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Country’s brokers demand legal protection for rainy day savings



Jarlath Jordan of Moneybutler Galway and former Chairman of PIBA, Anne Hession of Hession Life & Pensions, Craughwell, Guest Speaker Pat Falvey, and Shane Donnellan of Donnellan & Co. Loughrea, board member of PIBA, at the recent AGM of PIBA.

PIBA – the country’s largest group of financial brokers with 890 member firms – has called for the insertion of a legal protection to safeguard consumers’ pension savings.

The association’s Chairman, Donal Milmo-Penny, said given recent history consumers neeTagsd reassurance.

“People need to know that their pensions are safe and this includes protection from the State itself,” he said.

“At a time when the notional policy was to increase pensions’ take-up the State last year alone took almost €700 million in a levy from the savings of consumers in the private sector, a deficit that will never be returned and will impact on an ongoing basis into the future.   And the National Pension Reserve Fund has been depleted,” he added.

Mr Milmo-Penny said a system of pension auto enrolment which is currently under consideration by the government would be a win- win for consumers and for the State in the long term, with over 50pc of workers without any pension planning in place currently.

He said PIBA supported such a scheme with an option to opt out within a certain timeframe and flexibility to allow for individual advice should consumers wish.  And early access to funds to facilitate house purchase may be a way of encouraging participation.

“How such an auto enrolment system would be structured is absolutely critical. The success of the SSIA scheme and current international practice, particularly that of countries like Australia, New Zealand and latterly the UK have, we believe, much to offer.”

He said in the SSIA scheme consumers could perceive ownership of the investment whereas deductions at source by the State were likely to be perceived as a form of taxation.

He warned of other dangers of a State designed and run auto enrolment scheme.  “There would be a significant development cost to the taxpayer in designing and maintaining the scheme. The NEST system in the UK cost stg 330 million and has a running deficit of stg 70 million.  Such a system is also likely to offer only very conservative investment strategies, given the potential political fallout of short- term volatility, even though pensions are long-term investments.  Under a State controlled system consumers risk being placed and left in unsuitable funds to their long term financial detriment.”

He said for each one per cent a year loss of investment performance from an assumed 6pc, there is a significant reduction in a retirement fund after 25 years.  A three per cent loss of performance can typically shave 30 per cent off a projected retirement fund.

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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