Fáilte Ireland ramps up Brexit preparations with a €5 million investment to support tourism businesses

Fáilte Ireland will invest €5 million to support the tourism sector as it prepares for Brexit.
The announcement by Fáilte Ireland – the National Tourism Development Authority –  marks a significant ramping up of its activities to ensure Irish tourism is both ‘product-ready’ and ‘industry-ready’ ahead of the UK withdrawal from the EU.

The investment comes as new figures published by Fáilte Ireland today show the number one concern among tourism businesses is Brexit, particularly those in northern counties.

The Fáilte Ireland Tourism Industry Barometer is a survey of more than 500 tourism businesses nationwide providing insight into past performance and future prospects. The latest figures reveal that 7 out of 10 (69%) tourism businesses cite Brexit as their top concern – a figure which rises to 80% for accommodation providers in northern counties and 90% in the restaurant sector, both of which report a decline in their business from the UK last year.

More than 3.4 million British tourists, on average, holiday in Ireland every year and spend up to €1.6 billion. This contributes more than €233 million annually to the Exchequer.

Fáilte Ireland is warning that the fallout from a hard Brexit could cost more than €380 million to the sector.

The €5 million investment by Fáilte Ireland will help businesses assess the risk, respond to changes and diversify into other markets in a fresh drive under its ‘Get Brexit Ready’ programme. Its work will focus primarily on border counties and the South East region which have been most adversely affected by the devaluation of sterling and the drop in Northern Ireland and Great Britain visitors.

As well as providing support for over 1,000 businesses across the country, the Tourism Development Authority will also deliver a more targeted programme of training and mentoring for more than 100 businesses in border counties.

Fáilte Ireland’s Chief Executive, Paul Kelly, said:
”Fáilte Ireland is working intensively with businesses to help them prepare for Brexit. Brexit remains a key concern for every facet of the tourism sector as our latest barometer survey shows. This is particularly true for the restaurant sector nationwide, as well as accommodation providers in northern counties, who report that their visitor numbers from the UK are down over the past year. The prospect of a hard Brexit, or a potential no-deal scenario, leaves us with significant uncertainty relating to the wider implications it could have on tourism, particularly on the performance of our nearest and biggest overseas market. A less obvious consequence is that we are at risk of missing out on tourists from other core markets as the UK is our greatest competitor and the weakening value of sterling could make it more attractive to long-haul tourists, as well as those from Northern Europe. However, overall, the tourism sector is reporting a positive outlook for 2019. This sentiment would be very much underlined by what was a hugely successful year for tourism in 2018, with visitor numbers and revenue at all-time highs.”

Fáilte Ireland will spend €1.75 million specifically for commercial development to provide Irish tourism operators with opportunities to sell their products to growing markets such as the US. This work will focus on supporting northern counties particularly by bringing major international tour operators to Ireland on bespoke itineraries which they can then sell in core markets. Central to this programme of work will be the retention of the UK market by selling Ireland as a business tourism and golf destination – two types of tourism which typically yield a high number of UK tourists.  An additional €1.5 million will be spent on marketing and PR with campaigns targeting the Northern Irish market and the remainder of the Brexit allocation will be invested in business supports and resources.

Paul Kelly added:
“As we await the final outcome of Brexit, and with the situation changing on a daily basis, it is still difficult to quantify the range and scope of impacts that Brexit will have. Our key message to tourism businesses is ‘prepare and diversify’. Any tourism business which does not have Brexit contingencies as a central focus of its 2019 business plan needs to act fast. The most prudent action we can take as a sector is to be ready for the challenges it will bring. Fáilte Ireland has developed a series of initiatives to build capabilities within the industry which will allow them to continue to prosper in the face of this challenge. This includes investing €5 million in a comprehensive programme of supports and commercial development designed to help tourism businesses located particularly in border counties, to ‘Get Brexit Ready’ by diversifying to other markets and reducing their reliance on the British market.”

Other concerns highlighted in the industry barometer include the implications of the increase in the VAT rate to 13.5%.

Despite these concerns, today’s barometer results, which take into account the overall performance of 2018, strike a positive note overall. The proportion of tourism businesses expecting trade to be up in the year ahead (59%) outweighs those expecting a downturn. This is especially true for attractions, with about two thirds (68%) expecting more visitors this year.

Armistice Day Commemoration in Valentia strikes the right note.

A very touching event took place in Knightstown on Valentia on Sunday 11th November last, on Armistice Day, the day which also marked 100 years since the end of World War I. 
Kerry County Council, in association with Creative Ireland and RTÉ Lyric FM, organised a commemorative recital at St. John the Baptist Church at which a great crowd gathered to acknowledge the significance of the date. Renowned pianist, Aoife O’Sullivan, and international star baritone and Kerryman Dr Gavan Ring along with Professor Muiris Bric of University College Dublin, presented the historical context for the recital which acknowledged the efforts of Kerry men who volunteered to fight in World War One.
Songs by both British and Irish composers were included in the recital which was set to poems by W. B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde and Francis Ledwidge. The songs remembered the 700 Kerry soldiers that died in the Great war. 
 
People travelled for miles to be at the Recital and the feedback from the crowd included very moving tributes to the families involved. “There was a sense of acknowledgement and remembrance of a time in our history that has not been forgotten. It was beautifully executed by the artists involved and we are very grateful to everyone and to the parish church for helping to make the event possible”, said Kate Kennelly, Arts Officer at Kerry County Council.
 
Dubbed famously and with hindsight incorrectly, as ‘the war to end to end all wars’ by US President Woodrow Wilson, the total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I, is estimated at approximately 40 million.

Armistice Day Commemoration in Valentia strikes the right note

A very touching event took place in Knightstown on Valentia on Sunday 11th November last, on Armistice Day, the day which also marked 100 years since the end of World War I.

Kerry County Council, in association with Creative Ireland and RTÉ Lyric FM, organised a commemorative recital at St. John the Baptist Church at which a great crowd gathered to acknowledge the significance of the date. Renowned pianist, Aoife O’Sullivan, and international star baritone and Kerryman Dr Gavan Ring along with Professor Muiris Bric of University College Dublin, presented the historical context for the recital which acknowledged the efforts of Kerry men who volunteered to fight in World War One.

Songs by both British and Irish composers were included in the recital which was set to poems by W. B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde and Francis Ledwidge. The songs remembered the 700 Kerry soldiers that died in the Great war.

People travelled for miles to be at the Recital and the feedback from the crowd included very moving tributes to the families involved. “There was a sense of acknowledgement and remembrance of a time in our history that has not been forgotten. It was beautifully executed by the artists involved and we are very grateful to everyone and to the parish church for helping to make the event possible”, said Kate Kennelly, Arts Officer at Kerry County Council.

Dubbed famously and with hindsight incorrectly, as ‘the war to end to end all wars’ by US President Woodrow Wilson, the total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I, is estimated at approximately 40 million.

SPECIAL ARMISTICE DAY RECITAL FOR VALENTIA

Kerry County Council, in association with Creative Ireland and RTÉ Lyric FM, is thrilled to announce that it will present a commemorative recital at St John the Baptist Church in Knightstown Valentia Island on Sunday 11 November 2018 at 4pm to mark 100 years since the Armistice of World War One. Accompanied on piano by Ireland’s foremost accompanist, Aoife O’Sullivan, star international baritone and Kerryman Dr Gavan Ring will perform this Armistice 100 recital. Cahersiveen-born Professor Muiris Bric of University College Dublin will present and compere the recital.

This recital promises to be one of the most unique events of the recent centenary commemorations and will be recorded for broadcast by RTÉ Lyric FM. Interspersed with incisive and engaging historical commentary by Professor Muiris Bric, Gavan Ring and Aoife O’Sullivan will perform a programme of wonderful of songs by both British and Irish composers. Set to poems by W. B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde and Francis Ledwidge but to name a few, the songs have been fittingly chosen to remember the some 700 Kerry soldiers that died in, as US President Woodrow Wilson famously put it, ‘the war to end to end all wars’.

Kerry native Gavan Ring is one of the world’s most in-demand opera singers at the moment and was inspired to create this event when he learned of his own great-grandfather James Hill’s involvement in World War One. ‘I was amazed to learn of my great-grandfather’s participation in World War One. James was only 19 when he joined the Royal Engineers in 1914 and, like so many of his generation in Ireland, went off to war for on the promise that Ireland would be granted home rule when the war was over’, explains Gavan. He continues, ‘We will have archival images pertaining to Kerry and World War One digitally projected  throughout the event – St John the Baptist Church itself is also home to several unique World War One memorials pertaining to Kerry soldiers so we felt it a most fitting venue and with Professor Muiris Bric presenting and compering, I have no doubt it at all that it will be one cultural highlights of the year’.

Capacity for St John the Baptist Church is 130 (including accessibility) and admission is free of charge on a first come, first served basis. Patrons can make a donation at the event to the restoration fund of St John the Baptist Church.

Newfoundland Tourism Minister Visits Valentia

Newfoundland’s Tourism and Heritage Minister, Hon. Christopher Mitchelmore, was in Kerry this week for talks with MInister of State, Brendan Griffin TD and Moira Murrell, Chief Executive, Kerry County Council, in  relation to the Valentia Trans-Atlantic Cable Project and possible UNESCO World Heritage designation.  He later visited Valentia Island to meet members of the Valentia Island Development Company and view the cable sites at first hand.

Speaking in Valentia, the Minister said that Newfoundland and Ireland had a shared heritage with the trans-Atlantic telegraph cable which extended along the seabed from  Hearts Content, Newfoundland to Valentia for over a century.  The laying of the undersea cable after several attempts in the mid 1860s was a global technological milestone and had reduced communications times between Europe and North America from weeks to mere minutes.  It heralded the beginning of globalisation.

Now fifty years after the closure of both cable stations it is proposed to mount a joint bid to UNESCO to have them listed as World Heritage sites.  Last December Canada placed the Hearts Content Cable Station on its UNESCO Tentative List – the first step in the designation process – and asked the Irish Government to do likewise for Valentia.  Minister Griffin said he fully supported the Valentia case and there was strong support within local and national Government for it. In July, the Pollmeier family of Valentia Industries, donated the Cable Station building to the Valentia Island Development Company to facilitate its restoration.  From their experience in Newfoundland, the UNESCO process could last five years.

Cahill calls for action to help Cahirciveen and the Iveragh Peninsula

Councillor Michael Cahill has called on Kerry County Council To come to the assistance of the Business Community in Caherciveen and throughout the Iveragh Peninsula. Speaking at a recent meeting of the South and West Kerry Municipal District the Fianna Fail Councillor said “the ongoing closures of businesses in Caherciveen and throughout Iveragh can not be allowed to continue and measures must be taken to halt and reverse these closures.” Councillor Cahill also said “measures must be taken to halt the continuous emigration and population decline and strong Political and community support for the South Kerry Greenway is required to help achieve this “. This is a crisis situation,  the town of Caherciveen is on it’s knees and there is a lot of dereliction. If these buildings were painted, it would make a huge difference. The Rossbeigh Councillor said the Council should also consider the provision of a dedicated Town Planner for Caherciveen as this may also help address some of these most serious matters and that the public should make submissions when the Draft Local Area Plan goes on display.

 

Replies South & West MD Meeting 28th September 2018
3. Cllr. M. Cahill:  That Kerry County Council come to the assistance of the Business Community in Caherciveen and throughout the Iveragh Peninsula as a matter of extreme urgency. The ongoing closures of businesses in Caherciveen and throughout Iveragh can not be allowed to continue and measures must be taken to halt and reverse these closures.  Measures must also be taken to halt the continuous emigration and population decline and strong Political and community support for the South Kerry Greenway is required to help achieve this The Council should also consider the provision of a dedicated Town Planner for Caherciveen as this may also help address some of these most serious matters.

Reply: The Planning Policy Unit of Kerry County Council has commenced a Local Area Plan for West Iveragh and the Draft will be available for public consultation in the coming weeks. This is an important element in the development of this area and allows for public engagement in relation to its future. As part of the Local Area Plan, the Council will identify areas which are in decline and which have substantial vacant properties and will target these areas for development through incentives. Kerry County Council has also been very proactive in the area with the development of the Skellig Cri project as a member of the Iveragh Task Force and in being the lead partner in the development of the South Kerry Greenway which will have a transformative effect on the region when complete. The Council has also engaged proactively with Failte Ireland in relation to the delivery of the Skellig Coast Visitor Experience Plan and is working on such major projects as the development of the UNESCO designation for Valentia and also in relation to the Wild Atlantic Way Bray Head Signature Points. The Local Enterprise Office has engaged on a practical level with businesses in Caherciveen and will continue to support them in relation to training, on-line supports and other technical supports. Over the past five years the Council has devoted significant resources to the area, recognising the challenges that exist with an aging and declining population and will continue to work with Local Development Agencies, the local Community and Public Representatives to develop the potential of the area.

Coiste Scor Chiarrai AGM

The Annual General Meeting of Coiste Scor Chairrai took place at Kerrys Centre of Excellence on Thursday night last September 20th where there was a huge attendance which included Vice Chairman of the County Board Diarmuid O Shea. Prior to the start of the meeting a minutes silence was observed for the late Betty O Brien, former Secretary of the County Scor and Peggy Cronin whose daughters  Anne Mangan and Sheila McCarthy are very much involved in the promotion of Scor on the death of their Mom. The A G M opened with Cathaoirleach Criostoir O Cillin who welcomed everybody to the meeting.  In a very detailed Secretaries Report which was  presented by  Suzanne Ni Laoire giving full details of the years activities. She went on to congratulate Scor na nOg all Ireland winners Spa, in Set Dancing while Na Gaeil in Leiriu and Dr. Crokes in the Quiz were just pipped at the post for honours. Scor Sinsear saw Churchill win their 3rd National title in a 5 year period in the Question Time. Fossa in the instrumental Music failed in their bid at the final hurdle.  Scor Na bPaisti was once again a tremendous success which finishes at County level. Treasurer; Anita English was happy to announce that the Scor was in a fairly healthy state.

Chairman Christy Killeen made a plea to all Clubs in the County as we celebrate the 50th year of Scor founded back in 1969 by the late Derry Gowan, Fermoy County Cork to make a special effort  to participate and at least take part in one of the 8 displines; ( Scor Sinsear, Scor Na nOg and Scor Na bPaisti). The aim is to make sure all Club Cultural Officers have their respective Clubs represented. He thanked both Estuary Print, Ballylongford and Lee Strand for their kind sponsorship during the year; he also thanked Radio Kerry ,Radio Na Gaeltachta, Kerryman, Outlook Magazines and Kerrys Eye along with the various Advertisers for their coverage of Scor throughout the year.

He finished up by thanking all participants who took part in all 3 Scor competitions along with their tutors and wished them well for the year ahead.

A vote of sympathy was extended to all Scor families who suffered bereavements during the year.

The following are the Officers who were elected for  2018/19


Chairman                             Christy Kileen, Finuge

Vice Chairman                    Jackie Walsh, St. Senans.

Secretary                             Suzanne Ni Laoire, Mastergeehy.

Assistant Secretarys             Mary Philpott, Currow

                                             Siobhain Casey, Reenard

Treasurers                            Anita English, St. Marys Cahersiveen

                                             Therese Keating, Na Gaeil


Munster Delegates               Tom Herlihy, Ballymacelligott.

                                             Jackie Walsh, St. Senans

P. R. O.                                Jack Hennessy, Asdee.

Chief Steward                      P J Mulvihill, Moyvane.

Cahersiveen gets set to go walking

Next week is getkerrywalking and Cahersiveen Guided Walking tours will have a free walking tour of Cahersiveen on Thursday 27th September at eleven o clock, meeting at the Community Centre (Old Library).

The walk will be about one mile and take about two hours. We will be walking and stopping regularly for stories, poems and the odd song. You can leave or join the walk anywhere along the route from the Community Centre (Old Library) to the Church to the old Abbey to the Marina and finishing at the Old Barracks.

It will be interesting and entertaining and is open to all. You might learn something new about something old and you are most welcome to contribute some local knowledge , recite a poem and/or sing a song.

We may continue Over the Water in the afternoon if the weather is good.

Contact Gerry on 086-8587680 for further information.

Kerry stores honoured at the prestigious awards

 

A large number of Kerry SPAR stores were awarded one of retail’s highest honours at the inaugural SPAR 365 Standards Customer Care Programme celebration recently.

SPAR and SPAR Express retailers from across Ireland attended the prestigious ceremony which was held at Citywest Hotel, Co Dublin and hosted by BWG Foods, owners and operators of the SPAR brand in Ireland.

The SPAR 365 Standards Customer Care Programme, held in association with the Excellence Ireland Quality Association (EIQA), were presented to SPAR and SPAR Express stores that demonstrated outstanding industry excellence following a year of comprehensive inspections, visits from mystery shoppers and audits.

200 stores in all received SPAR 365 Standards Customer Care Programme accolades. The winners excelled in all areas of inspection, displaying exemplary standards across their stores.

The Kerry winners are:

Foley’s SPAR Milltown

Foley’s SPAR Express Castlemaine Road, Tralee

Foley’s SPAR Express Killorglin

Foley’s SPAR Fossa

 

Byrne’s SPAR Caherslee, Tralee

Byrne’s SPAR Oak Park, Tralee

H2 Group SPAR Market Street, Listowel

H2 Group SPAR Express Bridge Road, Listowel

Lynch’s SPAR Castlegregory

 

Fitzpatrick’s SPAR Express Cahersiveen

Hegarty’s SPAR Muckross Road, Killarney

Sheehy’s SPAR Dingle

Colin Donnelly, SPAR Sales Director, said, “SPAR and SPAR Express stores are renowned for demonstrating industry leading standards. The SPAR 365 Standards Customer Care Programme is one that retailers must be committed to year round. Maintaining the highest standards in customer care and food safety consistently on a daily basis is no easy feat and these retailers work extremely hard in order to achieve this. I’m delighted to see so many Cork stores achieve the mark this year and get the recognition they deserve.”

The SPAR 365 Standards Customer Care Programme is a rolling scheme where participants must undergo rigorous year-long assessments across a range of categories including customer care, shop presentation, food safety and retailing innovation.

 

Celebrations in Kerry as County celebrates a mega €500,000 EuroMillions Plus win!

A local community in Kerry is  celebrating a massive €500,000 EuroMillions Plus win from last night’s draw.

And the owners of the Spar shop in Caherciveen which sold the winning ticket proved it has the Midas touch as they sold a Lotto ticket that shared a mega €€6.7 Lotto Jackpot win in 2011, and a €2.4 winning Lotto jackpot winning ticket in a shop they owned previously in the town in 2003.

Owners of the lucky store, Tracy and Jack Fitzpatrick, were today celebrating their latest success with huge excitement and speculation over who the lucky winner is.

“We can’t believe it! There is huge excitement and buzz in the store today everybody is in great form. We are a very busy shop with a lot of passing traffic and we had a bumper summer with tourists so it could be a local or a visitor. But we are keeping our fingers crossed it is a local!” said Tracy.

The shop, which employs around 24 staff, underwent a revamp this summer adding a salad counter and barista bar.

“We are certainly a lucky shop and no strangers to the big winners. It is fantastic for the town and local community.”

This is the 22nd lucky EuroMillion Plus winner in Ireland so far this year.

A National Lottery spokesperson said: “We are absolutely delighted for Co. Kerry landing this big win and we hope it makes up for the disappointment at not being in Croke Park for tomorrow’s big football game! We are urging all our players in Kerry, or anybody who was visiting Caherciveen, to check their tickets. And if somebody realizes they are the lucky ticket holder we are asking them to sign the back of the ticket and keep it safe until they contact the National Lottery Office on Monday.”

“Certainly Ireland is experiencing the rub of the green when it comes to EuroMillions this year with our 22nd winner of a EuroMillions Plus prize.”

Almost 30 cent in every euro spent on National Lottery games goes back to Good Causes all over Ireland in the areas of Sport, Health, Arts, Heritage, Culture, Youth and the Irish Language.