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Connected Four hold meeting with Virgin Media




Killarney students are continuing their awareness campaign with the help of one of the country's top national broadcasters.

With the help of Virgin Media Ireland, Killarney Community College students had an amazing opportunity to meet with representatives from the campaign production and management of Virgin Media Ireland to work on their next steps for their project to raise awareness about Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.

The nine Fifth Year students from The Connected Four YSI group Rachel Griffin, Luke O'Sullivan, Amy O'Donoghue, Keelyn O'Leary, Lulu Healy, Lauren Fleming, Jack O'Connell, Eva Ryan Lynch and Ekaterina Gaeva, won the overall Young Social Innovators Social Media Award and received Highly Commended for the Digital Innovators Award sponsored by Virgin Media back in May.

Virgin Media since contacted teacher Lorraine Crowley and The Connected Four to offer support for the team to reach their goals going forward.

The group have written a book and are developing an activity programme for primary school students and for use in other settings for example summer camps, etc.

The students' main aim is to make learning about these conditions almost second nature and not just that, but for the children to have fun while they do it, by seeing the programme they will become more accepting of everyone without even realising it.

The Connected Four want to prevent bullying and increase acceptance, whether or not they get recognition, and see this as the best way to impact the youths in their local community and eventually nationwide, through this free, helpful and easily accessible, activity programme.

Virgin Media want to give the students the resources and expertise to complete these initiatives. They have offered the Fifth Year students to take part in a Hackaton Event in January where they will partner with more representatives from the company to build on their ideas. Students have access to all areas and departments of Virgin Media Ireland to create their activity programme and continue their campaign. They have links with the Parents Council of Ireland and Department of Education to promote the students' activity programme.

Virgin Media are also going to include The Connected Four in their monthly E-newsletter that goes out to 220k customers.

"The Virgin Media team were so impressed with our amazing group of students, stating how eloquent and professional their presentation was and offered support from expertise and leaders from Virgin Media to achieve their goals," Lorraine Crowley said.

"What an outstanding opportunity for this group of young people to get their word across the country. We are so proud of this group of young people making such a change in our community."

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Is it a good time to sell your property?

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year. The quarterly report found the market had held up […]




By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

Recently published property outlooks are suggesting single digit growth in prices this year.

The quarterly report found the market had held up better than evidence had suggested in 2022. The number of vendors cutting asking prices remained at low levels, while many house prices were being settled above asking prices.

However, the report warned that the resilience of the housing marking is set to be tested this year. It found annual asking price inflation slowed to six percent nationwide, meaning the asking price for the average home in Ireland is now €330,000.

There were 15,000 available properties for sale on in the fourth quarter of the year – an improvement on the same time last year but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Average time to sale agreed was 2.7 months nationwide which the report said is indicative of a very tight housing market.

The report said it expects to see 28,400 house completions in 2022, exceeding its previous forecast of 26,500 finished units.

The author of the report, Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at stockbrokers Davy, said it appeared the market had held up better than evidence had suggested.

“The number of vendors cutting their asking prices is still at low levels. Also, transactions in Q4 were still being settled above asking prices, indicative of a tight market,” he said.

Recent months had seen worrying trends in the homebuilding sector, with housing starts slowing, and the construction PMI survey pointing to the flow of new development drying up.

“We still expect housing completions will pick up to 28,400 in 2022 and 27,000 in 2023. However, the outlook for 2024 is far more uncertain. The Government’s ambitious plans to expedite planning processes are welcome although, as ever, the proof will be in the pudding,” he added.

Locally, and unsurprisingly, the lack of supply of new and second-hand properties remains the dominant issue. There has been very little new construction due largely to the rising cost of construction, labour, materials and utilities which in turn is putting pressure on the second hand market.

This market proved particularly strong in 2022 with active bidding experienced on the majority of house sales and a large proportion of guide prices being generally exceeded.

The detached family home end of the market is particularly strong with increased competition for a limited number of available well located family homes.

So, what lies ahead and is it a good time to sell your property?

The answer is a tight market with scarcity of supply being a factor. If selling now you will benefit greatly from a lack of supply of available homes (therefore less competition) provided your property is marketed correctly of course!

For anyone considering placing their property on the market, contact DNG Ted Healy 064 6639000 for genuine honest advice on how to achieve the best possible price for your home.

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Tourism VAT rate should be “continued indefinitely”

A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its […]




A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its customers”.

The reduced VAT rate of 9% was introduced by the Government in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the hospitality sector.

“I believe a return to a 13.5% Tourism VAT rate would be counterproductive at this stage, to small and medium businesses that welcome visitors to our country and our county,” Councillor Michael Cahill said.

“Catered food is already charged at 13.5%, alcohol at 23% and accommodation presently at 9%. This sector is providing pretty decent returns to the Exchequer and should be supported. All parties in this debate, including the Government and accommodation providers, should review their position and ensure their actions do not contribute to ‘killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg’.”

He explained that the tourism industry is “in a very volatile market”, as can be seen by the enormous challenges “posed by COVID-19 in recent years”.

“A grain of rice could tip the balance either way and great care must be taken not to damage it irreparably. We are all aware that the next six to 12 months will be extremely difficult for many businesses with the increase in the cost of oil and gas, etc,, and a return to the 13.5% VAT rate will, in my opinion, close many doors. If a minority are ‘price gouging’, then it should be possible to penalise them and continue to support the majority who offer value for money to our visitors.”

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