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New website is a cost-cutting tool for building sector



Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash

An online tool has been launched which allows construction businesses carry out risk assessments and carry out their own safety statements. The website was launched by the Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash, and can mean immediate savings of €1,500 for small companies.

The website is aimed at reducting accidents and achieving cost-savings of up to €18 million across the sector. It was designed by the Health and Safety Authority.

Minister Nash said: “This resource is now available to those working in construction, giving them access to the benefits already enjoyed by over 25,000 small businesses in the retail, hospitality, service and manufacturing sectors.

“It is estimated that the cost of a safety statement for construction contractors can be up to €1,500 for each activity, leading to a potential administrative saving of up to €18m alone for those 12,000 contractors with 1 to 5 employees.

“This is a welcome development, particularly as there were eight fatal accidents in construction last year and tragically two deaths so far this year.

“Previously this tool only covered the so called ‘lower-risk sectors’. Now it is available for the construction sector where high levels of safety are a necessity, especially in relation to work at height and the operation of machinery.

“This tool is also very timely, as the number of people working in construction has increased dramatically, with more than 19,000 more people working than this time last year. But, we must ensure these workers return to their families safe and sound at the end of the day.

“Through the tool we are providing ways for new and existing businesses to reduce costs while encouraging them to take ownership of safety and health so that it becomes part of their culture and the way they do business,” said Minister Nash.

Of the eight construction fatalities that occurred in 2014, two were self-employed and two involved employees of small businesses.

Sharon McGuinness, Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA said: “Through our inspections, we have found that compliance with safety regulations is significantly lower amongst smaller employers compared to their larger counterparts.

“There may be a concern in the sector at the cost or the time it takes to carry out risk assessments and prepare a safety statement properly.

“Contractors are required to carry out a risk assessment for each different work activity. The nature of the construction industry means that a contractor will regularly move from site to site and consequently have to update their existing safety statement.

“Users can do this online and at no cost, as often as they want. Also by ensuring that appropriate safety and health measures are in place contractors can protect their employees and their business.

“We will continue to develop and grow across the full range of mobile and hand held devices, making it even easier for users to access and use the application in any environment. We are also planning to extend to cover the Agri-business sector later this year.”


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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