News - Summer 2013
Budget Briefing 2013
We are delighted to again be working with Lalor O Shea Accountants in bringing you instant professional analysis of this year's budget.In a break with tradition Lalor O Shea are pulling out all the stops and delivering a same day budget briefing. Booking essential.Please join us at 6.30pm in the Seven Oaks Hotel. Refreshments and finger food will be served on arrival and our speakers, Nuala and Sinead will then deliver the briefing.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan will deliver his third budget speech to Dáil Éireann. Under the terms of the programme agreed with the EU / IMF / ECB, Ireland is required to adjust downwards its public sector deficit by approximately €2.5 billion in 2014.
This adjustment will be effected by means of a mix of public spending cuts and revenue raising measures.
- What will it mean for your business?
- What will it mean for your payslip?
- Will it provide you with more certainty and stability?
- Are we now at a point where we can shift focus to growing our economy?
- Will there be a shift from increasing employment costs to investment incentives and supporting innovation?
The Chamber's Budget Briefing will take place in the Seven Oaks Hotel on Tuesday 15th October at 6.30pm. Tickets cost €10 per person, which includes refreshments. Booking is eesential, so please confirm your place by emailing email@example.com.
Co Carlow Chamber has called on Government to implement improved measures to support the struggling retail sector in Budget 2014. The call comes following the latest CSO figures which show a 1.6% decrease in the volume of retail sales in June 2013 when compared with May 2013.
Speaking this morning, John Brophy President of Co Carlow Chamber, said “Retail Sales have remained relatively stable over the last couple of years but they will only begin to improve with increased support from the Government in Budget 2014. With retailers forming the heart of our towns and cities across the country, the Government must do everything it can to assist this sector which will support increased job creation and retention.”
Co Carlow Chamber recently made a submission, though local TD Pat Deering, in relation to budget 2014 on a range of economic issues that the Chamber consider necessary to revive the Irish economy and restore growth in communities across the country.
Guide to Corporate Social Responsibility for SMEs Launched
Chambers Ireland has today (17/07/13) launched a new guide to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for SMEs, The Sustainability Factor.
Speaking this morning John Brophy, Carlow Chamber President said, “CSR embraces responsibility for a company’s actions and encourages awareness of a company’s impact on the environment and local community. While it is often seen as the realm of large multinationals, more and more SMEs are realising the benefits CSR can have on their business. This guide highlights the number of simple ways that SMEs engage with CSR, many of which can have a positive effect on their bottom line.”
“Despite current economic constraints, CSR continues to grow in Ireland. There is no doubt that implementing responsible business practices and becoming more sustainable has a positive impact on your business and those you engage with. We hope that this guide will encourage more SMEs to embrace these ideas and make CSR a core part of their business ethos.”
“Throughout Europe SMEs are engaging in CSR activities to help improve the sustainability of their business, which, in turn improves the sustainability of the regions in which they operate. This guide will help Irish SMEs to understand and obtain the benefits offered by introducing accessible CSR activities into their day to day operations.”
Government Must Support Retailers if Town Centres Are to Survive
Carlow Chamber has today (11/07/13) called on Government to implement a range of measures to support job creation and retention in the retail sector. The call comes following a presentation to the Interdepartmental Group on Retail in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
Speaking this morning, John Brophy, Carlow Chamber President, said “With retailers forming the heart of our town centres across the country, the Government must do everything it can to assist this sector and restore life to the country’s high streets. A key issue facing retailers in town centres is competition from out-of-town shopping centres and the free parking they provide. The introduction of a ‘parking window’ where the first two hours are free would be of significant benefit to retailers in town centres. A reduction in subsequent parking costs would complement this further encourage consumers to shop in their town centre.”
“Similarly, the introduction of a rates reduction for companies located within town and city centres, which provide much needed employment and contribute to the quality of life in these areas, would have a considerable impact on retailers. Providing support for small businesses through these measures can be the difference between these businesses remaining viable and ceasing to trade,” he concluded.
Positive Croke Park Report Provides Impetus for Further Reform
Carlow Chamber has today (03/07/13) said that the positive Croke Park report was a necessary requirement in getting the economy back on a sustainable footing and the Government must continue to secure the reforms needed to reduce costs and enhance flexibility.
Speaking this afternoon, Turlough O’Brien, Carlow Chamber Chief Executive, said “This is a broadly positive report. The savings of €1.8 billion made since the Public Service Reform Plan was launched in 2010 are significant. However, the priorities for this Government remain the same: how can borrowing be reduced; how can the deficit be cut; and how can the country’s finances be returned to a sustainable footing?”
“It is essential that the Government reaffirms its commitment to the principles of the Croke Park Agreement as we move into the new structures introduced by the Haddington Road Agreement. As with all businesses facing cost inflation, increased efficiencies and productivity are an essential component to securing cost effective front line services. We are still borrowing over €1 billion per month and this number has to fall further as fast as possible. A flexible public sector continuing to reform will play an ever more important role in delivering on this target,” he concluded.
New Air Routes Positive News for Business Across Ireland
Co Carlow Chamber has today (03/07/13) welcomed the news that Aer Lingus is to reopen its direct route to San Francisco from Dublin, along with a new route to Toronto.
Speaking this afternoon, Turlough O’ Brien, Carlow Chamber CEO, said “the reopening of the direct route to San Francisco is excellent news for Irish business. The importance of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Ireland’s economic recovery, 40% of which comes from Silicon Valley, cannot be underestimated and this route will further increase Ireland’s attractiveness as a place to do business. Along with increased connectivity across the US west coast, the new routes will create a welcome 200 new jobs.”
“The resumption of year round connections to Boston and New York from Shannon will be a vital boost for the Mid West in terms of both business and tourism.”
“These new services will also offer great potential in terms of enhancing opportunities for Air Cargo into and out of Ireland,” he concluded.
Carlow selected as a Pilot Town for the
National Town & City Revival Campaign
This campaign was launched recently and 100 Towns and Cities were invited to apply. Competition was razor sharp and we are delighted to announce that the Co Carlow Chamber application was selected. (Limerick City was the other successful applicant.)
The National Town & City Revival Committee will now work with our stakeholders and assist with the implementation of good town management principles.
This represents a major opportunity to tackle the issues facing Carlow Town over the next twelve months and we will have the benefits of a range of supports and expertise to develop a Town Team and a Town Plan.
Our representative Committee will meet the organisers on June 20th to begin the process.
The NationalTown & City Revival Committee:
Committee Chairman, Cormac Kennedy, Head of Property, Eason, Nationwide
Sean Murphy, Deputy CEO, Chambers Ireland
Keith Rogers, Head of Retail, Ecco Footwear & Chairman of Retail Excellence Ireland
Jack Nolan, Assistant Commissioner, An Garda Siochana
Michael Walsh, City Manager, Waterford City Council & County & City Managers Association
Ger Dollard, Ennis Town Manager & County & City Managers Association
Kevin Kidney, Destination Development, Failte Ireland
Marcus Wren, Asset Recovery Manager, NAMA
Richard Guiney, CEO, Dublin Business Improvement District (BID)
David Fitzsimons, CEO, Retail Excellence Ireland
Retail Forum Sets Out its Goals
Many thanks to all who made it along to the Talbot Hotel last week to take part in the Retail Forum. We are indebted to Mike Moore of the Nationalist who did a great job as facilitator. Discussions were in depth with lots of participation with the emphasis on what we could do together.
It was widely accepted that meetings were of little value without actions and a number of decisions were take to move things along and it was universally agreed to act on those things within our control.
1) Improve the image of the Town by immediately undertaking to display flower baskets outside of premises. Reference was made to how well Carlow looked some years ago for the Entente Floral.
2) Investigate grant aid for bilingual signs for business premises and circulate details.
3) Committee formed to address Signage and directional mapping for shopping areas consisting of PJ Hickson, Carmel Reddy, John Brennan, John Brophy
4) Committee formed to review Traffic management and Car parking - John Brennan, PJ Hickson, John Brophy.
5) Coimmittee formed to design shopping / marketing brochure for Carlow Town - Susan Alsybury, Tom McDermott, Eoin McKenna, John Brophy, Turlough O Brien.
6) It was agreed that everyone present would bring 2 more colleagues to the next gathering of the Forum.
Live Register Figures Indicate Signs of Recovery
Carlow Chamber have today (06/06/13) said that CSO figures showing that the standardised rate of unemployment remains steady at 13.7% are a further indication of stabilisation in the economy.
Speaking this morning, John Brophy, President of Carlow Chamber said “The fact that the standardised rate of unemployment began to slowly fall towards the end of last year and has held steady at 13.7% for the first few months of this year indicates further stabilisation. It is important that the Government build on this progress by doing all that it can tosupport employment by ensuring that that no new taxes are introduced in Budget 2014. Along with this, assurances are required that additional sick pay and increased PRSI costs won’t be heaped onto struggling employers in the Budget.”
“Our unemployment numbers are clearly skewed by higher levels of emigration and the withdrawal of some citizens from the labour market; if we want to make a meaningful improvement in employment levels then more must be done to support consumption and the domestic economy. No new taxes will support this and help to rebuild consumer confidence, creating the enhanced activity levels needed to support jobs growth,” he concluded.
Chamber Golf Classic: Carlow Golf Club
Wednesday June 26th, 12pm
Our annual Golf Classic takes place in Carlow Golf Club on Wednesday June 26th. The annual Golf Classic is an ideal way to network for your business while playing 18 holes on one of Ireland's finest inland Golf Courses. It's a Shotgun start at 12 noon and at €250 per team it's great value.
Make it work for your business by taking key staff members or business partners along for a great event on a great Course. If you would like to enter a team please contact the Chamber Office by phone - 059 9132337 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also book your team or sponsor a tee box by contacting any member of the Board.
Networking Event: Business After Hours
Carlow Brewing Company, Thursday May 23rd
Many thanks to Seamus O Hara who is hosting us for this nice informal networking opportunity. BOOKING ESSENTIAL - email email@example.com
Carlow Brewing Company, also known as O'Hara's Brewery was founded in 1996 by the O'Hara family. The original brewery was located in the 19th century "Goods Store" beside the train station in Carlow Town.
Over these years, the company was able to grow a solid local support base, focusing primarily on this market, while also taking the first forays into the export market in the UK. In 2000 O'Hara's Irish Stout won two gold medals at the International Brewing Awards (a high profile industry competition) and this success attracted much international attention. On the back of this success, the company successfully grew its customer base both at home and internationally.
In 2008, the first sod was turned on a greenfield site in the O'Hara's hometown of Bagenalstown, County Carlow. Shortly after making this move, two new brands were created; O'Hara's Irish Pale Ale and O'Hara's Leann Follain, bringing the core range up to five beers (O'Hara's Irish Stout, O'Hara's Irish Red and Curim Gold Wheat Beer being the other three).
O'Hara's brew a range of products inspired by traditional Irish beer styles (stouts and ales) and their own interpretation of international beer styles. The company has won many prestigious awards of the years, including two gold medals for their O'Hara's Irish Stout, as previously mentioned and also the grand prize for their O'Hara's Irish Pale Ale at the 2010 Cork Craft Beer Festival.
Chamber Retail Forum
Thursday, May 30th, 7pm Talbot Hotel Carlow
Co Carlow Chamber would like to invite you to a meeting to discuss Retailing in Carlow Town. The meeting will take place in the Leinster Room, Talbot Hotel on Thursday May 30th starting at 7pm.
These are unprecedented times for retailers, as a stroll down our main streets will confirm. Many retailers find themselves in a precarious and lonely place. There is an urgent need for all of us to work together and this meeting can be a starting point. Taking a back seat is an option few of us can afford to take.
Our Agenda is simple:
Where are we now?
Where are we going?
How are we going to get there?
Are you willing to get involved?
We ask you to consider these four simple questions in advance of the meeting; come with an open mind and please contribute as we need to hear your views.
An initial steering Committee has been put in place consisting of John Brophy, Joe Tully, Eoin Kehoe, Michael Doyle, Sean Swan, PJ Hickson and Turlough O Brien.
A retail survey form is enclosed and we would ask you to complete it and bring it with you to the meeting or post it to our Office. The survey is anonymous – we don’t need names but would like location to give us relevant demographic information.
Looking forward to seeing you in the Talbot.
A copy of the survey can be requested from the Chamber by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternative 10 Point Plan for Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Launched
County Carlow Chamber of Commerce has today (10/04/13) launched an Alternative 10 Point Plan for Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. The plan is a response to the 10 Point Tax Reform Plan announced by the Government in Budget 2013.
Speaking at the launch, John Brophy, County Carlow Chamber Chief Executive said, “The 10 point plan announced in Budget 2013 lacked the necessary ambition to create transformative change. The measures suffer from a number of problems: too many are sector specific; too many impose unnecessary limitations and too many are little more than extensions of existing schemes.”
In response, County Carlow Chamber gathered a number of subject matter specialists along with representatives from the Chamber Network around Ireland to construct an Alternative 10 Point Plan for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
“If implemented, the policies suggested can help businesses and in turn stimulate job creation. For example, a reduced VAT rate on housing repair, maintenance and improvements (RMI) would not only incentivise start ups and create employment in the construction sector, it also has knock on benefits for other sectors such as soft furnishings, white goods and electronics,” Brophy continued.
A 16.5% Capital Gains Tax for entrepreneurs would incentivise risk takers and support new business creation. Similarly a targeted rates reduction for businesses in town centres would support existing employers many of whom are in relatively low margin but high employment businesses. Recommendations include:
1. Introduce a Reduced VAT Rate on Housing Repair, Maintenance and Improvements (RMI)
2. Enable Start-ups to Offset Corporation Tax against Other Taxes Due
3. Halve the level of Capital Gains Tax for Entrepreneurs to 16.5%
4. Introduce a Targeted Rates Reduction for Businesses in Town Centres
5. Introduce a Double Rent Deduction for Companies with Upward Only Rent Reviews
6. Apply an ‘Ireland Rate of Return’ in Tendering Decisions for Public Sector Contracts
7. Introduce an Additional Tax Incentive Policy to Encourage Private Sector Investment
8. Promote Ireland as the Best Possible Location for Nearshoring
9. Mandate all Government Research Funding Agencies to set aside 2.5% of their Budget for SMEs
10. Introduce Further Operational Initiatives to Promote Business Interests