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Social Welfare’s one stop shop



Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton officially launched Intreo in Galway - the new integrated employment & support service provided by her Department at the Seán Duggan Centre, Fairgreen Road, Galway, where she was joined by (from left) Eoin Browne, Divisional Manager, Mary McMahon, Area Manager, Cllr Frank Fahy, Galway City Mayor, Regina Higgins, Divisonal Manager and Annette Murphy, Area Manager, Dept.of Social Protection.

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, has officially opened Galway’s new one stop shop for social welfare payments, serving the city and the majority of the county as well.

The new Intreo Centre in Galway city at Fairgreen Road provides a full range of social welfare services that had previously been provided from five separate offices throughout the city.

Now, customers, for the first time, have a single point of contact in one location in Galway city.  The catchment area for this new Intreo Centre is Galway city and its hinterland including east to Oranmore and Athenry, north to Claregalway and towards Headford and West including Oughterard and most of South Connemara and the Aran Islands.

Some 150 Department of Social Protection staff are based in the Intreo Centre which is headed up by Divisional Manager, Eoin Brown.   Almost 16,000 customers will be assisted through this office which includes income supports and tailored employment supports for jobseekers.

The new Intreo service in Galway will reduce waiting times for jobseeker payments, significantly improve customer service and, for the staff, the working environment has been transformed.

“Intreo has been a key element of the Government’s response to the high unemployment levels and it supports the objectives set out in Pathways to Work strategy to tackle unemployment.  It links the payment of income supports with supports offered to jobseekers in their efforts trying to find work,” the Tánaiste said.

“The type of support provided by Intreo is customised to each person’s skills, experience and qualifications.  A tailored progression plan is discussed and agreed by the jobseeker and their case officer.

“Intreo Galway provides a one-stop-shop for jobseekers where they can get their income and employment supports in the one place for the first time.  Previously, the Department’s services were situated in five different locations around the city,” she added.

The Tánaiste acknowledged the support of employers in Galway city and its environs in working with the Department of Social Protection by offering placements for jobseekers.

A team of 19 Activation Case Officers are currently working in Intreo in Galway with jobseekers.

There’s a broad range of employment supports available to jobseekers and local employers are key to the effectiveness of these supports.  Recent recruitment drives include collaboration with the Irish Hotels Federation and a number of local agencies and nursing homes.

In Galway, five companies have registered for the First Steps Youth Development Internship to date while 31 companies across the county have signed up to the Employment and Youth Activation Charter.

“This new Intreo Centre in Galway is an excellent example of how the Department of Social Protection has moved on from being a passive financial pay-hatch of old to a pro-active support for its customers.

“I am very pleased to see the Department and local employers engaging with each other, both with the same objective, to help create work and improve the standards of living for all society,” added the Tánaiste.

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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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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