Wicklow’s Coastal Communities to benefit from significant funding under Brexit Blue Economy Scheme

Wicklow’s Coastal Communities to benefit from significant funding under Brexit Blue Economy Scheme

Businesses in Wicklow’s coastal communities are being encouraged to apply for the Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme, with funding of up to €200,000 available per capital project.

The aim of the Scheme is to stimulate growth in rural coastal communities post-Brexit, with funding available to businesses operating within 10 kilometres of the coastline and involved in the blue economy.

The blue economy covers a wide range of economic activities within coastal communities such as seafood, coastal tourism, boat building and maintenance, marine recreation, and renewable energy initiatives.

The Scheme, the largest of its kind ever, is open to three streams of projects: Capital Investment, Business Mentoring & Capacity Development, and Upskilling & Training.

A €25 million budget is available in 2022 and 2023, funded under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve. The Scheme is an initiative of the Government of Ireland and is being administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

Paul Downes, regional officer at BIM, said the Scheme, which opened in June of this year, has already received many promising and innovative proposals.

“We’re delighted with the quality of the applications that have come in to date, covering a wide breadth of blue economy businesses – from seafood companies to charter boat businesses, marine engineering companies to coastal tourism enterprises.

“We’re eager to encourage more businesses, particularly for the capital investment stream, to submit an application for funding. Brexit has brought challenges to coastal communities and this unique funding opportunity has the ability to deliver real benefits to those communities and to individual businesses that are part of the blue economy. These investments will enable innovation, diversification, value-adding, and will support business growth and increased employment.”

The Scheme is being delivered through Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) which uniquely focus local development funding specifically for areas and communities within 10 kilometres of the sea around the entire coast.

Capital project initiatives proposed by applicants must be located within 10km of the coastline and must be within one of the following blue economy sectors:

  • Small Non-Commercial Harbour/Pier Activities
  • Boat Building and Repair
  • Coastal Tourism
  • Marine Leisure and Sport
  • Seafood
  • Renewable Energy Initiatives supporting the Blue Economy

The applicant must be a micro or small enterprise and projects must be completed by 30 September 2023. The other two streams for funding are Business Mentoring & Capacity Development, and Upskilling & Training.

Full details about the Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme, including how to apply can be found here

Article Credit : www.wicklownews.net

New laws for sick pay passed by Oireachtas

New laws for sick pay passed by Oireachtas

A new law giving workers the right to paid sick leave has been passed by the Oireachtas.

When enacted, employees will be entitled to three days’ paid sick leave in the first year of operation, rising to five days in year two, seven days in year three with employers eventually covering the cost of ten days in year four.

Sick pay will be paid by employers at a rate of 70% of an employee’s wage, subject to a daily maximum of €110.

It can be revised over time by ministerial order in line with inflation and changing incomes.

An employee must obtain a medical certificate to avail of statutory sick pay and the entitlement is subject to the employee having worked for their employer for a minimum of 13 weeks.

Once entitlement to sick pay from their employer ends, employees who need to take more time off may qualify for illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection subject to PRSI contributions.

The Government said the legislation is primarily intended to provide a level of sick pay coverage to many private sector workers and those on low pay who currently receive no sick pay or are not entitled to illness benefit.

Welcoming the passage of the Sick Leave Bill, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar described it as a really important new employment right.

He also said that he has been conscious of the impact the new law will have on employers.

“That’s why we’re phasing it in as we are and I think we’ve designed it in such a way that is fair and affordable for enterprise,” Mr Varadkar said.

Article Credit : www.rte.ie/news

New low cost Covid-19 loan scheme for businesses

New low cost Covid-19 loan scheme for businesses

The Government has launched a further low cost Covid-19 loan scheme for businesses.

The finance will be available to small and medium businesses (SMEs) including farmers, fishers and food businesses.

Low cost loans between €25,000 and €1.5 million will be available with terms of one to six years.

Credit will be available without security where the loan amount is less than €500,000 and the finance will typically feature a lower interest rate than other comparable lending in the market.

Up to 30% of new loans may be allowed for refinancing of existing short-term credit.

In order to qualify for the loans, businesses must have experienced an adverse impact of a minimum 15% in turnover or profit due to the impact of Covid-19.

The scheme is delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), through participating lenders.

The Covid-19 Loan Scheme replaces the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS) which closed at the end of June.

As of the end of May, the CCGS had seen more than 10,000 SMEs access finance of over €700 million.

Launching the new scheme, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said it recognises the fact that many businesses are still getting back on their feet after what has been an incredibly challenging few years.

“This successor scheme will give SMEs, including farmers, fishers and food businesses, the option to access really competitively priced loans, should they need to avail of that option, in addition to the other help that is available,” Mr Varadkar said.

Article Credit : www.rte.ie/news

Taste of Wicklow returns to Wicklow Town!

Taste of Wicklow returns to Wicklow Town!

.Taste of Wicklow is delighted to be returning from Friday, 24th to Sunday, 26th of June and is
set to be the largest food festival on the east coast.

Joining a host of local and national chefs will be a star-studded line up of celebrity chefs from
across Ireland including JP McMahon, Darina Allen, Jeeny Maltese and Paul Kelly.

There will also be over 50 artisan food and drink stalls serving delightful and delicious dishes
at the event’s new location, An Tairseach Organic Farm & Ecology Centre in Wicklow Town (located next to Dominican Convent Wicklow)

On Friday, June 24th a wonderful weekend in Wicklow Town will kick off with the VIP Taste of Wicklow banquet, where booking platform Tabero and local restaurant Sorrel & Eve along with An Tairseach Organic Farm & Ecology Centre are joining forces to put on an exclusive pop-up dining experience limited to just 50 people.

Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th will play host to a smash-hit range of food demonstrations
from celebrity and local chefs, along with a live stage where a medley of musicians and DJs
will be performing across the weekend.

Also on display will be various craft and gift stalls as well as a jam-packed schedule of family entertainment including circus acts, face painting, balloon modelling, clay painting, games and storytelling – children aged under 12 will be allowed free entry to the Taste of Wicklow.

Speaking ahead of the festival’s launch, Wicklow Town & District Chamber President Matt
Forkin said: “I’m delighted that Wicklow Town’s signature event, Taste of Wicklow, is finally able to return with a bang.

“This will be its eighth year, and we can’t wait to welcome visitors to our lovely coastal town. We hope you take the time to shop in Wicklow Town, to visit our coffee shops, restaurants, and local pubs.”

Taste of Wicklow is brought to you by Wicklow Town and District Chamber of Commerce, with the support of An Tairseach, Gallaghers Super Valu Wicklow, Wicklow Naturally, Trinity Motors, REA Forkin, McKenna, Wicklow County Council, Green Meadow Farm and Smiths of Wicklow.

Tickets are still available for the Taste of Wicklow online at www.tasteofwicklow.ie. You can also visit the website to find a full list of what’s on each day.

Article Credit : www.wicklownews.net

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme for all businesses comes to an end

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme for all businesses comes to an end

The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) ends today for all businesses.

In February, most employers moved to a reduced weekly rate of support before the payments were phased out in March and April.

Businesses directly impacted by Covid-19 restrictions in December 2021, including many in the hospitality sector, were eligible to continue receiving support under the scheme until today.

Wage subsidy schemes, the EWSS or its predecessor, the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS), have been in place for over two years, since March 2020.

The total level of support provided to date by the wage subsidy schemes is €10.6 billion.

The EWSS accounts for €7.8 billion of that figure, comprising direct subsidy payments of €6.8 billion and PRSI forgone of over €1 billion.

The EWSS supported 51,900 employers in respect of almost 744,000 employees.

“Today marks the end of the very successful Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme,” said Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.

“The wage subsidy schemes played a crucial role in preserving employment and incomes and supporting businesses at a very challenging time during the pandemic.”

According to provisional statistics published by Revenue last week, 4,000 employers were registered for EWSS and as of 26 May, 3,600 businesses were in receipt of the payments.

Article Credit : www.rte.ie

EmployAbility Wicklow celebrates 21 Years of service

EmployAbility Wicklow celebrates 21 Years of service

EmployAbility Service Wicklow is celebrating 21 years working in Wicklow providing employment support services to people with disabilities.

Employability Wicklow celebrate 21 years of service EmployAbility is funded by the Department of Social Protection and is a specialised community-based service. Its main aim is to increase the number of people with a disability who are employed in County Wicklow. EmployAbility has offices in Bray, Wicklow Town, and Arklow, and provides outreach services throughout the County. EmployAbility can be contacted by email by info@employabilitywicklow.ie or https://www.employabilitywicklow.com

The service extends across the full range of people with a disability whatever the impairment, including people with a physical or sensory disabilities, those with mental health conditions, and those who acquire a disability. EmployAbility strongly believes that when Jobseekers are placed at the centre of the service provision and given the correct supports everyone can gain employment that matches and meets their own individual circumstances.

The EmployAbility Service is delivered in five stages.

• Employment Needs Assessment

• Vocational Profiling and Career planning

• Job Search support and advice

• Work experience and progression to open employment

• Progression to Independent Employment Jobseekers progress through each stage of the service with the support of an experienced Employment Support Specialised or Job Coach. The 21 years working in Wicklow celebrations will be held in the Wicklow Library, Wicklow Town on the morning of the 26th May, 11am to 1pm, where elected public representatives, Wicklow’s inclusive employers, and their employees, will share their experience of working with the EmployAbility Service

Taste of Wicklow returns to Wicklow Town!

Taste of Wicklow 2022 is here!

The Taste of Wicklow is back with a bang!
The largest food festival on the east coast will be returning to Wicklow Town this summer bigger and better than ever.

Delicious Food
Great Tunes
Family Fun
Celebrity Chefs

New Location! An Tairseach Organic Farm & Ecology Centre

Tickets on sale now!.
Get your tickets here: www.tasteofwicklow.ie
Stay tuned to our website for all the latest news and updates



After two years with no print the popular tourism map created by Wicklow Tourism has been published again.

The 2022 edition has been updated to include the changes and updates that have happened over the past two years.

Over the next weeks and months, 50,000 copies of the map will be widely distributed around Wicklow, Ireland and beyond.

Anyone wishing to get a copy of the map can order online at email info@visitwicklow.ie . For large orders of map, please get in touch with the office of Wicklow Tourism at the same email.

The production of the map is made possible thanks to the support of the local tourism trade advertising on the map. Any monies raised are dedicated to the promotion and development of Wicklow as a tourism destination.

Govt set to agree to extend lower VAT rate for hospitality

Govt set to agree to extend lower VAT rate for hospitality

The Government is set to agree to extend the lower VAT rate for the hospitality sector when the Cabinet meets this morning.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe is likely to bring what is termed an “under the arm” memo outlining the details of the extension.

It is thought that the 9% lower VAT rate, which was due to expire at the end of August, could now run for a further six months.

Discussions within the coalition on the issue so far have centred on the need to continue to support the hospitality sector as Covid-19 supports are phased out.

The cost of maintaining the 9% rate is likely to be in the region of €200 million.

Adrian Cummins of the Restaurants Association of Ireland welcomed the proposed move on the lower VAT rate.

He said it would help settle businesses ahead of what will be a “bumpy tourist season”.

However, he said the lower rate should be extended to the end of 2023 given that tourist numbers have not yet returned to pre-Covid levels.

Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan said the extension of the lower VAT rate is being timed in a way to give the hospitality industry the best chance of getting back on its feet.

Speaking on his way into this morning’s Cabinet meeting, Mr Ryan said the rate will be raised at some stage but it will be done in a way that will not adversely affect the industry.

Asked when the rate would be increased, the minister said he did not want to disclose that before the meeting.

The owner of Paris Texas bar and restaurant in Kilkenny welcomed the extension.

Pat Crotty said: “We thought we were over our troubles when we were exiting Covid … and we just found a different type of trouble”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, he said the cost of meat has risen so steeply he is wondering if it is worth while to keep offering some items on the menu.

For example, he said, if we were to apply our normal margin to fillet steak, we would need to charge a customer €67 for a nine ounce steak.

Mr Crotty said he is holding back on increasing costs because customers cannot afford it.

The extension of the 9% vat will enable me to continue to do that, he said.

Mr Crotty said the pandemic really hurt those people who had careers in the hospitality sector because they could not wait for the sector to reopen and instead looked for work elsewhere.

This means we have a huge cohort of younger people who need to learn the trade, he said.

Article Credit : www.rte.ie