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Storm will cause some interruptions to HSE services 

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There'll be an interruption to some HSE services across Kerry and Cork tomorrow (Friday) due to the impact of Storm Eunice.

Although the Red weather warning for the area is expected to have passed after 8am, it's inevitable that some members of the public will be delayed in reaching appointments.

"It is very important that no one travels during the Red Weather warning," the HSE said in a statement.

"Staff in our services are expecting and will fully understand that people will be delayed reaching appointments. We thank the public in advance for their patience as there will inevitably be knock-on delays through the day."

Priority remains the safety of the public and staff:

All HSE services are repeating the advice to the public to stay indoors for the duration of the severe weather warning, and we ask the public not to undertake any unnecessary travel for the duration of the Red Weather warning between 3am and 8am.

Ambulance services:

The National Ambulance Service will as always prioritise emergency calls during this weather event but is urging the general public to think carefully before calling. The response to emergency calls may be hindered by road conditions and the number of emergency calls at any particular time. Personnel will do their utmost to reach those in greatest need of our emergency services.

Hospital services:

The South/South West Hospital Group (S/SWHG) is advising that at this point, no elective inpatient or outpatient appointments or procedures have been cancelled. However, no member of the public should travel during the Red weather warning. Staff are expecting that people may arrive late for appointments tomorrow and are prepared for this.

COVID-19 vaccinations and testing:

All scheduled COVID-19 vaccination centres and testing centres in Cork and Kerry will be opened once the Red weather warning has passed. Again, the public are asked not to travel during the Red weather event. Staff will be aware that members of the public may be delayed attending appointments.

Community services:

Day services (e.g. for older people, in disability services and in mental health services) will open after the Red weather warning has passed. Appointments at health centres and primary care centres are going ahead after the Red weather warning. However, the public should not travel to appointments until the Red weather warning has passed.

If you have any questions, please contact the team or office which made your appointment or who you usually contact.

"We would like to reassure the public that detailed contingency plans are in place to ensure the continuity of services at such critical times. If necessary, we will issue further updates to the media and on social media. We thank our staff for the work and planning they have undertaken to make sure that essential services are maintained and that those using our service are kept safe." 

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The Irish investment market is pathetic

By Michael O’Connor, theislandinvestor.com    I lived abroad for years, so all the investment strategies I created were typically outside of Irish tax considerations. But over the last few weeks I […]

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By Michael O’Connor, theislandinvestor.com   

I lived abroad for years, so all the investment strategies I created were typically outside of Irish tax considerations.

But over the last few weeks I have been putting together several investment strategies for Irish-domiciled clients. It has been eye-opening, to say the least.

In short, most of the Irish market appears to be dominated by a handful of life insurance companies that offer ‘wrapped’ Multi Asset Funds. This means they offer a basket of stocks, bonds, property etc., all within one investment.

Irish Life’s MAPs 4 multi-asset fund states a standard annual management charge of 1.15%. A bit on the higher side for my liking, but this is still manageable.

But when you dig a little deeper, the KID documents (where all fees have to be fully disclosed as part of UCITS regulations) show the fee as 2.2%.

Double the quoted price

As an added bonus, they lock your money up for seven years, where an early encashment charge is waiting for those who wish to withdraw their money early. That’s right, they charge YOU for making your money inaccessible.

This lock-up period is a shrewd business tactic. An exit charge is an excellent way to ensure customers don’t leave when they realise how poor the performance is.

Too late, you’re trapped.

Performance

Fees become more digestible provided the performance is strong, but unfortunately, the misery continues.

The Irish Life MAPS 4 Portfolio has an annual return of 1.63% a year over the last five years. Granted, this was a challenging market climate to navigate, but falling below even the lowest expectations of inflation means that this fund has returned negative real returns after inflation over the last five years.

A similar 60/40 portfolio made up of passive index funds (S&P 500 and US T bonds) would have returned roughly 6.5% a year over the same period for a fee of roughly 0.1%.

We can go round and round in circles regarding the ‘risk adjusted’ approach and the added ‘diversification’ of the multi-asset fund versus the 60/40 portfolio I have shown. But the reality is much of this so-called diversification is over-engineering for an extra cost for many long term investors.

So, how can such pathetic offerings still exist in a system where low-cost operators such as De Giro are providing endless ETF options and commission-free trades that provide access to market returns at a fraction of the price?

Two reasons spring to mind

Firstly, the Irish retail investment scene is built on a financial broker commission system where unsuspecting customers are shoved into these products by ‘financial planners’ who receive kickbacks and commissions from these investment companies. You think you’re getting free investment advice; believe me, you’re not.

Second, the tax treatment of ETF structures is comical in Ireland, and US ETFs aren’t even an investment option. A 41% exit tax and an eight-year deemed disposal rule leaves investors stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Choose an overpriced, underperforming product that locks your money away for multiple years or choose the cheaper, better-performing product and suffer the tax consequences.

Bizarrely, investors are forced to make decisions based on preferential tax treatment rather than on the underlying investment’s merits.

I have gone into much more detail on the tax treatment and investment options in Ireland on my website. Just scan the QR code.

If you would like me to independently review your investment portfolio, just send me an email at mike@theislandinvestor.com.

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Rebel lights delight for Killarney star

By Con Dennehy The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball […]

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By Con Dennehy

The continued growth, development and participation of women’s handball in East Kerry was rewarded at the weekend when Cork hosted ‘She’s Ace’, the prestigious All Ladies Handball championships.

Attracting all the leading players in Ireland, it was Sarah Dineen, the Spa/Killarney player who shot out the Rebel lights in Conna with a phenomenal display of handball.

Competing in the highly competitive Ladies Challenger championship, the Killarney player, who took up the sport just 18 months ago, had the perfect start in the competition defeating the home town favourite Agnes Hurley from Conna on a 21-20 scoreline following an energy sapping and close encounter that hung in the balance to the final ace.

In her second game she took on the challenge of Nolwenn Even from St Brigids where her skill, superior fitness and movement on the court resulted in the 21-12 victory and a place in the prestigious final.

“The final was always going to be a difficult game not least playing local girl Kate O’Riordan from Conna. I concentrated on my serve and kill shots which ensured we shared the aces early in the game. It was a difficult game with the home supporters out in force to cheer on their local hero. However, I played well and secured a 21-11 victory. This was the second time this title came to Spa Killarney following the 2022 win by Aoife Walsh in Northern Ireland,” said Sarah, who is currently chairperson of the Killarney Camogie Club.

A native of Westmeath, Sarah (46) runs a jewellery business in Killarney and lives in Rathmore. No stranger to competitive sport she played camogie for Westmeath and Leinster and also won an Intermediate championship Gaelic football medal in Westmeath.

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