3 Wicklow projects receive funding under Government’s ‘Town & Village Renewal Scheme’

3 Wicklow projects receive funding under Government’s ‘Town & Village Renewal Scheme’

Three County Wicklow projects are to benefit from funding of €310,000 under the Government’s Town and Village Renewal Scheme as part of Our Rural Future which focuses on initiatives to bring town centres back to life.

The three are Wicklow Town, Ballinaclash and Donard.   The announcement was welcomed today (Friday) by Cllr Shay Cullen, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council.

Funding of €221,000 has been awarded for a project to link Wicklow town centre to the port through its laneways. The aim of the project is to reanimate and revitalise the important links between the harbour, the Main Street and the Market Square while at the same time highlighting Wicklow’s heritage.

Following recent training provided by Wicklow County Council on place making, the community of Wicklow town have reimagined a public space and are working towards its fruition. 

Ballinaclash has a vision of developing into a vibrant and attractive village and has been awarded funding of €63,000 to renovate and repurpose the community centre to meet the needs of the community, both present and future and to make sure that the centre is inclusive to people of all abilities. This funding will enable the centre to offer remote working facilities and improved community activities for all.    

West Wicklow also benefitted from the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. Funding is awarded to the Donard community who have identified an opportunity to revitalise their village through developing a coffee shop in the community centre for visitors and residents.

The positive social impacts would be immediate as “the Meeting Place” will provide an essential hub not just for the town residents and the surrounding environs but also to the tourists who enjoy staying at the nearby caravan park and those involved in outdoor trails. 

Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Shay Cullen, said: “I would like to thank the staff of Wicklow County Council and in particular the staff of Wicklow Municipal District who worked with such enthusiasm on this application to secure the funding.  I must also pay tribute to Wicklow Town Team for the initiative shown by the members in assisting with the Wicklow application. “

Mr Brian Gleeson, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council, also welcomed the funding saying “the Town and Village Renewal Scheme is another great example of what can be achieved when community groups work together with Wicklow County Council, and I encourage all Town Teams and communities to get involved in these schemes and work with us to make Wicklow a better place to visit and to live.”

IBM to create 200 new jobs in Ireland

IBM to create 200 new jobs in Ireland

IBM is to create 200 new jobs across its Irish offices as it looks to grow its research, development and innovation operations here.

The jobs are based across its offices in Dublin, Cork and Galway, and are in addition to the more than 400 people it has hired since the start of the pandemic.

IBM has had operations in Ireland since 1956 and today employs more than 3,000 people here.

The technology firm specialises in cloud and artificial intelligence technologies.

In its fourth quarter of 2021 it had total revenues of $16.7 billion.

“IBM continues to evolve in Ireland as we have done throughout our more than 65 years here, and I am proud that IBM is synonymous with the fabric of business in Ireland,” said Deborah Threadgold, country general manager IBM Ireland.

“I am very proud of IBM’s purpose – to be the catalyst that makes the world work better, and that requires a highly skilled workforce and an inclusive culture that enables people from all backgrounds to thrive.”

Article Credit : www.rte.ie/news

Taste of Wicklow 2022 Announced!

Taste of Wicklow 2022 Announced!

We are delighted to confirm that Taste of Wicklow will be back in 2022.

This year the Festival will take place in the Dominican College – An Tairseach Organic Farm & Ecology Centre Grounds for two days.

Dates: Saturday 25th June and Sunday 26th June from 11am to 6pm.

This year our event promises to be bigger and better than ever by making Taste of Wicklow a great Food Experience for our visitors. So with this is mind, we will be holding our Food Court (made up of food stalls and cooking demonstrations with national and local chefs throughout the day).

Our aim is to provide a fun day out to families across Wicklow where they can sample the best of what Wicklow has to offer.

We will also have a small number of craft stalls and we have some entertainment planned for the weekend ensuring that there is something for everyone to enjoy. After the last 2 years we feel, now more than ever, it is time to celebrate the joys, the sights, aromas and of course the tastes of all Wicklow has to offer.

If you are interested in putting up a stall on the day, please email info@wicklowchamber.ie for an application form specifying if your stall is for Food or Craft. Please note that your place will not be confirmed until payment has been received.

If you require any further information or have any specific requirements, please contact the Chamber Office on 0404 66433 or 0860897702 for further information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,
Wicklow Town & District Chamber

Trading Online Vouchers awarded to Wicklow businesses

Trading Online Vouchers awarded to Wicklow businesses

128 Trading Online Vouchers were awarded to businesses across Wicklow in 2021 to the value of €268,000 to assist them in developing their online presence, Wicklow Fine Gael Minister Simon Harris TD has confirmed.

The vouchers were awarded by Wicklow Local Enterprise Office as the digital transformation journey continues for firms looking to increase sales, reach new markets, and help create more employment opportunities.

Minister Harris said, “I am very grateful of the work carried out by the entire Wicklow LEO team in 2021 and for helping maintain momentum for many small businesses looking to trade their goods and services online.

“The Trading Online Voucher Scheme, funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, offers a 50% co-funded voucher of up to €2,500 to help businesses, which have been trading for at least six months. This assists them in developing their online trading capability and includes training sessions that cover various topics, including developing a website, digital marketing, social media for business and search engine optimisation.

“Between 1st January 2021 and 31st December 2021, on a national basis, the Trading Online Voucher Scheme had a total of 4,442 approvals across Ireland to a value in excess of €9.6 million. This includes 128 trading online vouchers awarded to businesses in Wicklow with a value of approvals worth €268,000.

“This is strong evidence of the success of the scheme and the demand for the vouchers across the micro-enterprise sector.”

Minister for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, has confirmed he is satisfied that the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, a demand led support scheme for businesses, will continue to be a key component in the suite of interventions to assist micro-enterprises to develop and flourish in the years ahead. Minister English urged local businesses to engage with their LEO about getting their business online.

The local business community in Wicklow was also offered a vast range of training, mentoring and financial support opportunities by the LEO which suited their specific business requirements.

Minister Harris confirmed that “In 2021, the Wicklow LEO matched 57 businesses with expert guidance on their Mentoring Programme. This is a valuable and free service open to client companies of the local enterprise support agency. The programme is designed to match up the knowledge, skills, insights and entrepreneurial capability of experienced business practitioners with small firms who stand to benefit from one-to-one advice and guidance.”

On the training opportunities provided by the Wicklow LEO, Minister Harris continued, “Last year, some 878 people participated in the wide range of one-day workshops, seminars and management development programmes. Many of the business owners who participated in these programmes demonstrated their determination to succeed, their appetite to grow and ultimately their ambition to create more job opportunities locally.”

Minister Harris concluded by saying, “The Wicklow LEO is a very valuable first-stop shop which provides support and services for those who are looking to start, grow and develop a business in the county. I would urge early engagement by interested entrepreneurs to help get their business off the ground with the added value of the Local Enterprise Office’s knowledge, networks and advice behind their venture.”

Article Credit : www.wicklownews.net

New workplace guidance following easing of restrictions

New workplace guidance following easing of restrictions

New guidance for workplaces has been published to reflect the recent relaxation of most public health measures.

The Transitional Protocol eases many requirements on businesses but says good practices should be maintained.

It is ten days since the Government announced the relaxation of most public health measures, and following engagement with business and unions it has published its latest guidance for workplaces with the requirement to work from home now gone.

So too is the need to maintain two metres social distance, to operate pods of six, or to collect contact details of people on a premises.

The wearing of face masks now only applies to certain settings such as healthcare, transport, retail and public offices and by those serving food and drink.

But it says wearing face masks is still good practice especially for those sharing work vehicles.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said the document was designed to help, not to complicate.

Employers have been asked to maintain good infection control practices, keep a Covid-19 response plan in place and take into account the needs of high risk workers.

The guidance says specific sectors can introduce their own measures and that it remains crucial that anyone with symptoms isolates and tests.

It also says employers should start to develop or finalise their long-term plans for blended and remote work.

Article Credit: www.rte.ie/news

New Law Giving Workers the Right to Request Remote Working

New Law Giving Workers the Right to Request Remote Working

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar T.D. today published details of a new law which will give employees the right to request remote working, as part of his plans to make better terms and conditions for workers a legacy of the pandemic.

The Right to Request Remote Working Bill 2021 will, for the first time, provide a legal framework around which requesting, approving or refusing a request for remote work can be based.

All workplaces must have a written statement which sets out the company’s Remote Working Policy, specifying the manner in which remote working requests are managed and the conditions which will apply to remote working generally within the organisation.

Where the employer has diligently completed the assessment process and any appeal has been heard, the employee will have to wait a period of 12 months to submit another request, provided they are in the same role. If an employee moves to a new role within the company, they may submit a fresh request.

The new law provides for a time-limit for an employer to return a decision in relation to a request from an employee. The employer can set out their own specific time limit but it must not be more than 12 weeks.

An employee will be eligible to submit a request once they have worked for their employer for a period of six months. However, an employer is free to offer remote work from day one if desired.

There will be a right of appeal to the Workplace Relations Commission where an employer has failed to respond to a request or to provide any reasonable grounds for refusal of a request for remote working and protections for employees from penalisation for having exercised their entitlement to request remote working.

The Tánaiste said:

“We have a real opportunity now to change the norm and learn what we can from the pandemic. This new right is in addition to the right to disconnect, our investment in remote working hubs across the country and our changes to the treatment of home working costs through Budget 2022.”

The General Scheme has been developed following consultation with employer groups, employee representative groups and the public. The General Scheme and the Regulatory Impact Assessment are available at Right to Request Remote Work Bill 2021

As set out in the legislation, an employer may, having given the application due consideration, decline a request for remote working stating the reasonable business grounds for so doing which may include but are not limited to —
The nature of the work not allowing for the work to be done remotely
Cannot reorganise work among existing staff
Potential negative impact on quality
Potential negative impact on performance
Planned structural changes
Burden of additional costs, taking into account the financial and other costs entailed and the scale and financial resources of the employer’s business
Concerns re the protection of business confidentiality or intellectual property
Concerns re the suitability of the proposed workspace on health and safety grounds
Concerns re the suitability of the proposed workspace on data protection grounds
Concerns re the internet connectivity of the proposed remote working location
Inordinate distance between the proposed remote location and on-site location
if the proposed remote working arrangement conflicts with the provisions of an applicable collective agreement
Ongoing or recently concluded formal disciplinary processes.

ISME calls for integration of the Taxation & Social Welfare Systems

ISME calls for integration of the Taxation & Social Welfare Systems

ISME has renewed calls for the integration of the taxation and social welfare system in a submission to the Commission on Taxation and Welfare. In its submission, ISME has highlighted how the taxation and social welfare system are inherently interlined for the taxpaying-citizen, but has noted that the pace of reform in Ireland is too slow.

Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME said: “We are grateful for the opportunity to make a submission to the Commission on Taxation and Welfare, thirteen years since the last Commission sat. It is interesting to reflect on the 2009 proposals and what has been introduced since. We have fought for the integration of the taxation and social welfare systems for many years, and welcome the fact that that the new Commission will address these two areas explicitly.”

ISME has outlined a number of recommendations for consideration by the Commission, including:

  1. Raising the Standard Rate Cut-Off Point to 95% of the average industrial wage as soon as possible.
  2. Pending removal of the 3% USC surcharge on the self-employed earning over €100,000, and apply this surcharge to all workers earning over €100,000.
  3. In order to encourage the stated goal of increasing private sector pension coverage:
  • end the discrimination against private sector pension savers in the amount of income they can save for pensions;
  • maintain marginal rate relief and extend it to all savers; and
  • allow private sector workers with a chargeable excess tax liability, to discharge it in the same manner as a public sector worker.
  1. Set the basic rate for qualifying for the medical card at more than 30% above the comparable Jobseekers assistance rate.
  2. Replace the child element in the Jobseekers’ payments and all other welfare schemes by substantially increasing Child Benefit, phasing out Working Family Benefit, and at the same time making the Child Benefit taxable.
  3. Significantly increase the income thresholds for access to social housing and reform or remove the link between income and local authority rent.

Neil McDonnell added: “We consider it of exceptional importance that the recommendations of this Commission are considered by the Oireachtas with critical urgency. We believe that the pace of tax and social welfare reform in Ireland has been too slow and hope that the Commission will impress upon the legislature the priority that must be devoted to reform.”

You can read the full submission here.

Article Credit : www.isme.ie

Chambers Ireland welcomes easing of restrictions

Chambers Ireland welcomes easing of restrictions

Chambers Ireland, the voice of business throughout Ireland, has this evening (21 January 2022) welcomed the announcement by Government to ease the public health restrictions which will provide businesses across Ireland an opportunity to reach their full potential.

Following the announcement by An Taoiseach, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said:

“The decision by Government today will come as a relief to the many business owners across Ireland who have played a crucial role in navigating the threat posed by Covid-19. Through several immensely challenging periods, they have demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting public health. Their businesses, which are hugely important to the people and strength of our local economies, now have a chance to make their full contribution to their communities and the staff they employ.

“Of course, this commitment has not been without cost. This must be recognised by Government as it considers the future of its business support schemes. Even in a best-case scenario, the risk of insolvency will still exist for businesses through no fault of their own. Existing schemes have been extremely valuable in securing continuity and stabilising the economy but, as we enter a new phase, supports will be required for those working in vulnerable sectors.

“As we manage a return to the workplace, it is also important that businesses engage with employees to deliver a safe and fair return that takes account of changes that have taken place in the last two years. For many, flexible and remote working has been a consequence of the pandemic but every effort should be made to retain the benefits it has provided to employees and the economy. The long-term benefits of doing so will be happier staff, a more inclusive labour force and higher levels of productivity.

“We must also remember that previous experience has shown that calling an end to the pandemic while the virus continues to circulate is premature. Our high vaccination level has provided an important layer of protection across the island but the threat of future variants remains. The most important step we can take to avoid that threat is to advocate for, and participate in, efforts to deliver vaccine equity and achieve high levels of protection in all regions of the world.”

Article Credit : www.chambers.ie

Trading Online Vouchers awarded to Wicklow businesses

100+ Wicklow jobs created with Local Enterprise Office supports

The Local Enterprise Office in Wicklow helped create over 100 jobs in 2021, according to new figures released today.

The figures show that companies supported by the Wicklow Local Enterprise Office created 117 jobs during the past year, with a NET gain of 50 jobs recorded.

LEO Wicklow financially supported 31 small businesses in their portfolio across the county, with these companies in turn employing 106 people.

In total there are 148 total small businesses in the county that are supported by the Enterprise Office, which employ 655 people.

It comes as the annual results were announced at a virtual event today that was hosted by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar.

“Over 35,000 people employed in small businesses around the country have been helped in some way by our Local Enterprise Offices,” Mr Varadkar said.

“They are at the heart of communities in every county, always on hand to provide advice, training or financial backing and have proved invaluable throughout the pandemic, during which I know a huge amount of people relied on their local office.”

The head of Enterprise said the results announced are “testament to Ireland’s small business community”.

“When faced with adversity, they have adapted, pivoted, upskilled and did whatever it took to sustain themselves. The figures show that companies have seen the opportunities in the challenging trading conditions they have faced,” said Vibeke Delahunt

Article Credit : www.wicklownews.net