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Businesses tell Minister they’re stymied by limited access to bank cash services



Galway retailers with Junior Minister Ged Nash, Deputy Derek Nolan and Cllr Neil McNeilis in the Meyrick Hotel recently to discuss the challenges facing the retail sector in the city.

Galway businesses and retailers are being hamstrung by an increasingly limited cash services in banks.

That’s what they told the Junior Minister with responsibility for Business and Employment, Ged Nash, at a meeting in the city’s Meyrick Hotel last week.

The issue was one of a number of matters discussed at a round table meeting of Galway retailers, which was also attended by Galway West Deputy Derek Nolan and Cllr Neil McNeilis.

Afterwards Deputy Nolan acknowledged that this was a growing problem.

“Many small businesses in Galway rely on small cash transactions to keep their business alive and afloat. Pubs, cafes, hairdressers and newsagents, among many others, all deal in cash on a regular basis,” he said.

“When these businesses go to the banks in Galway, they are often discouraged from using the services as dealing in cash in no longer favourable and banks seem to prefer online options being used. However, many businesses simply do not have a choice but to deal in cash.

“One of the main banks in the city – Bank of Ireland – only accepts cash two days a week. This means that many businesses are left with large amounts of cash in their premises which poses a serious security risk.

“Furthermore, there is a six per cent charge on all cash lodgements which is quite a significant amount of money being taken off small business owners every time they make a lodgement, be it after a weekend’s business or after a particularly busy day,” he added.

The Labour Deputy acknowledged that small businesses and sole traders were the lifeblood of the local economy.

“It is absolutely essential they are supported by the government both in an overall sense and in their day to day trading. I do not think it is a very big ask to expect banks to provide a cash service on a daily basis.

“During the very constructive meeting with the retailers in Galway, Minister Nash committed to raising the issue at the next Retail Consultation Forum and with the Advisory Group on Small Business.

“Furthermore, I intend raising it with the Minister for Finance and with the banks directly,” he concluded.

Meanwhile Galway Chamber has welcomed the news that small businesses can now apply for a loan from Microfinance Ireland even if they have not been previously refused by a bank.

“Microfinance Ireland has always had the potential to be a great alternative source of funding for small business and start-ups but has been hampered by the requirement that an applicant business must have been refused finance by a bank before it is eligible for MFI finance,” said Galway Chamber President Frank Green.

“The removal of this requirement will open the scheme up and allow a greater number of innovative businesses access to credit and create jobs in our economy.

“For those companies that have been refused bank funding, the new automatic referral system from banks to MFI will also streamline the application process and generate greater awareness of the scheme amongst start-ups,” he said.


Connacht Tribune

New President for Local Ireland



Left to right, Bob Hughes, Executive Director, Local Ireland, Dan Linehan, Head of Irish Times Regionals and Declan McGuire, Operations Manager of the Connacht Tribune.

The new President of Local Ireland, the association representing local news publishers around the country, is Head of Irish Times Regionals Dan Linehan.

Mr Linehan takes over the presidency from Declan McGuire of the Connacht Tribune. His appointment was confirmed at the recent Annual General Meeting of Local Ireland at Bloomfield House Hotel near Mullingar, Westmeath.

Mr Linehan, who has served as Vice President of the organisation for the last two years, said: “The coming years are a very important time for local publishers with many important issues to be addressed, including the implementation of the Future of Media Commission recommendations, defamation reform, the role and support for local publishers in public service reporting and helping publishers develop commercial digital offerings.”

Speaking at the AGM, Mr McGuire acknowledged the work done by the Executive in the past two years under the direction of Executive Director, Bob Hughes, on several projects related to the publishing industry but most especially the successful conclusion of the long-running campaign for the abolition of VAT on newspapers.

He also wished Mr Linehan the very best in his new role as President of the association for the next two years.

Mr Hughes thanked Mr McGuire for his leadership and support during his term of office and said he looked forward to working with Mr Linehan on the key policy priorities for the association, including Government supports, Government advertising, fair remuneration for content from the tech platforms and the reform of the legislation for defamation.

Local Ireland members also elected Seán Mahon, Managing Director of the Southern Star, as Vice President for the next two years.

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Connacht Tribune

Employers’ group hears of key challenges facing businesses in the region



Pictured at Regional Insight Series in the Galmont Hotel are: Trevor O’Rourke, (CEO, Fibre Networks Ireland); Senan Colleran, (Head ESB Assets, Generation & Trading, ESB); Eilish O'Sullivan, (Human Resources Director, Medtronic); Danny McCoy, (CEO, Ibec); Helen Leahy, (Head of Regional Policy, Ibec); Ruairi Conroy (Diligent Corporation) and Fergal O’Brien, (Executive Director of Lobbying & Influence, Ibec). PHOTO: Michael Dillon.

The shortage of affordable housing is the single biggest impediment in attracting and retaining workers in the West, according to business group Ibec.

At a ‘Regional Insights Series’ meeting in the Galmont Hotel in Galway last week, employers were told that capacity constraints and labour supply are the key challenges facing business growth in the region.

Ibec Head of Regional Policy Helen Leahy said: “There must be greater focus by government on enhancing quality of life issues such as housing and infrastructure which are driving labour shortages in the region.

“Ibec’s vision for the West is to realise its potential to become a globally competitive location. An inadequate supply of affordable housing is now the single largest impediment to attracting and retaining talented workers, without whom business investment and expansions are not possible.

“Labour shortages are a real concern for businesses in the region. People decide where to live and work based on quality of life and access to high quality services and amenities. Industry tends to follow talent, and in this regard, the region needs to have all the building blocks in place as the attraction and retention of world-class talent becomes increasingly competitive on a global level,” said Ms Leahy.

Amongst Ibec’s priorities for the West are:

  • Addressing housing and infrastructure challenges
  • Transitioning towards a new growth model with Net Zero energy powered by Atlantic offshore wind resources
  • Adapting businesses to the new economic realities
  • Enhancing capacity and skillsets to achieve sustainable development objectives
  • Investment in people and skills
  • Creating competitive advantage through digitalisation
  • Innovation as a key driver of productivity growth




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Connacht Tribune

Survey finds one in five retailers in Galway want to go fully cashless



Conor Quirke of BOI Payment Acceptance: move to card payments.

One in five Galway businesses want to go fully cashless, as the move towards card payments and tapping continues unabated post-Covid.

In all, 22% of Galway businesses would like to be fully cashless, according to a survey carried out by BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA), a provider of payment technology solutions, which asked Irish businesses about the current payment landscape as well as business confidence and concerns.

Over one-third (36%) of Galway businesses were unaware there is no contactless limit on mobile wallets – just below the national average – while 54% believe the increase in card over cash transactions has helped them run their business.

Six out of ten Galway businesses expect to grow this year despite the cost-of-living crisis and running costs dominating as key concerns; 62% believe their business will grow over the next twelve months despite global economic uncertainty.

Unsurprisingly cost-of-living increases and running costs were the main concerns the majority of businesses had.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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