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A Post Leaving Cert course could be the perfect option




By Guidance Counsellor Niamh Dwyer

Recent data from the Central Statistics Office (CAO) reveal that just over half of Leaving Cert students go straight onto a CAO-listed course.

Approximately 56% of school leavers accept a CAO offer and progress directly into courses in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). There are several reasons for this, the most obvious one being the huge variety and a growing awareness of options now available to students upon leaving school. These include over 1,900 Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses for school leavers and adults offered by over 200 colleges of Further Education (FE) nationwide. In recent years about one in four Leaving Cert candidates has opted to do a PLC and there is a growing number of adults returning to education via the FE route.

Lots of good reasons to choose a PLC

Many Leaving Cert students find it difficult to know what area they want to study in after school. PLCs offer the chance to try an area of interest out and gain work experience before committing to a three or four year degree. It also prepares students very well for progressing onto studying that area in more detail, giving a great foundation for further study. FE colleges are similar in size or a little bigger than secondary school, so getting to grips with independent learning, as well as key skills in communications, IT, referencing and research in that type of supportive environment makes the transition to third level easier. Students who may struggle to get the CAO points required for the course they are interested in should definitely consider applying for a PLC course. There are a quota of college places on lots of CAO courses reserved each year for students who use their QQI FET/FETAC results from PLC courses to apply for CAO courses. In fact, about 20% of CAO applicants each year have completed QQI FET/FETAC awards. PLCs also make good financial sense. There are no fees and students can apply for the SUSI grant if eligible.

Applying to Colleges of Further Education

Applications for PLCs are now open for autumn 2023 for Leaving Cert and Leaving Cert Applied students, adults and mature students. Entry is not based on points and details of entry requirements can be found on FE college websites. It is possible to apply throughout the summer, but some colleges may have earlier deadlines. It is advisable to apply early as popular courses fill quickly. Begin by exploring the full list of options nationwide on and Make sure to use the course search facility on and on to help narrow down the courses that are best suited to interests, skills, aptitudes and career plans. The Education and Training Boards (ETBs) and individual FE college websites also have lots of information about how to apply. For options in Kerry see Completing a PLC course greatly enhances employment opportunities and opens up pathways into Higher Education for those who wish to continue their journey in education.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore and a member of the Kerry branch of IGC. See or follow @mycareerplan on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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Killarney to feature on TG4’s Country Music show

By Sean Moriarty A song about Killarney – once made famous by local Country Music hero Dermot Moriarty – will feature on TG4 tomorrow night (Tuesday). The second series of […]




By Sean Moriarty

A song about Killarney – once made famous by local Country Music hero Dermot Moriarty – will feature on TG4 tomorrow night (Tuesday).

The second series of the Irish channel’s County Music show ‘Viva Ceol Tire’, which highlights emerging Country Music talent in Ireland, airs every Tuesday night at 9.30pm.

The next programme will feature Donegal singer David James’ version of ‘Oh Killarney’.

The programme was filmed entirely on location in Killarney including Torc Waterfall, Ladies View Moll’s Gap and Kate Kearney’s Cottage.

“The song was written by Dennis Allen. However, it was a hit for Dermot Moriarty in the 1980s. The first time I heard it I loved it and I was thrilled with the reaction my version has got,” James, who is from the small village of Killean in Donegal, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“It’s pretty rural but I love it. I’ll be in Country Music 10 years this May. My first gig was in the local GAA hall for my aunt’s 50th birthday. I was 14 and I’ve been at it ever since.”



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Five questions to ask yourself before buying a stock

By Michael O’Connor, When it comes to investing, nothing is certain. There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy. […]




By Michael O’Connor,

When it comes to investing, nothing is certain.

There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.

The truth is, investing is hard, and building a portfolio of top stocks that beat the market is something that even financial professionals have trouble doing consistently.

For most people, investing in index funds is the perfect hands-off approach, providing broad exposure to the stock market at a very low fee. Even my own personal portfolio is made up of roughly 70% ETFs despite the fact I invest in the market for a living.

But I believe some stock picking is a good strategy for many hands-on people.

Taking a small portion of your overall portfolio and diligently selecting a small number of companies to invest in gives you an opportunity to learn about the investing process and fully understand the businesses you are investing in, which helps to build conviction in your positions.

From a psychological standpoint “collector’s instinct” kicks in, enabling people to participate and invest more money over time.

Lastly, for Irish investors, there are tax benefits to consider. If you invest in individual stocks, you are taxed at the CGT rate of 33%, and the first €1,270 of your gains are exempt from CGT each year. When investing in index funds or ETFs, you are taxed at the exit tax rate of 41% with no annual exemption.

For those interested in picking individual stocks, here are five questions you should ask yourself before investing in any company.

Do I understand the business?

Too many people invest in businesses they don’t understand because it ‘sounds good’. If you have no idea how the company works, you won’t have the conviction needed to hold onto the stock when an inevitable downturn comes.

Can the balance sheet withstand severe, temporary adversity?

This seems obvious, but so many people invest in companies without understanding how much money a company holds and who they owe money to. Economic cycles are guaranteed. You must ensure that the company has enough cash-on-hand to avoid becoming obsolete when activity slows.

Will the company benefit from long-term trends?

Make sure the company will remain relevant into the future. If the stock is cheap now, it may be cheap for a reason.

Is the company enjoying profitable growth?

Not growth at all costs, but a combination of sustainable growth and value. All this information can be found online at sites like

What are the risk factors?

Is the company trying something new and untested? If yes, who are its competitors and how successful are they? If other players are more established, this company may have a tough time breaking into the market.


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