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Put some Euro back in your pocket for a change




By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

So it looks as though mortgage rates in Ireland have hit rock bottom with inevitable rate increases in the post.

Some 200,000 homeowners are on Standard Variable Rates and are set to pay more with rates across Europe expected to rise in the coming months.

Around 250,000 are on trackers, which rise or fall when the ECB rate changes. An increase of about 25 basis points (one quarter percent) is expected. This means that monthly repayments would increase by about €40 on a €300,000 mortgage.

The European Central Bank (ECB) president Christine Lagarde recently refused to rule out an ECB rate rise – a move that would see tracker and variable rates rise, and new fixed rates become more expensive.

The Dutch Central Bank president and a member of the ECB’s governing council, Klaas Knot, said he expects the ECB to raise interest rates in the fourth quarter of this year. He expects an interest rate rise of 0.25% between October and year’s end.

So does this mean now is the time to lock into a longer-term fixed rate? There are some very attractive fixed rate terms available in the market at present, which in five year's time will very likely look like great value.


It is not all bad news however. Surging house prices over the last two years mean that thousands of homeowners are now unexpectedly eligible for lower mortgage rates.

With the sudden rise in property values in recent times, there are now opportunities for anyone coming out of a fixed term period to take advantage of lower loan-to-value mortgage rates which could make significant savings over the life of the mortgage.

Mortgage interest rates get a lot more competitive at 80% loan-to-value as banks tier their rates based on this calculation.

With double-digit property inflation in the past few years, coupled with some of the loan having been paid off, anyone who took out a mortgage in 2019 or 2020 with an original loan-to-value of 90% should be at 80% loan-to-value now.

A loan-to-value of 80% means a homeowner has built up equity of 20% in their home and can now benefit from a more competitive rate.

There are still over 200,000 Irish households repaying their mortgage on Standard Variable Rates of up to 4.5%. The average new mortgage rate in Ireland at the end of last year was 2.79%. However, in 2019 the average rate was just over 3%.

There are certainly savings to be had by switching mortgages – especially for those coming out of a fixed term where their loan-to-value ratio has decreased over the past few years.



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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