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Fáilte Ireland offers €3m lifeline to hotels affected by COVID-19

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By Sean Moriarty

Fáilte Ireland will cut some of its annual charges to members to help offset some of the financial burdens caused by COVID-19 restrictions.
The hotel and hospitality industry was one of the first to take a hit when Taoiseach Leo Varadkar closed all pubs on March 15.

Hotels and bars in Killarney were forced to close their doors and lay-off thousands of staff.

Tourism in Kerry directly employs almost 16,000 people and it contributes over €600 million to the local economy. The Kerry IHF branch has over one hundred hotels and guesthouses as members.

Each job in the sector is responsible for half of another job in associated trades like the food supply chain and taxis.

A conservative estimate suggests that over 25,000 people in Kerry are affected by the tourism industry shutdown alone and this figure does not include third-party trades like garages who would supply repairs and fuel to the car hire industry.

Fáilte Ireland has triggered a number of initiatives that will deliver almost €3 million back to Irish tourism businesses.
These include refunds of accommodation registration charges and trade show participation fees, as well as the abolition of a range of other promotional fees and charges for the remainder of 2020.

The tourism body is working closely with hotels to ensure staff are getting the correct welfare payments and that employers are aware of a range of Revenue schemes put in place to help them survive the current crisis and be ready for reopening.

Fáilte Ireland is also working on a host of health and well-being projects and is launching educational and training material for hotel management and staff.

“I appreciate that as businesses are closed, there will be very little, if any work for many employees. With this in mind, we will be developing and publishing a range of employee training and engagement resources to help employers and employees make positive use of time during this difficult period,” Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, said.

“It is also very important that we look after our physical and mental well-being at this time. You will also find some new guidelines in the HR Risk section of our online support hub on how to engage with your employees during this time to support their well-being. We are here to help so if there is an area of support you think the tourism industry urgently needs, please don't hesitate to contact the Business Supports team.”

Fáilte Ireland’s Business Supports team can be contacted by email on business.supports@failteireland.ie or call our support desk on Lo Call 1800-242 473, Monday – Friday 9am–5pm.

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What to look out for when viewing second hand homes

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY After spending so long saving for a mortgage and filling in countless application forms, you are now ready to begin your house hunting in earnest. Set yourself a budget and have a look to see what is available in your desired locations within that budget. Viewing appointments can […]

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By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

After spending so long saving for a mortgage and filling in countless application forms, you are now ready to begin your house hunting in earnest.

Set yourself a budget and have a look to see what is available in your desired locations within that budget.
Viewing appointments can be arranged via a telephone call or a simple email to the selling agent. When making the appointment make it clear that the mortgage is in place and you are ‘ready to go’.

This week we will deal with viewing second hand homes and what to look out for on that first property viewing.

When you arrive at a house, you’ll get a general feel outside of how well it’s been maintained. Arrive early and study the exterior of the property before going in, and have a glance at neighbouring properties. This will help you to get your bearings before continuing with the viewing.

If viewing an older house, a musty smell is the first red flag for signs of damp. Also be wary of the smell of fresh paint; was this done to simply freshen the property up or what is it covering up? Is paintwork bubbling or flaking?

Take note of any wall cracking; hairline cracks in walls and ceilings are generally fine, but if you can spot a crack from the other side of the room, then it’s probably big enough to be concerned about.

In older houses, take a good look at windows and roofs. Window frames can slope downward if there are poor ground conditions underneath, and the roof of the house can sag in too.

Is there room to extend? If you are lucky enough that there is have a look for external manhole covers; it gives a good indication of the drainage and pipe layout which may complicate a future extension.

Don’t be afraid to ask the nosy questions; why is the house for sale? How long has it been on the market? How long have the current owners resided there? Has the house been rented out frequently? How many times has it changed hands in the last decade? Have there been any refurbishments? Has it been rewired/replumbed? Who are the neighbours? What is included in the selling price?

It is a good idea to take photos (with the agents consent) or videos as this will help you remember the property after you have returned home.

And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for more time. Spend as much time as you think you need to and don’t hesitate to request a second viewing.

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Bus to Belfast to stay on the road

A Kerry TD has today (Monday) welcomed the news that the Bus to Belfast is to stay on the road. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae said assurances from the Department of Health that The Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme (NI PHS), which has been in effective operation since January 1 this year, will remain in place until […]

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A Kerry TD has today (Monday) welcomed the news that the Bus to Belfast is to stay on the road.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae said assurances from the Department of Health that The Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme (NI PHS), which has been in effective operation since January 1 this year, will remain in place until a new a statutory scheme is put in place.

The Kerry deputy avails of this service for his constituents on a regular basis and said many were concerned that the scheme may come to an end due to Brexit.

“What this will mean to so many of my constituents is that they can continue to avail of this scheme for treatments for cataract removals by travelling from Kerry by bus to Belfast so that they can get treated in a timely manner and get back to living their lives in a healthy manner,” Deputy Healy-Rae said.

“I am delighted that the Government has seen the good sense to help continue this scheme and I’m delighted that the pressure of representation that I have brought to this scheme will see it continue.”

The Scheme was first introduced to mitigate the loss of access to care from private providers in Northern Ireland under the EU Cross Border Directive, which ceased to apply as a result of Brexit. However, the Government intends to place the administrative NI PHS on a statutory basis and an extensive examination of options to inform the drafting of a General Scheme is currently underway with confirmation that the administrative scheme will remain until such time that a statutory scheme is in place.

Patients also continue to have access to health services under the EU Cross Border Directive Scheme in all other remaining EU/EEA countries.

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