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HIQA report praises Beaufort care facility




By Michelle Crean

An unannounced HIQA inspection has given a Beaufort facility, which provides residential care for 29 residents with moderate or severe intellectual disability, its best ever report.

HIQA carried out an unannounced inspection of St Mary of the Angels in November with inspectors noting marked improvements in many areas since the last inspection only a year ago.

Out of 17 regulations that were inspected and marked, 14 were Compliant, three Substantially Compliant, and for first time ever, there were no non-compliances recorded.

In comparison, a previous inspection in November 2020 had seven Compliant, two Substantially Compliant and three Not Compliant judgments.

Improved ratings from 2020 to 2021 are in the following areas: Governance and Management: Not Compliant to Compliant, Notification of Incidents: Not Compliant to Compliant, Fire Precautions: Not Compliant to Compliant, General Welfare and Development: Substantially Compliant to Compliant.

Three areas in the current report are Substantially Compliant and plans are in place to address remaining concerns: Premises, Protection against infection, Residents' rights.

The major remedial item involves a significant amount of new furniture for all of the houses on the St Mary of the Angels campus, i.e. DC1 and DC2. This will be largely funded by the Parents and Relatives Association from previous fundraising efforts, including participation in the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle in 2019. A substantial proportion (75%) of the furniture order has been delivered as of today.

According to the report all residents that were met appeared happy and content. Private and communal spaces within houses had been upgraded and were clean, bright and homely.

The inspectors found that the overall care and support for residents was properly resourced. A significant development from the previous inspection had been the resourcing of the service to have dedicated staff to support residents with meaningful activities of choice and greater social integration.

Individual care plans and person centred planning were further enhanced to improve residents lived experience. The effectiveness of previous care plans were assessed and findings incorporated into current care plans.

“HIQA plays an essential role in ensuring the appropriate standards of care are being upheld in residential settings throughout the country. Notwithstanding the ongoing challenges in service delivery within the intellectual disability sector, SJOG Community Services will seek at all times to meet the statutory standards of care. Last year our service recorded 92% compliance with the regulations nationally following 79 inspections conducted by HIQA across a range of our 94 designated centres," Saint John of God, who are the service provider in St Mary of the Angels, said in a statement.

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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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