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VAT increase is a hard pill to swallow

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Today (Friday) local businesses plan to blacken out their windows as part of a national protest against the Government’s unfair 23 percent VAT hike on health supplements.

BY MICHELLE CREAN

The sharp rise, which goes from zero to 23 percent - due to be implemented on March 1 - has left businesses and customers enraged – saying it will have a detrimental impact not only on customers who rely on supplements in order to maintain their health – but also to the local economy which will feel a direct impact of decreased sales.
In Killarney, Tina Tynan, from Horan’s Health Stores, said they have a petition in store that loads of customers have already signed and today they’ll protest to let even more customers know.
Also joining the campaign are staff from Milltown Organic Store who plan to blacken their windows from 2pm to 5pm.
“We are part of the blackout today as it is ridiculous going from zero percent to 23 percent VAT in one go. It is a harsh increase,” Tina told the Killarney Advertiser.
"How’s that going to affect customers if somebody is buying two products a week they now might only be able to afford one.
“Some customers are shocked and upset and they want to sign the petition.”
Tina said that she was disgusted with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s recent comments the ‘food supplements very rarely do anything for our health. They are mostly snake oil and just cost people money’.
"Leo’s comments are ridiculous. What about pregnant women needing to take folic acid, does he say that that doesn’t work for them, or those with osteoarthritis, or people low in calcium or iron?”

Lillian Leask from the Milltown shop said that all six women working there feel strongly about this issue. Today they will blacken out the windows and customers will join them outside in protest.
“We have had a huge response from customers, most people are shocked at what is seen as a very ill-informed and backwards step for this country,” Lilian said. “We have a petition in store that has had over 200 signatures. We have invited customers and staff through Facebook to come to the shop at 3pm to stand outside holding banners and posters and pose for a photo to hopefully send the message that this is not a good move on the Government’s behalf and does not have the public's support in any way.

“The Government sees that the supplement and vitamin sector is a rapidly growing one and therefore there is money to be made on it. The pharmaceutical industry has a particularly strong presence in Ireland and the alternative health option is a threat to their business, so they may well be lobbying for the VAT. I feel this VAT is entirely unfair and shows that the Government’s interest is purely in making money and not in preserving the health of its country. If they wanted people to be well, healthy and independent in their health choices they would not be proposing this tax. It's clear that keeping people sick and reliant on medication is good for business. We need consumers to send the message this is wrong and sign the online petition.”

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Shoebox appeal is biggest yet for Faha kids

By Michelle Crean It’s no wonder Faha pupils have a big smile on their faces as this year’s Team Hope Shoebox Appeal is their biggest yet! The children happily packed and wrapped 140 shoeboxes which will be sent to children in need throughout the world. The school has been doing the Team Hope Shoebox Appeal […]

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By Michelle Crean

It’s no wonder Faha pupils have a big smile on their faces as this year’s Team Hope Shoebox Appeal is their biggest yet!

The children happily packed and wrapped 140 shoeboxes which will be sent to children in need throughout the world.

The school has been doing the Team Hope Shoebox Appeal for approximately six years when parent, Margaret Scully, initially contacted one of the SNAs, Delia O’ Shea, wondering if they’d be interested in taking part. Since then the appeal has been wholeheartedly supported by the pupils, staff and extended Faha NS community.

“This year has been the biggest yet with 140 shoeboxes collected and many more donations online,” Jerry Fitzgerald, Principal of Faha NS, said. “It is a learning experience for the children to realise that there are children just like themselves who may not be so fortunate and they really enjoy being given the opportunity to help out. They have great suggestions as to what to put in the shoeboxes and really put a lot of thought into it. The boxes are wrapped in Christmas paper which is also very exciting both for the children doing the wrapping as well for the children receiving the boxes.” However, he added that last year the COVID-19 pandemic brought about big changes and the physical shoeboxes were not collected. “Instead the children were able to do virtual shoeboxes or donate money. This cloud had a silver lining as this year people have both options and it makes it easier than ever to donate. The shoebox appeal always marks the start of Christmas at Faha NS and we are delighted to be able to help out. We are already looking to smash our record next year! Thanks to everyone who donated. The staff and students of Faha NS would like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a safe New Year 2022.”

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More than  38,000 homes, farms and businesses across the country without power

Gale force winds associated with Storm Barra, with gusts of over 130 km/h, are continuing to cause damage to the electricity network, currently affecting more than  38,000 homes, farms and businesses across the country. The damage is mainly attributable to fallen trees on overhead lines as a result of the high winds. ESB Networks’ crews will […]

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Gale force winds associated with Storm Barra, with gusts of over 130 km/h, are continuing to cause damage to the electricity network, currently affecting more than  38,000 homes, farms and businesses across the country.

The damage is mainly attributable to fallen trees on overhead lines as a result of the high winds. ESB Networks’ crews will continue to work late into the evening to restore power to those affected, where safe to do so, but unfortunately, some customers will remain without electricity overnight.

Since early morning and despite challenging conditions, ESB Networks have continued to restore power to customers across the country.
With the storm still crossing the country, more damage and interruptions to supply can be expected. ESB Networks reminds the public that if you come across fallen wires or damaged electricity network, never, ever touch or approach these as they may be LIVE and extremely dangerous.

All internal resources and contractors remain on alert and are responding to electricity outages once it is safe to do so. With a Red weather warning in the Southwest in effect until 9 pm tonight, and Co Clare until 1 am on Wednesday morning, some of our crews may not be mobilised on the ground until the worst of the severe weather passes.

We are advising all those impacted by outages that they should prepare to be without electricity overnight and into tomorrow, with some customers potentially without power beyond that. It is very important that any customers who use electrically powered medical devices should contact their healthcare professional to make alternative arrangements if necessary.

In addition to safety procedures associated with power restoration, crews continue to work under all national Covid-19 protocols with respect to hygiene, social distancing and PPE.

Customers without power can check for updates on when their fault is expected to be repaired at www.powercheck.ie

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