insurance through us or from other sources). Maximum loan to value of Owner Occupier Residential Properties 92% of purchase price or valuation whichever is lower. Normal Lending levels are subject to monthly repayment burden, typically not exceeding c. 35 % of borrowers disposable income and will vary according to individual circumstances. Loan requests considered on the basis of proof of income, financial status and demonstrated repayment capacity (including capacity to repay at higher interest rates). Loans not available to people under 18. Mortgage loans by their nature require to be secured by a mortgage and charge on the subject property. Typical €100,000 20 year Variable interest rate mortgage for an Owner Occupier Residential Property with LTV greater than 80% will have monthly repayments of €578.93 APR 3.54%. If the APR does not vary during the term of the mortgage, the total cost of credit i.e. total amount repayable less the amount of the mortgage, would be €38,943.20. The effect of a 1% increase in interest rates for such a mortgage will add €52.28 to monthly repayments. Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply. Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is an authorised agent and servicer of AIB Mortgage Bank in relation to origination and servicing of mortgage loans and mortgages. AIB Mortgage Bank and Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. 16

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US Investment

Building Bridges By US Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney who is well-known in Ireland as one of the founders of the American Ireland Funds which are dedicated to building bridges of peace, culture, and charity in Ireland and Northern Ireland

Daniel M. Rooney, U.S. Ambassador to Ireland.

US Embassy, Ballsbridge

The U.S. Embassy works hard to support business from the United States. As in any Embassy, our Commercial Section promotes trade and protects the interests of both large and small American businesses overseas. As the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland begins its second half-century, we especially applaud “American Chamber of Commerce Ireland (AmCham)” efforts to promote U.S. multinational activity throughout Ireland. The AmCham is the primary group for U.S. multinationals here to organize collectively as they enter European and global markets. Serving as the patron of AmCham Ireland, I also appreciate how the U.S. Embassy can work to support strong bilateral relationships pursued by AmCham member businesses. In 2011, the AmCham Ireland celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with a series of dinners and retrospectives about the policies seeking direct investment. Overall investment in Ireland by American businesses, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, totaled over $190 billion which is more than the BRIC countries combined. Based on such data, the AmCham produced a study entitled “Built to Last” that described the strong foundations of our economic ties. In an opening highlight, the AmCham study says: “In no other nation in the world are U.S. multinationals as prevalent as they are in Ireland.”

A leading priority of the U.S. Embassy is to support American business during the many challenges ahead. U.S. President Barack Obama has offered support and seeks to grow more jobs. During the diaspora events of 2011, the U.S. Embassy joined with the Taoiseach to host a half-day Farmleigh conference titled “Growing Jobs” that brought together diaspora returnees with Irish business and government leaders under Minister Richard Bruton, including IDA and Enterprise Ireland. We remain optimistic about enduring talents of Irish executives and renewed business competitiveness. We still need to do more for small business and bring more Americans overseas to explore European market opportunities. Bilateral economic relations are now close and mutually beneficial. More than just a low corporate tax rate, Americans come to Ireland for the talent and competitiveness of this locale. Executives in Ireland benefit from a favorable environment for business, and take active roles in regional AmCham groups throughout Ireland. My travels allowed me to meet with many of these business executives during County outreach trips, and I admire how they work to encourage two-way business relationships that benefit both Ireland and America. Continued investment, trade and jobs will be vital in both countries, and we look forward to renewed business success in the future.

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US Investment

Challenges & Opportunities Praising the success of the American Chamber of commerce Ireland in highlighting the vital business and trade links between Ireland and the US, H.E. Michael Collins Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States of America says that strengthening the economic relationship with the US is key to helping promote economic recovery in Ireland.

Over multiple generations, Ireland has gained enormously from our exposure to and interaction with the United States of America, with its energy, imagination and dynamism

I am delighted to have been invited to join in The Public Sector Magazine’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland. Over the years, AmCham have been enormously successful in highlighting the extensive business and trade links between Ireland and America and particularly effective in articulating the views of their member companies. I congratulate Chief Executive Joanne Richardson and her team on their achievements and am sure that they and US companies in Ireland will continue to repeat and surpass those achievements into the future. The ongoing positive dynamic in Ireland-US business relations is unfolding against the background of difficult economic conditions within each country and at global level. Irish diplomats in Washington and elsewhere in the US, along with our colleagues in IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland and elsewhere throughout the Irish public service, are committed to supporting business and trade links between the two countries. The benefits of this work have been clear, particularly in the context of Ireland’s steadily improving export performance. The steps that we are taking to strengthen


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the economic relationship with the US are key to helping promote economic recovery in Ireland. Of course, today the story of our relationship is increasingly one of two-way opportunity: over more recent times, Irishowned companies have become significant investors in the US and together employ a combined total of over 80,000 people across all 50 states, only just below the number employed by US companies in Ireland. Ireland’s relationship with the United States is one of great depth and energy. But given the relative sizes of our two countries, it is a relationship whose implications are all the greater for us. It is therefore vitally important to renew and give priority to this relationship on an ongoing basis. It was in this spirit that the Strategic Review of the relationship – “Ireland and America: Challenges and Opportunities in a New Context” was published in 2009. This review underlined the need to preserve, renew and diversify this vital connection and we remain very much committed to doing this in every way that we can. We have met with much support and understanding of

US Investment


Ambassador Michael Collins and President Obama

companies have become significant investors in the US and together employ a combined total of over 80,000 people across all 50 states.”

Actor Gabriel Byrne

our current challenges from Ireland’s many American friends. This has been particularly evident throughout 2011 and marked in a very special way by the visit to Washington by the Taoiseach last March shortly after taking up office and by the extraordinarily warm welcome extended to President and Mrs Obama during their visit to Ireland last May. It has also been evident in the enthusiastic receptions given to performances of Irish culture at venues across America in the context of the ‘Imagine Ireland’ initiative, on which the Embassy and Consulates have been delighted to collaborate with Culture Ireland, distinguished actor Gabriel Byrne and a range of other world-class Irish artists. And, of course, friends of Ireland throughout America have also remained strong supporters of ongoing work in relation to the Northern Ireland peace process. Such contacts between Ireland and the US at the very highest political levels translate into increased tourism traffic and the opening of doors for Irish exporters, into opportunities for research and mutual learning between Irish scientists and their US counterparts and into chances for educational and other exchanges between Irish and American young people. Clear challenges remain for Ireland and the US within our respective societies and in terms of ensuring that our bilateral relations continue to develop in an optimal fashion. But we start from a strong base and new initiatives will contribute to ensuring that Ireland stays connected not only with its friends in the US but also with its wider global family. In this regard, I look forward to this month’s Global Irish Economic Forum in

Dublin Castle. Announced by the Tánaiste last May, it promises to be a key platform for exchanges of ideas between business and media leaders from amongst the global Irish community and will generate further insights into Ireland’s ongoing economic renewal and job creation. I know that Irish-American business leaders and Ireland’s many other American friends will contribute greatly to the work and continuing success of the Forum. Over multiple generations, Ireland has gained enormously from our exposure to and interaction with the United States of America, with its energy, imagination and dynamism. As Ambassador, I believe that our two countries should seek to learn and understand even more about each other over the years ahead and put this knowledge to good use for the benefit of all our peoples. I know that Amcham and its member companies also share this goal and I wish them every future success.

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Driving US Investment “The three key issues for inward investors are tax, talent and competitiveness,” says Joanne Richardson, Chief Executive of The American Chamber of Commerce Ireland which celebrated its silver Jubilee Anniversary in 2011. She discusses the Chamber’s ongoing efforts to promote Ireland as a location for US multinationals and says the foreign direct investment can play a critical role in driving economic recovery.

The American Chamber of Commerce Ireland’s 50th anniversary dinner. On the night the American Chamber celebrated 50 years of successful foriegn direct investment from the US,

What is the principal function of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland? The American Chamber of Commerce Ireland is the representative body for US companies in Ireland and their stakeholders. Our primary goal is to promote a business environment that is attractive to these companies by representing their interests at a government level, in the media and by providing a forum through which ideas and information can be shared. What, in your view, have been the most significant achievements of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland since it was founded fifty years ago? The true achievements and successes over the past fifty years have been those of the companies themselves. It is a remarkable story, that at the inaugural meeting of the Chamber on January 10th in 1961, the then US Ambassador Mr. Scott McCloud remarked that “it is fair to say that, heretofore, American manufacturers have not been particularly interested

in Ireland.” And he was correct, at that stage US investment in Ireland was a mere £4 million. Today that same figure is a staggering $190 billion, and it has grown fivefold in the last ten years. We have 600 US companies operating here and they now employ 100,000 people. What I find fascinating is the way in which the nature of the investment has transformed over the decades. While many of the company names remain the same the activities they do today have completely evolved. In the early days of investment some of the pioneers included IBM (first established in 1956) and Pfizer (first established in 1967). They set up here for low cost labour, and now their Irish operations are at the very forefront of their global R&D and advanced manufacturing operations. What events have taken place to mark the 50th anniversary of the Chamber? The Chamber has had a very active year in celebrating its Golden Jubilee. In doing so we have tried to highlight the achievements of our member companies, and the widespread

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President Gerard Kilcommins and Joanne Richardson celebrating its 50th anniversary of the founding of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland. The first meeting took place in the Gresham Hotel, Dublin.

A new postage stamp celebrating the 50th anniversary of the American Chamber of Commerce, Ireland was issued today by An Post. Pictured unveiling the new 55c stamp were Jaonne Richardson Chief Executive American Chamber of Commerce, Ireland and Donal Connell An Post CEO. social and economic benefits US investment in Ireland has. In February An Post launched a commemorative stamp to mark the occasion and celebrate the successful link between Ireland and the US. We ourselves ran a serious of celebratory events right around the country, inviting not just the companies themselves, but representatives from the wider community such as mayors, county managers and local educational chiefs, who themselves have played their part in making Ireland a successful location. It has been very important to use this anniversary as a platform to help people appreciate the very substantial impact US investment has in Ireland. And that is why the Chamber in September launched a comprehensive report, commissioned by leading US economist Joseph P. Quinlan. The Report Built to Last: The Irish US Economic Relationship illustrated how US companies have grown in Ireland, how they now account for 26% of Irish GDP, and likewise the significant investment Irish companies have in the US. In February the Chamber chose our formal 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner to honour former Secretary General of the Department of Finance Dr. T.K. Whitaker with an award in recognition of the role he has played in attracting foreign


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investment to Ireland. Dr. Whitaker was the visionary civil servant who saw the opportunities for Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s and persuaded the Government of the day to seize them. In many ways he can be described as the true founder of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland for without him I doubt if we would have as much to celebrate. Can you outline the principal goals and objectives of the Chamber at the present time? We share the government’s goals in terms of economic recovery and we are anxious to play our part in achieving them. Inward investment played a major part in the recovery of the 1990s and it is now in a strong position to play a similar role again – as demonstrated by the growth in manufacturing output, exports and increased job announcements in the sector this year. Now more than ever it is vital that we retain and grow FDI investment in Ireland as we seek to return to economic growth. The three key issues for inward investors are tax, talent and competitiveness. Yes, other factors such as our work ethic, our education, our proximity to Europe and our pro-business environment all contribute to Ireland’s attractiveness. In recent years Ireland has achieved considerable success in attracting inward investment from American multinationals. What are the principal factors which have encouraged such a comparatively high volume of American companies to locate in Ireland? It is certainly true that Ireland has had much success in recent years in attracting new investment into the country. In spite of economic difficulties 2010 saw 11,000 new jobs in Ireland from FDI and 74% were from US companies. 2011 is no different, the first six months of the year recorded $17.7 billion of new investment into Ireland from US companies. Ireland has a strong track record for success in FDI and that is


The American Chamber of Commerce Ireland’s 50th anniversary dinner. On the night the American Chamber celebrated 50 years of successful foriegn direct investment from the US, Dr. Whitaker was honoured with an award. The award was in recognition of his vision and long sighted policies which have help to deliver the 600 companies and 100,000 jobs that US business now creates in Ireland.

paramount to our ability to attract FDI. Ireland has a magnificent base of companies here and this is the best advertisement for further investment here we could ever hope for. One of the real growth areas for Ireland has been the online and digital media sectors, and the fact that companies such as PayPal and Google who have been in Ireland for almost ten years now are continuing to make investments (PayPal have added over 350 staff this year and Google have investment almost $500 million on facilities purchases/upgrades) has helped attract other similar companies to Ireland. In the last two years we have seen the triumvirate of social networking companies Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all choose Dublin for significant operations. But critical to continued success will continue to be the provision of a skilled labour force, a relentless focus on restoring cost competitiveness, and of course absolute certainty on our Corporation Tax rate. To what extent has the economic crisis damaged Ireland’s reputation overseas and made the task of attracting inward investment more difficult? Ireland as a country has been tarnished by recent events. It is critical that the Government recognise this and support the rebuilding of our reputation as a secure and successful international business hub. Global corporations make investment decisions two or three years in advance and the effect of any reputational damage to Ireland as a result of the fiscal and banking crises may not be felt until next year and beyond. There now appears a global understanding of the Irish fiscal situation as one that is now under control, that the difficult

adjustments are being taken on time, targets being met, and that Ireland will recover. This should be copper fastened by an integrated Government communications campaign, highlighting the many positives of our country. One of the most significant challenges in maintaining the high level of US investment in Ireland will be our ability to compete with other emerging nations vying for similar investment. Are you confident that we can meet the competition from new markets and continue to maintain our attractiveness an overseas location for American business? For over fifty years now Ireland has been delivering results through the world class investments we host here. This success and the fact that we now play home to over 600 global brands in Ireland means that Ireland is well positioned to benefit from future investment. The investments in Ireland in many cases are now critical to the global infrastructure of the parent companies.’ US companies in Ireland often control European wide and even global operations from right here. While Ireland can never afford to rest on its laurels, and there is a constant need to evaluate our competitive offering. We are confident that Ireland will continue to benefit from US investment for many more years to come. How would you characterise US – Irish relations at the present time? Built to last is the best way to characterise Irish-U.S. relations. It is interesting to note that since the financial crisis erupted, Irish-U.S. commercial linkages have become stronger not weaker, deeper not shallower. The mutual dependence of Ireland and the United States has grown, not shrunk over the past three years.

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US Investment

Promoting Ireland Are you a potential ambassador in helping secure inward investment? If you are in business, government or academia, you may have opportunities to sell the benefits of investing in Ireland to your overseas contacts. Make sure you have all the information you need. Download your copy of Investing in Ireland at Find out more about how KPMG can help when investing in Ireland by contacting Adrian Crawford, Conor O’Sullivan or Anna Scally at +353 1 410 1000.

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Retaining the Tax Rate Ireland’s corporation tax rate has come under attack from Europe but conceding to EU pressure to alter the rate could have a devastating effect for the economy here, writes Brian O’Neill.

making concessions on our current tax rate is not an option and should never be considered as a bargaining tactic, no matter how much pressure comes from Angela Merkel or Nicholas Sarkozy

As discussions and negotiations continue about the future of the single currency and the very fabric of the Euro zone itself, sovereign nations throughout the continent are preparing themselves for some tough decisions in the months ahead. With Germany and France insisting on radical new reforms which could see a universal fiscal policy put in place for member states, it is clear that concessions will have to be made along the way if the Euro is to survive its most challenging dilemma yet. For Ireland, however, any renegotiation could come at a very high price. A unified fiscal policy could see our favourable corporation tax rate of 12.5% abolished and increased to come more in line with most of the rest of Europe. As Germany and France push for realignment however, Cian O’Mahony, a market analyst with CMC Markets, says that making concessions on our current tax rate is not an option and should never be considered as a bargaining tactic, no matter how much pressure comes from Angela Merkel or Nicholas Sarkozy. “We have been extremely compliant up until now when it comes to making concessions to Europe,” he insists. “If we relent on

our rate of corporation tax I believe it will have an extremely negative impact on our economy. We have attracted companies like Yahoo, Google and Facebook here on the back of our corporation tax rate. From that, all of a sudden we saw a cluster effect whereby other companies were setting up here around the IT industry – IT recruitment became quite prominent, for instance. Ireland became very attractive from an investment perspective so we need to push our case for retaining our corporation tax rate – I don’t feel we are doing enough in that regard at the moment.” Eoin Fahy, Chief Economist with Kleinwort Benson Investors, agrees. “It is absolutely essential that we retain our rate of corporation tax,” he says. “First of all it is important to our credibility. When the IDA and the Government are meeting people and companies who want to invest in Ireland or those that have already invested here, they will have made a commitment to them that Ireland’s rate of corporation tax is fixed and will not change. If the rate was to change through some strong arm negotiating tactic from Europe, confidence and the credibility of

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French President Nicholas Sarkozy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

the Irish Government would be called into question.” “Secondly,” he says, “although our headline rate of tax looks relatively low, it is important to note that there are a lot of concessions that are given in other countries. This means that the real rate of tax in many European countries is a great deal lower than the headline rate suggests. The great advantage that Ireland has, however, is that the tax system here is very transparent – it’s published and everyone has access to it. In other countries there is a sense that a company can almost negotiate its rate of tax whereas Ireland offers certainty, which is crucial to companies who want to plan ahead. The danger is that investment may not be as quick to come to Ireland if there is any uncertainty whatsoever surrounding the rate of corporation tax.” Some have suggested that a slight increase in the rate would go some way to easing tensions in Brussels on the issue. However, even the smallest hike could potentially be damaging for Ireland and would, as Eoin Fahy points out, set a dangerous precedent. “It is not a disaster for many corporations if they have to pay a rate of 13.5% as opposed to 12.5%, for example,” he notes.”But in terms of the signal it sends, if the Government is prepared to go to 13.5%, it can very easily go further upwards from there and eventually that could put us on a par with most of the rest of Europe.” “Of course it wouldn’t be the end of the world if our corporation tax rate went from 12.5% to 15%, for instance – in fact, I think we would still remain quite competitive,” says Cian O’Mahony. “The point is, however, that to have any increase forced upon us by Europe through negotiations for the reduction in the interest rate on the EU/IMF assistance we have received would send out the wrong message. I also believe politically we are approaching a tipping point where the Irish people stop taking the austerity measures that are being forced upon the country so well. If that was coupled with an enforced change in our rate of corporation tax, I think people here would start to question why we are bowing so much to Europe when it is to our own detriment.”

Admittedly, the real rate of tax in many European when it comes countries is a great deal lower than the to negotiating, headline rate suggests Ireland’s position is somewhat diluted given the bailout funds that have been made available. However, a strong and steadfast approach is still required to repel any further demands to increase our rate. “In any bargaining position where one party is weakened, as is the case here, there are a number of things that can be conceded and similarly, there are things that must not be given way on,” says Eoin Fahy. “We must put our corporation tax rate at the very top of our list of priorities in terms of items that we will not budge on – we must not concede what is arguably the single most important component of our economic policy. Luckily, I think there is unanimous political will on this matter.” “Ireland has already made so many concessions on so many fronts to Europe,” says Cian O’Mahony. “It is also important to remember that any concession that has come from Europe to Ireland has come indirectly because of the needs of other nations, like Greece for example. Worryingly, from Europe’s point of view, we are towing the line and repaying our debt and not really kicking up a fuss about anything. If it comes to negotiating, we have very little left to bargain with but we still need to push our case forcefully when it comes to our corporation tax rate – it is so critical to Ireland, after all.”

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US Investment

The Health of US Investment Public Sector Magazine speaks with MSD Ireland’s Managing Director, Neil Boyle, on the importance of continuing US investment in Ireland.

I would emphasise that there’s a lot more than our corporation tax rate that’s driving interest in Ireland – the overall package works very well in our favour.

Working with customers in 140 countries to deliver a variety of healthcare solutions, MSD are global leaders in addressing health needs the world over. The company provides innovative medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and consumer health products to help improve the well-being of millions of people. MSD was founded over a century ago and its headquarters are currently based in the United States. But having spent the last five decades in Ireland, the company has maintained a strong presence in the Irish market and has been one of the major players in inward investment from American multinationals to the economy here. Today, the company – which employs 2,300 people directly in Ireland and provides an additional 9,000 indirect jobs through its operations – is keen to stress the importance of continuing investment from US multinational corporations to the Irish economy. “A lot of the statistics suggest that US investment is the lion’s share of the multinational investment available globally,” says Neil Boyle, Managing Director at MSD Ireland. “We’ve had €350 million of investment on capital projects in pharma in the last 12 to 18 months and much of that has been through American-based pharma companies.” MSD understands that the strong links between both countries has made Ireland an attractive proposition for American investment over the years. But according to Boyle, there are several factors at play. “Certainly in the earlier days the fact that we have had such a very closely aligned history has been hugely effective. I think on the more tangible side, the language is an important driver. Ireland’s location is also critical – being on the fringes of Europe is seen as a gateway into the broader European market. And, finally, a favourable corporation tax rate has also proved to be a considerable attraction; however, I would emphasise that there’s a lot more

than our corporation tax rate that’s driving interest in Ireland – the overall package works very well in our favour.” Despite Boyle’s assertions, US ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney, argued that any alteration in the corporation tax rate would serve as a significant disincentive to both existing US multinationals and potential investors examining the possibility of locating here. But does Boyle agree with that assessment? “I don’t think it’s the only consideration but I think that it sets a very clear agenda for companies,” he asserts. “Anything that sets a level of transparency and clarity is a positive from a planning perspective. All industry sectors are being buffeted at the moment so anything that allows a level of predictability to emerge is a positive. The corporation tax rate gives us transparency and predictability. It’s an advantage that Ireland has and we should do everything we can to maintain it.” While MSD has been present to witness dramatic economic change in Ireland over the years, few predicted the economy’s recent deterioration. While the crisis may have impacted on Ireland’s ability to attract US investment, Boyle can see positives. “The very strong changes in competiveness over the last two years are a significant benefit,” he says. “Ireland has led the way in terms of changes in costs in that period – that kind of development, not only in terms of labour costs, but the general cost of doing business, has had a positive impact.” Despite many tough challenges ahead, Boyle is confident that we can meet the competition from new markets and continue to maintain our attractiveness as an overseas location for US business. “I think Ireland has done some really smart work over the last decade in evolving into the higher value space and, in doing that, we have brought with us a level of sophistication around how we regulate and manage our affairs in that area,” he says.

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Banking Partners Terry Browne, Head of Corporate Banking, National Irish Bank discusses the vital role which international banks play in supporting multi-national companies in Ireland and in encouraging further inward investment. The continued presence and commitment of Terry Browne, Head of Corporate Banking, National Irish Bank international banks is central to the future of the Irish banking sector. They are key to maintaining competition in the market and to providing an international reach. This is particularly true for Danske Bank who, as National Irish Bank here in Ireland, is committed to the Irish market for the long-term and wants to be part of Ireland’s recovery. This has particular relevance when talking about multi-nationals, their banking needs and the attraction of further Foreign Direct Investment to Ireland. Investors, analysts and large international corporate clients are interested in banks’ ability to raise capital and funding at appropriate levels and cost. Many are looking for strong banking partners who are geographically well-diversified. Working with a major international bank, such as the Danske Bank Group, with its strong credit ratings and an international capability, gives that diversification and comfort. The enhanced role that banks can play is particularly relevant to multi-national companies- key players in Ireland’s recovery. Banks such as Danske Bank, with an international reach and capabilities in Trade Finance, Cash Management or FX risk management can support this growth and at the same time facilitate effective and efficient foreign trade. Danske Bank is strongly committed to continued technology investment, including the provision of state-of-the-art Cash Management services, and local branches such as National Irish Bank – and its customers - can leverage and truly benefit from this long-term committed investment. As we have a ‘one banking platform’ ethos, not only do we get the benefits of this improving technology, but we also have a fully integrated platform, ideally suited to cross-border transactions and trading. Danske Bank is a leader in electronic banking services profitability, releasing money tied up in working capital, and, and is continually developing its online product suite. This ultimately, increasing shareholder value. allows us to look at innovative and secure ways of enhancing our customers’ banking experience, by improving cash flow, maximising returns on surplus liquidity, effectively saving time, money and administrative costs. For international corporate clients this is a means of increasing efficiency, increasing

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US Investment

Tax Talk The importance of Ireland’s low rate of corporation tax in attracting inward investment is borne out by research which also shows that Government inefficiencies and financial instability are the biggest drawbacks for foreign multinationals. Research undertaken by Matheson Ormsby Prentice (MOP) confirms that Ireland’s low corporation tax rate is the most significant factor in attracting foreign direct investment into Ireland. The practice established the MOP FDI Index to chart the views of 250 IrishAmerican business leaders in the US. Within the research Liam Quirke project, views on the many and varied challenges that Ireland is facing were analysed, including perceptions of how the Irish Government is handling the economic crisis, how Ireland is perceived as a place to do business and more specifically, as an FDI location. The research also examines how attitudes towards Ireland have changed in recent years and the implications of these changing views for future, potential investment. This report, based on the research findings, highlights what this audience identified as the key factors underpinning confidence in the Irish economy in relation to FDI.

surveyed had positive views about doing business in Ireland with just 12% returning a negative rating. Ireland’s competitive tax regime was viewed as the leading positive attribute for FDI in Ireland. The next two top ranking attributes were infrastructural; an English speaking workforce and ease of access from North America. Thereafter, the fruits of past national development strategies (i.e. government incentives and a skilled workforce) come to the fore as positively perceived aspects of Ireland as a location for FDI. The leading negative attributes associated with perceptions of Ireland as a location for FDI are linked with economic and government instability. In descending order, the top three perceived impediments are: 1) National financial instability, 2) Perceptions of the government as being inefficient, and 3) Instability within the Eurozone. The perceived remoteness of Ireland’s geographical location and perceived high set-up costs are also seen as potential barriers to investment.

Inward Investment

The market for foreign direct investment is highly competitive internationally. Not only does Ireland compete with the rest of Western Europe, but it must also stand out from other locations in Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Against this backdrop, another key insight the research programme aimed to uncover was how perceptions of Ireland compare with those of four other locations. Research respondents were asked to score Ireland and other locations on a range of different attributes. Ireland’s relative position on the world stage is positive. It ranks in first place in nine of thirteen categories, joint first in one category, second in two and third in one. The attributes that Ireland scores highest on are its access to a pool of local skilled labour at appropriate levels, followed closely by the relative ease of doing business here. In seven attribute categories Ireland receives an average score of over 3.5; while in no category does it receive a score of less than 3.1. Based on these findings, the audience perceives that Ireland’s major competitors for FDI are its neighbours in Western Europe.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is critical to the future success of the Irish economy. The United States is the single largest source of Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland, accounting for over 70% of total inward investment employment in Ireland, with more than 600 companies employing 100,000 people here. Consequently, how Ireland is viewed by the business community in the United States is of critical importance for the future of US FDI in Ireland. One important indicator in this regard is how the Irish-American business community views Ireland.

Doing Business in Ireland One of the key insights the research programme aimed to uncover was how the Irish–American business community perceives Ireland as a place to do business and as an FDI location at the present time. The majority (58%) of those


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Handling the Economic Crisis An important measure of the confidence of US business leaders is Ireland’s perceived ability to manage its economy and create the conditions necessary for FDI. The research findings show that Irish-American business leaders are divided on the Government’s handling of the economic crisis. Encouragingly, however, 48% thought that the Government had handled the crisis ‘well’, compared to 22% who believe that the crisis has been ‘poorly’ handled.

Competition for Investment

US Investment

The scores for Eastern Europe; Asia and particularly the Middle East and Africa are substantially lower than the scores Ireland receives on an attribute by attribute basis.

Changing Attitudes to Ireland Interestingly, perceptions of Ireland as a place to do business have improved over the past five years. When asked about the likelihood of their respective organisations to establish operations in Ireland, encouragingly almost one-third (32%) said that their organisation was likely to set up an operation in Ireland. The findings also show that the attitudes of some respondents to setting up operations in Ireland have become more positive over the past five years with 37% saying that they now look more positively on the idea. Despite all the turmoil and media attention that Ireland’s economic collapse has received in the USA since 2007, just 24% said that their attitude had become more negative. Of all findings, this particular one underscores the continuing positive disposition of Irish America to Ireland and their ability to see beyond failures and recognise opportunity.

Survey Findings The findings of this research leave much to consider. Managing Partner at Matheson Ormsby Prentice, Liam Quirke, said the findings of the survey overall are extremely positive. “FDI is the cornerstone upon which our economic recovery is dependent,” he said. “Ireland’s profile and reputation has taken a real battering in the midst of the global economic and financial crisis. Both domestically and internationally, many have focused on the negative but this does not tell the full story. FDI in Ireland has remained very active and the results of the MOP FDI Index confirm that despite the period of global recession over the past two years, Ireland’s offering to US multinational corporations remains one of the strongest in the world,” he added. Mr Quirke points out that Ireland continues to have access to a highly skilled workforce while our cost competitiveness is continuing to improve. We have also built a critical mass of firms in a number of important industries such as financial services, pharmaceuticals, technology and internet services (including most recently cloud computing), which in turn

Positive Attributes: Ireland as an FDI Location n n n n n

Competitive tax regime 1 (29%) English speaking 2 (21%) Ease of access from North America 3 (18%) Government Incentives 4 (17%) Skilled work force 5 (17%)

Negative Attributes: Ireland as an FDI Location n n n n n

National financial instability 1 (20%) Inefficient Government 2 (17%) Instability in Euro zone 3 (15%) Remote location and restricted access 4 (9%) Poor technology infrastructure 5 (9%)

makes Ireland attractive for further investment in these areas. He said all the negative publicity and attention should not detract from the very real achievements in the Irish economy over the last twenty years which have been driven primarily by our success in attracting FDI. “Ireland has continued to provide the best business environment in Europe for US corporations looking to access the EU internal market,” he said. “The growth and development of multinationals with their strong focus on high value goods and services exports, is fundamental to the Irish economy and is an essential component of Ireland’s economic recovery. Ireland’s future economic success will depend to a great extent on its ability to sustain an attractive habitat for FDI.” The key findings from the survey include: n The fact that Ireland is perceived as a good location to do business n The importance of a competitive tax regime as a driver of economic development and foreign direct investment n When compared to four other competing investment zones, Ireland scores first on nine of the 13 attributes. It is perceived that Ireland’s key competing zone for FDI is Western Europe, and Ireland is perceived to be well ahead of Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East and Africa n 32% perceive that their organisations are likely to invest in Ireland

Rating of Ireland’s Performance Compared to Other Alternatives Access to pool of local skilled labour at appropriate levels Relative ease of doing business Corporate tax rates (including potential impact of European tax harmonisation) Regulatory environment Attracting key mobile international staff Physical infrastructure and IT environment Corporate tax regime (other than tax rate) Government incentives Membership of Euro zone/ stability of Euro Interest rates Personal tax rates Economic/political stability Certainty/clarity of legislation


Other West European Countries

Eastern Europe


Middle East & Africa

3.77 3.66 3.63 3. 58 3.57 3.55 3.53 3.45 3.30 3.30 3.29 3.21 3.13

3.68 3.40 3.26 3.44 3.54 3.49 3.30 3.26 3.48 3.26 3.23 3.57 3.14

2.94 3.00 3.07 3.06 3.11 2.91 3.03 3.07 2.86 3.07 3.26 2.72 2.90

3.35 2.27 2.97 2.95 3.30 3.42 3.14 3.21 2.20 3.14 2.90 3.39 3.04

2.63 2.69 2.85 2.61 2.69 2.75 2.88 2.94 2.01 2.92 3.29 2.37 2.56

Performance is judged on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 means ‘very poor’ and 5 means ‘excellent performance’.

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Restoring our Reputation The economic collapse has damaged Ireland’s reputation abroad but it can be restored by pursuing the right policies, according the chairman of the IFSC and former Taoiseach and EU Ambassador to Washington, John Bruton. As one of Ireland’s most passionate and articulate advocates of the European project, John Bruton is distinctly unimpressed by the growing chorus of commentators who argue that the EU is imposing too great a burden on Ireland and that our national interest would be best served by abandoning the EU and going it alone. Ireland’s EU membership has been a critical factor in Ireland’s economic John Bruton, Chairman of the IFSC development according to the chairman of the IFSC and it has also been important factor in attracting inward investment from US multinationals. The volume of trade with the US has increased significantly since Ireland joined the EU and US companies which have chosen Ireland as part of its global network place a high priority on ease of access to European markets. In addition to the market access which Ireland’s membership of the EU provides to US multinationals which have established operations it also ensures that we are in a better position to bring our influence to bear on the international stage. “Being an EU member of good standing is a preferable position to that of countries such as Norway or Iceland which don’t have the same level of influence,” he says. “Generally speaking, we have been able to punch above our weight in relation to our influence in major decisions at a European level and it is important that we continue to be able to do so.” Bruton acknowledges that Ireland has suffered reputational damage in the corridors of power in both Europe and the US but he believes that that our authority can be retrieved by pursuing the right course of action in addressing our economic difficulties. “Obviously we have lost a degree of influence through the mismanagement of our economic affairs and the massive expansion of credit in Ireland which was allowed to spiral out of control, there was a complete failure on the part of Government and the financial regulatory authorities to provide proper oversight and the net result is that we are heavily indebted and there has been a loss of sovereignty with major decisions now subject to the approval of the Troika. So, undoubtedly, our influence has diminished but by adhering to the targets which we have agreed, we are gradually restoring our reputation. “ There has been considerable debate over the manner in which Ireland’s representatives engage with their European counterparts and many commentators advocate a more robust and assertive approach in pursuit of Ireland’s interests. Bruton argues that while it is important that Ireland is assertive in pursuit of its objectives we

need to also demonstrate that our proposals are good for Europe as a whole. “We shouldn’t make the mistake of viewing every issue through the narrow prism of self-interest, we need to engage with issues in the wider European context and not simply consider how Ireland is affected. That will prove to the be the most effective way of restoring our authority and reputation,” he says. It may yet be too early to establish the full extent of the damage to Ireland’s reputation in the US and the likely impact on US investment in Ireland as many headline projects are three to four years in planning and the full effect of any reputational damage may not yet have been felt. Bruton also credits the IDA for its performance in promoting Ireland in the US and says that it has been extremely effective in offsetting the damage to our reputation as a result of the country’s economic implosion. “The IDA has been extremely successful in recent times and deserves great credit,” he says. “Even as our sovereignty was surrendered to the troika, there have been regular announcement of major US corporations launching operations in Ireland. We should also bear in mind that it’s not all bad news and significant strides have been made in restoring Ireland’s competitiveness. Wages and rents have declined and professional fees will hopefully follow, all of these factors should compensate and help to make Ireland a better place to do business. “ Bruton also believes that the response to the unravelling of Ireland’s economy has been more sympathetic in the US where many key states including Florida, Nevada and California have experienced similar problems. “They are not unfamiliar with our difficulties and they do understand how it can happen,” he says. “They are also impressed with how we have responded and it particularly impresses people when they hear of our public servants voluntarily accepting a reduction in wages, they respect the strong sense of public service they encounter when dealing with Ireland and what they see as a solution orientated frame of mind and a can-do attitude. He is confident that Ireland will continue to be regarded as a desirable location despite our present difficulties and we retain many of the attributes which have traditionally proved attractive to US multinationals. “There is the fact that we speak English, the fact that we have a consistent and strongly supported policy of low corporation tax, we have an independent court system and a strong commercial court, we have a strong technological base and a high quality and productive workforce. The cost of doing business is being steadily reduced, the quality of our education system has been good although standards in this regard are slipping and it is an issue which needs to be addressed. There are also other factors which are rarely mentioned such as courtesy and friendliness, these may be seen as small things but they can make a very favourable impression. So, there are many things in our favour and I am confident that we can overcome our present difficulties and continue to attract American multinationals to locate in Ireland in significant numbers. “

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US Investment

Flying the Green Flag Ireland’s remarkable record in attracting inward investment has continued despite the severe and prolonged recession and considerable credit is due to the IDA for its success in championing Ireland as an ideal location for foreign multinationals. In a wide-ranging interview the Chief Executive of the IDA Barry O’Leary discusses the efforts being undertaken by the IDA to bolster Ireland’s reputation abroad.

“Ireland’s export economy, driven largely by multinational companies, has remained resilient and has not been unduly affected by the global economic situation.”

What degree of importance do you attach to the economic ties which exist between Ireland and the US and how vital is the high level of inward investment from American multinationals to the Irish economy? Incredibly strong links, both economic and on a personal level, exist between the people of Ireland and those of the US and it is important to recognise the valuable contributions being made by both populations to each other’s economies and the high esteem with which the people of the US and Ireland hold each other. The importance of investment from the US to Ireland cannot be underestimated. The US is the single largest source of Foreign Direct Investment to Ireland with approximately 600 companies employing 100,000 people directly in sectors as diverse as Financial Services, Technology, Digital Media, Consumer and Business Services and Life Sciences. US companies account for €93 billion or 70% of exports and for €1.8 billion, which is close to 50%, of corporation tax annually. In 2011 the American chamber of commerce in Ireland celebrated its 50th anniversary in Ireland. Do you co-operate closely with the American Chamber and has it been of assistance in encouraging American multinationals to locate in Ireland? The histories of IDA Ireland and the American Chamber are closely intertwined. Ireland’s success as a location for foreign direct investment is strongly linked to our ‘Team Ireland’ approach. IDA works closely with the American Chamber of


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Commerce in order to attract US companies to Ireland and these close ties work to the mutual benefit of both organisations. Has the economic crisis impacted on our ability to attract American investment to Ireland and have you had to restructure the message which you convey to potential investors? Ireland’s export economy, driven largely by multinational companies, has remained resilient and has not been unduly affected by the global economic situation. IDA executives, both in Ireland and internationally, focused on highlighting Ireland’s dual economy, made up of international trade and investment, which remains buoyant, and the domestic banking, construction and retail sectors, where the economic crisis has caused the most challenges. The economic crisis initially led to negative coverage of Ireland in international media which caused some concerns from potential overseas investors. To counteract this negative coverage IDA Ireland undertook a high profile marketing campaign which included advertising ‘brand Ireland’ and a targeted media outreach programme with key international business channels. This combined approach of IDA executive’s strong marketing campaign along with targeted media outreach has resulted in the economic crisis having the least possible affect on Ireland’s ability to attract overseas investment. In fact, foreign direct investment in Ireland is now back to pre-crisis levels. In addition to this IDA has been able to promote the message that due to the economic crisis Ireland is now a much more competitive location for FDI with costs having fallen significantly across a range of areas and an increase in labour productivity. Is the overwhelming focus of your efforts in relation to potential US investment focussed on the IT sector and what other sector offer the most potential in terms of generating inward investment? IDA’s main target sectors are consumer and content business services (CCBS), ICT, international financial services, life sciences and engineering and industrial products. A number of high profile investments, most notably Twitter’s decision to locate an

US Investment

Barry O’Leary, Chief Executive of the IDA international office in Dublin, have been in the technology space and today Ireland is home to the top 10 ‘born on the internet’ companies. The pipeline of US investment from IDA’s other key sectors remains strong and there have been many significant investments from a variety of sectors in the last 12 months. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies who invested in Ireland’s Life Sciences portfolio in 2011 included MSD which announced a new €100 million Research and Development (R&D) Centre in Tipperary with an additional €6 million expansion under construction. This follows on from MSD’s €28.6 million investment in 2 new R&D facilities at its Cork operation. Pfizer invested $200 million at its biotech campus in Dublin; global biopharmaceutical company Sangart announced plans for a new manufacturing facility in Cork with the creation of 120 manufacturing jobs and 125 construction jobs and Amgen, the world’s number one biotechnology company, also announced the acquisition of Pfizer’s manufacturing facility in Co. Dublin with the retention of 280 jobs. In the Life Sciences sector there have been a number of announcement from medical technology companies including AMS which invested €4.6 million and created 50 jobs with the establishment of a manufacturing facility in Athlone; medical device supplier Kelcourt announced the establishment of a manufacturing operation in Tullamore with the creation of 55 new jobs; Bausch and Lomb deepened its commitment to the South East with a $100 million investment in the construction of a medical technologies manufacturing operation at its Waterford facility and Alere, a leading global healthcare manufacturer established an international business services centre in Galway with the creation of 100 new jobs. Meanwhile Coca-Cola announced a $300 million investment in a new manufacturing and innovation facility in Co. Wexford in addition to the expansion of its global shared services centre in Drogheda with the creation of 100 new jobs. Likewise, other sectors have also seen significant investment from US companies such as financial services company D&B expanding its Dublin operation bringing its workforce to 225; in the engineering space Metal Improvement Company announced a technical manufacturing expansion with the creation of up to 30 new jobs

What are the most significant factors which serve to attract US investment to Ireland? Ireland’s combination of a strong track record for attracting and maintaining successful foreign direct investment across a variety of sectors, a highly-skilled, multi-lingual and available workforce, a strong technology infrastructure, a stable political environment, a pro-business attitude and an attractive rate of corporation tax are the most compelling attributes in attracting US investment to Ireland. Correspondingly, what aspects of the Irish economy serve as a disincentive to prospective US investors and what are the most critical elements which need to be addressed in order to maintain the country’s attractiveness as a location for US investment? Winning high-value FDI is a constant challenge due to the tough global competition that exists. In order to continue to win high levels of investment from the US all Ireland’s FDI stakeholders must continue to work together to ensure the constantly evolving requirements of potential investors are being met. These requirements range from ensuring that the correct infrastructure is in place to foster relations between industry and academia to ensure that the level of graduates required are readily available. The requirements of potential investors vary hugely on a case by case basis and IDA Ireland is committed to its role as an innovative organisation that strives to go above and beyond to ensure such diverse requirements are met. How critical, in your view, is maintaining our existing corporation tax rate in terms of attracting companies to locate in Ireland and in ensuring that we maintain the loyalty of existing US multinationals. Ireland’s attractive rate of corporation tax combined with its track record for successful FDI, its talented workforce and its technology infrastructure make it a leading location for FDI. The 12.5% corporate tax rate proves to be a major draw for investors to Ireland and the Irish Government has stated its commitment to maintaining this rate of tax. Ireland’s 12.5% tax rate is legitimate, fully consistent with European policy and accepted by the European Commission as not representing harmful tax competition. The Irish Government’s commitment to the

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US Investment

12.5% corporation tax rate is protected in an EU context by the principal of unanimity in taxation matters. One of the bright spots in the current climate is the regular news of new investment by prominent US multinationals in Ireland – what have been the principal successes of the IDA in this regard in recent years and to what do you attribute your ability to continue to attract major corporations to invest in Ireland despite the economic upheaval and our vastly diminished international reputation? International companies invest in Ireland because of the operating environment that enables them to trade internationally rather than the strength or demand in the Irish economy. Over the last 12 months there have been some very exciting announcements of significant investments in Ireland from US companies. These include Twitter, the social networking giant, announcing the establishment of its first Irish operation; Coca Cola’s opening of a new $300 million manufacturing and innovation facility in Wexford and the 100 person expansion of its shared services centre in Drogheda; Google investing over $100 million in a new data centre, this follows on from Google’s $140 million investment in a new European Headquarters in Dublin earlier this year and Merck, which employs 2300 people, investing over $530m in 4 of its Irish sites. Other recent investments include leading digital games developer, EA/Bioware, establishing a 400 person, state-of-theart customer service centre in Galway and VMWare expanding its customer service and operations by 250 people at its European Centre of Excellence in Cork. Ireland’s continued success in attracting such investments from US companies is due to our strong and historical economic relationship with the US in addition to our location in Europe, our skilled and multi-lingual workforce and our ability to meet the needs of investors. IDA has focused on highlighting the many positives of investing in Ireland in the overseas marketplace and the fact that any economic upheaval has affected our domestic economy while our export economy remains strong. In addition to this, the economic challenges of recent times have led to a significant increase in Ireland’s competitive advantage further increasing our attractiveness as an FDI location.

“IDA has been able to promote the message that due to the economic crisis Ireland is now a much more competitive location for FDI with costs having fallen significantly across a range of areas and an increase in labour productivity.” 38

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BM 2011 Global Location Trends The recently published IBM 2011 Global Location Trends Report, ranked Ireland as the top destination in the world by quality and value of investments. Ireland also ranks as one of the top destinations globally for jobs by inward investment per capita. The report further highlights that significant growth in foreign investment that was achieved in Ireland in the past year. Ireland’s position as the top ranking destination for quality and value of investments is based on global measures of productivity, knowledge intensity and occupational profile composition represented by wages and skills, and highlights the value and exceptionally strong contribution that foreign direct investment makes towards Ireland’s economic development. Ireland leads a group followed by South Korea, Taiwan, Austria, Switzerland and Singapore. The report highlights Ireland’s move to higher value investment types and in particular a strong performance in high-value sectors and business activities such as R&D in Life Sciences and high-end electronics. IDA Ireland looks forward to further building on its close working relationship with the American Chamber of Commerce and congratulates them on their success over the last 50 years and guarantees the full support of IDA into the future. By Barry O’Leary, Chief Executive IDA

What is your response to the view that we are over reliant on inward investment from the US and we have not enjoyed similar success with other countries, particularly from emerging nations? The US is Ireland’s main FDI investor with over 70% of FDI coming from the US. ‘Horizon 2020’ IDA’s strategy aims to attract investors from new high-growth markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. IDA has increased its focus and resources on winning investments originating from these markets and aims that by 2014, 20% of greenfield investments will come from these new markets. IDA has established a dedicated team working to attract investments and continues to work with our sister agencies to make Ireland a global location of choice for companies headquartered in these dynamic growth markets as they grow their international presence. IDA demonstrates to these firms our track record of meeting and anticipating the needs of multi-national clients as they grow outside of their home markets. Whether they come to Ireland through stand alone investments or partnership via merger or acquisition, we ensure that the most compelling mix of incentives and opportunities are offered to these emerging business leaders. Are you confident that we can meet the competition from new markets and continue to maintain our attractiveness as an overseas location for American business? Ireland remains a highly attractive location for FDI from the US. US companies account for €93 billion (70%) of exports and for €1.8 billion (close to 50%) of corporation tax annually. In fact, the US has invested more in Ireland than Brazil, Russia, India and China combined. In recent months Ireland has welcomed significant investments from many US companies and IDA Ireland is confident that due to our strong track record for successful US FDI, highly-talented workforce, excellent technology infrastructure and attractive corporate tax rate, Ireland will continue to win the best in US FDI.

US Investment

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Public Sector News

Entrepreneur of the Year The Ernst and Young Entrepreneurs of the Year Awards which took place at Cityweset were presented by outgoing President of Ireland, Mary McAleese in one of her last public appearances as President.

Former President Mary McAleese addresses the audience at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Openet were the winners of the overall Award having earlier emerged victorious in the international category. Joe Hogan and Niall Norton of Openet described the award as “a phenomenal achievement for the company, our families, and our staff”. Openet is Ireland’s largest privately held software company, which provides management solutions to clients in the telecoms sector. Its customers include some of the biggest telecoms companies in the world, such as ATT, Orange, Verizon, Vodafone and Telstra. Founded in a small basement office in Dublin’s Fitzwilliam Square in 1999, over the last 12 years the company grew to become a global technology company. Today it employs more than 840 people, 290 of them in Dublin. Joe Hogan said his advice to would-be entrepreneurs is to “start early and go in with both feet”. “There’s no substitute for hard work,” he added. “Business is mostly a lot of bad news, interspersed with spikes of good news. You need to keep at it.” Frank O’Keeffe, partner in charge of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, said the winners “represent the very best that Ireland has to offer on a global stage”. “99 per cent of Openet revenues come from outside Ireland and its software is used by some of the largest brands across the globe. As Ireland looks forward to a new era of economic


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growth, Joe and Niall are the type of role models that we need to look towards, to demonstrate what can be achieved with unwavering ambition, creativity and hard work.” Mrs McAleese paid tribute to the “vocation” of entrepreneurship, describing it as the “engine” that generates energy and momentum in the economy. “Entrepreneurs are reaching for that future shore when so many others are beached on the near shore, hoping that the tide will turn in their favour.” The chairwoman of the National Ploughing Association, Anna-May McHugh, received a special award for her outstanding contributions to rural life in Ireland. The award is presented each year to an individual recognised for applying entrepreneurial vision outside a traditional business setting that helps benefit the entire island. Ms McHugh said she was proud of the event, which has become the largest outdoor event in Europe, and turns the spotlight on rural Ireland each September. The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards take place across 50 countries. This is the 14th year of the Irish awards and Mr Hogan and Mr Norton will now go on to represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Monte Carlo next June.

Public Sector News

President Mary McAleese with Frank O’Keeffe (left), partner in charge of the Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, with overall winners Joe Hogan and Niall Norton of Openet, in the CityWest Hotel, Dublin, last night.

President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin McAleese.

President McAleese pictured with Frank O’Keefe, partner in charge of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and Mike McKerr, Ernst Young Managing Partner.

President Mary McAleese presents Anna McHugh with a special award with Frank O’Keefe pictured left. the Public Sector Magazine




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Public Sector News

Top of the Shops Retail Excellence Ireland Awards 2011

Retail Excellence Ireland is the largest retail industry group in Ireland with over 8,500 store members employing over 110,000 people and the Retail Excellence awards which took place in Galway this year is the biggest event in the Irish retail industry calendar. Over 600 retailers entered this year. All store entrants were visited by a mystery shopper, with those meeting demanding service and standards criteria making it to the Top100 Stores. A team of store assessors visited each of the Top100 Stores, selecting the Top50 stores and then the final Top30. The winning stores were selected based on the report data gathered and a review of store photography and in-store video recoding evidence. McElhinney’s of Donegal which has been in business since 1971 and occupies one of Ireland’s largest department stores with over 90,000 sq. ft. of retail space took home the top award for Store of the Year at the 2011 Retail Awards. The award for company of the Year went to DocMorris Unicarepharmacey while Kevin Murphy, McDonald’s Restaurant, Douglas Village Cork was awarded Manager of the Year. David Fitzsimons, Chief Executive, Retail Excellence Ireland commended all of the retailers who entered the awards. “The very high standard of service, customer engagement, display and levels of investment among Irish retailers made choosing this year’s winners particularly difficult,” he said. “These awards are about recognising and rewarding excellence. In a market with very selective consumers, recognition as an

Pictured are Awards hosts Anton Savage and Miriam O’Callaghan, Kevin Jephson, Chairperson, Retail Excellence Ireland and Cormac Tobin, Doc Morris UnicarePharmacy.

Pictured are Awards hosts Anton Savage and Miriam O’Callaghan, Kevin Jephson, Chairperson, Retail Excellence Ireland and Breige Grogan, A|wear. industry leader should be of significant value. “High standards are particularly important given the very severe challenges currently facing Ireland’s retail industry. Retailers are closing and retail jobs are being lost at record rates.

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Public Sector News

Pictured are Paul Barry, McDonalds, Awards hosts Anton Savage and Miriam O’Callaghan, Kevin Jephson, Chairperson, Retail Excellence Ireland, Kevin Murphy and Adrian Crean, McDonalds.

Over 55,000 retail jobs have been lost in the past three years.” It is clear from the quality of this year’s entrants that the retail industry is playing its part in trying to keep businesses open and retail workers in jobs. The Government now needs to come good on its promises to introduce measures to improve consumer confidence and to reform upward only rents.”

Retail Excellence Ireland Awards 2011

McElhinney’s of Donegal took home the top award for Store of the Year at the 2011 Retail Awards. Pictured are Awards hosts Anton Savage and Miriam O’Callaghan, Kevin Jephson, Chairperson, Retail Excellence Ireland and Martin McElhinney.

Pictured are Awards hosts Anton Savage and Miriam O’Callaghan, Kevin Jephson, Chairperson, Retail Excellence Ireland and Louise Treacy, McLoughlin’s Pharmacy, Terryland Shopping Centre, Galway. 44

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Store of the Year 2011 – McElhinney’s of Donegal, Ballybofey Best Small Store (under 1,000sq.ft) – The Butler’s Pantry, Mount Merrion Avenue, Blackrock, Dublin Best Medium Store (1,000-2,500sq.ft) – Imaginarium, Pavilions Shopping Centre, Swords, Dublin Best Large Store (2,500-5,000sq.ft) – Donnybrook Fair, Stillorgan Shopping Centre, Dublin Best Xtra Large Store (5,000-10,000sq.ft) – The Kilkenny Shop, Nassau Street, Dublin Best Superstore (+10,000sq.ft) – McElhinney’s of Donegal, Ballybofey Company of the Year – DocMorris Unicarepharmacy Best Employer – DocMorris Unicarepharmacy Business Growth – O’Briens Wine, Beer & Spirits Industry Leader – Applegreen e-Commerce Website of the Year – A|wear ( Best e-Commerce Exporter – Gifts Direct ( Best e-Commerce Customer Experience – O’Briens Wine, Beer & Spirits ( Best e-Commerce Innovator – A|wear ( Manager of the Year – Kevin Murphy, McDonald’s Restaurant, Douglas Village, Cork Rising Star of the Year – Louise Treacy, McLoughlin’s Pharmacy, Terryland Shopping Centre, Galway

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National Procurement Awards The National Procurement Awards were presented at an awards ceremony at the Burlington Hotel and attracted a record attendance

Phil Hogan, Minister of Environment, Community & Local Government, presents Declan Dullaghan, Vodafone Ireland with the award for Excellence in the Procurement of Facilities Management.

The 2011 National Procurement Awards were held at the Burlington Hotel in November. The main host for the night was deputy editor of The Sunday Business Post, author and presenter of RTE’s ‘Dragons’ Den’, Richard Curran while Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan presented a number of the awards and addressed the audience. During his address, Minister Hogan commented, “Procurement is a significant element of business in Ireland, whether in the public or corporate sector. Tonight’s award winners represent many of the biggest procurement operators in the Public and Private sectors. I hope that through the upcoming Action Plan these bodies will be able to create greater innovation at supply level when responding to calls.

A total of 17 awards were presented – some aimed at businesses (both large and small), from the public and private sector and some highlighting special efforts made to reduce the impact on the environment through their purchasing actions. There were also trophies for best use of technology in procurement and those who showed their academic or research excellence in this field. Most notable winners on the night were An Post who scooped an impressive five awards including the Overall Excellence in Procurement Award, sponsored by Accenture. The Procurement Leader Award, sponsored by the Irish Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management was presented to Vincent Campbell, Director of the National Procurement Service at the Office of Public Works.

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Public Sector News

Armin Samali from Accenture presenting the award for ‘Best Procurement Team’ to Vincent Campbell from Dublin Airport Authority

Linda Davis from Next Generation Recruitment presenting the award for ‘People Development’ to Freda Lyons-Murphy and Mairead Sisk from Dulux Paints Ireland Ltd.

Dr Paul Davis, president of the Irish Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management presenting the award for ‘Procurement Leader’ to Vincent Campbell from The National Procurement Service

Dr Paul Davis, president of the Irish Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management presenting the award for ‘Procurement Leader’ to Vincent Campbell from The National Procurement Service 46

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Award Winners The Winners for the Procurement Awards 2011 were: An Post: Overall Excellence in Procurement Award - Sponsored by Accenture. Vincent Campbell: National Procurement Service at the Office of Public Works: Procurement Leader Award Sponsored by the Irish Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management. Vodafone Ireland: Excellence in the Procurement of Facilities Management Award Sponsored by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. An Post: Best Cross Organisation Project Award Sponsored by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. Oxigen Environmental: Green Procurement Award Sponsored by Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Tifco Hotel Group: Best Supplier Award Sponsored by the Irish Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management. Mary McNally, Hewlett-Packard: Academic or Research Excellence Award Sponsored by the Irish Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management. Irish Blood Transfusion Service: Healthcare Procurement Award Sponsored by the Irish Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management. Dulux Paints Ireland: People Development Award Sponsored by Next Generation Recruitment. Symantec: Best Private Sector Cross-Function Project Award Sponsored by Accenture. An Post: Best Public Sector Cross-Function Project Award Sponsored by Accenture. First Choice Purchasing: Excellence in Private Procurement SME Award Sponsored by Enterprise Ireland. An Post: Excellence in Public Procurement involving indigenous SME Award Sponsored by Enterprise Ireland. Oxigen Environmental: Innovation in Private Procurement Award Sponsored by the Irish Independent. An Post: Innovation in Public Procurement Award Sponsored by Next Generation Recruitment. An Post: Best use of Technology in Procurement Award Sponsored by Amárach Research. Dublin Airport Authority: Best Procurement Team Sponsored by Accenture.

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The Departure Concerns are growing that a large numbers of workers choosing to avail of the early retirement scheme will have a detrimental impact on frontline services.

The Croke Park Agreement deal agreed between the trade union leadership and the last government has already seen a reduction of 20,000 public sector workers and expectations are that the initial target of 25,000 will be comfortably reached by the end of February. The present Government has increased the target set by the previous administration and are seeking a reduction of a further 12,000 public service workers with a net reduction of 37,000 planned by 2015. This has lead to growing concerns over the capacity of a vastly reduced workforce to continue to deliver high quality public services. As part of its strategy to reduce the public service pay bill, the Government introduced the early retirement plan under which any eligible public sector worker choosing to retire before next February will have their pension and lump sum payments calculated on the pay levels which pertained prior to the salary cuts and pension levy being introduced. Areas likely to experience the greatest proportion of staff departures include teaching, policing and healthcare and trade unions and representative bodies have expressed concern in relation to the potential impact on the frontline services in the event of significant numbers of staff opting to take advantage of the scheme. While there are no precise figures available for the numbers due to retire, media reports and estimates range from a minimum of 5000 to as many as 9,000. Fine Gael TD for Mayo, Michelle Mulherin who received information from the health service in the HSE West region which showed that up to 80% of health service workers who indicated an interest in the early retirement scheme are frontline staff said she is concerned about the ability of the health services to cope with departures on this scale. The moratorium on new recruits which has been in place since January 2010 is already placing a strain on service delivery and a surge in departures could lead to a crisis, according to the Mayo Deputy who has contacted the Health Minister James O’Reilly to suggest extending the February deadline for frontline health workers. Liam Doran, general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has also been critical of the failure of the government to stagger retirements under the scheme and said that most of those leaving would be from core nursing management grades and the public health and mental health areas due to the older profiles of nurses in these areas and the fact that management have better salaries. The government has already granted a special exemption to

teachers of Junior and Leaving Certificate students planning to take advantage of the early retirement scheme after the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn conceded that the government was worried about the potential impact on students of a large number of teachers opting for early retirement. The Minister will now allow schools to re-employ retired teachers who had been teaching exam classes, in order to allow them to remain with their students until the end of the term. However, these measures will not apply to teachers with no exam classes or to primary school teachers. By the end of November last, over 1,000 teachers had signed up for early retirement although a higher number of departures is likely as teachers are still eligible to apply for the package up to the end of February. In 2010, 819 primary teachers and 709 secondary school teachers retired. However, the exodus of teachers creates an opportunity for the estimated 2,000 young teachers without regular work who will be able to replace retiring teachers at significantly reduced salaries. Already concerned about impending closures of Garda Stations around the country – particularly in rural areas, The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has warned that policing will suffer further if significant numbers of members depart as a result of the early retirement scheme. Some reports suggest that as many as 1,200 of the country’s 14,000 Gardai could take early retirement. Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has sought to allay fears over a crisis in policing and said the scaling down of Gardai numbers has been well planned and the force is well placed to maintain adequate policing services. Cost-cutting plans to cut the force to 13,000 by the end of 2014 had been agreed by the previous Government as part of Ireland’s bailout deal with the EU and International Monetary Fund. The Minister has pointed out that the Garda had fewer than 13,000 members in 2006 and that at the height of the Troubles there were only 10-11,000 members. However, the President of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has voiced concern over the prospect of large scale departures and said that it would inevitably affect frontline policing. “Many members are considering the option of retirement because of further reductions in pensions and gratuity next year,” he said. “If that happens it will mean a sudden drop in the force of 8 per cent, which would be very serious,” he said. “All areas will see even fewer gardaí than at present – and the force is already running down because of the moratorium and more retirements. The retirements would mean that the force would be losing a substantial amount of experience and knowledge, and many units would be operating with no supervisor.” Frequently repeated assertions that the Irish public services are overstaffed and over-resources is not borne by comparison with other developed economies and many of those who will be retiring have rendered decades of excellent service to the state and are deserving of our respect and gratitude in addition to our best wishes for whatever endeavours they decide to undertake upon retiring.

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Cancer? Cancer? Concerned about cancer? Concerned about cancer? Diagnosed with cancer? Diagnosed with cancer? Caring for someone with cancer? Caring for someone with cancer?

We are here to help, to listen, to answer your questions.

National Cancer Helpline Freefone 1800 200 700

You can speak to a specialist cancer nurse

The Irish Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Service includes:

Email service: Interactive online help: (cancer chat and cancer forum)

It’s confidential and it’s free

43-45 Northumberland Rd, Dublin 4

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VSO Volunteering – not just for the young

Older volunteers are of vital importance to the success of any activity reliant on volunteerism because they hold an abundance of human capital

VSO is calling on soon-to-retire people to consider sharing their skills in one of the 44 developing countries where it works. VSO is an international development charity that works through volunteers to fight poverty. Professionals from the public and private sectors, who display strong management skills and expertise, are in demand. The potential of the retired population is an important social and economic resource; this is the reason that charities are now trying to attract older volunteers. VSO recruits volunteers up to the age of 70 and around 20% of their volunteers are over 50. “Older volunteers are of vital importance to the success of any activity reliant on volunteerism because they hold an abundance of human capital. They have expertise accumulated over a lifetime of paid work, plus they have great patience.” says Malcolm Quigley, Director of VSO Ireland. When VSO first started recruiting volunteers in 1958, the typical volunteer was a recent graduate. Whilst continuing to value the contribution graduates have made to their overseas

work, the type of work volunteers are now asked to do usually requires more experience. Mary Knox is an example of someone who has used the experience gained during her working life to change the lives of others in the developing world after her retirement. Mary is a 67 year old former primary school teacher from Co. Waterford. Mary has being working as a VSO volunteer in Cambodia since Oct 2009 on a two year placement. Her husband died two years ago and shortly afterwards her mother passed away, leaving Mary asking what she would do. “My kids are all raised, so the question was, ‘Do I go to seed or do I do something?’” she says. “So I saw an advert for VSO and decided to go for it.” Mary left Ireland to join the hundreds of other retired VSO volunteers working overseas. If you think you have the necessary skills and experience to be a VSO volunteer and are soon to retire, contact VSO on 01-6401060 or log on to

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Hard Times Irish charities are concerned by falling donations due to the harsh economic climate.

As a percentage of GDP, Ireland is also among the highest givers in the world, contributing 0.54 % of GDP to charity, the eighth highest in the world

All businesses are facing a tough time during the recession, but perhaps none are as vulnerable to the downturn as charities. Depending on the support of the public, charities and non-profit organisations rely on the disposable income of others to help them operate, something that is in short supply right now. World Vision, a charity which aims to help children in the poorest regions of the world, has reported a 4% annual fall in income since 2008, for example, and an overall fall of 13% since the beginning of the economic downturn. The Irish Cancer Society has had similar issues, reporting “extremely challenging years” in both 2010 and 2011. The harsh economic circumstances have seen the income and subsequently, key programmes of charities, suffer enormously. World Vision’s Head of Programmes, Sheila Garry, says that her organisation’s African initiatives have been particularly affected. “There has been an impact on our programmes in Africa. Because all World Vision Ireland’s

development programmes are long term, lasting at least five years, many projects that would have started when more money was available have had to cancel some planned initiatives,” she explains. Garry added World Vision’s Area Development Programme (ADP), which provides water, health and education facilities in impoverished regions, has suffered due to the drop in funding – she also notes that three of the organisation’s planned ADPs have been cancelled since the recession took hold. Irish Cancer Society CEO, John McCormack says his charity has suffered too. “2011 has been a difficult year for the Irish Cancer Society and we have seen some of our regular sources of income suffer because of the recession,” he says. Despite recording difficult years and having to make donations stretch much further than before, charities continue to stress the generosity of their volunteers and the Irish people. “Our supporters are fantastic and have tried so hard to continue to give whatever, whenever they can,” says Sheila Garry. “For

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example, Irish people donated over €105,000 to our Horn of Africa appeal in 2011; saving lives and helping those struggling to survive in drought and famine affected areas in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. There are some people who have seen their pay packets get smaller and some who have even lost their jobs, yet they are continuing to sponsor a child through World Vision Ireland – that proves the generosity of the Irish people: when they can help in any way, they do, even if it means making sacrifices themselves. However, the reality of the situation is that many people have lost their jobs – people are struggling to make ends meet and many just do not have any disposable income at all after the bills are paid and food has been put on the table.” McCormack also highlighted the dedication of supporters. “All of us have been severely tested as a result of the economic crisis,” he says. “Despite this, the Irish Cancer Society’s community of dedicated volunteers and supporters has continued to go to amazing lengths to make a difference to the lives of those affected by cancer.” The Irish Cancer Society is still keen to get its message across, regardless of the economic outlook. “Ireland’s cancer rate is one of the highest in the world,” CEO John McCormack points out. “One in three of us will be diagnosed with cancer during our lifetime and it is estimated that, by 2020, 42,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed. These stark figures mean there is an ever increasing demand for the patient care and support services provided by the Irish Cancer Society.” Head of Business Development at VSO’s Irish operations, Gerry Thompson says that although people are more selective now, they have proven to be flexible with their limited income. “Irish people are incredibly generous; in fact, the Irish are among the most generous nations in the world when it comes to donations,” Thompson says. “We’re a giving nation and when we have the means to donate, we generally do, especially in difficult times when we know there are others still worse off than us.” These opinions appear to be backed up by statistics – a survey by the Guardian newspaper ranked the Irish people among the most generous in the world. In fact, Ireland ranked third in the world for charitable giving, according to the survey, with 72% of people saying they had given to charity at some point and 60% saying that they had been a ‘good Samaritan’ and helped a stranger in the last month. Only Australia and New Zealand ranked above Ireland. Also, figures from a 2009 survey by research consultancy firm nfpSynergy showed that 75% of Irish citizens donated in that year, although this figure was down from 83% in 2008. Charities bounced back in 2010, however, with a report carried out by another consultancy firm, 2into3, showing a 24% increase in donations on 2009. As a percentage of GDP, Ireland is also among the highest givers in the world, contributing 0.54 % of GDP to charity, the eighth highest in the world behind the three Benelux and four Scandinavian countries. Sweden leads the list at 1.12%. Even with a difficult recession affecting both the public and private sectors, Irish people are still making the effort to support worthwhile charities. As those bodies strive to spend their money wisely, the continued support for the sector is an encouraging sign.


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Fighting Cancer Since 1963 the Irish Cancer Society has grown into the national charity for cancer care, the leading provider of all information relating to cancer prevention, detection, treatment and support. We also advocate for improvements in cancer services and we are the largest voluntary funded of cutting edge cancer research in Ireland. Our vision is that every person in Ireland will have access to the best possible cancer services; will have the lowest risk of getting cancer, the highest survival rates and the best support and information available when affected by cancer. Our goals are focused around prevention, early detection and fighting cancer with three programme areas to achieve them; advocacy, cancer services and research. We rely on the generosity of the public for 95% of our income. Our fundraising initiatives are managed by our fundraising team and a huge base of volunteers, champions and campaigners in every corner of Ireland. It is estimated that approximately 29,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Ireland this year and 42,000 new cases by 2020. Through the National Cancer Helpline, our Support Services and Health Promotion initiatives, we reach out to thousands of people advising them on how to take steps to prevent cancer and significantly reduce their risk of developing it. We also run a range of free nationwide community and hospital based patient care services where we advise, assist and support people diagnosed with cancer at every stage of their difficult journey. None of this work would be possible without the ceaseless energy and highly motivated efforts of our many volunteers, supporters, donors and friends. For any cancer related query call the National Cancer Helpline on Freefone 1800 200 700 or check out For fundraising enquiries call 1850 60 60 60

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A Novel Approach World Vision Ireland’s approach to overseas assistance is unique by World Vision Ireland Chief Executive, Helen Keogh

Every programme we establish is run for the people in the community by the people in the community

What makes World Vision Ireland different is our attitude to development assistance. While we believe it is essential to assist those in desperate need when an emergency situation arises, our overall focus is on enabling communities to become resilient to harsh conditions so that they can survive and support themselves when drought occurs. We only fund projects that are sustainable. For example, we don’t just hand out drought resistant seeds and livestock to farmers. We also train them in organic farming and water conservation. They are trained in groups and these groups go on to support each other and impart the knowledge they have accumulated onto others after we leave. World Vision Ireland assists communities in setting up credit unions which play an important role in enabling small business start ups. We will provide training and tools for these business start ups but it is up to the individuals and the communities we assist to make the changes happen. We simply provide them with a small opportunity which they grasp with pride and endless enthusiasm.

We partner with communities, support them in becoming self sufficient and then we leave. Every programme we establish is run for the people in the community by the people in the community. We don’t go in and dictate what we believe needs to be done; we ask the people we are there to support and we listen to their answers. We hire local staff who understand local issues and who are known to and trusted by the local community. They in turn enlist the support of community leaders in the design and execution of all of our programmes. And after our job is done and we have provided the support necessary we move on and these community leaders and the community itself carries on the work we have started. No one in the developing world wants a hand out, what many need however is a hand; a little bit of help in getting off the ground. World Vision Ireland’s objective is to provide communities with the tools and techniques to do this.

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• • • • • • •

Achilles Procurement Services services for professional procurement be better informed, make better decisions

Achilles Procurement Services Ltd 1 Harmsworth, Greenmount Office Park, Harold’s Cross, Dublin 6w. Phone: 01-4020114; Fax: 01-4020110; Email:; Web:


Growth through Procurement Public Sector and Irish SME’s working together’ by Stephen Hughes, Enterprise Ireland manager, Public Procurement Department.

James Tracey, JTM Power Ltd. and Paul Mulvaney, ESB ecars at the launch of JTM’s portable charge point

In 2012, the Irish Government will procure approximately €14bn worth of goods and services. A portion of this spend will, of course, be met by indigenous companies while another portion will, because of its nature, almost exclusively involve international suppliers. This leaves a middle ground of significant tendering opportunities where, particularly in the area of technology deployment, a much higher level of participation by Irish companies is possible. As we all become conscious of the need to realise the full value of monies spent in Ireland in the years ahead, Enterprise Ireland believes the procurement criteria in the public sector should evolve to engage more thoroughly with the SME sector and, in doing so, benefit from the considerable opportunity this represents.

Reference sites Public sector procurement, rightly, stresses value for money and, in the area of new technology, in particular, has an

understandable propensity to risk aversion. However, all too frequently, this leads to qualifying criteria being set at levels that immediately debar SME participation. Typical barriers to entry include required levels of turnover, length of time in business, insurance indemnity and the extent of experience in the deployment of a particular solution. Collectively, they reflect an unspoken belief that larger, multinational companies are the natural hunting ground for the large-scale technology solutions typically required by the public service. This thinking, historically, becomes more pronounced on the higher rungs of the technology ladder and closer to central government. Ironically, this remains the case even as Government is giving its most explicit commitment yet to the indigenous technology sector as an engine of job creation in the smart economy. By making itself unavailable as a potential customer, Government is missing out on one of the critical roles it can play in assisting the growth and development of SMEs, namely as a first reference site. Time and again, a prestigious client in

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the home market has been shown as critical to how potential international clients view emerging technology companies.

Innovation Rethinking the qualifying criteria for procurement to create opportunities for SME participation should be seen as part of the overall debate on change and reform taking place in the public sector right now. As the issues of efficiency, effectiveness and innovation come to the fore, more sophisticated procurement policies would reflect the distinct opportunity presented by SMEs to address them. As noted earlier, while larger companies can generally be relied on to provide the big, ‘robust’ solutions, the widespread international experience is that those looking for change and innovation find that it involves developing relationships with SMEs. In 2010, Enterprise Ireland engaged with the ESB as it planned the roll out of its electric cars (e-cars) infrastructure project. A cluster of relevant Irish technology companies was identified, a process that, ultimately, led to 11 Irish technology companies participating in the tendering process. Those who were successful are today not just meeting their tender requirements but also working with the ESB in developing nextgeneration solutions, bearing out the value of SMEs in terms of the innovation continuum. Similar technology clusters have been developed for the water industry and around software solutions, and more will follow. It is important to stress that there is no conflict between developing tender objectives that allow consideration for what is available in the Irish supply base and being fully complaint with procurement directives and ensuring the appropriate environment of openness and transparency is maintained. In building its relationship with decision makers in procurement over the last two years, Enterprise Ireland has developed a best practice model for organisations that supports dialogue with SME companies and the goals of public sector innovation and reform. Key elements of this include: n The development of an organisation charter and programmes for SME engagement on procurement. n The appointment of an executive ‘champion’ to drive the connection between procurement and wider economic impact. n The development and implementation of innovation procurement plans. n The use of pre-commercial procurement for proactive engagement with SMEs. n Providing access to key suppliers for better supply chain value-add.

Competitiveness Increasing the proportion of business that goes to technology companies on the island of Ireland is a key objective of Enterprise Ireland. It is also clear that such a development would represent a major win all round for the companies themselves, for the public sector and for job creation in the economy. However, it is worth stressing that, even if successful


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procurement is to be seen purely in terms of delivering the lowest cost and best value to the organisation involved, excluding companies from the competitive process through excessively restrictive qualifying criteria is, effectively, discounting a cluster of companies who may be best positioned to bring that value to your supply chain. Stephen Hughes, Enterprise Ireland manager, Not only is there Public Procurement Department. no evidence to suggest that procurement via SMEs drives costs up, there is considerable anecdotal evidence to support the contrary. Simply put, the question for all public sector bodies is how can you be sure you are getting the best solution for the challenge you face if you are not looking at all the options? Ireland has a dynamic SME technology sector with a proven track record of delivery. Engaging with this base not only opens up a wider range of potential solutions but also allows organisations to better stream into the ‘long tail’ of innovation. Procurement is, self-evidently, an opportunity for growth and development. How it is approached in the decade ahead will be pivotal to how the public sector meets the challenges and opportunities of change. A more open mindset will clearly not only support the public sector’s own objectives but also potentially have a direct and positive impact on the entire business ecosystem in Ireland. The list below sets out some of the roles Enterprise Ireland can play in helping your organisation develop its procurement strategy. We would be delighted to discuss these in more detail with you.

What Enterprise Ireland can do for you: n Access to innovative SME and solutions n Connection to emerging innovations and pre-commercial procurement n Develop collaborative groups and clusters n Connecting to third level and applied research n Experience in major R&D and EU funding programmes n Connecting internationally to like minded organisations and centres of excellence

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Display Solutions Data Display shows the way with its electronic Parking Guidance System In today’s hectic environment, information flow is vital and, from its base in Clare, Data Display helps millions of people worldwide to know when their train is due; when their flight departs; or if roadworks will delay their journey. For over three decades, Data Display has been setting standards for the design and manufacture of high-quality electronic information systems. Our products are supplied to market leaders across many market sectors, earning a reputation for excellence in quality and service. In September this year, Limerick City Council contracted Data Display to supply and install 10 Urban Variable Message Signs (VMS) at various locations throughout Limerick City, in addition to the supply and installation of a Parking Guidance System (PGS) incorporating 26 signs showing information relevant to 12 city-centre car parks. The VMS project forms part of a call-off contract arising from an ongoing Framework Agreement between Data Display and the NRA which has already seen Data Display supply a total of 40 VMS for Dublin’s M50, as well as the impending installation of a further 20 signs. The Parking Guidance signs – installed ahead of key intersections within the city centre - enable Limerick City Council to display real-time information occupancy relating to the car parks, while the Variable Message signs – located on strategic routes into the city – display general and specific parking-related information as well as strategic messaging. Communication with the signs is facilitated by Data Display’s Parking Guidance Management System (PGMS), installed in the Limerick City Council offices and accessed via an internet browser behind the LCC firewall. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) includes a map of the city with icons indicating the location of each sign and car park. The system utilises Data Display’s diagnostics and monitoring facility which monitors the condition of all elements of each sign. If an issue occurs, the relevant icon on the GUI shows a red X and the user may then interrogate the system to assist the resolution of that issue. The car park signs use a combination of 3G and GPRS to interface with the PGMS in the LCC offices. Interventions for the prevention of road traffic accidents are vital in order to maintain a high level of road safety. School advance warning signs, located where a reduced speed limit is critical at certain times of the day, are an important element of Irish road safety and, with this in mind, the NRA has contracted Data

Display to supply a total of 120 School Warning Signs throughout the country. The signs communicate with the NRA’s central ATMS system and any faults are reported via GPRS. 60 of the signs are solar-powered to provide a low-cost, environmentallyfriendly solution, while 40 of the mains-powered signs are fitted with radars to facilitate the collection of traffic-counting data which is sent to the central ATMS for correlation. In addition to the School Warning Signs, Data Display has also been contracted by the NRA, under the terms of the Framework Agreement, to supply ‘Ghost Driver’ signs to warn drivers who may be about to inadvertently enter a motorway and drive in the wrong direction. The signs are powered by solar panels and have a radar fitted which is triggered when a car passes in the wrong direction, causing the sign to flash and warn the driver. The radar also sends a report of the occurrence back to the NRA, providing them with vital roadsafety data. For more information on Data Display Ltd and our products, call 0657072600 or visit

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Make a Bid A survey among smaller firms reveals a high level of dissatisfaction with the public procurement process

Patricia Callan, Director, Small Firms Association

The Small Firms Association has stepped up its criticism of the Government’s procurement policy following a survey carried out among 649 of its members which found that almost two thirds have never tendered to provide goods or services to the public sector, local government or state agencies in the last three years. This is a significant lost opportunity for small companies in a market that is worth 14 billion or 11.5% or GNP, an in particular for exporters, where an Irish public sector reference is often a key factor in winning contracts abroad. The Director of the Small Firms Association Patricia Callan has urged the Government to overhaul its procurement practices which she says prevents many small firms from winning valuable public contracts. “Allowing small Irish companies easier access to business opportunities through public procurement, enables them to increase their competitiveness and consequently contribute to job maintenance and growth and the overall economy,” she said. Callan said that Government policy on the need to save money in public procurement is working completely at odds with its enterprise support and job creation agenda. “In its pursuit of the cheapest price the Government is neglecting the fact that this will not deliver either the quality, cost in use savings or service levels it desires, but will result in lost jobs here at home. The new rules make it increasingly difficult for small innovative companies to compete and this means a serious potential loss of business,” she said. 82% of those companies who had tendered found the emphasis on price rather than value for money to be either a major or minor difficulty while 71% found the reduction in government expenditure generally to be difficult.

Callan urged the Government to publish data on the value and volume of contracts awarded to Irish companies versus overseas competitors and also to establish information on the size of the companies being awarded contracts. She said the results should be benchmarked against international comparisons and appropriate targets should be established for procurers in Ireland which should form part of each Department’s performance review. The high level of bureaucracy associated with public procurement practices was also criticised by Callan after 70% of respondents to the survey said the length of the procurement process was problematic. The cost of the public procurement process was also a difficulty according to 67% of respondents. “For example, at the outset, tender documents can be lengthy with unnecessary information being sought and no recognition given to the SME environment which has limited resources available. Tenders often require extensive financial and technical information which SME’s cannot fulfill as they may not have the in-house expertise and as a result the costs of preparing a submission are excessive. We should move to the UK pre-qualification method immediately to remove these costs,” she said. Among a number of recommendations proposed by the SFA is an advanced education and training programme for both buyers and suppliers in the procurement chain. “Training for contracting authorities should encourage them to understand and adapt to SME needs while SME’s need to be supported to develop the knowledge and skills needed to allow them participate successfully in modern procurement practices,” said Callan. Other recommendations include establishing a full appeals mechanism which would include mandatory feedback on all lost tenders, greater scrutiny and transparency throughout the system, an internal appeals procedure in each department and the opportunity to appeal to an Ombudsman.

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Dispute Resolution The Irish Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators provides a guide to Alternative Dispute Resolution.

All too often and too quickly citizens and organisations in this country refer their conflict to the Court system where substantial cost’s are incurred long before the issue to be settled is heard by a Judge. When considering this article and where I would commence, I was drawn to that philosophical quotation from René Descartes “I think, therefore I am”. And in moving it on a little further, into the plural and, in taking some license with it, I wondered if I could rewrite it and say We think therefore, We are – different. Essentially, the differences; in opinion, perception, interpretation, values, needs and wants, is the stuff of conflict. Conflict is by its nature, a natural and neutral dynamic within the discourse of Human living. The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators - Irish Branch (CIArb –Irish Branch) has worked positively with conflict for almost one hundred years. Our core business is the settlement of disputes through arbitration, mediation, facilitation, adjudication and conciliation. Essentially our members provide a professional competence and high professional standards in a variety of areas currently described as Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms. The differences between the various methodologies described above are noteworthy. In arbitration, for example, the parties submit their problem or issue to be resolved to a 3rd party, who is deemed to be fair, neutral and competent to make a decision with regard to a finding and an award. However, in mediation the process is somewhat different and the parties are supported by an independent neutral 3rd party to find a solution to their conflict or issues, and therefore facilitated to reach an agreement. A mediator has absolutely no authority to impose a solution or make suggestions as to what an appropriate outcome would look like. The mediator is charged with the responsibility for providing a safe, civilised process in which parties are assisted to arrive at a conclusion, one that in so far as possible meets their collective needs and interests. Conciliation is in many respects a hybrid of mediation and negotiation. To a very large extent a conciliator will initially commence with a mediation process and will try to facilitate the parties to reach a satisfactory conclusion. However, if it


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is apparent to the conciliator that after giving the mediation process ample and reasonable opportunity to be successful that in that regard the conciliator will then move on by agreement to make a recommendation as a means of resolving the difficulty. Facilitation on the other hand is where; a competent neutral 3rd Party will assist other parties to have meaningful discussions and collaboration in order that an acceptable consensus emerges as a result of this type of intervention. Adjudication on the other hand is where we submit our issues of conflict to a competent third party natural to make a balanced decision on the right’s and wrongs of the issue CIArb –Irish Branch, has engaged with and provided all of the above interventions as a form and means of Alternative Dispute Resolution for many years in this country. The term “Alternative” is simple meant to distinguish the types of interventions described above including Court and legal lead processes. Court lead processes such as litigation are highly appropriate and often the only means of achieving a satisfactory outcome to particular issues and conflicts. And when we use the term Alternative Dispute Resolution we simply mean that there are circumstances when some of the Alternative Dispute Resolution interventions as described above are more sensible and more appropriate than the court lead interventions. As an Institution we would see court lead processes as integral part of the overall dispute resolution interventions available to individual citizens and various corporate sectors. The key challenge we are faced with when considering how best to deal with some aspects of conflict is to sensibly choose which of the above interventions as the most appropriate in a given set of circumstances. One of the key aims of the CIArb –Irish Branch is to assist individuals, organisations and various sectors choose the most appropriate intervention for them under whatever circumstances they find themselves in at the time.

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The Cost Conflict In Ireland today, most of us are painfully aware of the cost of conflict and the cost of unresolved conflict. All too often and too quickly citizens and organisations in this country refer their conflict to the Court system where substantial cost’s are incurred long before the issue to be settled is heard by a Judge. It is important that we point out and as we have said before there are many circumstances when the only sensible means of resolving the conflict is through the courts. However, there are many occasions when conflict could and should be dealt with by competent mediators who can work for a fraction of the cost of settling matters in the court system. The CIArb –Irish Branch can offer individual mediators or a panel of mediators suitable to mediate most types of conflict at a fraction of what it would cost compared with court lead processes. Having said that, it is also important to say that some of the best mediators in this country are in fact practicing lawyers and barristers. However, and by the same token, there are many competent, qualified and accredited mediators assisting parties to achieve incredible results and where they do not necessarily have a background in the provision of legal services. In many respects, it is horses for courses. Parties considering mediation should take sound advice on the type of mediation they wish to engage in.

Styles of Mediation A part from the types of mediation which we will refer to later, Mediators can often be known for their particular style. For example, the key styles practiced by most mediators in this country fall under the following 4 categories; n Facilitative Mediation; is by in large the more popular style, in that, the mediator facilitates the parties to arrive at solutions that meet their needs and in that respect the mediator helps create a sustained win-win environment. n Directive Mediation; is a style where the mediator gently pushes the parties towards a range of possible outcomes and this is particularly so in the area of resource based mediation. For example, mediation where goods, property or financial consideration is part of the outcome. n Evaluative Mediation; speaks to that whole area of assisting the parties to evaluate their circumstances and where there is an expectation that the mediator may demonstrate some sector knowledge or particular competence related to the issue or the environment in which the mediation is taking place. n Transformational Mediation; essentially this style is one where the mediator leads the parties to outcomes or solutions that when implemented or engaged with transforms the relationship into something hopefully better than it was prior to the issue of conflict in the first place.

Types of Mediation Having discussed styles of mediation above, it is important to point out that mediation is conducted across a variety of sectors some of which include the following; n Commercial & Corporate Mediation n Workplace/ Employment Mediation n Community Mediation

n Family Mediation n Debt Mediation n Elder Mediation …To name but a few… In all of the above areas, there is substantial amount of experience, competence and evidence of excellent track records available from within the membership of the CIArb - Irish Branch. Part of our vision and mission is to proclaim this and to make it known to the Irish Public and the many sectors in which they engage with.

CIArb and the Public Sector We live through changing and uncertain times and one of the things we can be certain about is that occasions and reasons for conflict are on the rise. This fact is in evidence across all sectors of Irish life and none more notable than in Public Sector life, where substantial changes in an organisational and in an individual context are happening day after day in multiples unimagined before. The sacred cows of employment conditions, job security, rewards and benefits are continuously being lead to the slaughter houses of survival and efficiency. It is critical within this context that CIArb –Irish Branch remain available, credible and competent to assist in the resolution of such difficulties on a National scale.

The Public Sector and conflict with its Stakeholder’s More and more, Public Sector organisations, for example; Local Authority, Town Councils etc. are embroiled in varying levels of conflict with local citizen’s and multiples of stakeholder’s. CIArb wants to encourage conflicting parties within this environment to consider the competence and expertise available through mediation, facilitation and conciliation. The demand for creative solutions grows more and more urgent; time has run out on indifference and inertia.

Our Broader Membership CIArb –Irish Branch is part of a worldwide organisation offering a range of alternative dispute resolution to an exceptionally high standard. The Irish Branch of CIArb is a vibrant body made up of a membership in the region of 480 members. This includes a young and vibrant young members section which recently engaged in and completed an excellent young members conference attended by many delegates from around the world. We encourage you to contact CIArb with regard to you ADR needs in the future. We can assist you establish panels of mediators available to meet your needs at cost effective rates. We are more than happy to discuss your needs and offer creative worth while methodologies around Alternative Dispute Resolution for you. For further information contact CIArb; Kate O’Shee, Office Administrator, CIArb – Irish Branch, Merchants House 27-30 Merchants Quay Dublin 8. Telephone + 353 1 707 9739 Email Web

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Public Sector News

The Right Balance A Guide to Living Well, Working Well, Achieving More by Kevin Friery, Right Management

An engaged, happy employee is the most important asset for any employer Longer working hours and stress have become one of the great inflictions of life in the modern, developed world. Overwork, stress and burn-out are all contributing to an explosion of lifestyle illnesses. Whilst technology was supposed to make our lives easier, we seem to be under even greater pressure at work and have even less time for the rest of our life. Add to the mix major change, risk of job loss, increasing demands for greater productivity with fewer resources and it is not surprising that we see on the increase in stress-related problems and mental illness. At an organisational level the strain is also showing. As businesses across the globe face the challenges of the current economic reality, the management of costs has become a priority. Almost inevitably one of the first questions that organisations are asking is: “What are we paying for that doesn’t contribute to our performance?” – and the first port of call is staff absence. In Ireland the figures are worrying – some organisations are finding that as many as 10% of their employees are absent on any day – and this is clearly a situation that cannot be sustained. Data from the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, drawn from latest available whole year figures in the public sector, adds more focus to this because in fact it seems that absence varies according to the day of the week:


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It would be a mistake to attempt to define the complex features that underlie absence within a brief summary but one thing we do know is that sickness absence often has little to do with sickness in its normal medical sense but is more closely related to psychosocial factors that impact negatively on a sense of wellness. There is nothing organic that makes Mondays more disease-prone than Fridays but there are a number of cognitive and social factors that make people respond differently at different times, and this means that although the initial questions about absence stem from a financial and resourcing problem, the response lies squarely in the wellness arena. People need to feel that they are living well, working well and achieving as much as they can. A lack in any of these areas has an impact across the three, leading to a lower sense of wellness and a higher risk of negative outcomes, yet many employers do not yet engage fully with the link between this and productivity; an engaged, happy employee is the most important asset for any employer. With that as background, Right Management set out to examine exactly what employers could do to change the picture. We see five fundamental pillars or steps that are necessary to design, build, implement, measure, and sustain an effective wellness strategy.

Public Sector News

The impact on productivity has been measured and shown to improve by those employees that make positive lifestyle changes and improve their wellbeing scores

Creating the vision Vision and engagement starts from the top. Any strategy to improve employee wellness status must have the support from senior management in any organisation, public, private or voluntary sector to work together to define a clear vision of a healthy and productive workplace and workforce.

Align the workplace to the vision As is often the case, HR teams are responsible for health, benefits, job skills, compensation, motivation, recruitment and talent management. This is a critical stakeholder group in aligning all the policies and procedures so that they encourage employees to stay fit and healthy and provide clear guidance and support for those people who need it.

Engaging the workforce The third step in developing a wellness strategy is to recognise and address any risk factors that may be present. One way of achieving this is to survey the workforce. This allows the individual to understand their own wellness status and puts them in charge of improving or maintaining their own health and wellbeing whilst also providing excellent benchmarking for the organisation.

Reinforce the culture of wellness All of the results that are collated within any management information should then drive the strategy for your workforce so that it isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ project, but a very unique strategy for your people. And this is a crucial point to pick up on. Our experience shows that when a wellbeing strategy is viewed as ‘off the shelf’ the buy-in from employees can be low. When it is viewed as bespoke and communicated as such, a culture of wellness is easier to embed.

Measurement Measurement really is the key to any success. Wellness is part of an organisation’s strategic approach to workforce management, performance and delivery and, as with any investment, thrives better when it is measured, benchmarked and evaluated to demonstrate the return on investment.

Right Management Workplace Wellness believes that there are four main benefits of a clearly defined and strategic wellbeing strategy. The organisation benefits by having a clear strategy that seeks to target the health risks reported as being the greatest and most immediate need. This not only supports those that need it, but also seeks to keep your healthy employees ‘well’. The impact on absence, retention and productivity can be monitored with clear ROI. A wellbeing strategy that is properly communicated to employees can also be a driver of organisational engagement and help to position you as an employer of choice. An engaged, motivated workforce with strong mental resilience can be achieved if the culture of wellbeing is consistent through the organisation. The impact on productivity has been measured and shown to improve by those employees that make positive lifestyle changes and improve their wellbeing scores. Not only is this an increase in productivity driven by the reduction in absence, but also by more productive employees who are in work, or to put it another way, a reduction in presenteeism. All of which, during an economic downturn drives talent retention, keeping motivated leaders who embrace organisational values; Improves communication across the organisation; Shapes values and objectives aligned to people and demonstrates corporate commitment to employee wellbeing and Corporate Social Responsibility. Kevin Friery is Clinical Director, Right Management Wellness. For further information contact Kevin at

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Public Sector News

Productivity improvement Elaine Daly, Grant Thornton offers advice on maximising productivity in challenging circumstances.

The key step in productivity improvement includes ensuring a clear understanding of the organisation’s future strategic direction

Introduction Over time, an organisation faces many changes, including those caused by external and internal forces. For example this includes external changes such as economic recession/growth, regulatory changes, competitive changes, and new technologies and services. Internal changes relate to the evolution growth of the organisation, new service lines, new skills, and employee turnover. At the same time senior management continue to come under pressure to cut costs, identify growth opportunities and drive profitability/shareholder returns. Essentially, for organisations to improve their performance and grow, they need to become: n more effective (ensure they achieve their goals); n more efficient (do this faster than before through improved operations); and n more economic (keep costs to a minimum and make the best use of resources).


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As such productivity improvement is a complex process of manipulating a variety of business drivers including organisation re-structuring, strategic planning, operational efficiency, business process reviews, employee training and management and performance measurement.

Organisational structures Organisational structure goes hand in hand with corporate governance as a ‘critical enabler’ for organisations to meet their strategic goals or to improve productivity. This is achieved by ensuring that the structures of the organisation are the most appropriate and responsive to meet current and future needs and to achieve the effective integration across all of the services offered. Organisational structure is first and foremost driven by strategy so it is important as a starting point to fully understand the organisation’s strategy and business direction. Detailed

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analysis is also necessary to determine the optimum make up of teams (skills and responsibilities) and allocation of work between teams (product / service focussed or market focussed) depending on the particular business sector.

Strategic direction The key step in productivity improvement includes ensuring a clear understanding of the organisation’s future strategic direction. This involves reviewing the organisation’s capabilities, including its historical performance, its existing strategy and goals and key challenges in its business and external environment. This analysis is then used to evaluate the current strategic direction and the financial, operational and other risks associated with it, to ensure the organisation is moving in the right direction.

Operational efficiency While businesses are used to identifying areas of high cost, it is equally important to examine the structure of the cost base (balance between fixed and variable, operational versus corporate overhead etc.) and trends in the cost base over time. Sustainable cost reduction generally involves more than one solution and as such can include a combination of incremental changes such as cross department or product changes, service or project elimination ideas, and / or downsizing. Examples of incremental changes include: n consolidation of activities; n redesign of reporting; n elimination of duplicated analysis; n co-ordination of parallel activities; and n consolidation or elimination of low value activities.

Business processes Business process reviews improve performance by identifying inefficiencies in existing operational processes and recommending improvements to complete activities more efficiently. This involves looking in detail at the organisation’s existing processes, highlighting key issues and identifying potential solutions through the use of best practice data in relation to comparable organisations/benchmark data. This will ensure that the organisation’s processes are reflective of the current business requirements which will ultimately increase efficiency and resultant capacity, decrease operating costs and improve service delivery.

Employees training and management It is generally accepted that the more effective the management and training structures, put in place for employees, the more productively they can work. Even if an employee has worked in the same industry before joining the specific organisation there may still be gaps in their knowledge of the products and equipment being used by the new organisation. As performance improvement initiatives go, investing in staff knowledge and training is something that can really pay off. With regard to management, establishing good feedback

channels (i.e. structured quarterly and annual performance appraisal processes and good reporting relationships) whereby employees receive feedback on any areas for improvement will also significantly affect employee dedication, loyalty and desire to work. This is in addition to basic financial rewards, the Elaine Daly benefits of which can be fleeting with regard to motivation.

Performance measurement Finally, to ensure its business is performing at its peak, organisations need to have access to the right information and measures to help accurately understand the state of the business. This is achieved through the development of effective performance management frameworks, processes and culture, based on a system of key business goals and related metrics. These can be used by an organisation to evaluate, monitor and modify its business activities in order to reach its key objectives. A key point to note here is that focusing solely on financial performance data can result in organisations misunderstanding the underlying business drivers that determine long-term performance. It is important therefore to develop a high-level “dashboard” of performance indicators/metrics which include operational as well as traditional financial indicators.

Conclusion In conclusion, improving productivity is a complex process of manipulating each of the above business drivers on a continuous basis. The result is a solution that will enhance the long-term competitive advantage of the organisation by improving efficiencies, taking advantage of new approaches to working, changing the skills of the workforce or restructuring the organisation. It is important that solutions do not impact negatively on the performance of the organisation therefore a key focus is on ensuring that any changes made relate to the right level and type of activities and overheads.

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Public Sector News

Poor Perceptions Irish citizens have a poor opinion of the quality of public services in Ireland according to the ESRI.

A major study from the ESRI notes that despite the huge increase in spending on health, education and pensions which occurred between 2003 and 2007, the perception of the quality of public service still remains low in Ireland relative to other European countries and the public do not feel that services had substantially improved. During this period expenditure on public services increased by a staggering €6 billion but the ‘Quality of Public Services: Irish Public Perceptions and Implications for Renewal’ report found there was a “disappointing lack” of perceived improvements. The report suggests that this “may partly be due to rising expectations in the context of the extended period of eco nomic growth in Ireland”. The data used in the analysis came from the European Quality of Life Survey, which covered 31 countries and was carried out in 2007. It was compared with the same responses gathered four years earlier from 1,000 individuals. Each respondent was asked to rate on a 10-point scale the quality of five public services -- health, education, pensions, public transport, and care for older adults. The study found that Irish people rated the delivery of three out of the five public services as being below the European average. These were health services (4.9 compared with an average of 6.6), public transport (5.7 compared with 6.5) and elderly services (5.6 compared with 5.9). Delivering the state pension was slightly above the average (5.7 compared with 5.5), while education scored highest (7.3 compared with 6.7). The least well-off give the lowest-quality ratings to Ireland’s public services, in four of the five areas surveyed with


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education being the exception. The ESRI warned that the fact that ‘economically vulnerable’ people were more likely to believe that public services were not working for them was “disturbing” given that they were the most reliant on the State to deliver essential services. People classified as economically vulnerable gave lower ratings to all services except education. This was the case even after the ESRI allowed for some factors including difficulties in accessing health care, lack of public transport and the tendency to give generally negative ratings. “The Government commitment to ‘customer focus’ needs to be given real content by involving the public, especially the least well-off, in the design of public services and in monitoring quality,” study author Dr Dorothy Watson said. “International research shows that delivering good-quality public services is as much about how the service is designed and delivered as it is about the amount spent.” Compared with 2003 results, the perceived quality of the education system increased from 6.9 to 7.3. But there was a decline in the health service (5.3 to 4.9) and of the pensions system (6.1 to 5.7). The lower results came despite a huge increase in public spending over the period. The pensions bill rose from €3bn to €4bn between 2003 and 2007, while spending also increased on education (€7bn to almost €9bn) and health (€11bn to almost €14bn). The report acknowledges the challenges of maintaining and improving the quality of public services in the context of reduced Government revenues and greater demands on services in recessionary times. It points out, however, that according to the international evidence “spending on services and measures of quality are rather weak”. The paper concludes that “how the service is delivered is as important as how much is spent”. This is particularly the case with education, according to the study. “There is no clear link between spending on education and the measured performance of pupils: Finland, Austria and Portugal spend roughly the same share of GDP on education, but pupil performance at age 15 is very different.” Some recommendations suggested by the ESRI include carrying out regular customer service surveys, compiling performance indicators to see how service delivery has improved and better communication between customers and state agencies.

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Public Sector News

Model Solutions Tight budgets, an aging population: where to turn next? As actuarial advisors to the Department of Health for the past three years, Milliman understands the specific challenges of the health market in Ireland.

Across the globe, governments continue to face the challenge of balancing shrinking national budgets with growing pensions and health burdens. These pressures are converging just as demographic changes and rising consumer expectations increase the demand for benefits and services. One often touted solution is to achieve a new level of efficiency, but making this efficiency reality requires a sophisticated approach to managing the risks and pressures that the public sector faces.The approach calls for independent thought and deep analytical skills based on actuarial and risk management expertise, which Milliman has developed over the past 65 years. As a way to help public sector managers understand the impact of emerging trends, Milliman’s core actuarial skills focus on modelling the interdependencies of a range of moving and interacting financial, economic and demographic factors. These sophisticated models are supported by hands on experience, judicially-applied pragmatism and clearly focused communication of results. Milliman’s work on clients’ complex problems in both the private and public sector has delivered solutions that clients can implement effectively.

a wide range of public services from health care to pensions and other social services. Indeed, Europe’s ageing populations will continue to impose challenges on policymakers long after the immediate budgetary pressures are a distant memory. Within this context, the greatest challenge for public policymakers is likely to center on understanding what impact today’s budgeting decisions and resource reallocations will have on pension, healthcare and social protection policies in the future.

Older and more expensive populations

Difficult questions

While current budgets cuts are testing the mettle of many departments, they, in fact, herald a larger and longer-term issue: the ageing of populations in developed economies. In the years ahead, the demographic shift will place increasing demands on

Public policymakers will be confronted with questions such as: How should medical resources be allocated? What accounts for large cost variations among hospitals given similar profiles? Is the disparity warranted? What tests actually deliver results and improve outcomes?


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Healthcare challenges A core challenge facing healthcare policy makers is the ability to provide quality health services not only as the population ages but as patient expectations about early intervention and new medical technology rise. In addition to funding health care, the role of public health services will likely expand to include wider responsibilities in determining effective care, and promoting systems that maximise the health outcome from available resources. The focus of responsibility will, by financial necessity, expand to include identifying those services that are truly effective.

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The difficulty in assessing the efficiency of health services is probably no more apparent than in the hospital sector, where costs can vary widely because of patient demographics and the mix of services provided among other factors. One facility may appear to be inefficient, but how do you know whether the comparison is fair? Milliman has developed a number of tools to assist healthcare policymakers answer these difficult questions across the globe. For example, granular information developed from a benchmarking analysis performed by Milliman consultants allowed a UK-based primary care trust to identify anomalies in admission rates and target specific areas for savings. Benchmarking is a great example of a powerful tool that can support decision making provided it is backed by experience. By understanding the behind-the-scenes cost drivers as Milliman consultants do, policymakers can better anticipate the impact that a redistribution of resources might have on budgets. Using benchmarking techniques, Milliman consultants have also developed: n Comparative analysis of different providers on a like-for-like basis by adjusting for demographics and case-mix severity n Robust statistical modeling that measures the financial success of chronic disease management and identifies flawed programmes n Evidence-based practice guidelines and software that has the ability to track patient progress and outcomes.

Borrowing solutions from other countries As healthcare in Ireland evolves, it is likely that solutions based on best-practices in other countrieswill play an increasingly critical role in the movement from the use of private health facilities to a universal system. Solutions must draw on both home-grown and imported approaches. This will likely mean tapping into global knowledge of selected advisors like Milliman that have been on the ground and advised officials in countries that have undergone big changes, such as the Netherlands where a universal system has already been adopted. Based in major markets worldwide, Milliman can bring together expertise from many countries to assist policymakers as they unravel the complexities and risks inherent in a fluid health environment. But make no mistake: local knowledge is also essential in order to successfully enact change. As actuarial advisors to the Department of Health for the past threeyears, Milliman understands the specific challenges of the health market in Ireland.

Pensions Policy Pension policymakers are faced with many of the same challenges as those of their counterparts in the health sector. Shrinking budgets and an ageing population have jeopardized the sustainability of pension schemes throughout Europe. Moreover, the present pay-as-you-go pension schemes impose the burden of financing the retirement benefits of yesterdays worker on today’s ever-shrinking workforce. The 2010 Green Paper on Pensions projected that there would be less than

Pictured (from left) Senior consultants with Milliman Jim Murphy, Kevin Manning, Dermot Corry and Michael Culligan two people of working age for every pensioner in the country by 2051 compared with over five at present.Pension related spending is projected to increase from current levels of around 5% of GDP to roughly 13% of GDP by 2050. Public pension problems in Ireland could be further compounded by the gross under funding of the private pension system. As workers increasingly begin to draw on poorly funded private pension schemes, some may become insolvent and spark a public outcry for the government to step into the breach.

Modeling a better approach There is no silver bullet that will ease the competing pressures between cash-strapped public budgets and the growing demand for benefits. However, there are modeling techniques that can provide meaningful, objective information that cuts through the debate on the trade-offs of often hotly charged alternatives. Risk-adjusted modeling approaches can give policymakers insight into how pension payments and expected revenue move in tandem over time given certain assumptions about population changes, mortality and financial trends among other factors. As part of the process, policymakers can interactively explore the financial implications of pension decisions from year to year and weigh up the pros and cons of their options. With expertise in modeling both assets and liabilities, Milliman consultants can quantify the potential financial impact of the pension burden as budgets change and can stress model outcomes according to specific circumstances, liability characteristics and financial objectives. Our modelling and analyses have been used to understand the financial implications of pension policy by domestic policymakers in the Department of an Taoiseach, the Pensions Board, the Department of Social Protection, and the comptroller and Auditor General among others and internationally by a number of national and state governments. The right answers for today’s public sector questions from actuarial valuations to cost projections, Milliman’s focus is on providing policymakers with objective, unbiased information that they can use to devise a course of action. This expertise has been used in public financing, social welfare programmes and a range of other public services. Within a staff of more than 2,500 employees in 54 offices worldwide, Milliman has the best-in-class analytical resources and international experience to make a difference in the tough challenges that face public policymakers. For more information please contact or jim.

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Public Sector Health

Regulating Cosmetic Surgery Patients are suffering because of a lack of regulation in cosmetic surgery, says the Hospital Group’s Aisling Holly.

James Reilly, Minister for Health Regulatory reform is something that the Irish people are used to campaigning for. However, the case for action put forward by the Hospital Group, a cosmetic surgery clinic that operates in both the regulated environment of the UK and the non-regulated Irish market, shines a light on a very important and pertinent issue to Irish citizens concerned about the healthcare system or considering elective surgery. Not content to wait for the Department of Health to draft regulation legislation, the Hospital Group has taken it upon itself to see that it meets regulatory standards, says General Manager, Aisling Holly MD. “We are currently the only company working to the UK regulatory standard and we can be confident to say we’re regulated,” she says. “There are a lot of competitors that are not up to standard when it comes to performing surgery. Our clinical protocols ensure that the patient is operated on in a safe environment that is suitable for performing surgery to a high standard. The regulation is there to protect the patient.” Holly also points out that the Hospital Group’s initiative to take on regulation voluntarily can be seen in the amount of cases patients have taken against competitors in the High Court, “sometimes 10 to 15”, compared to the Hospital Group’s one in four years. “We operate in a facility that has been accredited by a UK body called CHKS, an accreditation that gives us and our patients’ piece of mind.” Although past governments have passed over the issue, Holly says she is encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by current Minister for Health, James Reilly. “We’ve been in with Minister Reilly twice since he came to office. We can provide guidance on the issue and seeing as Ireland normally falls in line with the UK in instances like this, we’re willing to support any implementation.”

Mary Harney’s tenure as Minister for Health was a frustrating time for Holly and the Hospital Group she says. “I was a bit aggrieved by Mary Harney. She thought the priority was to regulate sunbeds. We had less engagement with her (than Reilly). We wrote plenty of letters but we obviously weren’t at the top of her agenda.” Holly says she is relieved that there haven’t been more High Court cases as a result of unregulated practitioners working without guidelines. The most dangerous aspect of unregulated clinics is the freedom to cut corners, says Holly. “The price of a breast augmentation has gone down by 50% in the last 18 months, and that’s down to the people that are absolutely desperate for business. Our surgeon is around 24/7 to provide assistance if there is a complication but if someone else can sell a breast augmentation for €2,000 then they have to be cutting the cost somewhere along the way.” Holly says that the most important aspect of surgery, aftercare, is not being provided correctly by the unregulated clinics. “You can go to Belgium to have a gastric band, but then come back and there’s no back-up, no aftercare and no support.” According to Holly, some establishments fly surgeons in from the continent to perform a procedure, but the surgeon departs immediately after the operation, leaving no support for the patient. She says that the key to people understanding the danger that an unregulated industry poses is in education. “If someone decides to have elective surgery, they need to do a thorough check on the company they are having the procedure with – but it’s down to the government to make sure that information on how the industry is regulated is available. Hopefully that will be firmly on the agenda in 2012.”

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Public Sector Health

A Lean Approach There are significant gains to be made from applying ‘lean methods’ to the healthcare industry writes Maeve Fitzpatrick, University College Limerick.

Bolton hospital in the UK realised a reduction in waiting times in the diagnostic stage of a patients journey from 19 weeks to 2 weeks over a 5 month period

Lean tools as a concept, is concerned with making businesses more productive and competitive. The Lean approach involves the systematic elimination of all non-value-adding activities. In other words, Waste. Anything that that is not of benefit to the patient or the organisation, such as duplicating work, excess stock or waiting in critical processes. Application of Lean tools in industry has resulted in significant gains in organisations where the principles have been applied. Some of the more publicised examples include a report from GE as having saved $4.4 Billion over five years, Honeywell as having recognised gains of 1.8 Billion dollars and Ford having realised saving of over $1 Billion. These savings have been realised in varying scales in very different organisations. The question emerges however as to whether it is possible to make the same type and scale of gains in Healthcare organisations as observed in industry? Evidence based results would indicate that these tools, developed in industry can in fact be applied with astonishing results in healthcare. Bolton hospital in the UK realised a reduction in waiting times in the diagnostic stage of a patients journey from 19 weeks to 2 weeks over a 5 month period while Castle Hill endoscopy unit in also the UK have reduced

non urgent waits from 174 days to 45 days in tandem with a reduction in clinic non attendance from 20% down to 4%. The Accident and emergency department in Peterborough ultimately increased patient safety through improved layout of equipment ensuring the same layout as critical care and HDU reducing patient transfer times and staff time wasted looking for equipment and Fairfield general hospital reducedin patient waiting times from 26 to 13 weeks7. Parkridge medical facility, Chattanooga, Tennessee effected a 45% reduction patient turnover times and Intermountain healthcare facility, Utah reduced time to treatment from 4 hours to 12 minutes. Compelling evidence proving that there are significant gains to be made from applying lean methods in the Healthcare industry, not just in efficiency but most critically, in the provision of care and reduction of risk for patients entering the health system. Lean tools provide a systematic and elegant means to assess healthcare processes and support functions. The inherent simplicity in Lean tools is that they are understandable and applicable across all levels of the institution and can be participated in by all. It is to Lean Healthcare that Europe’s Health institutions will need to turn in the coming years to improve both efficiency and standards of patient care.

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Public Sector IT

The Cutting Edge Public Sector Magazine examines some of the latest software technologies working to improve IT infrastructure.

Some of the technologies that we have available to us now do give us the ability to radically change how services are delivered, whether it’s commercial services, like an airline or insurance company, or public services delivered by local government,” says Stephen Moffatt, Technical Sales Manager of IBM Ireland

Since the humble desktop PC became the building block of offices everywhere in the 20th century, keeping them fitted with the latest software has been a constant quandary for businesses and public sector institutions alike. Like a shark that must be continuously on the move to survive, software technology developments are constantly in motion, and it’s vitally important that organisations maintain interest in the latest tools available to them to ensure they deliver the optimum service to stakeholders.

IBM “Some of the technologies that we have available to us now do give us the ability to radically change how services are delivered, whether it’s commercial services, like an airline or insurance

company, or public services delivered by local government,” says Stephen Moffatt, Technical Sales Manager of IBM Ireland. “Some of the newer technologies can genuinely revolutionise how services are delivered making them both cheaper, which is very important, and also giving us the ability to deliver services faster than they’ve been in the past.” Having first established themselves in Ireland in 1956, IBM has consistently been one of the country’s most accomplished providers of advanced information technology, products, services and business consulting expertise. Today, the company is made up of a workforce of over 3,000 employees. IBM’s latest initiatives include business analytics, cloud computing, nextgeneration data centre services and smarter cities technology centre which focuses on integrated infrastructures and beyond.

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As one of the leading companies in helping businesses maintain state-of-the-art IT infrastructure, IBM have a variety of software solutions available to enhance business decision management. “Probably our biggest offering is Cognos,” says Moffatt. “Cognos is our principal platform for business analytics and optimisation. It rebuilds applications for a number of different industries: trading is one, government is another, along with financial services and energy markets.” Cognos is a business analytics and optimisation platform that quickly and easily translates raw data. Leading companies and organisations around the world choose Cognos software to drive better business outcomes. Cognos Business Intelligence software can be used to gain a complete perspective of a business and to understand performance, while Cognos Financial Performance Management to set targets and allocate the resources to achieve them. “Another technology which is perhaps even more interesting for high volume trading platforms is NETEZZA,” says Moffatt. “It’s basically a very fast, high performance enterprise data warehouse that comes in a box: a set of pretuned server and storage capacity and Cognos software built on top of it and catered for the industry. You have that up and running in less than an hour rather than waiting weeks or maybe months to create and begin using a warehouse so it’s quite exciting for us.”

BSS and Microsoft Licensing An example of how an Irish public sector body can improve operations with contemporary technology is offered by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). Recently, the agency sought to update its business infrastructure software. The primary provider of this software to the IAA is Microsoft and the company’s hoped to engage a Microsoft approved large account reseller for the procurement of this software. They envisaged that the software to be procured will include electronic mail, database management, information sharing, server operating systems, desktop operating systems and desktop productivity software. The company awarded this contract was Business and Scientific Services (BSS). BSS was established in 1985 and provides services such as software licensing, hardware sales and systems integration to public sector and corporate accounts. The company specialises in volume licensing and is one of a few IT companies in Ireland accredited by Microsoft as a Large Account Reseller (LAR), Educational Large Account Reseller (EdLAR) and an Enterprise Software Advisor (ESA), which means they are in a position to offer Microsoft volume licensing programs such as Enterprise, Select, Campus and Open to their customers. But what does Microsoft Volume Licensing mean for BSS customers? “Microsoft volume licensing is a simple way to license multiple copies of software,” says Michael Wright, Director of BSS. “Volume licensing programs provide flexible licensing options to corporate customers and other customer types including academic and government customers. Customers who participate in Microsoft’s volume licensing programs will realise better licensing terms, fuller product use rights, savings over full package retail prices and are better able to budget for software acquisitions.”

For customers who need multiple copies of Microsoft software, purchasing licenses through volume licensing is an effective way to reduce the total cost of ownership. By acquiring licenses through volume licensing programs, Stephen Moffatt IBM. the customer is granted permission to legally copy and use multiple copies of the software.  Microsoft provides volume license opportunities through a variety of distribution channels to give customers greater access and choice. These advantages are what appealed to the IAA, according to Wright. “The IAA had a requirement and an intended commitment to enter into volume licensing agreements with multiple vendors of software that they used within the organisation,” he explains. “BSS tendered and subsequently was awarded the role as volume licensing partner to the IAA and have provided a service to the IAA around volume licensing for various vendors, their products, their use rights, and the different mechanics of licensing correctly for each vendor.”

The concept of SAM Software Asset Management (SAM) is also an integral part of the service offered by BSS. SAM is a business process that enables BSS customers to gain control of their software assets – it is the entire infrastructure and processes necessary for the effective management, control and protection of the software assets within an organisation, throughout all stages of their life cycle. According to Wright, SAM is a critical function of any mid-to-large sized organisation. “The mission of the SAM Engagement Program is to create committed, loyal, and predictable customers who accurately value their software assets and the investments they make in them,” he says. “While the initial valuation of software assets generally begins with a license review, our strategy for SAM is to give customers a head start on building best practices for software asset management and gaining control over their environment. The vision is for all customers to have the methodology they need to optimise their software asset management practices in accordance with their respective financial, operating, and regulatory policies or requirements.” With a reliable partner in place, even substantial organisations can revolutionise their operations if they integrate market-leading technology. In a brave new world of computing, it is imperative for decision-makers in both private enterprise and the public sector to be up to speed with developments, and avoid getting left behind by the pace of progress.

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Public Sector IT

critical connections Making critical connections: predictive analytics in government Improve strategic and tactical decision-making

One of the many challenges facing government and its agencies today is the ability to detect patterns in large, complex datasets while finding critical connections that can bring insightful value to their decision making. A ‘critical connection’ for government can be required in issues such as fraud detection or preventing terrorist activities, where early identification of these ‘potential behaviours that are against the public good’ can then be minimised or even eliminated. Currently, finding connections or patterns on these issues can be time consuming as it often requires accessing information in disparate sources, complex systems or formats; results may also only provide basic information, offering limited analysis for strategic and tactical planning, and delay insight to those who can make decisions and take action on the issues. Using predictive analytics to extract previously unknown connections and discover patterns in data can lead to decision making that is pro-active rather than re-active, resulting in issues that are minimised or even eliminated. However despite the wealth of data and content available today, most decision makers in Ireland are starved for the right


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information and insight. According to recent study of CEO, the majority of respondents of the study indicated that they plan to use sophisticated analytics to uncover correlations among seemingly unrelated pieces of information and find patterns nearly impossible to detect manually. A further fact from the study was that analytics-driven organisations are outperforming their peers by connecting people with trusted information, enabling them to make real-time decisions and act with confidence to deliver better business outcomes, something that can easily be applied to Public Sector bodies. According to Kevin McGowan – Public Sector Lead (IBM Ireland). “We currently live in a society where information growth is going through the roof in terms of its volume, variety and speed and like the private sector governments are struggling to keep pace” In fact McGowan continues that “such is the growth that in the last two years, people and organisations throughout the world have created nearly 90 per cent of the world’s data that is in existence today. Most of the explosion comes from social networking sites and smart mobile phones”

Public Sector IT

Today almost 15 petabytes is generated per day which is equivalent to all of the words spoken by people since the beginning of time. However despite the wealth of data and content available, many leaders are wondering whether they are getting the full value from the huge amounts of information they already have stored within their organisations, information and data that can help them to respond to their organisational demands and meet public expectations. According to IBM, one such way to gain value is to apply analytics to the stored data in order to optimise business performance. In other words applying predictive analytics IBM believe that predictive analytics has a significant role to play in helping government departments make critical connections. Predictive analytics technologies combine advanced analytical techniques with decision-support capabilities. Solutions incorporating predictive analytics enable various types of government organisations to explore data and gain insights that lead to informed decisions. McGowan highlights some of the ways government agencies, both globally and locally, have successfully employed predictive analytics to address challenges with demonstrable result. n Fraud, waste and abuse. A welfare fraud detection office predicts which claims are likely to be fraudulent, so that auditors can concentrate on the right claims and recoup lost revenue more cost effectively. For example New York State Tax department uses IBM predictive analytics solutions and services to decrease the revenue drain caused by questionable refunds by $1.2billion, , with another $400 million reduction projected in savings for 2011, while increasing collections by $100 million. ‘When the issue of cash in/cash out is critical to Ireland’s ability to meet the our commitments it clear to me that predictive analytics should be widely deployed by the Irish Government’ said McGowan n Risk Management. A doctor is able to understand all the clinical information available to ensure the care provided is personalised to the individual and help improve the medical outcome. At the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)in Oshawa, Ontario and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto they monitor premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. The goal is to capture vast amounts of physiological data from premature babies, to leverage these data points for the development of predictive models for the early detection of dangerous infections, and to deploy these models for the real-time analysis of physiological patient data. ‘Applying predictive analytics to disease management and making it available to the primary sector would help make healthcare more sustainable from a funding point of view for the Irish Government’ said McGowan n Public safety and security. Law enforcement agencies look for patterns in criminal behaviour and suspicious activity to deploy resources efficiently. For example The Police Services of Northern Ireland (PSNI) used business analytic software to help to help officers more quickly identify and respond to crime trends, reduce incidents and improve data sharing across its 29 policing areas and 80 stations. This improved insight has helped PSNI to identify and manage crime spots and assisted them with reducing overall recorded

Kevin McGowan IBM Ireland - Public Sector Leader crime rates in Northern Ireland which are now at their lowest level in more than a decade. According to McGowan this solution could help maintain lower crime rates when the number of Garda is to be reduced under current government plans. IBM brings distinct capabilities to unlock the possibilities of using sophisticated analytics to help Irish business grow using its global support of more than 10,000 technical professionals; more than 7,500 dedicated consultants; the largest maths department in private industry; and our new IBM Research and Development – Ireland laboratory that combines our Smarter Cities Technology Centre with additional research missions in risk management, exascale computing, and hybrid systems. IBM is uniquely positioned with an unmatched portfolio to help Irish organisations not only cope with the data deluge, but also gain ‘actionable insights’ into their most strategic asset their business information. “Our business analytics solutions portfolio can deliver essential reporting, analysis, dashboards, and scorecards, with planning, budgeting and forecasting capabilities to help clients make better business decisions” These solutions when combined can provide clear, immediate and actionable insights into a client’s current performance and the ability to predict its future performance outcomes.” For more details on IBM’s business analytic offering, visit

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Institute of International Trade of Ireland Established in 1953 as Educational and Training wing of the Irish Exporters Association. Training Courses and Programmes offered include:  Managing Customs Compliance  Understanding Export/Import Documentation  E-Business  Letters of Credit  Finance of International Trade  Fundamentals of Exporting  Professional Diploma in Global Trade  Diploma and Advanced Diploma in International Trade  DGSA Training  Exam Preparation Courses (CILT)  IMDG Awareness Courses

Proven Results-Long Established-Good Value-High Exam Success Rate IITI 28 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland (0)1 661 9933

Promoting Knowledge and Excellence in International Trade

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Learning a Language Language skills among public sector workers are in demand to meet Ireland’s foreign business requirements. Perhaps the most striking example of the public service using a range of languages every day is the HSE.

As Ireland drives towards an export-led recovery, the need for workers skilled in more than one language is becoming more apparent. Having access to language specialists in areas that deal with foreign bodies or businesses – especially those outside the EU – along with those areas with a high-percentage of foreign workers like the HSE, for example, is particularly important.

Servicing a Changing Population The need for language skills is particularly important when one considers that there are 21 other national languages in the European Union, and hundreds more outside the continent that civil and public servants must correspond with on a regular basis. The requirement for such training is apparent in areas such as Revenue or the Vehicle Registrations Office (VRO), which deals with the tax inquires and import questions of foreign citizens every day. Knowledge of a foreign language is also a major benefit in life outside the public service workplace. Perhaps the most striking example of the public service using a range of languages every day is the HSE. The agency provides information and translation services to non-English speakers via pamphlets and online tools, with services available in French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Polish and even

runs an emergency multilingual aid service. The service was created to “represent the changing demographics of the Irish population” and caters for patients who find themselves suffering in “acute or emergency situations”. The service uses HSE-employed interpreters who are trained in a multitude of languages, from French and Spanish to Arabic and Cantonese. As more public sector bodies seek to emulate the HSE and offer a multi-lingual service, another language (or two) is increasingly valuable. Fortunately, members of the civil service are in the happy position of having access to training in language skills free of charge.

The Civil Service Language Centre The Civil Service Language Centre (CSLC) is the a resource for civil servants that are required to, or feel the need to, upgrade their language skills. It is a part of the Civil Service Training and Development Centre, which in turn is a division of the Department of Finance. Founded over 40 years ago, the CSLC was established to teach French to workers ahead of Ireland’s entrance into the EEC. It has since expanded its range to include German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Russian and Irish Sign Language,

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providing 15-weeks of day and night courses along with workshops to all civil servants, subject to the approval of their Departmental Training Officer or Personnel Officer. It provides translation and advisory services, as well as one-to-one courses for in-demand languages such as Mandarin, Turkish and SerboCroat. A variety of levels – from foundation to advanced – are covered, while numerous links to useful lesson and dictionary websites are also available should a student want to expand their knowledge in their own time. The Ballsbridge-based centre tailors courses to “meet the specific language needs of Irish Civil Servants in the context of Ireland’s role in the European Union and in International Organisations,” according to the CSLC website. The centre’s aim is for students to achieve a high level of competence in their chosen language. It also holds lessons in small classrooms of roughly 12 people, who learn their chosen language through a mix of audio, video and interactive internet programmes. For Ireland’s civil service to be able to access such a centre is important to the future development of Ireland’s trade and foreign relations.

The Need for Knowledge Despite the impressive services that the HSE and the CSLC provide, there is still a lack of multilingual training on a national level. Gerry O’Callaghan, Programme Manager at Institute of International Trade of Ireland (IITI) – the educational wing of the Irish Exporters Association – says that it is essential for workers to be able to procure language skills. Moreover, he argues, the mainstream education system is failing to provide them. “We have a weakness in regard to producing highly educated, skilled people with languages. As a result, companies such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Google are constantly looking and have a major requirement for staff with languages. Our secondary education system and our tertiary education system are not really about language development (and a lot of the work) is left with the individual themselves,” he says. O’Callaghan goes on to point out the correlation between the weakness in science and mathematics take-up and the outsourcing of those potential jobs to more diverse languageorientated countries. Despite the vast majority of secondary school students being taught either French or German, far fewer continue their study into college or university, making the services provided by the CSLC all the more valuable. According to job site, the most sought after languages throughout all sectors in Ireland are German, French and Dutch, with the customer service, sales and IT sector, the most demanding markets. As the public sector continues to cope with shrinking budgets, language skills remain essential to areas such as exports, dealing with routine queries from foreign nationals and in emergency situations. Night training with the CSLC is free and offers benefits that those in other posts would have to pay for themselves. It offers participants the chance to upgrade their skill set and obtain a valuable new qualification. The skills gained through the courses can help improve career prospects, open new doors, and place learners at the heart of Ireland’s recovery ambitions.


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Word Perfect Translations you can trust. Established in 2001 by Olga Shajaku and Jimmy Gashi, Word Perfect Translations provides services in the interpreting and translations market. Since it was founded, the company has enjoyed unprecedented growth. It operates on a 24 hour day basis, 365 days a year meaning that it can provide a translator or interpreter any time, day or night - all year round. Word Perfects achievements have been recognised by a number of awards including; Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist; Emerging Ethnic Entrepreneur of the Year; Young Business Woman of the Year by Image Magazine & Brown Thomas. The public sector is an important market for Word Perfect Translation Services Ltd. and the company’s substantial client base includes a considerable number of public sector bodies. Some of the organisations to which it provides linguistic assistance (translating and interpreting) include: The Courts Service, Hospitals, An Garda Síochána, The Refugee Legal Service, FÁS, The Refugee Appeals Tribunal, The Office of the Refugee Appeals Commissioner, The Probation Services, The Department of Justice, Northern Ireland Regional Supplies Service, Pensions Ombudsman, The Citizens, Information Board, Quinn Direct Insurance and ESB International to name but a few. The quality and professionalism of the service provided by Word Perfect Translation Services has been a key factor in its success and the company is a certified translation provider in accordance with the standards set out in the European Quality standard EN15038:2006. “We were one of the first service providers to achieve EN15038:2006 certification which is the industry standard for translation,” says Jimmy. “Word Perfect Translation Services Ltd. is also an ISO9001-2008 certified company and we were amongst the first language service providers in Ireland to implement fully the ISO9001-2008 quality assurance system. Within the industry, it is estimated that fewer than 5% of firms have this quality system in place. This testifies to our commitment not only to maintain the high standards of our services but to continuously strive to improve them. Word Perfect Translation Services is also a corporate member of the Irish Translators and Interpreters Association (ITIA).” Word Perfect Translation Services Limited has also expanded into the international arena by launching offices in Moscow and Almaty and while Jimmy points out that the immediate objectives is to continue to provide high quality professional and prompt interpretation and translation services to its clients, the company is also looking into other areas of expansion.

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Sandford Language Institute The Sandford Language Institute was established in 1989 and offers evening courses, private and group tuition, corporate tuitions and a comprehensive translation and interpreting service. For companies that recruit multilingual staff, or who need to determine fluency in a foreign language, Sandford Language Institute also offer a language proficiency testing service. This involves an oral and written assessment by a native assessor, which can take place on-site or by telephone interview and email. The Institute is located in the pleasant and tranquil surroundings of Milltown Park, Dublin 6 and the central location of Merrion Square, Dublin 2 and provides language tuition in over 30 languages’ (see below). Their adult group evening courses commence in October, February and June and run for 12/14 weeks. University or college students who require extra help with their language studies are also catered for at the Sandford Language Institute. In addition they provide a popular and highly regarded corporate tuition service and its corporate clients include companies from the Financial Services, IT, Telecommunications, Manufacturing and Civil Service sectors. The course content for all private and corporate language training is customised to the client’s specific requirements and the timetables are flexible. All tutors are native speakers and qualified teachers. For details visit or Tel: 01 2601296

Language’s offered at Sandford Language Institute Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, EFL (English as a Foreign Language), Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Latin, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Thai, Vietnamese. Other languages are also available subject to demand.

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Ireland‘s Leading Provider of Professional Translation and Interpreting Service Telephone 1890 707 707 Email:

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Languages Unlimited Languages unlimited services specialise in in-company language training. All the company’s language trainers are native, qualified and very experienced teachers.

Languages Unlimited was established in 1998 and since its inception has developed a range of linguistic services including crash courses which take place in its premises in Clontarf or in their clients’ offices in addition to private one-to-one or group tuition, certified translations, interpreting services, level testing and voice-overs. These services are currently available in more than 30 languages at all levels, from complete beginners to advanced (C2 level). The success of the company resides in its approach to designing, running and monitoring the language programmes which it provides: n your course is personalised, n its running is flexible, n its monitoring is regular and transparent. Prior to the actual training, they provide you with a free consultancy service including individual needs analyses and assessments of the trainees’ skills and overall level in the target language. This helps them to design tailor-made training programmes that cover the tasks, situations, vocabulary, grammar and topics they need to cover. This information also allows them to group candidates who have the same level and needs if necessary. Throughout the training course they also closely monitor attendance and progress; you receive a monthly spreadsheet including the dates and duration of the lessons as well as the attendance for each class. Over the past 13 years, Languages Unlimited has developed a wide base of clients in the private sector as well as in the public sector in Ireland and Europe both in language training

and translations. For the past 9 years they have been awarded the contract to provide language training to the staff of the European Commission Food & Veterinary Office. As a result of this collaboration, their tests of competence have been recognised by the European Personnel Selection Office. Since then they have also been awarded with the contract to provide the same services to the European Foundation for the Improvement of Life and Working Conditions, reinforcing their EPSO recognition. In addition Languages Unlimited also work regularly with the Defence Forces, The Food Safety Authority, The National Food Centre, Bord Bia, the Department of Health and Children, the Equality Authority, the Private Security Authority and many more Irish government bodies. Languages Unlimited are approved by FÁS and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Examinations Board, Universitá per Stranieri Perugia examinations centre for the Italian language as well as a corporate member of the Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association. For further information contact Languages Unlimited: Languages Unlimited Services Ltd 20 B Conquer Hill Road Clontarf, Dublin 3 E-mail: Tel: +353(0)1 853 2955 Fax: +353(0)1 853 2954 Web:

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CORPORATE LANGUAGE TRAINING SPECIALIST SINCE 1998 Languages Unlimited has been involved with various Irish and European authorities for more than a decade. We design, implement and closely monitor language training programmes for professionals. All our tutors are native, qualified and experienced teachers. One-to-one courses and group tuition are available in more than 30 languages at all levels at your office or in our premises in Clontarf. Following our on-going collaboration with European agencies (Food & Veterinary Office and Eurofound), Languages Unlimited has been recognised by the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) since 2006.

We can provide:

• Certified translations (ITIA corporate member) • One-to-one and group tuition in our premises • Crash courses

• In-company language training • Interpreting services • Voice-overs

Languages Unlimited Services Ltd 20 B Conquer Hill Road Clontarf, Dublin 3 Tel: +353(0)1 853 2955 Fax: +353(0)1 853 2954

E-mail: Web:

Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

MSc in Engineering (Environmental/Structural & Geotechnical/Transport) A modular taught MSc course offering specialisations in one of the following three streams: • ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING • STRUCTURAL & GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING • TRANSPORT ENGINEERING

Part-Time Postgraduate Diploma Courses • APPLIED BUILDING REPAIR & CONSERVATION • CONSTRUCTION LAW & CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION • ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING • FIRE SAFETY PRACTICE (Buildings and other Structures) • HEALTH AND SAFETY IN CONSTRUCTION • PROJECT MANAGEMENT These courses are run on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings during the two semesters. Application forms: General enquiries: Ms. Debbie Walsh, Graduate School of Professional Engineering Studies, Trinity College. Tel: 01 896 1007

Research MSc or PhD Opportunities are available for well qualified candidates to undertake full or part-time research leading to an MSc or PhD. General Enquiries: Dr. Laurence Gill. Tel: 01 896 1457

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Continuing Engineering Education and Professional Development for Engineers Dr. Trevor 1.1. Orr, Director of the Graduate School of Professional Engineering Studies, Trinity College, Dublin A t this time of major changes and great financial and employment uncertainty in Ireland, particularly in the construction industry, the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at Trinity College Dublin is making a unique contribution to graduate engineers and society in general by offering a number of continuing engineering education (GEE) and continuing professional development (CPD) postgraduate courses. These include a one-year taught MSc course offering specialisation in one of the following streams: environmental engineering, structural and geotechnical engineering, and transport engineering, with a range of modules focusing on water and environmental engineering, highway and transport engineering, structures and geotechnics, renewable energy, and engineering management. The Department also offers six part-time postgraduate diploma courses covering a number of important areas. These CPD-type courses range from those that are specialized and discipline specific, such as the Applied Building Repair and Conservation,

Construction Law and Contract Administration, Environmental Engineering and Fire Safety Practice courses, to those that are more generic, such as the Health and Safety in Construction and Project Management courses. These courses are CPD approved by Engineers Ireland and rated as 20 CPU days. Due to the high reputation and uniqueness of these courses, the demand for places on them is strong so early application is essential. Applications can be made on-line at: The benefits offered by Trinity College’s CPD courses are the opportunites to: n Gain more specialized knowledge to keep pace with technical developments n Keep abreast of changes in legislation and codes of practice n Receive more qualifications to improve one’s employment opportunities, job security and promotion prospects n Obtain CPD days credit required by Engineers Ireland for Chartered Engineer status.

Education Investment The Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has said that soaring birth rates are putting unprecedented demands on schools following recent birth rate data which show that 19,950 births were registered in the first quarter of 2011. This was an increase of 7.6% in the number of births registered in the corresponding quarter of 2010. The figures, published by the Central Statistics Office, represent the highest number of births registered in any quarter since the series began in 1960. “The demographic challenge facing the education system has not yet been the subject of extensive public discussion,” said the Minister who added that “it is vital that the schooling system is prepared to cope with these increased numbers”. Total enrolment in both primary and post-primary schools is expected to grow by almost 70,000 between now and 2018 - over 45,000 at primary level and 25,000 at post primary  - and will continue to grow up to at least 2024 at post-primary level. The Minister said that his priority is now to focus on major school projects and smaller projects devolved to schools to meet the demographic demands. “The primary aim will be to ensure that every child will have access to a school place,” he said. The Government’s Medium Term Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework includes an allocation for education capital of just over €2.2bn over the five years of the plan - an average annual allocation of just over €440m. The investment for the next five years will provide over 100,000 permanent school places of which over 80,000 will be additional school places - the remainder will be replacement of temporary or unsatisfactory accommodation. This substantial investment will result in over 11% of the total

school population benefiting from new permanent places delivered during the period 2012 to 2016. Given the number of projects to be delivered, the Department of Education and Skills is putting in place enhanced and diverse delivery methods. The third bundle of PPP schools is planned to be completed in 2013 and a further bundle is being developed for completion in 2016. The Minister announced that capital funding is being made available to provide a primary schools minor works grant of €28 million for the current school year. This grant will be paid to schools in the coming weeks. However, he said that given the need to focus on meeting the need for additional school places, it was unlikely that there will be funding available for summer works or minor works in the coming years. Higher education capital investment projects with existing capital commitments in place will be completed. These include the UCD Science Centre, the University of Limerick Medical School, NUI Maynooth’s library project and the new Campus Development at St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.

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Winning Solutions Eurotech Renewables Limited are delighted to have been awarded the inaugural Brecan Mooney domestic geothermal heating installation of the year award 2011, for the innovative geothermal heating system it installed in Sean and Mary McDonald’s home in county Meath, at a prize giving ceremony in Limerick on Saturday 15 October 2011. Geothermal Association

When Joe Clarke walked into the Eurotech office in June 2008 and introduced his friends Sean and Mary McDonald, everybody paid attention. Joe genuflected and requested “will you please look after these people for me, they are extending and renovating a house and would like the heating and hot water taken care of.” Joe said “I will leave you two in good hands” and he said goodbye. Everybody can remember that day. The Eurotech design team set about designing a heating and hot water solution which would deliver the highest


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From left to right: Sean Mc Donald, Mary Mc Donald (home owners), Gerard Duffy (MD Eurotech), Daryl Duffy (Eurotech), John Burgess (ARUP Engineer & Also on judging panel) possible comfort at the lowest running cost. Eurotech believe an important part of a comfortable heating system is the comfort of knowing you can afford to use it. Following on site visits Eurotech suggested geothermal as the energy source to drive the system. This conclusion was based on the geological information available for the

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area and also information from projects completed by Eurotech in the area. Geothermal energy is a renewable form of energy that uses heat stored in the ground to heat or cool buildings. The renovation of the house was also discussed and Sean and Mary took on board Eurotech’s suggestion to completely remove the oil fired boiler heating system. Sean asked if the boiler was worth giving to somebody to reuse as it was cast iron and in very good condition. Gerard from Eurotech said that he wouldn’t inflict it on his worst enemy, since oil or gas boilers are like mobile phones; even if you get them for nothing they are a bill for life and unfortunately one which is increasing at a very fast rate. Insulation was also discussed and Eurotech suggested taking up floors downstairs which were concrete and replacing them with a new Eurofast floor heating system. The first floor timber boards were also removed in favour of fast floor heating between joists over which a new floor board could be laid. This particularly appealed to Mary as she liked that idea of having a polished timber floor in some rooms. Gerard from Eurotech says that the reason the job was such a tremendous success was because the Mc Donald’s placed their trust in the Eurotech team and once it all made sense to them they agreed. The complete system finished off with two Ochsner heat pumps providing heat and hot water to the house. The heat in each room is controlled by EuroSmart Intelligent Control System which uses logic and predictive learning so no heat is wasted and there is no delay time which is often a disadvantage with underfloor heating. Mary was particularly happy to choose Eurofast floor heating as it could respond faster than the radiator system she had already. A single submersed pump was then fitted into the energy well which is used to pump water for the house and also pump energy for the heat pumps. The well pump was set up to modulate as the demand varies depending on what the water is being used for. Eurotech also do the same thing using a modulating fan and split evaporator to capture energy from the atmosphere, another system for which they have won awards and you don’t have to have a bored well to use this system. When all of the site work was complete Eurotech commissioned the fast floor heating system and EuroSmart Controls following which Eurotech’s Ochsner Ireland engineers commissioned the well pump, tecknospeed control unit and the two Ochsner heat pumps. The job didn’t finish there, Sean said he was against using extract fans to dump steam from the bathroom or kitchen as the heat was also being dumped. Eurotech fitted the Ochsner Europa Mini Solar Boiler which collects the steam via a ducted system and separates the heat using it to provide the hot water for the entire house while dumping cold air to the outside at 9˚c. This system really did finish off the job and Eurotech were delighted with Sean’s suggestion.

Just Rewards “Geothermal energy is a renewable form of energy that uses heat stored in the ground to heat or cool buildings. The system

installed in Sean and Mary McDonald’s home by Eurotech Renewables Limited uses an open loop system comprising 2 wells. The standard of installation in this project is exceptional. All heating plant and ground wells are easily accessible for maintenance and observation.” – Geothermal Association When the Geothermal association Chairman Mr. John Burgess of ARUP Consulting Engineers handed the envelope containing the winner to Mrs. Mooney to announce the Brecan Mooney Award Winner there was a hush in the room. Sean and Mary were delighted with the result as was Gerard and Daryl Duffy from Eurotech. This was a reward which recognised the quality and efficiency of a project which was already in place for over two years. Awarding both the home owner and the installer/designer acknowledges that it takes both parties to deliver a great result by great teamwork. Sean and Mary extended their house by 233m² yet they are proud to have reduced the carbon footprint overall by 16,100kgsco2/year from its consumption when using the oil boiler system. “The home owners are delighted with the clean, quiet and effective operation of their geothermal heating system. They are proud to be owners of a system that has low CO2 emissions when compared to conventional systems. Sean and Mary McDonald both feel the comfort levels in this house are dramatically improved compared to pre-renovation standards. The family also feel the system has benefited the family‘s health as the atmosphere in the house is consistently fresh and comfortable.” Geothermal Association Eurotech Renewables Ltd. Are a sustainable heating solutions company focused on the efficient and effective use of Renewable Energy to replace oil and gas. “The home owners are delighted with the clean, quiet and effective operation of their geothermal heating system. They are proud to be owners of a system that has low CO2 emissions when compared to conventional systems. Sean and Mary McDonald both feel the comfort levels in this house are dramatically improved compared to pre-renovation standards. The family also feel the system has benefited the family‘s health as the atmosphere in the house is consistently fresh and comfortable.” Geothermal Association

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Lessons from Priory Hall The Priory Hall debacle and what the construction industry can learn from it.

The Priory Hall calamity has revealed weaknesses in building regulation and standards in Ireland, with many organisations calling for reforms to ensure similar incidents can’t happen again

Last October, 240 residents of Priory Hall, an apartment complex constructed by the Coalport Building Company and located in Donaghmede, North Dublin, were told by the High Court to evacuate their homes after the fire authority revealed serious fire safety concerns about the development. According to the authority, there was a risk that if a fire broke out in one apartment it could spread within minutes to the entire building due to defects in the external walls. Residents, including many with young children, were moved to hotels and other accommodation sourced by Dublin City Council from NAMA and a housing trust. At the time, Fire Officer Donal Casey said the entire external wall of the development would have to be removed to fix the most serious problems and that work would take around a month to complete. However, in early November, President of the High Court, Justice Nicholas Kearns, directed developer Thomas McFeely of Coalport and 21 of his workers to leave Priory Hall after the council sought their removal due to a considerable lack of progress. McFeely denied any breach of court orders concerning the works – the judge, however, said the council could bring committal proceedings. McFeely has since been sentenced to three months in prison and also fined €1 million. He was told by Mr. Justice Kearns that the suffering and disruption caused to the residents of Priory Hall had no parallel in this country in recent times.


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Weakness in regulation The Priory Hall calamity has revealed weaknesses in building regulation and standards in Ireland, with many organisations calling for reforms to ensure similar incidents can’t happen again. “We must not lose sight of the fact that it is the builder who has failed to comply with his obligations and who is ultimately culpable for this,” says John Curtain, President of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland. “Having said that, a system that allows such monumental failure to go unchecked is also at fault. The current certification regime has failed to ensure a satisfactory standard of construction in this case.” According to John Graby, Director of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, the property boom a decade ago led to problems that are now beginning to surface. “Up until about 10 years ago, most people in the construction industry were actually from a building background,” he explains. “They were aware of their responsibilities and they knew about the building regulations. There was a change then. Quite a few people came into the industry because of the boom in property values. The better developers employed contactors to do the development work while architects and engineers were also routinely involved in the process. However, as less experienced developer became involved, they did not want architects and engineers involved at the site inspection stage – that’s where things go wrong. Paul Hackett, Director at John Sisk & Son, agrees that there

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the property boom a decade ago led to problems that are now beginning to surface

are lessons to be learned from the construction industry of the pre-Celtic Tiger era. “I think we have to go back to a system where the local authorities and councils take some responsibility for inspections of critical areas of buildings like they used to do in the eighties when I was starting out,” he says. Back then inspectors had the responsibility for certain stages of the buildings such as checking foundations and checking drainage. It created an environment where non-compliance is not an option.” Analysts were quick to examine building regulation laws to see if weaknesses in guidelines played a part in Priory Hall, but Graby isn’t so sure an overhaul of regulations is necessary. “There’s nothing wrong with the building regulations,” he asserts. “The building regulations are constantly updated but that’s not to say there’s anything particularly wrong with them. They describe in detail what needs to be done in a building.” Instead, Graby believes that more needs to be done to ensure closer inspections of building sites are carried out. “There does need to be a pooling of resources at local authority level to provide some kind of regional inspection service based on existing resources. It’s quite evident that very few inspections have taken place over the last 10 years from local authorities. There’s a target of 12 to 15 per cent, [but] if you ask any architect or engineer when was the last time they saw a building inspector on their site, in most cases I believe they would say never.” Graby also emphasises there should be some kind of random auditing system similar to what happens in other

businesses. “We’ve always used the example of the Revenue Commissioners,” he explains. “If you’re in business you know at some point, maybe every three years or so, that the Revenue will come to your office to carry out a random audit. The same process needs to apply here – some kind of random auditing Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan system that is backed up by decent resources.” Since taking up office last March, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, has signalled that consumer protection in the area of quality construction of new dwellings is one of his top priorities. These intentions have been met with widespread approval. “We welcome Minister Hogan’s recent announcement of his intention to ensure more complete certification and regulation to avoid [an incident like Priory Hall] happening again,” says John Curtain. “There is a fundamental need to enforce building regulations and to ensure correct supervision throughout the construction process.” “Minister Hogan has committed himself to a system of certification on building regulation and he is to be commended for that,” adds John Graby. “However, we need to make sure that we get the right system in place, not just a quick fix. You can never entirely ensure that problems will not happen in the future but the system can help to minimise them.”

Closer scrutiny Also coming under scrutiny has been the licensing system, with a suggestion that a more rigorous licensing system for contractors be introduced. It’s an idea that John Curtain welcomes, but is quick to stress that licensing alone will not be sufficient to prevent a repeat of Priory Hall. “We would be concerned about the length of time it would take and the practicalities of introducing such a system,” he says. “We need this issue resolved immediately and certification and enhanced enforcement will be the quickest mechanism.” At time of writing the Priory Hall residents had still not regained access to their homes. On November 28th around 100 people held a solemn candlelit vigil outside the complex to mark the date that remedial fire safety works were due to be completed. It had been three weeks since Thomas McFeely had been ordered to leave the premises and since then no corrective works have been carried out at the site. McFeely won a reprieve against his three month prison sentence and fine for contempt of court orders and undertakings linked to the failure to complete a schedule of urgent fire safety remedial works at the 187-apartment complex. The case is pending an appeal.

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Certifying Our Industry’s Future Gerry Farrell, Chief Executive, Irish Concrete Federation addresses the issue of standards of building materials employed in the Irish Construction industry.

The Irish Concrete Federation is the national representative organisation for the aggregates and concrete manufacturing industry in Ireland, representing approximately 100 companies involved in the manufacture of building products for supply to Ireland’s construction industry. ICF members include publicly owned companies and privately run businesses which are located in every county in Ireland. In many cases our members have been in operation for a substantial period of time, many for a number of generations, and have successfully evolved with the changing nature and product requirements of the construction industry throughout this time. Our members responded positively to the many challenges placed on it by other stakeholder industries and Government throughout the past twenty years. Indeed it is true that many questioned the ability of our industry to serve the needs of the ever-increasing demand from the construction industry throughout this period. While our industry is unfortunately suffering greatly from the collapse in demand for its products since 2007, it is worth remembering that many of Ireland’s most important economic, social and environmental infrastructural projects were successfully constructed using materials supplied by our members. Throughout recent decades, there has been a consistent improvement in quality standards for construction materials with the introduction and revision of European product standards. ICF and its members have participated on the various expert technical panels set up by the National Standards Authority of Ireland to draft national annexes to these standards. One example of the commitment of ICF to improving the standards in our industry is the development of the national annex to EN 206 and the parallel mandatory third party certification system which was introduced by the Department of Agriculture and Food in order to raise standard


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for concrete for use in agricultural buildings. Throughout 2011, ICF has developed a position on the introduction of mandatory specification and certification of all products produced by the industry to the relevant European standards. ICF feels that this is a particularly timely initiative, given the recent adverse publicity in relation to high profile construction projects which have clearly not met client expectations. While material manufacturers are not builders, their products are an integral part of the construction product chain and therefore certification of these products to the relevant standards can be used to provide greater reassurance to customers, construction professionals and clients alike on the integrity of our industry’s products. European product standards are designed to be used as a rule or a guideline and are developed by bringing together experts, including manufacturers, consumers and regulators of a particular material, product, process or service. After ratification by the European standards body (CEN), each of the national standards bodies adopts the European standard as a national standard and withdraws any existing national standards which conflict with the new European standard. ICF has assisted in the development of Irish National Annexes to European standards through its participation on the National Standards Authority of Ireland’s Concrete Standards Consultative Committee and on the Authority’s Aggregates Panel. The benefits of European standards are many including: n Quality management systems n Documented production control demonstrating conformity with specified requirements n Improved quality and consistency n Traceability n Product assurance

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n Sampling and testing records n Structural assurance n Knowledge, training and experience of staff It is worth noting that relevant standards are referred to in national building regulations and in Eurocodes. ICF is now actively promoting that in the future, all construction materials specified and manufactured for construction projects, must be produced to the relevant European standard. In addition, this must be backed up with the required certification of compliance with these standards to be provided by the manufacturer or supplier on an individual project basis. We believe that this certification of compliance with European product standards could accompany certificates of compliance currently issued by architects and/or engineers as part of the signing-off process for individual projects. It is our view that a requirement for certification of materials and products stating compliance to the relevant European standard, would lead to consistency and conformity in the quality standards of construction materials in Irish construction projects. In December, ICF met with the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland to discuss our proposals with them and we have also held initial exploratory discussions with the Society of Chartered Surveyors and the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland to seek support for this initiative. We will also seek to present our proposals to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan TD, with detailed proposals early in 2012. ICF is convinced that there are benefits to certification of

construction products for all stakeholders involved in the construction chain, including clients, builders, professional architects and engineers, financial institutions, insurance companies, Gerry Farrell, Chief Executive Government and of course manufacturers themselves. The future of the construction material supply industry will be centred on the provision of quality products to a smaller, yet more discerning, marketplace. It is vital that the construction market of the future reward the highest quality manufacturers and suppliers, rather than giving commercial advantage to lower quality alternatives. Given the level of expertise involved in the drafting of European and Irish standards, the requirement for specification and certification to these standards can only serve to act as a “win win� for all of us who depend on the greater construction industry for a living and can assist in ensuring that buildings and indeed all construction projects of the future are constructed using only the highest quality materials.

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SISK GROUP - DEFYING CONVENTION Diversification and internationalisation has enabled SISK Group to manage its way through civil wars, depressions and recessions. Our name is best known for its successful construction business. However the Group has been diversifying since the 1950’s and now includes a growing number of healthcare distribution and manufacturing businesses in Ireland, the UK and Singapore. We travelled abroad in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s to the UK, Africa and Germany. We now have operations in Ireland, the UK, Poland, Belgium and the United Arab Emirates. As a large diverse Irish owned family business, the decision to move into new sectors and new countries has insulated the Group somewhat from the effects of the recession in Ireland. In many countries, in many sectors, SISK Group is displaying the strength, diversity and experience it has built for over a century. In recent years John Sisk & Son has grown further in the UK, helped by skills and experience developed in Ireland. We have been awarded major contracts to build significant pieces of London’s infrastructure. Of these the 2012 Olympic Games Athletes Village and a contract for the Crossrail tunnels are perhaps the highest profile. Add to this significant new road projects in Poland and three contracts to build hospitals and military headquarters in the United Arab Emirates, and you get a picture of a traditional 152 year old Irish family business which has developed steadily into a sophisticated and diverse operation.

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Learning Lessons The developers of Priory Hall displayed recklessness and a complete disregard for the safety of its customers according to Tom Parlon, Director General of the Construction Industry Federation.

The evacuation of residents at Priory Hall is, first and foremost, an indictment of the developers behind the scheme, Coalport Building Company Ltd. The developers, based on the emerging evidence in the case, appear to have displayed utter disregard for the safety of their own customers. This is appalling. Whilst the Priory Hall case is very much the exception, the lessons must be learned and applied, and the legitimate house building industry in Ireland must be protected from this ever happening again. The recklessness evident in this case highlights the need for change in terms of the inspection of buildings as they are being constructed and highlights further the need, first identified by the CIF in 2000 at the Forum for the Construction Industry, for a National Register of Competent Builders. As they are being constructed, buildings should be subject to ongoing inspections by professionally accredited persons. Where breaches, either by the developer or the architect or engineer responsible for ‘signing off’ on the building, are identified, heavy penalties should apply. The Priory Hall case would not have arisen if the former Government had acted on the CIF’s recommendation in 2000, and subsequently, that a National Register of Competent Builders be established to prevent rogue operators entering the industry. Inclusion on such a Register should be based on a company meeting strict criteria in relation to demonstrable building capability, experience, financial robustness, and best-inclass health and safety systems, in addition to meeting all other statutory requirements including tax compliance. Dismissal from the Register would effectively prevent a company from undertaking any further building projects in the State. Concerns have been raised about other developments by Coalport that preceded Priory Hall. A properly working Register would prevent companies from moving from one poorly finished development to another. In making the recommendation in 2000, the CIF expressed its concern that, unregulated, the growth in demand for new houses and apartments would attract individuals and companies with no building experience into the sector, creating the potential for huge problems down the line. As Ireland’s economic boom surged, particularly over the period 2004 to

2007, this is exactly what happened in the property development sector, which attracted unprecedented investment. Despite taking up to 40% of the price of each new house to fund its expansion in current expenditure, the previous Government failed to see the big picture in respect of Ireland’s building industry. It failed to recognise the Tom Parlon, former minister and Director need to protect the General of the construction industry industry against federation the type of scenario that has now emerged and it failed to put in place a plan to ensure a strong, diverse construction sector capable of meeting the growth needs of the Irish economy in a way that maximised its contribution to employment and economic activity, but in a long-term sustainable way. In the case of Priory Hall, the horse has bolted but, in the same way that action has been taken to ensure a viable finance system in Ireland, the new Government should sit down with the industry and look at the range of measures, the big picture, needed to secure the future an indigenous construction sector in Ireland. In every economy in the developed world, construction comprises up to 15% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP); in other words every modern economy has a strong construction sector. Next year, Ireland’s construction industry – which includes the building of roads, schools, hospitals, water treatment plants, home improvements and extensions, offices, industrial units as well as homes – will be amount to less than 5% of GDP. The future of the sector is in real threat. In preventing future Priory Halls, the Government can work with the industry to ensure one capable of again delivering infrastructure programmes such as the Inter-Urban Motorways, buildings such as the Aviva, the National Convention Centre, and the Criminal Courts Complex, and regeneration throughout parts of our city. Tom Parlon is Director General of the Construction Industry Federation, the construction employers’ body.

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Enforcing Regulations Architects call for introduction of system to deliver stronger enforcement of building regulations.

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) has called for the introduction of a system to deliver stronger enforcement of the Building Regulations. The RIAI’s Director, John Graby, said that the Institute has been engaging with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) about strengthening the enforcement system since 2004 including the creation of a National Building Inspectorate, and a defined statutory inspection system by competent professionals. The RIAI is the regulatory and support body for architects in Ireland. John Graby said that the current downturn in the construction industry gives us an opportunity to strengthen and improve our systems so that they are in place when building activity commences again. “The introduction of the Building Regulations in the early 1990s has led to a marked improvement in building standards in Ireland. However, enforcement has always been an issue to ensure that these improvements are as widespread as possible. Unfortunately, the aim of those enforcing the Building Regulations is to inspect 12-15% of all building sites and we have been arguing for sometime that this is simply not sufficient.” Mr Graby said that the RIAI has proposed that a new National Building Inspectorate – which could be staffed by redeployment from existing resources – be part of a stronger enforcement system. However, apart from creating such an Inspectorate, there are a number of possible options to be considered in strengthening our system, John Graby explained:“We could follow some European systems which require full lodgement and approval of all drawings and construction data prior to the commencement of building work and regular inspections while construction is underway. However, for such a system to work, it would require some 1,200 additional local authority staff in place. “Another option would be to require all drawings and construction data – with the design signed off by competent professionals – to be lodged online so that they can be accessed and inspected easily by the National Building Inspectorate. The design team on each project would be required to carry out

routine statutory inspections and tests during the construction phase and on completion to ensure that the building works have been carried out in line with the original drawings. The National Building Inspectorate would carry out targeted inspections – like the Revenue Commissioners or the Health and Director of the RIAI John Graby Safety Authority. Such a system is under discussion with DECLG which would deliver enhanced public safety and consumer protection.” While not commenting on any particular case, John Graby said that in relation to most residential building projects, architects and other design professionals are not involved in the construction stage of the buildings concerned, where the problems happen. “In most residential building projects architects prepare design documentation and specifications for planning permission and fire certificates. This means that they can only give an opinion on the compliance of the buildings with these drawings based on a visual inspection because they are not involved in the construction stage. Clearly this is not sufficient and we believe that design professionals should be actively involved in every stage of the construction process. “Where there is a building contract, where the architect administers the contract and where a site inspection service is provided then the architect’s opinion is given on that basis. Architects, engineers and other design professionals carry the legal responsibility for compliance of their design documentation with the Building Regulations; contractors, sub-contractors and other construction personnel carry the legal responsibility to build in accordance with the Building Regulations.” John Graby concluded by saying that it’s important to bear in mind that no enforcement system can deliver 100% perfect results. However, there is definite scope to build on the improvements that have already been made since the Building Regulations were introduced. The RIAI has issued several key reports on the issue including the 2004 policy statement ‘Strengthening the Enforcement of Building Regulations’and the 2009 Proposal for the Development of the Building Control System in Ireland.

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Building Controls Priory Hall and current Irish building regulations by John Power, Director General, Engineers Ireland.

Priory Hall is just the latest in what could be a long line of disasters to befall the public as a result of the deterioration of the building control system in this country. Ireland used to have a very effective professional building control system in the greater Dublin area for decades. This ended with the introduction of so called ‘self-certification’ in the late 80s and early 90s. The building control sections of Dublin Corporation and Dublin County Council were among the most important sections of both authorities, employing large numbers of engineers, technicians and building inspectors. This system, confined to Dublin, involved mandatory inspections during all stages of construction. Instead of extending this effective system nationwide, the opposite happened, allowing the building industry to self-certify on a national basis. Recent discoveries of pyrite in occupied housing, the poor installation of water service pipes and the generally inadequate standard of heat insulation are other facets of a system that is not up to standard. We have seen the hazards of ‘light touch’ regulation in the banking sector. Such an approach can be fatal when it comes to building controls. Chartered Engineers are uniquely qualified to sign off on any major projects that have a design element in order to protect the general public. In countries like Canada and Australia, a Chartered Engineer is fundamental to ensuring the safety of buildings and construction. This is not the case in Ireland. In the United States, building regulation enforcement involves not just statutory inspections but also registration of building contractors, sub-contractors, architects and engineers involved. What Ireland requires is a building control and enforcement system that obliges developers to statutorily recruit Chartered

Engineers, to signoff on construction projects. The certification initiative within the current legislative framework mooted by Minister Phil Hogan is simply not capable of giving the public the protection it needs. As has been previously articulated by Engineers Ireland, if we had a robust building control system that included a John Power Director General mandatory input from key, registered contributors such as expert engineers, the defects discovered in Priory Hall would have been pinpointed during the construction phase. Ultimately it was a professional engineer, in the role of a Fire Prevention Officer that highlighted in court the fire dangers in the Priory Hall development resulting in the necessity to evacuate. This expertise needs to be part of the building control system at the construction stage, which would avoid great upheaval and suffering for an unsuspecting public further down the line.

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Building Standards High construction standards and customer satisfaction in quality, safety and delivery is not just about money but about attitude writes Paul Hackett, Managing Director of John Sisk & Son in Ireland.

We are hired to deliver projects of exceptional quality - we do not expect our clients to find fault in our work

There is a temptation to conclude that high building standards come at a high price and that in today’s very difficult times, it is a price we cannot afford. If anything the opposite is true. Low building standards come at a high price – ask the former residents of Priory Hall. But standards are not just about price. They are about attitude. In the construction industry there is a tradition that a client or architect inspects a building at the stage known as Practical Completion and identifies and lists “snags” – defects to be rectified. The process is understandable – it is rare to find a complex construction project completed without some minor flaws needing attention. However this betrays a culture and an attitude that flaws are acceptable. At John Sisk & Son we set a target for ourselves of delivering snag free buildings at Practical Completion stage. We are hired to deliver projects of exceptional quality - we do not expect our clients to find fault in our work. We can’t say we achieve a snag free building every time, but by setting this ambition we ensure our standards are constantly improved / raised. We rigorously tease out potential quality risks and then plan, test and inspect at every stage to avoid snags and defects.. The alternative approach – best summed up by the phrase “sure it’ll do” - is what leads to low standards and flawed buildings that must be dealt with by re-work and revisits months or years later. Building excellence is not just about high standards of craftsmanship and materials. It is also about delivering within


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budget and on time. At John Sisk & Son we have always taken pride in the ‘can do’ attitude of our highly skilled staff and our ability to deliver large and demanding projects on programme. More than anything, building standards are about safety. In the past there was a shameful acceptance that a major building project would necessarily involve a number of accidental injuries,(even deaths.) From board level down, we have sought to infuse into our business the conviction that just one injury is a mark of severe failure. We believe that to arrive at work with the possibility of being harmed or injured is wholly unacceptable. It never should have been, and it certainly isn’t today. This belief runs through everything that we do, through every level of our organisation. We set up and manage our sites with the safety of our staff, subcontractors and the public at front of mind. We are striving to build a Sisk safety culture where every person is respected and has the right to go home uninjured each day. You cannot operate in our industry without having the very highest standards of safety in place. But to achieve the highest of goals, you have to be constantly vigilant, keep raising the bar, reviewing your way of doing things. And if you ever reach the stage when you feel confident that you have achieved the “Zero Incidents, Zero Injuries ” objective, that is the time you have to recalibrate your approach and think again. In our industry it is easy to compromise quality or budget to hit a deadline, or worse still to take risks in order to meet your target completion date. When we deliver projects on time, we do not compromise on safety, budget or quality. Whatever our clients’ priorities we set out to deliver building excellence without compromise – in other words, “no nasty surprises”. We call this philosophy – in relation to building standards and safety – our Zero philosophy: Zero Incidents, Zero Injuries, Zero Defects, Zero Snags. There is no higher standard Join us in delivering Zero.

Tel: 0044 2890 849 806 Mob: 0044 7810 525 859

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Doing the business for Dublin Dublin City Council is striving to maintain services despite budgetary pressures.

Despite the fourth year in a row of declining resources Dublin City Council will continue to seek innovative ways to provide the best quality service possible to residents, businesses and visitors to the City, according to City Manager John Tierney. The 2012 City Council Revenue Budget will involve an expenditure of €795m and when Capital Expenditure of €331.8m is added the City Council will spend close to €1.13 billion delivering services and projects in 2012. Among the provisions of the City Council’s Budget for 2012 outlined by Mr. Tierney to elected members at a budget meeting of the city council are: Commercial Rates: In order to support and encourage business in the City management is proposing to reduce the Commercial Rate by 2% below the 2011 level. A rate multiplier of 61.00 is proposed. (The Central Bank forecast for inflation in 2012 is 0.9%, and if the 2% reduction is adopted by Council the reduction in real terms would be 2.9% on the 2011 multiplier.) Housing and Water Services: The 2012-2014 Capital Programme of €897.8million, represents a continuing major investment in the Dublin economy. In 2012 €131.2million will be invested in Housing projects. Water and drainage services projects in 2012 include replacing old water mains, achieving the ultimate capacity at the Ballymore Eustace water production facility, and progressing the proposal to extend and improve capacity at the Ringsend treatment works. Leisure and Recreation: The City Council’s five leisure centres at Ballyfermot, Ballymun, Finglas, Markievicz and Swan Leisure in

Rathmines will maintain their opening hours and the range of classes available for all ages in 2012. Facilities at the three swimming pools at Crumlin, Sean McDermott Street and Coolock will be improved and opening hours maintained. The City Council will be working to attract the maximum number of people to use their excellent leisure facilities, including public libraries and its full range of sports amenities. The Passport for Leisure scheme to encourage older people to keep active will continue in 2012. Roads Maintenance/Improvement: Approx 4 kilometres of new footpaths will be improved in the City at a cost of €2.5million, complementing the extensive roadway resurfacing programme that was carried out in 2011, and involved an expenditure of €18m. Water: The cost of 1,000 litres of water for commercial customers will increase by 10cent, from €1.80 to €1.90 or 0.0019cent per litre. Despite this City Council will continue to subsidise the cost of water by €1million in 2012. The actual cost of providing water is €2.00 for 1000 litres. The cost of water in Dublin is very low in Dublin by comparison with our European counterparts Waste Management: Cost savings of over €60m are expected between 2012 and 2017 due to the outsourcing of waste collection services. This will assist in maintaining the other services of the City Council in future years. “The City Council’s programme of prudent expenditure and continual review of work practices and resource demands will continue in 2012”, the City Manager said. “City Council staff continue to be flexible in adapting to the changing work environment and trying to ensure the maintenance of quality services. The work of every member of staff is of real and tangible value in supporting the economic and social vibrancy of the City.” 810 staff have left Dublin City Council between 2009 and September 2011. A significant number of staff will also leave in 2012. In these circumstances, the City Manager said it is a remarkable achievement to be able to maintain services and keep all facilities open at 2011 levels and the City Council is certainly adapting to do the business for Dublin.

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Emergency Services

Firefighting Charge

Households in Dublin are facing a charge of €500 for fire brigade call-outs following a motion passed by Dublin City Council calling for the introduction of a spate of new charges, including fees for those homes go up in smoke. Dubliners will now have to pay a first hour fee of €500 for domestic fires, €610 for vehicle fires and €610 for chimney fires. There will also be a fire hour charge of €610 for traffic accidents. The changes have been introduced after reports that households throughout the country are refusing to pay council charges for fire fighters putting out fires in their homes. Dublin’s Lord Mayor Andrew

Garda Exodus

Montague blamed insurance companies which he said are charging a levy on households for fire brigades but failing to pass these payments back to the council. He said that the charge that will now be levied against households can be claimed back from the insurance companies. Dublin firefighters are opposed to the new charges and SIPTU sector organiser Owen Reidy said it could make households reluctant to call the emergency services and could endanger lives. “Forcing households to pay for any attendance by a fire brigade at their homes could clearly deter people from calling the fire service and could put the lives of civilians and firefighters at risk,” he said.

Station Closure

The Government looks likely to sanction the closure of as many as 200 rural Gardai Station s while limiting the opening hours of many stations in towns and cities. Justice Minister Alan Shatter is awaiting a report from Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan on rationalising the country’s 700 Garda stations. Local political pressure has previously

Garda REpresentaive president Damien McCarthy The Garda Representative Assocation has responded to statements from The Minister for Justice Alan Shatter concerning revelations that up to 500 Gardai will have retired by the end of 2011 with further departures expected by February 29th, 2012 by calling it a “recipe for disaster.” The figures is double the average annual rate of Gardai retirements and the Garda Representative Association called on the Minister to immediately lift the recruitment embargo on the Garda if a serious policing deficit is to be avoided. Association President Damien McCarthy said the Garda has already lost numbers from its 14,500 peak and that a further depletion in numbers would have a serious impact on policing. He said that maintaining the recruitment moratorium at a time of such large numbers of retirements would cause serious difficulties in future years in addition to the problems which are currently being experienced.

disrupted any attempts to scale back on the number of garda stations but Minister Shatter appears determined to press ahead with cutbacks. 47 stations are operated on a 24 hour a day basis in the Dublin Metropolitan Area to serve a population of 1.5 million. However in Toronto, a city of 2.3 million people, only three stations are kept open after 10pm.

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Blazing a trail Galway-based firm Sidheán Teo are using cutting edge technology to their significant advantage.

Sidheán Teo has been manufacturing and supplying quality Class B fire appliances to authorities in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK since its establishment 12 years ago. The firm was founded after a management buy-out of the fire engine side of IDT and has since become the leading provider of firefighting vehicles and equipment in the Republic of Ireland. The company has grown steadily since it was founded, while capital investment in fire services throughout the country has meant that the company’s role in the industry has taken on a greater significance. It has supplied fire engines and equipment to every authority in Ireland including Northern Ireland and Britian Based in Spiddal, Galway, Sidheán Teo recently completed delivery of its first mid-sized fire engine to the UK authorities, an appliance built onto a Mitsubishi Fuso Canter 7.5 ton chasis for use by the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service. The concept vehicle is being viewed as the next step in firefighting in the south of England, with the vehicle particularly proficient in navigating narrow country and town roads, a feature of the geographic area of the region. Sidheán Teo uses its own in-house manufacturing equipment to build a wide variety of firefighting equipment. It provides a full-time team of mobile technicians on the road who spend time in the factory every year to keep up to date on the latest build and assembly techniques. It uses the Solid Works CAD system to create 3D drawings and models to allow the designers to view a virtual representation of the equipment before construction begins. The programme subsequently allows time for pre-manufacturing changes to design and layout. In all, Sidheán Teo employs 30 fulltime industry staff. A policy of sourcing local materials for manufacturing is strictly adhered to, a measure aimed at keeping Sidheán Teo’s carbon footprint as low as possible. As a result, the company’s business generates €1m for the local economy every year. Sidheán Teo is the Irish agents for internationally recognised Godiva pumps and has exclusive approval for pump training and maintenance. In addition to the approval, all staff are trained for accreditation of AS Ladders and BHW Winches; employees are also skilled in ladder repair. All vehicles and equipment endure a rigorous test performed by staff before being approved for use.

Right now, there are is a variety of vehicle available through the company including Class B, Water Tankers, Emergency Tenders, Mid-Sized vehicles ready for action. Several specialised vehicles are also available including a Land Rover, modified Range Rover, Nissan Nivera, Toyota and an ICU trailer. It also supplies a wide range of rescue equipment, including the Lukas and Hurst brands, as well as providing vehicle mounted pump and portable pump testing, in which all new pumps endure a two-hour test, along with pump service and repair. Sidheán Teo will provide a demonstration of any of its Lukas brand equipment on request. Sidheán Teo also provides services in sheetmetal to a broad spectrum of customers from the medical and healthcare, engineering and construction, automotive, power generation and electrical sectors. It boasts a staff of quality fabricators who use top class welding facilities to manufacture and design the metal to the customer’s specifications. The fabricators use Wicam CNC control software, its CAD design facilities and the network SAGE Manufacturing control system in their operations. Manufacturing equipment includes CNC punching, CNC folding as well as guillotine, spot welding, MIG & TIG welding, Power saws, powder coating, wet painting and galvanising facilities. Products are supplied in Mild steel, Stainless steel, Aluminium, Copper, Plastics, etc

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Public Sector News

Safe Driving Keeping Your Business Moving This Winter!!

Following the severe weather over the last two winters it is now more important than ever to ensure that your business and employees are educated in how to handle these adverse conditions! Here, we provide practical information on how you can continue to operate safely through the harsh months ahead. Nifast, Ireland’s leading Health & Safety Training and Consultancy business, offering Public and In-Company Training Courses, in addition to a broad range of Health & Safety Consultancy and Advanced Driving services, have a proud history of providing best in class service to clients in both private industry and the public sector.


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Remember your tyre grip is divided up into 3 demands – ABS n Acceleration n Braking n Steering Acceleration, (i.e. motion), places a constant demand on tyre grip. Add in steering and more grip is required of the tyres. If brakes are applied then the tyre grip can be compromised. The more demand you ask of one, the less you have available for the other two. Use engine braking to slow the vehicle gradually. That means lift off the accelerator earlier than usual. Change down to a lower gear, but bring the clutch back up slowly. Any sudden or sharp actions will cause the wheels to lose grip.

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Be smooth, think ahead and plan all your actions. Greater levels of observation, anticipation and concentration are required when driving in icy conditions: n On Black Ice there may be a sudden reduction in tyre noise n Check local and national weather forecasts before setting out on a journey n Clear your windows and mirrors completely before you set out, carry a screen scraper and de-icer n Do not use hot water on the windscreen as it can crack the glass n Remove ALL snow from your vehicle before commencing your journey. Snow left on the roof will become loose and can drop onto the windscreen during braking, thereby causing sudden and severe restriction to your vision n Snow can also fall off during your drive and cause injury to pedestrians or a reflex action by another driver n Remember it takes up to 10 times longer to stop in icy conditions than on a dry road n Drive slowly and allow extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front n Use the highest gear possible to reduce wheel spin n Select a low gear when travelling downhill especially through bends n If driving an automatic, familiarise yourself with the Manual Override function. This will allow you manually hold a lower gear, which will assist in slowing the vehicle n Manoeuvre gently, avoid harsh braking and acceleration n To brake on ice or snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, using the clutch smoothly and allow your speed to fall gradually and use the brake pedal very gently n Remember that heavy snowfall and rain reduce visibility. Use dipped headlights and decrease speed smoothly. In blizzard conditions, use fog lights but remember to turn them off when conditions improve n Watch out for black ice, especially in sheltered/shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls n Plan your route. Local / side roads are the most likely to cause problems and will be the most difficult for assistance to get to. Before you set out, consider where there are hills to climb or descend and try to avoid these areas where there is an obvious risk of drivers sliding back. Don’t rely on your satnav. It cannot see! n If you stop to assist another driver, protect yourself first. Wear the hi-vis vest and never assume others can see you or that they can stop! Check tyres, including spare wheel, to ensure minimum tread depth of 1.6mm and correct tyre pressure. Ideally, don’t let your tread depth go below 3mm. In snow / icy conditions, tread depth will be all important. Consider carrying the following as part of your emergency kit: n Hi-Vis vest x 2 (one for a passenger) n Torch and warning triangle or collapsible cone n Booster cables and heavy duty tow rope n Ice scrapper n Electric air compressor (Plugs into the cigar lighter)

A bottle of water and some snack bars A spare warm jacket, hat and gloves Contact number of a recovery service Snow socks and small shovel Always ensure you have plenty of fuel as you may spend several hours in slow moving traffic which will use a lot more fuel than usual. Before the onset of winter, have your vehicle serviced and ask the service engineer to top up the anti-freeze if required. If your journey can be avoided, all the better. Try to rearrange business meetings where possible or hold conference calls as an alternative. As an employer, consider how far your staff have to travel to get home in the evening and what stretches of road they will be on. If they can travel during daylight hours, the risk to them will be reduced. n n n n

Active Safety Systems: Check if your vehicle has any of the following and know how they assist your driving; ABS – Anti Lock Braking System EBD – Electronic Brakeforce Distribution TCS – Traction Control System EBA – Emergency Brake Assist ESP – Electronic Stability Programme All these systems are active and come on once you start the engine. Avoid switching the ESP off unless you have fitted snow chains. While all of these systems are a great safety aid to our driving, they are not a substitute for good driver judgment. Drivers should always remember that they cannot defy the law of physics. If your vehicle begins to skid you should: n Identify the cause – It is either too much braking, too much steering or too much acceleration or a combination of the above n Remove the cause – Gently and Smoothly n If ABS is activated, keep your foot on the brake and steer around whatever caused you to brake n Avoid ‘target fixation’. Look for an escape route such as the hard shoulder or a bus lane n If your vehicle skids and slews sideways -Turn the steering wheel in the same direction as the skid and ease off the accelerator at the same time n Avoid over correction with too much steering n Be ready for a secondary skid n The camber of the road can cause the vehicle to slide to one side. Do not panic. All reactions should be calm Other Advice For more information, please contact Fleet Safety Services, Nifast, 01-895 5755

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Protect Your Property AXA cannot control the weather but can advise you to do some simple things that can avoid serious damage; n Drain your water system if you will be away for a prolonged period of time (and leave a house key with your neighbour, just in case!). n Check that your attic pipes are well insulated and leave the attic door ajar. n Find out where your water stop cock is. In the event of burst pipes, this will enable you to turn off the water immediately and minimize damage. n Programme your central heating system to come on intermittently. n Check for and replace loose roof tiles before they cause damage and injure someone. n Keep gutters, drains and gratings free of leaves and other debris. n If a serious storm is threatening (e.g. affecting water levels) move soft furnishings upstairs. n The thermostat fitted to the central heating system is set to a minimum temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees centrigrade) n And if you do suffer loss or damage to your property ring AXA first on 1890 247365. We have all our tips available at and have regular updates on our twitter page!/AXA_Ireland Paul Moloney, Head of Corporate Affairs at AXA, says poor weather conditions and the decrease in the number of daylight hours usually results in a seasonal lift in home and motor insurance claims. “At AXA we pay thousands of claims every year which are directly or indirectly linked to the winter weather conditions, from sudden ground frosts and flooding to dazzling sunshine and icy road conditions.” he says.

Cork Defences Cork Chamber Of Commerce has claimed that the city has yet to establish adequate flood prevention measures despite the fact that two years ago large parts of the city were submerged by some of the worst flooding the country has even seen. The Chamber has urged the authorities to “urgently address the key issues required to restore public confidence” that the city is properly protected and said that it is concerned by the length of time it is taking to identify and implement measures necessary to safeguard and protect against major flooding The Chief Executive of the Chamber Conor Healy called for the completion of the current Lee Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and management modelling study and report, including the presentation and costing of the recommended measures for future flood protection. He also s called on the authorities to complete repairs to the quay walls which were damaged during the 2009 devastation and said there was an urgent need to prepare a detailed implementation

plan including prioritisation of works based on an informed cost/ benefit analysis.” “The severe flooding event in November 2009 highlighted Cork’s liability to severe flooding and the significant risks posed to the residential and business communities of the city and affected areas of the lower Lee catchment,” Mr Healy said. “The chamber proposes the Government should put in place the necessary funding for the required package of flood defences to protect Cork city from future flood events A warning system such as Cork County Council’s Bandon Flood Early Warning System should be put in place in Cork city, he said. He also stressed the urgent need for companies to undertake a review of their own flood protection measures. “Cork Chamber urges all of those charged with the responsibility for protecting the city to redouble their efforts to restore the confidence of the business community that sufficient action has been taken to investigate the causes and prevent the

same thing happening again. We hope the local authorities will update people and businesses on the state of preparedness for flooding.” Two years ago millions of tonnes of water were released by the ESB from its Inniscarra dam above Cork city, engulfing large areas of the city centre and causing estimated €100 million damage. A civic emergency had to be declared as 80,000 people — half the city’s population — were left without drinking water.

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Flooding News

Flood Defence Solution After being shown a demonstration of the Big Bag Flood Defence system by Ireland’s leading plant Pump hire and sales company, MW Hire, the Public Sector Magazine questions why it is not being employed more frequently to protect against the substantial devastation which is being caused each year by storms and floods.

The economic devastation caused by flooding is an issue which Matty says has been largely overlooked and significant improvements are required in terms of our preparedness and the calibre of our flood defences if we are to divert potentially catastrophic consequences.

All too frequently any discussion on Ireland’s commercial and business landscape focuses on foreign multinationals and neglects the considerable number of indigenous Irish Companies which have displayed an impressive degree of resilience and ingenuity to survive and prosper in the current climate. One such Company is the MW Hire Group, Ireland’s leading Plant and Pump Hire Company, based in Urlingford, County Kilkenny. The Company provides a wide range of top quality equipment from the world’s leading global brands including Caterpillar, Atlas, Olympian, Mosa, JCB, Cummins and FG Wilson. Products available for hire or sale from the Company include civil construction equipment, generators, pumps, traffic management systems, and a comprehensive range of on-site solutions for the wind energy sector. They are also the sole Irish agents for the Big Bag Flood Defence System, recognised as the most effective solution for preventing flood damage.


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The Company was established in 1992 by Matty Walsh and now has offices in London, & Warsaw In addition to establishing its position as a market leader in Ireland, MW Hire has also developed an impressive export business and has shipped products to virtually every continent on the globe. According to Matty Walsh, MD at MW Hire, the proportion of the Company’s business which is accounted for by exports is in the region 40 to 45%. “It is difficult to put a precise percentage on it as it fluctuates considerably from year to year but generally it would be somewhere between 40 and 45%. We export widely throughout Europe and have sold products everywhere from Australia, to Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The Company’s export operations are administered from its head office in Kilkenny and the internet has been instrumental in promoting the Company in overseas markets. In addition to advertising in the foreign trade press they maintain a strong presence on many of the leading international auction websites.

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“The internet has been an important factor in establishing global awareness of our brand but it is our reputation for quality products which has the key factor in developing our market share, both at home and abroad,” says Matty. “We are 20 years in business and everything we work on would be wholly and solely based on providing a quality product and service.” While the virtual collapse of the construction industry in Ireland has had a relatively minor impact on the Company’s performance, it has nonetheless focussed on targeting alternative sectors to compensate for the downturn in construction related sales. “The collapse of the construction sector has hurt us a little insofar as the domestic hire trade is concerned but having said that, you have to get on with things and try and identify alternative sectors and reach out to other markets,” says Matty. “We supply a substantial volume of product to general industry and mining has also always been a big area for us while alternative energy and particularly wind energy is a rapidly growing area and one in which we expect substantial growth in the coming years. So, while the construction industry would have been a big part of our business, it was by no means the main part.” The company has benefited from the surge in demand for generators and pumps as a result of the widespread floods which have occurred throughout the country in recent winters. Earlier this year the Company was appointed sole Irish agent for the Big Bag System, a state-of-the-art flood defence system which is widely used in the US, Europe and Asia to counter the threat of floods and which has proven to be the most effective and economical flood defence system currently available. Matty believes that annual flooding is virtually guaranteed and is concerned of the Country’s state of preparedness and response to the problem. “Whether you accept the global warming argument or you look at it as just a general shift in repeatable weather patterns, the fact is that there are a culmination of factors which have given rise to the extensive flooding we have seen in recent years,” he says. “Everything from global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer to deforestation and the massive volume of construction which took place over a number of years, particularly the numerous housing schemes which were built on our natural flood plains, have all aggravated the problem It is something that we are all going to have to get used to and we are going to have to learn to respond more effectively than we have done to date.” The economic devastation caused by flooding is an issue which Matty says has been largely overlooked and significant improvements are required in terms of our preparedness and the calibre of our flood defences if we are to divert potentially catastrophic consequences. All of our cities and towns commonly affected by flooding have a lot of businesses, particularly in the hospitality and retail sectors which are critically dependent on the Christmas trade, a period when the country is particularly vulnerable to inclement weather and the likelihood of flooding. “You are going to have all these businesses being affected at a time when revenues are suffering and they are barely surviving,” says Matty. “The worst part is the aftermath of the flooding when many business owners have to focus on getting their business back up and running and they have to cope with losses from stock damage.

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Flooding News

The Big Bag Defence System has multiple uses and as well as flooding it can be used as a multi-purpose barrier which can be deployed in water, used in specialist applications such as coastal erosion, military emplacements, oil spill contamination, bridge repairs and environmental projects.

Identifying the most suitable points for placing flood prevention installations is a key factor in determining their effectiveess. Water will travel downstream to an exit point and all rivers have points where it breaks its banks each year and floods the fields and roads and feeds into smaller tributaries causing yet further flooding. Defence systems should ideally be place at these historic break points and there are a wide range of different options including deploying the Big Bag System, constructing a levy or deepening that point in the river bed. Matty says we need to learn lessons from how countries with similar flooding problems have responded and he identifies Holland as one of the best examples as the majority of the country lies below sea level and flood defence system are widely deployed throughout the country. Deventer, a Dutch town 57 miles east of Amsterdam which is particularly prone to flooding has deployed the Big Bay System to protect the citizens of the town. The US is also particularly effective in terms of its response to flooding and employs formidable defences around critical areas, such as power stations and towns


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which are vulnerable to flooding. “The US are a big believer in preventative action and it is a model that Ireland needs to look at going forward because it will get to the point where property along our coast lines will be completely uninsurable against floods,” says Matty. “We’re on an island, surrounded by water, so, it is a big risk factor. Sandbags are the most commonly deployed flood prevention system in Ireland but Matty believes that we are entirely over reliant on this defence method and says there are far superior and more effective products available. “Sandbags are small, time consuming and expensive and they present a massive problem with seepage,” he says. “This is where I think the new generation of products, like the Big Bag System comes in. They cover a massive area, they are easily deployed, they are water repellent and there is minimum seepage and minimum labour involved. The flooding problem requires a more holistic assessment and needs to address the question as to why our rivers are continually overflowing. The short answer is that our forests,

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flood plains, bog lands and grasslands have been decimated with the result that our natural environments capacity to soak up the water has been severely compromised. “There is been massive deforestation and when you had forests on the slopes of the natural hills around Clonmel or any other town, they provided massive soakage because obviously the rainwater lands on the trees, falls down into the ground, and is taken back up and utilised by the soil and the trees. So now you take all the trees away, what happens the water? It just hits the ground and rolls off. So, if you take deforestation and the destruction of our natural flood plains, bog fields and the marsh fields which have now been backfilled and covered in concrete because of the amount of houses that were built in these areas, you have the root cause of the problem.” Our county’s natural capacity to deal with water will never be restored unless we embark upon a major ecological mission to plant trees, level ghost estates and restore to grass fields which is unlikely to happen. In the meantime Matty believes that more widespread deployment of the Big Bag System in high risk areas can make a significant contribution to flood prevention and can assist local authorities in responding rapidly to affected areas. MW Hire were appointed distributors of the Big Bag by Roscommon based company Global Flood Solutions. It is a German product which has been used extensively in Europe and the US for flood defence and this year it has been used to protect the city of Medicine Hat in Alberta, Canada and DC’s Water’s Blue Plains facility, the largest waste water treatment centre in the world. It is currently being field tested in certain scenarios by the UK’s environment agency. The principal advantage of the Big Bag Defence System is it’s concertina design of five robust polypropylene bags, which means it can be deployed and filled within two minutes, faster than any other flood defence system and providing a vastly cheaper, faster and more effective solution than conventional sandbags. Each Big Bag Defence System extends to 4.5m in length and 0.9m in height and width, and provides a barrier equivalent to 670 conventional sand bags. It is water repellent on the front side and has a unique filtration component on the rear side, which allows the rainwater to seep out. !000m of the Big Bag Defence System can be deployed in a few hours, with minimum labour resources required. This speed is facilitated by the lifting capabilities of the bags within the system, which have been rigorously tested and has a 5 : 1 safety factor. This also helps the speed and ease of the removal and clean up operation, leaving no permanent impact on the area. The Big Bag Defence System has multiple uses and as well as flooding it can be used as a multi-purpose barrier which can be deployed in water, used in specialist applications such as coastal erosion, military emplacements, oil spill contamination, bridge repairs and environmental projects. Once removed it provides no lasting effects on the environment so it can be used as a temporary barrier in environmentally sensitive locations. It can be dropped insitu into flooded areas and filled up allowing the water to be pumped out before it does any more damage. It can also be deployed to divert water away from towns and villages or vital infrastructural facilities such as power stations. It is also an ideal option for private residences which are threatened by flooding and in the case of a house with a garden and a typical surrounding wall of one metre in height and

The Big Bag Flood Defence System The Big Bag system is an extremely fast and economical flood protection system. Deploying the first line defence barrier requires only two people. After setting up the system the bags can be immediately filled. The filling can be carried out by truck, digger, wheel loader, excavator or similar machine. By filling on site the best possible sealing is achieved as its high own weight will guarantee a safe and secure installation. Benefits of the Big Bag System n Competitively priced and significantly cheaper to alternative defence systems. n Cheaper and considerably more effective than sand bags. n Over 100000 systems employed in the US, Europe and Asia. n Can be deployed in minutes with minimum labour required. n A fast and reactive solutions that holds back large water masses in a safe and reliable manner. n The Big Bag system can be stored in strategic locations near public works or local authority facilities and can be quickly deployed in the event of rising flood waters. n Employs a highly stable and robust polypropylene membrane. n Easy Storage. n One pallet contains six systems providing 27 metres of flood defence. n Environmentally friendly – only natural materials are used and the polypropylene membrane does not contain any hazardous substances. Because the sand is protected from river pollutants, it can be rescued again and again. n Proven reliability and effectiveness n The Big Bag system has been used extensively throughout the USA, Europe and Asia over the last decade to fight the growing flood problems. n The Big Bag system can be easily stacked if extra height is required.

double gates, it can be protected by simply placing a Big Bag System at the entrance gates. The cost of the system depends on the quantity ordered, and quantities under 100 metres are priced at €375 per system while larger orders are priced on a case by case basis. This compares very favourably to the price of sand bags while also providing for a far superior defence system. The Big Bag which comprises 4.5 cubic metres and requires approximately 6 tonnes of sand at €15 a tonne amounting to approximately €90 to fill the system. This gives a total price of €465 compared to the typical sand bag which is priced at €2.50 per unit and equates to €1,675, for the equivalent volume. However, this excludes labour costs which are also vastly cheaper with the Big Bag. MW Hire can provide comprehensive demonstrations of the Big Bag system and answer any queries from prospective clients free of charge. For further details, contact MW Hire. Tel: 00353.56. 8831418 or visit our website at

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Public Sector Transport

sustainable transport Creating a sustainable transport sector in Ireland by Derval Cummins Head of Transport – Ernst & Young Advisory Sustainability, and how to achieve it, are the two big challenges for the transport sector at present. The issues are broadly similar across the sector from aviation to roads, maritime and public transport. In the short term, sustainability in transport is reliant on financial stability as a result of economic crisis and the resulting impact on spend in this sector. Government confirmed recently, that several large scale capital transport projects have been deferred for at least five years and services are being cut across bus, rail and air sectors due to declining demand and less availability of public subsidies. The Waterford – Rosslare rail line was closed; Galway and Sligo airports have uncertain futures. It is apparent that, across the sector, further closures cannot remain off the agenda. In such cost constrained environments, revenue growth is necessary but not easy to achieve until economic activity picks up and demand increases. Cost reduction however, is essential. This must be coordinated carefully to minimise the impact on customer services whilst also leaving the industry in good long-term health. For public transport especially, this must also happen without allowing services to decline in a way that would ultimately reduce the demand for them to unsustainably low levels. Instead, cost reduction must be designed so a strong core remains to allow future sustainable growth. Environmental and socio-economic sustainability remain as relevant as ever. It is essential to remain focussed on these key issues whilst simultaneously striving to improve financial performance. With this in mind, the current financial crisis needs to be seen as an opportunity to make long lasting changes to the transport sector so that it is better placed – economically, financially, socially and environmentally. Demand for transport is closely linked with economic activity. The last thing Ireland needs is to find itself struggling to design and implement a plan in order to meet our emissions reductions targets as soon as the economy picks up and transport demands begin to increase. Another undesirable outcome is a return to the high levels of transport congestion synonymous with the boom era, cancelling out the progress towards economic competitiveness that we are now making through great hardships in our society. Instead, we need to be able to move people and goods reliably and efficiently into, out of, and around the country without incurring unreasonable costs for the environment, the public purse or the private sector. Public transport is important for getting and keeping the country moving – not having a car should not be an obstacle to getting a job or an education. Better integration is central to making transport more efficient - passengers being able to move from one public transport service to another, or to and from ports or airports efficiently. Ireland needs more complementary actions to release the synergies between the various elements and less competition between different parts of the same sector.

To achieve sustainability, Ireland needs to continue the process, which has been slow to date, of transforming the sector into a more efficient, effective and accountable industry. This embraces the principle of getting better value for money, increasing efficiency, and more effective governance, regulation, asset management and planning for the future. Semi-state transport companies are already striving to become more efficient, but need to ‘do more with less’ given their financial difficulties. Adopting a more a more commercially focussed outlook is critical to allowing this, so that they can tackle costs and focus on customers needs in a manner that will also enable growth within the business. The National Transport Authority (NTA) is empowered to drive this agenda for land transport through initiatives such as improving passenger information and integrated ticketing. Leveraging the internet, smartphones, social networking and other technological change should be part of this effort. The introduction of the NTA also heralded a new era for public transport regulation, because it holds formal contracts with the state-owned public transport companies. By December 2019, Ireland is obliged under European legislation to have moved from these ‘direct award’ contracts to having all subsidised public transport services competitively tendered. Eight years is not a long period achieve a significantly different system to the one we have now. Each of the steps on the journey should be shaping public transport into an efficient, customer focussed, popular and thriving sector. Clearly driving efficiency into the existing operations is a crucial first step, even if innovation and cost reductions were not required to respond to the financial crisis. Having a long term and comprehensive vision for what is best for our transport system is essential to its successful design. We must also consider how to get the best out of the assets that we have.

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Approximately 30% of all fatal collisions in Ireland involve a driver who is driving in the course of their employment. (Source: RSA / HSA 2009) The subject of Fleet Risk Management has become an important topic for employers in recent times as research continues to show that employees, who drive a vehicle as part of their work, are exposed to a higher level of risk than other motorists. Nifast Fleet Safety Services can advise and assist employers in the many practical methods of managing the risks posed to their employees during the course of their work. Nifast - Fleet Safety Services provide:            

Decision Driver Training Pre-Employment Assessments Driving in Ireland/Familiarisation Post-Incident Analysis Shunter Operator Training Banksman/Signaller Course Off-Road All Terrain 4 x 4 Staff Safety Briefings Fleet Risk Management Briefing Vehicle Risk Assessments Advanced Car Control Driver CPC

For more information call us on 01-8955755

Winter Tyre

Public Sector transport

Transport Cuts Investment in transport infrastructure will decline significantly in the coming years, according to Transport Minister Leo Varadkar. Investment in transport infrastructure will be scaled back significantly over the next five years in order to allow the Government to meet its commitments in health and education, restore our economic sovereignty, and keep taxes down, according to the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar. The Minister confirmed that the main construction work will start on Luas BXD in 2015, while there will be ongoing investment in smarter travel projects, and two rounds of sports capital funding. There will also be investment in tourism capital including support for a diaspora centre or museum as an iconic tourist attraction. “The Government is making these cutbacks in order to honour our commitments to the people and to the troika to bring the budget deficit to 3% of the GDP by 2015 so that Ireland’s economic sovereignty can be restored. It will also assist us to honour our commitments to keep income taxes down and maintain basic social welfare rates. “Overall spending on transport capital will fall by almost 50% from €1.5 billion in 2011 to €0.8 billion in 2016. More than 85% of transport capital will be required to restore and maintain existing roads and railways, and to purchase replacement buses and trains. The priority is therefore to make the best use, and to get maximum value, from existing infrastructure. That is why we are focusing on projects like Luas BXD, smarter travel initiatives, fleet renewal, and safety and maintenance. “Given that we already have a large number of ‘shovel-ready’ projects which have been suspended until after 2016, there is little point in spending more money on planning new projects.”

Roads “Resources will be focused on areas which have previously not benefited to the same extent. One bypass at Ballaghadereen will proceed to construction next year, but no other bypasses will be affordable during the programme. The vast majority of road funding will be focused on maintaining and restoring the existing road network. “In terms of road projects funded through a Public Private Partnership, we aim to finalise funding arrangements for the N11 Rathnew/Newlands Cross bundle in the coming year. Other roads PPPs will be pursued where feasible during the course of the plan. Given the significant land acquisition costs involved with the proposed M20, the NRA will be asked to

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withdraw the project from An Bord Pleanála at this stage and it can be re-activated in the future.

Public Transport “There will be a rebalancing of investment towards public transport, including renewal of the bus and rail fleets. While there will be no funding for new heavy rail projects, funding will be provided for four new railway stations on existing lines, including two in the west of Ireland. Work will commence on LUAS BXD in 2015, with completion scheduled for 2018. This will link up the existing Luas lines and will provide further connectivity to the suburban rail network, giving Dublin an integrated commuter rail network for the first time. This should have been done years ago, and I’m glad that this Government can now finish the job.

Smarter Travel For the first time we are investing more in new public transport projects than new road projects in order to provide a greater range of transport options outside of the car. For sustainable transport €65 million will be invested to incentivise cycling, walking and other forms of public transport.

Metro North & Dart Underground With funding constrained, and private finance still reluctant to commit funds for large infrastructure projects, Metro North is not affordable and the project has been postponed. However, it will be reviewed again in 2015 in advance of the new capital programme. Dart Underground had already been postponed by the previous government, and will now be reconsidered in 2015.

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Public Sector Transport

Dublin Port “Dublin Port is the country’s premier port in terms of throughput and turnover and as such, is of vital strategic importance to the economy.”

Dublin Port is the largest port in Ireland handling over 50% of Ireland’s port trade

Many of the events in the history of Dublin bay have been engineered in response to the seafaring trade and on-going livelihood of the city as a commercial port and trade centre. From medieval times through the early 18th century, the configuration of land and water changed where the River Liffey joined tidal waters and silt and sand emptied into the bay, where quays were built for maritime trade and marched seaward to meet the changing demands of the shipping industry. Construction of the Great South Wall (1715-1730) and the North Bull Wall (1815-1823) resulted in the development of a safe harbour and marked the beginning of more dramatic change in the shape and features of the bay. A beneficial outcome of the construction of these two walls was the formation of Bull Island, this was as a result of the change in currents within the bay. This transformation over centuries is overshadowed by the change spanning the last century, with more than four hundred and forty hectares of infill since 1925 comprising two hundred and fifty hectares on the north side and one hundred ninety hectares on the south of the River Liffey. Recent events seem a portent of continuing change in the evolution of Dublin Bay.


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CSO statistics show that in terms of volume of trade handled, Dublin Port is the largest port in Ireland handling over 50% of Ireland’s port trade. As an island nation which depends so heavily on trade and international connectivity, the economic and social importance of Dublin Port is evident. Dublin Port Company is a State-owned, commercial company charged with operating and developing Dublin Port. The operating model in Dublin is unique in Ireland with all cargo handling activities being provided by private sector companies operating in competitive environments. This blend of public ownership and private operation provides a framework within which the competing requirements of economic necessity and environmental sustainability are managed to the benefit of the city and its citizens. For thirty years or more, the development of Dublin Port has caused some concern between the Port and some of its stakeholders. To this end Dublin Port Company has produced a Masterplan to guide the development of Dublin Port in the period from 2012 to 2040. The Masterplan presents a vision for future operations at the Port and critically examines how the existing land use at Dublin Port can be optimised for

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Dublin Port Company has produced a Masterplan to guide the development of Dublin Port in the period from 2012 to 2040

merchandise trade purposes. In preparing the Masterplan, Dublin Port Company has taken account of the significant unease about the prospect of creeping infill in Dublin Bay. This Masterplan is presented, therefore, as a statement of intent that Dublin Port Company will continue to develop the Port within its current footprint as far as possible before any major reclamation works are considered. When projects necessitating reclamation are required, they will only be advanced if they can satisfy the exacting planning and environmental protection standards that must be met. Beyond that, Dublin Port Company believes that the extent of reclamation works indicated in the Masterplan could and should be the final incursion of the Port into the area of Dublin Bay enclosed by the North Bull Wall and the Great South Wall. Any further demand which cannot thereafter be accommodated in Dublin Port will require additional new infrastructure elsewhere. If Dublin Port is developed to the ultimate extent indicated in the Masterplan and if all of this capacity is fully utilised, Dublin Port Company will have the financial wherewithal to undertake the massive challenge of building new port facilities elsewhere, should that become necessary. Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company explains, “From where we are today it is difficult to predict whether any new facilities will be required beyond what is envisaged in this Masterplan. It is quite possible they will not. Beyond the engineering options developed by the Port executive based on consideration of our customers’ longterm requirements and following a detailed consideration of alternative options as part of the Strategic Environmental

Assessment and Appropriate Assessment, the Dublin Port Company has sought to temper and modulate how future developments will be implemented by reference to the wider needs of the city and its citizens. The outcome of this approach is manifest in a commitment to respect the soft values of Dublin Port and to better integrate the Port with the City in ways which produce real community gain for all”. Although the Masterplan does not have any statutory status it has been prepared it as if it did. In particular the Dublin Port Company has subjected the Masterplan to a Strategic Environmental Assessment and to an Appropriate Assessment. The rationale for doing this is to ensure the maximum visibility and participation for all stakeholders in advance of individual projects being brought forward for planning. The approach in preparing this Masterplan has, therefore, been to be open with all stakeholders and to create as early as possible an environment within which the concerns of potential negative impacts can be best identified, avoided or mitigated. CEO O’Reilly concludes: “The thirty year time period for the Masterplan is long and there are inevitably increasing levels of uncertainty about what developments might be needed beyond the early (five to ten) years of this period. A central part of the Masterplan is, therefore, a commitment and undertaking to keep the Masterplan under review to ensure that it always remains relevant and meets its central objective of providing a clear vision for the development of the Port into the future”.

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Tourism Turns Recent figures suggest that Ireland’s tourism industry may be turning the corner. Over 5 million visitors came to Ireland in the first nine months of the year - an increase of 10% on the same period in 2010

The tourism sector may prove to be one of the few exceptions in a generally dismal year for Irish business. Recent figures suggest that a sustained marketing campaign by the tourism bodies coupled and the headline grabbing visits of Queen Elizebeth and US President Barrack Obama has boosted visitor numbers to these shores and helped the tourism industry return to growth after three years of decline. Travel figures from the Central Statistics Office for July to September 2011 show that over 5 million visitors came to Ireland in the first nine months of the year - an increase of 10% on the same period in 2010. Tourism Ireland is also predicting strong growth and expects that almost 7.4 million people will have visited the island of Ireland from around the world in 2011, yielding around €3.4 billion in revenue, an increase of +7% and +11% respectively on 2010. Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar welcomed the ongoing increase in visitor numbers so far this year, and predicted annual growth in visitor numbers for the first time in four years. “From an early stage this Government targeted tourism as a key growth area for the economy. That’s why the Jobs Initiative had such a strong tourism element. These latest figures, which cover the period from when the Jobs Initiative took effect, indicate that the measures are helping to sustain the rebound earlier in the year, and we are going to see annual growth in visitor numbers for the first time since 2007,” Minister Varadkar said. Visitor numbers from the UK increased by 7.4% while the numbers from mainland Europe were up by 12.3% for the first nine months of 2011. North American visitor numbers were up by 10.6% while those from other long haul routes were up by 15% Minister Varadkar said he was particularly encouraged by the growth in the number of UK visitors which had gone against the trend of a decline in the number of UK citizens travelling to other EU destinations. “It’s particularly heartening to see

Glendalough, Wicklow

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Dublins newest hotel and venue 252 Bedrooms Hemidemisemiquaver Bar Coda Eatery Stunning courtyards Outdoor terrace for dining

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Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin


continued strong performance from Great Britain after a number of difficult years,” he said. “While our British arrivals were up 6.8% in the third quarter, overall UK trips to the EU were marginally down 1%. Britain is still our most important market in terms of visitor numbers, and I am pleased to see that we are regaining market share. Following his visit to the World Travel Market in London The Minister praised the “excellent work” being carried out to promote Ireland as a holiday destination and said the challenge now is to maintain this growth. “ We must continue to get the message out that there has never been a better time to visit Ireland in terms of

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara

the value available and the quality product on offer.” That task may receive a significant boost from reports that Queen Elizebeth’s Christmas speech will include references of her historic four day visit to Ireland in May and the broadcast being produced by Sky News will include footage of a number of the sites and landmarks which she visited on her trip. The Queen’s annual speech draws a massive audience and reached a record of over 27 million viewers in 1987. Some predict that figure could be exceeded this year due to the surge in interest in the British monarchy in the past year as a result of headline events such as the two Royal weddings, her successful

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Hilton Dublin Kilmainham Easy to get to, hard to leave Located in the heart of historic Dublin, the four star Hilton Dublin Kilmainham is just ten minutes by car from the city centre and minutes walk from Heuston Station and the Luas. The hotel is situated close to the point where the M4 and M7 enter the city, making it easily accessible from the motorway network. This modern hotel boasts 120 luxurious bedrooms including two studio suites. Deluxe rooms feature balconies offering stunning views of Dublin City and the Dublin Mountains. Excellent leisure facilities are available to guests, including a hydrotherapy pool and fully equipped gym. The popular 4 Corners Bar and Terrace offers live music on Friday nights, providing the perfect space to relax after a week at work. For your business needs, the hotel boasts eights attractive Hilton meeting rooms with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. All delegates and guests can avail of secure underground parking, complimentary WiFi and a 24 hour business centre. With many of the city’s top attractions, such as Kilmainham Gaol, literally on the doorstep, and Dublin Zoo and the Guinness Storehouse a short walk away, guests are truly spoiled for choice.

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Welcoming the Olympic Torch

Irish visit and Prince Phillps 90th birthday. The Queen is expected to reflect on the warm reception she received on her arduous schedule which included visits to Dublin, Kildare, Tipperary and Cork. This suggests that tourism sites such as the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary and Cork’s English market which have had a boost in visitor numbers since the Royal visit can expect a further boost when pictures of her visit are screened around the world. Nial Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland also welcomed signs of a return to growth in the tourism sector and said the UK market is vital to Ireland’s tourism sector. “Despite the faltering recovery in the global economy, the travel and tourism sector has been fairly resilient throughout 2011. Of particular interest are the facts that we have grown market share from all top markets, including Great Britain – our largest and most important tourism market; and that interest in holidaying here is strong in those markets.” The most recent Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index (NBI 2011) shows that Ireland ranks 7th (out of 50 countries) as an aspirational destination in the US and France; we rank 9th in Britain and 11th in Germany. Ireland scores particularly highly in categories like

Welcoming the news that Dublin has been added to the list of venues for the 2012 Olympic torch relay, on 6 June next year, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring TD has said it presents a tremendous opportunity for the tourism sector. “I am delighted that the Olympic Flame will travel across the border into the Republic next year in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics. This historic occasion recognises the friendship, peace and cooperation that now exists on the island of Ireland and demonstrates the unifying power of sport. “A number of international teams have already chosen Dublin as a training base before the London Games. The visit of the Olympic Flame next year will be a wonderful opportunity for the whole of Ireland to be even more closely involved with the 2012 London Olympic Games and for Irish people to be part of the biggest sporting event in the world. “This is also tremendous news from a tourism perspective. This year we had the highly successful visits of Queen Elizabeth and President Obama, and today’s announcement means that we will again have an opportunity for significant international media focus on Ireland next summer. I know the tourism agencies will be doing everything they can to maximise the benefits of the torch being in Dublin. It should be particularly useful in terms of generating further positive publicity in Great Britain - our most important overseas tourism market.” Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said the announcement is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the city of Dublin and the island of Ireland. “With a global audience of about 4 billion, this is the largest sporting event in the world and over the coming year, Tourism Ireland will be working hard to maximise the tourism potential for Ireland of the London 2012 Olympic Games,” he said. “The proximity of the Games provides Tourism Ireland with a wonderful opportunity. We intend to use the Olympics, and the surrounding global media coverage, to showcase Ireland as a top holiday and business destination and will deliver our message to a wide range of prospective visitors and audiences – through traditional, digital and social media.”

“makes me feel welcome” and “rich in natural beauty”. According Niall Gibbons major headline events and international sporting festivals will again play a significant role in attempting to maintain the tourism industry’s momentum in 2012. “As we look to 2012, we are very much aware that the economic landscape presents a challenging environment for travel. However, in spite of the uncertain economic climate, we have a lot going for us next year,with major events like the grand finale of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 taking place in

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Hotel & Estate, Connemara

Located on a 450 acre estate with miles of scenic, river and lakeside walks, Ballynahinch Castle has forty bedrooms and suites all overlooking the river, mountains or both. The award winning Owenmore Restaurant & Fisherman‘s Pub offers the best of locally caught and sourced produce, pursuing the organic option where possible the emphasis is always on fresh seasonal ingredients. As well as personally guided walks on the estate or in the surrounding areas there are bicycles for hire and an outdoor tennis court. Open log fires and a well stocked library are also an option. Ballynahinch Castle & Estate is renowned for its Salmon Fishery, fly fishing is the rule and private tutorials are available for those who wish to take up this graceful sport from March – September.

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Georgina Campbell Hotel of the Year 2012 Condé Nast Gold List Award 2009, 2010 & 2011, The Bridgestone Guide Top 10 for Most Romantic Hotels & Best Views as well as One of the Top 100 Hotels in Ireland.

Tel: 095 31006 Email:

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Galway and the annual Notre Dame-Navy American football game coming to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. In the second half of the year, Tourism Ireland will promote The Gathering 2013 to the 70 million people across the world who feel linked by family, friends or otherwise with Ireland.” The economic turmoil of recent weeks has brought some increased uncertainty to travel and tourism. Shorter trips and late booking patterns continue to be prevalent. Given the scale of the ongoing turbulence facing the global economy and its impact on consumer confidence, travel and tourism is facing a cautious passage into 2012. Nonetheless,Tourism Ireland’s goal

is to build on this year’s return to growth in overseas tourism and to welcome over 9 million visitors to the island by 2015, exceeding the record year for tourism of 2007. The role of Irish people in supporting the tourism sector was also highlighted by Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ring who said he was heartened to see that the trend for home holidays among Irish people continued during the year. “I think many Irish people who holidayed at home this year will have been surprised and delighted by what they found, in terms of the value and range on offer. I hope they will be persuaded to explore Ireland again in the coming years.”

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Tourism Highlights Events that boosted visitor numbers to Ireland

March: The World Turns Green. In March, Tourism Ireland arranged for major landmarks and iconic sites around the globe to ‘go green’ as the sun set on 17 March, kicking off a major €28 million spring promotional drive to restore overseas tourism to growth. The ‘greening’ of icons such as Sky Tower in Auckland, Table Mountain in South Africa, London Eye and the Empire State Building captured the imagination of media everywhere, reaching some 250 million potential visitors. A further PR windfall on St. Patrick’s Day followed at Sydney’s Central Station when Tourism Ireland’s flashmob of Irish dancers brought the busy station to a standstill. The performance was posted on YouTube where it has been viewed by over 2 million people around the world to date. It was also rated one of the world’s top branded viral videos by marketing magazine Contagious. April: Mission Ireland In April Tourism Ireland launched ‘Mission Ireland’, an innovative social media campaign to boost visitor numbers from Germany, our third-largest market. Popular German blogger Kai Müller began a month-long journey, which saw him visit almost every corner of the island, as voted for by his online community of followers in Germany.

May: Historic State Visits The historic visits of Queen Elizabeth II and US President Barack Obama in May were great news for everyone in the tourism industry, providing unprecedented opportunities to showcase the island of Ireland to a huge audience of potential holidaymakers in Britain, the US and across the globe. Both visits gave Tourism Ireland superb platforms for marketing campaigns covering areas like literature, heritage, genealogy and food. The enthusiastic welcome which Queen Elizabeth and President Obama received alerted prospective visitors to the sort of warm welcome they too can expect. Positive publicity for Ireland worth almost €300 million was generated through 38,000 articles and broadcasts in 110 countries around the globe. June & July: Major Wins Tourism Ireland’s golf tourism promotions received a significant boost with Rory McElroy’s historic US Open win at Congressional in June, followed soon afterwards by Darren Clarke’s great British Open victory at Royal St George’s. Tourism Ireland rolled out a ‘Home of Champions’ golf tourism campaign, worth €2.2 million, to capitalise on the huge international media interest in both Rory’s and Darren’s successes.

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Family Off Peak Offers Midweek 1 Night Bed & Breakfast - €140.00 1 Night Dinner Bed & Breakfast - €178.00 2 Night’s BB including 1 Evening Meal - €318.00 3 Night’s BB including 1 Evening Meal - €408.00 Weekends Family of 2 adults & 2 Children Children 4-12yrs old February 2012 Mid-Term Midweek 1 Night Bed & Breakfast - €150.00 1 Night Dinner Bed & Breakfast - €208.00 2 Night’s BB including 1 Evening Meal - €338.00 3 Night’s BB including 1 Evening Meal - €448.00 4 Night’s BB including 1 Evening Meals - €538.00 5 Night’s BB including 1 Evening Meals - €668.00 Weekend 2 Night’s BB including 1 Evening Meal - €358.00 Rates Quoted are inclusive of all BB & 1 Dinner for a Family of 2 adults & 2 Children (Children aged 4-12yrs old) & Are available Sunday - Thursday

Business Traveller Rate €65.00 per night Bed & Breakfast Looking for some where to stay while working away from home?You need look no further than the Amber Springs Hotel Contracted Corporate rates are honoured throughout the year

Golden Moment Deals (Over 55’s) Midweek 1 Night Bed & Breakfast - €90.00 1 Night Dinner Bed & Breakfast - €118.00 2 Night’s BB including 2 Evening Meals - €228.00 3 Night’s BB including 3 Evening Meals - €318.00 4 Night’s BB including 4 Evening Meals - €398.00 5 Night’s BB including 5 Evening Meals - €498.00 Weekends 3 Night’s BB including 3 Evening Meals - €378.00 Rates quoted are inclusive of 2 Adults sharing


The Ashdown Park Hotel, The Coach Road, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland Tel: +353 53 9480500 Fax: +353 53 9480777 Email:

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Other fantastic news on the golf front this year included the selection of Ireland as the host country for the hugely popular American TV series Big Break, which airs to 83 million households across the US on the Golf Channel. In September, the Solheim Cup took place at Killeen Castle in Co Meath. July: New visa Waiver Scheme In July, the Government’s visa waiver scheme came into effect, making it easier than ever before for tourists from new and developing markets, like China and India, to visit Ireland; the scheme is encouraging tourists visiting the UK to come and visit Ireland without the cost or hassle of applying for a separate visa. September: Facebook Campaign In September Tourism Ireland reached half a million fans on Facebook, making it the third most popular tourism board in the world on the popular social networking site, after Australia and the UK. By year end, the organisation had overtaken the UK, to take the number two slot in the world – with a grand total of over 562,000 fans across 16 markets – including GB, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Nordic Region, Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, India, Japan, New Zealand, Poland and the Gulf Countries. Ocober: Marketing Blitz In October a €9 million tourism marketing blitz involving significant matching private sector funding to boost visitor numbers to Ireland was announced by Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar, in October. A series of joint co-operative marketing campaigns between Tourism Ireland and private operators is promoting Ireland to around 20 million potential overseas visitors until the end of 2011. Also in October, Tourism Ireland scooped the top award for ‘Best Use of Social Media’ at the prestigious Travolution awards in London, beating off strong competition in the same category from the likes of Virgin Atlantic, Cunard and Radisson Edwardian Hotels. Tourism Ireland’s winning, Twitter-led campaign was called My Irish 140. It aimed to connect with the Diaspora throughout Britain, encouraging tweeters with Irish ancestry and those who felt a connection with Ireland to explore and talk about it in their Twitter stream. November: Belfast Hits the High Note In November the biggest music event ever staged in Northern Ireland – the MTV Europe Music Awards –took place in Belfast in November, and Tourism Ireland undertook a busy promotional

programme, to maximise the huge tourism potential of the high profile event, targeting over 3 million music fans in key tourism markets – including Great Britain, Canada, Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, the Nordic region and Belgium. The event was broadcast to an estimated 632 million homes in over 150 countries. December: Awards Hat Trick Tourism Ireland scored a hat trick when it scooped three awards at the prestigious 2011 DMA Awards in London. Beating off stiff competition, Tourism Ireland won awards for its innovative social media campaign, called “Nick and Sam’s Ireland Road Trip”.

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Corporate Hospitality Award

Clarion Calls The Clarion Hotel Cork – Winner of the Corporate Travel Services & Accommodation Award”

The Public Sector Magazine Corporate Travel Services and Accommodation Award is the latest in a long list of deserved accolades and awards been won by The Clarion Hotel Cork - a premiere 4 Star Hotel superbly located in the city centre and overlooking Cork’s famous River Lee. Featuring 198 beautiful bedrooms and located just a 5 minute stroll from the city’s shopping, entertainment and premier business district, The Clarion Hotel Cork has previously been awarded the Cork Business of the Year Award for 2009 by the Cork Business Association and has won a host of other awards including the 2010 Food & Wine Magazine Top 10 Restaurant in Munster for Augustine’s Restaurant and the 2011 Restaurant Association of Ireland award for The Best Chef in Cork for Brendan Cashman from Augustines Restaurant. It was also awarded the Greening Irish Hospitality GOLD Medal Winner for three years running (2008 & 2009 and 2010) and in 2009 it won the Repak Recycling Best Practice Award for the Hospitality Sector, the EFQM Business Award of Excellence from Failte Ireland and the CBA Cork Business of the Year Award. The previous year it was awarded the International Clarion Hotel of the Year. The Clarion Hotel Cork offers beautifully designed airconditioned rooms decorated in light, modern colours with many

featuring floor-toceiling windows. All the rooms include a TV, minibar, free wired internet, and there is a 24-hour room service menu, a health and spa centre with pool, and 2 fine restaurants including Augustine’s Restaurant which has an a la carte menu offering delicious French and Italian cuisine and Kudos Bar & Restaurant which has a relaxed atmosphere and serves authentic Asian cuisine and a selection of European dishes. Guests can also relax in the Atrium Lounge. Also available to guests is the SanoVitae Health & Spa which has excellent facilities including a gym, sauna and steam room and offers an extensive range of beauty treatments. Facilities are also available for hosting business meetings and conferences. Responding to the news that it has been awarded the Public Sector Magazine Corporate Travel Services & Accommodation Award,” Regional Sales Manager at the Clarion Hotel Cork Raymond Kelleher said it would help to promote the hotel to the public sector and other clients. “The team at the Clarion Hotel Cork are really delighted to receive a Public Sector Magazine 2011 Award,” he said. “The public sector is very important to our hotel and to many hotels. Our location in Cork City Centre means that we are a desired location for all corporate markets, including the public sector and we want to maintain our position as the premier 4 star hotel in Cork and a leader in the corporate and leisure market.”

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Great Getaways TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site announced the results of its annual travel trends survey of more than 2,700 travellers.

Snowmobile, credit Terje Rakke, Nordic Life, Innovation Norway

Compiled from the responses of more than 2,700 travellers, this year’s annual survey revealed that despite the economic climate, travel spending is on the rise. In fact, nearly one-third of travellers said they anticipate they will spend more on leisure travel next year than they did in 2011. Findings include encouraging statistics with 90% of travellers planning to take two or more leisure trips in 2012 and 24% planning five or more getaways. A whopping 79% of respondents plan to spend a minimum of €3,000 on holidays in 2012 with 57% expecting to spend at least €5,000 and 21% will spend over €10,000 on leisure travel. “Sun and sand remain an enduringly popular choice, but the coming year will also see a renewed interest in cultural trips.” Explains Karen Drake, senior Director of Communications, TripAdvisor. Traditionally France has always been an ideal family choice with miles of sandy beaches, beautiful architecture, great food and many family holiday sites to visit. Made all the easier now with direct luxury boat travel from Ireland, now is the time to take a look at a very real and inexpensive family

option. For those looking at a more adventurous break the sights of Norway with its fjords, huskies, skidoos and outdoor culture is a must. Add a look at one of the most stunning natural phenomenon, the Northern Lights and you have a holiday that will never be forgotten. Beach, Nice

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Oh Là Là Ditch busy airports and nightmare bag packing in favor of a luxury, stress free Celtic cruise. Take the car, take your pet and bring back as much wine and cheese as you can handle.

There’s nothing like the winter freeze to turn our heads towards sunnier climates. No sooner are the Christmas movies over than the airwaves are filled with ideas of where to go next summer. For many families however flight costs alone can be considerable and the very thoughts of trying to pack everything you need into a tiny baggage allowance is reason enough to abandon all hopes of a family holiday. Or is it? ‘Sailing towards a new Horizon’ is how Celtic Link Ferries describe their service and as an Irish low fares ferry company sailing directly from Rosslare to Cherbourg, the Celtic Horizon is the newest and fastest sailing vessel on the route. Celtic Horizon is a state-of-the-art vessel that travels to France

every week of the year. The Celtic Horizon can facilitate any form of vehicle including cars, vans, minibuses, campervans, caravans, motorcycles, motorcycle combinations and trailers. Entertainment starts from the moment you step on board from shopping to chilling out in one of the ship’s two bars or grabbing a bite to eat in the vessel’s onboard restaurant. You will love the service and even better the excellent prices. Unlike many companies Celtic Link Ferries deliver value and quality. The company has an active policy of not charging extortionate prices for food on board. For the ultimate in relaxation you can choose from a selection of cabins that are positively cruise ship in style. With a choice of two

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berth outside, four berth inside, four berth outside, large four berth inside, a six berth outside, a six berth inside, and even the luxury of a suite cabin. This includes a double bed, a fridge, wine and cheese in your room, a leather couch and a 42” television. That’ll keep mum and dad and the kids happy.

About Celtic Link Ferries A proud Irish company Celtic Link Ferries believes that it can move over 85,000 in 2012 due to the increased capacity. The company offer convenience and cost saving with the lowest prices available between Ireland and France. By travelling with Celtic Link Ferries during summer time a saving of up to 35% can be made in comparison to the other operators operate the Ireland to France route. Celtic Link Ferries offer a multitude of value adds including free bike rack transport, free roof box, free use of baby cots and free pet travel. Pets (under the designated pet passport scheme) are allowed to travel at no cost and you can choose to have your pet in a kennel throughout the sailing or in your vehicle. Celtic Link Ferries allow people to visit their pets at pre-arranged times throughout the sailing. Whether it is the family holiday you want to book or a quick wine trip, it is well worth checking out this Irish success story.


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A quick wine stop off can be had for as little as €200 which includes car + driver + two berth outside cabin. Each additional passenger can travel under this deal for as little as €10 extra each so get online and book a spring, Easter or summer treat. T: 053-9162688

Public Sector Travel

Project Travel Ireland’s only specialist Norway tour operator.

Terje Rakke, Nordic Life, Innovation Norway the Public Sector Magazine


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Ice Hotel

There’s something mystical about the Northern Lights. Standing in the snow-padded silence under a starry sky watching the shapes shift, twist and turn is one of the most memorable sights you will ever experience. It’s easy to understand how our forefathers conjured up myths and legends to explain the displays. “We now know the Aurora Borealis display correlates with an eleven year cycle in sunspot activity. This winter the cycle peaks meaning there is an excellent chance of seeing them,” explains Guy Tominaga of Project Travel, Ireland’s only specialist Norway tour operator. “Norway is one of the best places in the world to view the Aurora. We bring you well above the Arctic Circle giving the greatest chance of seeing a spectacular display. But we include a variety of Arctic Activities in our packages so even if they don’t appear you’ll still have an unforgettable holiday”, he says. There are several packages to choose from available between January and March. New in 2012 is the four night Tromsø package which includes three Arctic activities all from just €1275 pp. As well as an evening dog sledding under the stars and a dinner cruise you also get to spend the day with an English speaking Norwegian family enjoying their home and activities in the beautiful Lyngen Alps. The four night Alta Adventure costs from €1795 pp. This includes six Arctic activities: dog sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, a snowshoe trip and outdoor hot tub followed by a gourmet Norwegian dinner. The highlight is a night

Aurora Borealis

spent Hunting the Northern Lights in the company of a local expert who uses detailed weather forecasts to identify the best locations to see them. This package may be adapted to include a night at an ice hotel. For the more adventurous there’s a five night Husky Tour from €2185 pp. This includes 3 days driving your own team of dogs through the countryside, overnighting in wilderness cabins. The five night Arctic Highlights Voyage (from €1495 pp sharing) departs on selected dates between December and March. This combines three nights on a Hurtigruten ship with two nights in hotels. It includes a dog sledding tour as well as other optional excursions along the route. Or you could opt for a longer voyage along the full length Norway’s dramatic coastline. For further details visit or call 01-2108391. Project Travel creates year round tailor-made holidays and short breaks in Norway (the fjords, mountains and rivers are ideal for walking, hiking and salmon fishing) as well as arranging trips for trade, research and educational tours, conferences and commercial visits.

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Show-Stopping Interiors Maison D’Object is one of the largest and most influential interior exhibitions in Europe. Here trends, colours and textures seen at the Paris event will soon find themselves into high street stores and ultimately into our homes. Lorna Sixsmith, owner of online shop and interior design store Garrendenny Lane reports back on what she saw at the best of the interior shows. The emphasis this year at the interior design shows seems to be on a cocoon effect to create a cosy sanctuary that protects against the elements. A natural theme prevailed; one that was all about bringing the outside in to embrace nature. Many designers also revisited themes from previous decades continuing on the ‘reinvent’ idea seen at the Irish Interior Design show. The overriding theme at Maison D’Objet was one of incorporating an entire woodland into a design scheme. Think Scottish highlands complete with wood paneling, stag heads, tartan rugs, fur throws, furry animals and crackling log fires – all very conducive to curling up in front of a roaring fire with woolen blankets and hand knitted cushions. Other shows followed along similar lines but with a more ‘Switzerland snow’ or Canadian Rockies feel. For those not quite ready to stretch to birch tree trunks as room dividers or a colossal stag’s head on the wall, you can introduce elements of the winter woodland with throws and accessories.

Home Knits A simple and easy way to go with the ‘outdoor in’ feel is to invest in some hand knitted cushions. If you don’t feel up to getting the knitting needles clacking yourself, there are many small businesses in Ireland selling hand knitted home-wares using quality Irish wools or check out for a worldwide selection. When considering hand knits a few knitted blankets are always worth the investment for warmth and as accent throws. Keep with the theme by using baskets and textured containers for added emphasis and practicality.

Woodland Influences This year’s design shows recognized the beauty of the fauna and flora of woodlands and this is well represented with the many beautiful wallpapers featuring trees in their various forms, be it leaf designs, depictions of birch tree trunks, the rather retro Little Trees wallpaper deign by Miss Print or various representation of Norwegian forests on Scandinavian Surface’s wallpaper panels. If covering a wall with trees is too big a leap

for you, then you could add a couple of cushions with a tree design to an armchair or sofa or include a log-lookalike vase or candleholder on the mantelpiece. If you live near a park or forest some chunky wood in a log holder will look great and smell wonderful. For some real wildlife indoors there are a plethora of deer images available on cushions, wallpapers and fabrics with definite scope to create a Scottish highland interior. If the full sized stag head doesn’t quite work with your mantel then many of the high street shops have smaller deer heads in a variety of materials including flock, silver, chrome, aluminum, cardboard, papier-mâché and even tapestry. Deer weren’t the only animals to be featured at Maison although they were the most popular. You can choose between various breeds of dogs (pugs and boxers being the most popular choices), cats, squirrels and rabbits which feature on lampshades, cushions and wallpapers. Some were stylish, some were quirky and some were just downright strange! Birds are always popular with chaffinches, sparrows and

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finches featuring in many designs however the most recurrent was definitely the wise old owl. Very popular in the mid 1970s, the owl has definitely made a comeback and the designs range from being very baby-centered to highly sophisticated.

Back to the 50s With the recent trend towards up-cycling the retro theme is stronger than ever. Humorous and quirky, you can add as little or as much as you wish to a room from retro lampshades and cushions to kitchen accessories that resemble utensils and imagery from the 1950s.

Colour Brights Color palates focus more on warm tones with grays featuring strongly warmed further by mauves and purples. However, zestier colour schemes include brilliant blues, hot pinks and sizzling oranges with the most popular colour of all - indigo – all going to be seen more and more with solid blocks of colour on sofas and other large areas of the home. Designers Guild is still one of the most inspiring designers and producers of colorful wallpapers and fabrics and their new Amrapali collection is no exception. As well as incorporating solid blocks of colour, large floral patterns with blowsy colorful flowers are making a comeback too.

Seeing the beauty in the ordinary There was a definite emphasis throughout the shows on celebrating the practical nature and the attractiveness of the ordinary. The focus is to appreciate the simplicity yet complexity of nature by recognizing beauty in ordinary things and celebrating them. Lorna Sixsmith is owner of the home, gift and lifestyle store


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For the widest choice in modern and traditional stoves

visit Kinvara Co Galway 091 637159


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Professional Stairs/Joinery Manufacturing We specialise in the production of one off pieces e.g. stairwells, landings and decorative effects. At Tiernan‘s joinery we carry an impressive range of top quality doors and doorsets and accessories and we will be happy to advise on the best woods and finishes to enhance your home. Our experience and love of wood we select only the finest timber and each job we undertake is treated as individual as the individual that commissioned it‘s creation.

 Bespoke  Restoration Work The Sawmill, Ashfield, Cootehill, Co.Cavan Tel: + 353 (0) 49-5552367 Mob: +353 (0) 87-8399630 Email: 150

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MAKING AN ENTRANCE First impressions last and as the first internal aspect of the home the hallway should reflect the overall feel that you are trying to create.

Research suggests that our attitude and mood are affected either positively or negatively when entering a property depending on how well the entrance is designed. It may sound like stating the obvious but if the hallway is warm and welcoming it will make visitors instantly feel relaxed and at home. A practical addition to the hallway is a console table. Use this to great effect by hanging a large mirror above the table and place matching lamps on either side of the table. This will

act as a great focal point and generate a soft light reflected in the overhead mirror in the evening. For extra light and reflection you can opt for a mirrored glass table. In a small hallway this gives the illusion of extra space and the reflective surfaces bounces back light. Placing shiny lanterns along the journey of the hallway or on stair steps also has a wow effect and draws the eye to the glimmering candle light. Mullingar based Genesis Ireland have a whole range of tables, lamps,

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mirrors and lanterns that will add style and stature to any hallway no matter how tall or small. Recently featured in the Ideal Homes show house the Genesis/Mindy Browne collection is stunning and surprisingly well priced. Available throughout Ireland from a wide range of resellers check online for stockists and for decorating ideas, www. Of course the dominant element in any hallway is often the staircase. Even in the smallest home you can make a statement here too by restoring or replacing old spindles and balustrades. In smaller hallways storage space can be minimal so an excellent way to add definition and much needed storage is to replace the understairs area with fitted cupboards. These can be disguised behind feature panelling to create a pretty effect while also providing masses of space in an often underused area. Paul Malone of Customtone Furniture explains “even in a small sized urban home the understairs area is huge. Most people use the understairs closet to hang a few coats or for minor storage but if the job is done properly you can often have as much storage here as you can in the average kitchen. It’s all down to clever use of space.” Paul continues “we have years of experience in kitchen and bedroom installations so we know all about maximising on storage and style while not breaking the budget.” For this and other storage ideas check out For those with a large enough space there is nothing more dramatic in a hallway than a sweeping wooden staircase. Guaranteed to make a bold statement a beautiful staircase will bring years of pleasure and be a striking focal point in the home. Stair banisters are a staple in most homes and while they can be bought in DIY packages there is nothing to compare with a beautiful sweeping staircase created and fitted by a qualified joiner. This old skill covers everything from beautiful window frames, staircases, door frames, handmade doors and furniture.  Cavan based Tiernans Joinery is a second generation family business situated on the site of an old estate sawmill dating back to the 1800’s.  This is a company steeped in the history and practice of quality carpentry and joinery.  Kevin


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Tiernan is passionate about his work and says that no two items are the same because each piece of natural wood has its own distinctive characteristics. Kevin explains, “We are proud to specialise in crafting custom designed wooden stairs and furniture.  We use the most beautiful Irish and imported woods like oak, ash, pine, mahogany and red deal to deliver the most beautiful Irish end result”. It is clear that Kevin Tiernan knows his craft and a visit to the old sawmill is well worth a visit. Kevin concludes, “Apart from being aesthetically pleasing wood has the best thermal insulation properties of any mainstream construction material. This means that as well as having a beautiful floor, stairwell or window frames you also have the assurance of natural insulation”. At the end of the day the devil is in the detail. Decorative trends will come and go but no matter what the fashion of the day, quality always endures.

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Irelands leading Shutter Supplier. 10 years experience providing the most Comprehensive range of custom made wooden shutters at the best prices. For windows and doors in a diversity of shapes, styles and finishes

Designed to enhance any interior space Shutters of Ireland 35 York Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6. Phone 01 497 0422 / 087 2517 847 Email: Web:

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Open and Shut Case Guaranteed to enhance any interior space, wooden shutters are an open and shut case Irish company Shutters of Ireland run by husband and wife team Brendan and Blaithin Hederman have been busy bringing shutters to the forefront of interior design in the Irish marketplace. With over ten years experience in the shutter business, Shutters of Ireland have done it all, from small one-off openings to full hotel projects at home and abroad. Blaithin explains the appeal of shutters, “curtains and blinds are very high maintenance and much less practical than something as beautiful and low maintenance as shutters. We supply a full range of custom-made shutters with styles and finishes to suit any environment, including shaped shutters to compliment the growing demand for arched and tapered windows. Shutters introduce the ‘wow’ factor into your living spaces, complementing the privacy and insulation benefits that real wood brings. Blaithin continues, “We can work with custom designs, colours and woods. Shutters of Ireland are the only shutters supplier in Ireland with the coveted FSC accreditation which guarantees the customer that the timbers used in their shutters come from sustainable harvesting. Poplar and Basswood which are real hardwoods are both modestly priced so we can offer the most comprehensive range of shutters at the most competitive prices. We offer a standard range of paints and stained finishes but we can also offer custom colours and stains to meet exact requirements.” These days value and customer service are paramount and this is something that Blaithin and Brendan take very seriously. Brendan explains, “Our dedication to customer service starts the minute you contact us. We offer flexible consultations working around your availability, offering evening and weekend appointments. When we visit you, we listen to what you want to achieve with your shutters and we use all our experience and expertise to ensure we deliver on your expectations. We also ensure that the person who surveys your openings is the person we send out to install and complete the job. Finally, we offer a five year

warranty on our shutters and installation and we are fully insured for all the services we provide. Testament to the quality of their product, Shutters of Ireland have won several awards including Best Interior Design Product at Plan EXPO and the Public Sector Journal Award for Excellence in Business 2010. The company offers a nationwide service combining a complimentary survey with full demonstration of shutter configuration, styles, finishes, measuring and installation. Best prices in Ireland for hardwood shutters. €275 per square metre inclusive of VAT and fitting for Basswood shutters. Speciality shapes, prices on request with discounts based on volume. Shutters of Ireland, 35 York Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6. Tel: (01) 4970422

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UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS The popularity of period dramas such as Downtown Abbey, Pride & Prejudice and Upstairs Downstairs has generated great interest in classic furniture pieces with sumptuous textures and surfaces. Here we look at some fine examples of furniture classics with a twist.

Reinvent & Recycle Consistent with the world wide interest in reinventing, the wood used in creating the Shipwood range is upcycled from decommissioned South China fishing boats from the Pearl, Li, Yangtze and Huang Rivers. The timber is recycled, re-imagined and combined with new materials to create a unique and beautiful range of statement furniture. The range includes reclaimed Douglas-fir and teak wood from boats as old as the early 20th century Qing Dynasty. These woods are combined with stainless steel and high-gloss MDF to create original pieces. Each piece of furniture comes with a plaque stating the age of the boat the wood has been reclaimed from and the river it sailed on, making it easy to see the origin of your own particular piece.

Bookshelf The Shipwood Bookshelf is created entirely from reclaimed wood. Its slats provide a modern counterpoint to the wood and enables books to be stacked in a variety of ways. With its aged wood and modern craftsmanship, the bookshelf provides the perfect mix of the old and new.

TABLE The single stainless steel leg of the Shipwood Table takes up as little space as possible and offers an unobtrusive but strong and stylish way to hold up the table top. The combination of steel and wood is reminiscent of the materials used on the original fishing boat.

Rene haas chair

Purple/Pink Bar from Aoki Interiors

Swiss born designer Rene Haas is one of the foremost contemporary furniture designers and manufacturers in South Africa. Established by Rene in 1968, Muralto is known for its passion for excellence in product design. The company offer private clients, interior designers and architects a huge selection of quality accessories, art, light, mirrors, rugs and furnishings. Mary chairs by Muralto are built for two and come in a range of beautiful colours and textures. Shown here in Sinkoki charcoal this is an elegant chair that acts as a decorative as well as functional piece.

With staying in becoming the new ‘going out’ home bars have seen a resurgence in interest. Gone are the days however of wooden bars and pub imitation furniture. The wonderfully extravagant and eye catching bar from Irish company Aoki Interiors is a perfect example of form and function combined. A fusion of decadent design, clever curves, sumptuous fabric and jaw dropping style this piece is a guaranteed head turner.

Purple/Pink Bar from Aoki Interiors This extravagant bar clearly sets the course due to its decadent design.


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Barcelona Console Table Finement chest from Fashion for Home combines the elegance and practicality of a drawer chest with the fun of high fashion colour

The Barcelona console table is available in walnut or white lacquer finish with twin drawers fronted with a grid textured surface. Designed by Peter Mac Cann for Gilmore Space this is a beautiful piece of furniture that will grace any hallway and provide storage space in the twin drawers discretely hidden behind a grid textured decorative surface. The table is available in natural walnut or a matt white lacquered finish with a sleek chrome steel base. Available from, a design shop based in Dublin stocking homewares, textiles, furniture & lighting, gifts & toys from independent designers and makers in Ireland, the UK and Europe.

Light Fantastic

Barcelona console in walnut or white laquer finish by Peter Mac Cann for Gilmore Space. Console, dressing or hall table in natural walnut with twin drawers fronted with a grid textured surface. Chrome steel base.

Garry Cohn is a leading international designer and architect extraordinaire. Garry was a key member of the design team with Douglas Wallace International working on worldwide projects including our own Peter Marks Style club. He has worked on statement buildings in his native New York and covered everything from French chocolatiere to luxury private jets. As unstoppable as he is inspirational, Garry combines his love of the whacky and extraordinary with a love of finding new ways to work with old materials . In his lighting collection Garry has reinvented copper wire found in a hay barn in America and with some coaxing and twisting a new collection of beautiful lighting was born.

Anyone for Coffee? A staple in most homes the coffee table serves many purposes yet do they all have to look the same? This Railway style table from Aoki Interiors looks as if it has been ravaged over time. The antique fittings add quirky detail which authenticates the old world style yet the table is a modern reproduction. What better way to enjoy a coffee and add a huge splash of style to the living area.

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Custom Made Cabinetry The term bespoke refers to an item custom-made to the buyer’s specification

The word bespoke is derived from the verb bespeak, to “speak for something.” Originally used to describe expensive custom made suits, an item that is bespoke is seen to be a highly desirable, unique and often expensive item. Owner/proprietor of Customtone Furniture, Paul Malone comes from a proud tradition of cabinet makers and Paul says that with today’s intricate tooling and modern machinery it is possible to combine the old craft of fine joinery with modern methods to deliver bespoke furniture at very realistic prices. Paul explains “Combining craftsmanship standards and qualities that are centuries old with the latest technology means that clients can have the best of both worlds. Modern tools and precision equipment improve turnaround time without sacrificing quality. Precise measurements, cutting and shaping tools and modern finishes mean that we can deliver wooden cabinetry that look fantastic and that last a lifetime”.


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Customtone are a name synonymous with quality kitchens having worked for many years installing bespoke units and the price competitive German Nobilia brand. Paul is keen to point out that a beautiful kitchen can be installed for Ikea prices but without the headache of self assembly. He explains “People can’t believe that you can buy a modern, high gloss kitchen for only five thousand euro but it can be done and more importantly delivered and installed for you”. Paul continues “I cannot stress highly enough the importance of having furniture installed by a qualified fitter. Anything less will look less whereas correctly fitted cabinets will look fantastic. At the bespoke end of the market there are no limits to what can be achieved. Clever design and woodwork can turn awkward spaces into stylish storage such as the eves in an attic, the corners of chimney breasts or even cleverly inserted drawers into the steps of the staircase. Beautiful cabinetry is an investment and sleek built in cupboards, wardrobes and closets will add value to your home as well as adding to your enjoyment of it.

Public Sector Interiors

Energy Efficiency at Home With energy costs soaring it is well worth looking at spending a little bit now to yield great and long term savings

Since a house being built today can be expect to be occupied for 60 years or more, an energy-efficient design can yield considerable savings over its lifetime. If you are lucky enough to build a home from scratch then there are many things you can do to make the home more efficient and environmentally friendly. If you want to make an existing home more energy (and therefore cost) efficient, then talk to an established suppler about some money saving options. Did you know? n Energy use is responsible for two-thirds of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions n Irish homes use around a quarter of all energy used in the country – that’s even more than industry n The average Irish home consumes almost 40% more electricity than it did in 1990 n Renewable energy currently accounts for just 2% of Ireland’s energy supply These statistics come as no surprise to Jimmy Conlon, MD of Energy Efficient Homes Ireland. Jimmy’s company supplies a wide range of products and services to help increase the energy efficiency of home and office buildings throughout Ireland. Conlon says that there are three essential items that can make a significant difference in the average home. The first is one that is perhaps already well acknowledged.

Insulation Levels of insulation higher than those required in the Building Regulations are in many cases economically justified. It is better to have a good overall level of insulation than, for example, a highly insulated floor with no roof insulation. Attention should be given to the avoidance of thermal bridges. These are “short circuits” across insulation, which are commonly found at lintels, jambs and sills of doors and windows and at junctions where floors and ceilings meet external walls. They give rise to increased heat loss and possible condensation problems. There are many examples of buildings performing more poorly than expected in energy terms due to poor quality workmanship in installing insulation. To achieve the level of energy efficiency predicted by the design, it is very important to ensure good quality workmanship and supervision during construction. Jimmy explains “You will not get a second chance to make your home energy efficient as easy or as cheaply as when you are actually building it.” Energy Efficient Homes provide advice on the various types of insulation available including, mineral wool, flax, hemp, sheep wool and the most environmentally friendly product on the market, spray on “cellulose” which is made from recycled shredded paper. This product also benefits from an excellent “U” value and is recommended for use in any energy efficient air tight house.

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Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) Jimmy’s mantra for energy efficiency and good air quality is to “Build Tight, Insulate and Ventilate Right.” Paradoxically while you need to insulate to keep heat in, adequate ventilation is essential to provide fresh air and to remove moisture, odours and pollutants. However, excessive ventilation during the heating season results in energy wastage and can also cause discomfort due to draughts. Controlled vents should be installed in every room with trickle or slot vents incorporated in window frames to ensure a reasonable amount of continuous fresh air. These vents can be opened up or closed down to a minimum as required. If an open fire or other fuel-burning fireplace appliances are to be installed, they should have an independent air supply. This can be achieved by means of an under-floor draught or by using a room sealed appliance such as a balanced flue heater. A balanced ventilation system involving fans, ductwork and a heat exchanger can transfer heat from warm stale outgoing air to incoming fresh air (this is called “mechanical ventilation with heat recovery”). Stale air is usually extracted from rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms and warmed fresh air supplied to living rooms and bedrooms. For such systems to work well, the house must be well sealed. Correctly sized systems can reduce ventilation heat loss considerably.


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Benefits of Heat Recovery Ventilation: 1. It will save you money by reducing your energy requirements for heating by re-using the heat that would normally be lost through uncontrolled ventilation 2. Fresh filtered warm air continuously, day and night, replaces the stale air inside your home. No more unpleasant odours from smoking, cooking or bathroom. 3. HRV helps maintain healthy humidity levels throughout the home 4. Moisture build-up from bathroom and kitchen will be avoided eliminating mould growth.

Solar Panels Heating water is the second largest energy cost in most households. Solar Water Haters can be a cost effective way to generate hot water. 1msq of Solar Panel here in Ireland is equivalent to more than 100 litres of oil per year in free solar energy. Even if the sun is not shining, a solar water heater will convert indirect sunlight as well as direct sunlight into heat. For a full range of tips, products and energy saving ideas contact and

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The Trinity MBA Full-Time (one year) or Executive (two years part-time) See or email for more information. Add value to your career and Ireland's future.

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Public Sector Magazine Winter 2011  
Public Sector Magazine Winter 2011  

Irish Public Sector Magazine Winter 2011