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Galway firm’s landmark loan



John Coyne, Jason Kelly and Garry Regan, founder of Eco Drop - AIB's 10,000th customer to receive loan approval within 48 hours.

A Galway company has become the landmark 10,000th customer to receive AIB loan approval within 48 hours – further evidence of seen a significant increase in SME activity in the first half of this year.

Eco Drop, a small waste water company employing eight people based in Barna, received funding under the SBCI loan fund.

The company contributed to a 48 per cent increase in funds availed of, on the same period last year.

And the loan approval is the latest chapter in what is a growing local success story.

It began when Gary Regan, founder of Eco Drop, returned to Ireland in early 2007 after 16 years living and working in America.

He worked in construction but with the downturn in that sector in mid-2008, Gary set up his first business, Gary’s Cycles and Garden Machinery.

In early 2014, Gary spotted a need for maintenance and repair of wastewater treatment plants and septic tanks and established Eco Drop.

“There were a few people operating in the industry but nobody was doing it at a scale or as professionally as I felt we could. Initially it was all about getting the right staff, they’re key to everything,” said Gary.

Responding to customer demand, the loan Eco Drop received was used to invest in new vehicles, which are fully kitted out with diagnostic equipment, such as CCTV for checking pipes, and tools allowing them to undertake repairs on different scales varying from a domestic septic tank to a waste water treatment plant.

Further plans are in place to expand in the coming months, with Eco Drop getting ready to move to a new, larger premises and already advertising for new staff.

“Forty-eight hour approval on my loan from AIB helped me get my business up to speed faster. The confidence AIB has shown in my business with this loan has helped in moving my business to the next level.

“After the new premises, our next step is probably buying a de-sludging truck. It would be a significant investment but is something that would allow us to take on jobs we can’t do at the moment.

“In ten to fifteen years, I’d like my business to be running exactly as I want it, to have some security. Everything happening now, with AIB’s backing, is a step to that.”

Eco Drop is one of a growing number of small Irish companies to benefit from the €2.5 billion in credit that AIB has approved for the SME sector in the first six months of 2015, sanctioning 95% of small business and farmers credit applications received.


For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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