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What’s in today’s Budget?

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Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath delivered a €4.7bn package for Budget 2022. What can we expect?

* An increase in the national minimum wage by 30 cent to €10.50 per hour
* A 50c increase for a packet of cigarettes
* Free GP care for children aged six and seven
* €5 increase in the weekly rate of Fuel Allowance
* €5 increase in weekly social welfare payments
* €5 increase in weekly payments for pensioners
* Living Alone Allowance to be increased by €3
* The reduced VAT rate of 9 percent for the hospitality sector will remain in place to the end of August 2022
* Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) to remain in place in a graduated form until April 30, 2022
* Income tax deduction amounting to 30 percent of the cost of vouched expenses for heat, electricity and broadband for remote workers
* Recruitment of up to 800 new trainee Gardaí and 400 Garda staff, 1,165 additional SNAs

"We are now entering a new phase where we will recover from the pandemic, restore our public services and living standards, repair our public finances," Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD, said during his speech.

"Public spending next year will amount to €87.6 billion – the Government has been steadfast in its commitment to keeping this amount below the ceiling laid out in the Summer Economic Statement. Our medium-term strategy sets out that over the next two budgets we will: restore our public services, phase out temporary COVID-related spending, and repair our public finances."

Key Points

Health

* free GP care for children aged six and seven
* threshold for the Drug Payment Scheme lowered to €100
* €250 million to tackle hospital waiting lists
* free contraception for women aged 17-25
* €30 million to allow patients greater access to high-tech drugs
* expanding dental access to medical card patients

Social

* National Childcare Scheme universal subsidy extended to all children aged up to 15
* €5 increase in weekly social welfare payments
* €5 increase in weekly payments for pensioners
* Living Alone Allowance to be increased by €3
* Fuel Allowance increased by €5
* Parent's Benefit increased by 2 weeks to 7 weeks from July 2022
* introduction of a Youth Travel Card for those aged 19-23

Housing

* 11,820 new social homes will be delivered through build, acquisition and leasing programmes. 9,000 of these will be new build homes
* €18 million for the delivery of Traveller accommodation
* 11,000 grants to adapt the homes of older people and people with a disability
* 14,800 new households to have their housing needs met under the Housing Assistance Payment and Rental Accommodation Scheme, in addition to supporting almost 82,000 existing tenancies under these schemes

Education and Training

* 1,165 additional SNAs, bringing the total number of SNAs to almost 19,200
* an additional 350 teachers to reduce school staffing schedules by 1 point for all primary schools
* 7,600 places in Further Education and Training courses in key skills areas of the economy
* 980 additional special education teachers working in special classes, special schools and mainstream settings to support children with special educational needs
* off-the-job training places for 7,000 craft apprentices impacted by COVID-19
* a €200 increase in the maintenance grant payment in the Student Support Scheme
* recruitment of up to 800 new trainee Gardaí and 400 Garda staff

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Jobs to keep gardeners busy

The weather is glorious at the moment, so I thought I would put together some jobs to keep every gardener busy! Winter bedding is now available – so plant up containers and pots to keep everything cheerful this winter! Conifers such as Goldcrest and Elwoodiis are an excellent choice for a centrepiece, as are Cordylines, […]

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The weather is glorious at the moment, so I thought I would put together some jobs to keep every gardener busy!

Winter bedding is now available – so plant up containers and pots to keep everything cheerful this winter! Conifers such as Goldcrest and Elwoodiis are an excellent choice for a centrepiece, as are Cordylines, Phormiums and topiary plants such as Buxus and Bay laurels. Heathers give colour all winter, as do ornamental cabbages. Winter pansies, violas and Batchelor’s buttons are all in stock now, and will provide colour for months, Cyclamen are beautiful – but beware! They do not like getting too wet, so ideally use them in pots and window boxes which do not get too much rain.

Bulbs provide a welcome splash of colour in the early spring, at a time when things are looking grey and grim. Choose from an extensive range – tulips, daffs, crocus, snowdrops – to name but a few. Planting mixtures of different varieties can lead to stunning displays in a pot, for example, plant in layers: tulips at the bottom, then daffs, hyacinth, crocus and anenomes for a long lasting pot of colour. In the garden plant bulbs in informal clusters of uneven numbers to give a natural looking display. Alliums are particularly trendy at the moment, these ornamental onions are available in pinks, white and yellow.

PRUNING

Pruning is one of those jobs which can give immense satisfaction. All old flower heads, the straggly growth of herbaceous plants and branches of unkempt shrubs can go into the compost heap. Pruning equipment can be confusing for the new gardener, so here are a few guidelines: there are two types of secateurs, bypass and anvil. The anvil secateurs is used for dead wood, but the bypass secateurs can be used for live as well as dead wood. The hedge shears are used to prune large shrubs or hedges, but is best for soft or thin growth. Loppers are used to prune trees and thicker branches and have long handles. These also come as anvil or bypass. Some of these are geared, these take the strain and strength needed out of the job, an excellent invention!

As the days get shorter and wetter, moss will start to grow again. Treat paths before they get slippy, with a product such as MossOff. Try to keep fallen leaves off lawns as they contribute to poor growth of grass and strong moss growth. A leafblower makes the job easy – especially a cordless one!

Lawns benefit from a final treatment in the autumn with a product such as an Autumn Lawn Feed and Weed or Viano Recovery from the producers of MO Bacter. These products both treat the roots of the grass, making the plant itself stronger for the winter. They do not cause excessive growth.

Finally, if there are empty beds in your vegetable garden, consider sowing a green manure such as winter rye or red clover. These will prevent weeds from taking over as well as enriching the soil with nitrogen. In the spring they can be cut down and dug into the soil, providing essential organic matter.

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Take the stress out of a career change

By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors People change career for a variety of reasons. For some people the desire to change comes from feeling unfulfilled or stressed in a current role or the need for more flexibility and autonomy as circumstances in your personal life evolve. Other people are prompted […]

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

People change career for a variety of reasons. For some people the desire to change comes from feeling unfulfilled or stressed in a current role or the need for more flexibility and autonomy as circumstances in your personal life evolve.

Other people are prompted to change because of ambition to develop professionally, the desire for more meaning or purpose, job security or to earn more money.

Whether career change is forced upon you through organisational restructuring or is an active choice you are making, it can bring a mix of emotions. Among them is the fear and a lack of confidence on how to navigate the change effectively and the feeling of overwhelm associated with not knowing where to start. Conversely, it can be a time of great excitement about the possibility of taking on a new (and maybe very different) role or opportunity. Either way, drawing up a career action plan that breaks down the process into manageable tasks will help to ease any stress associated with career change and save you time and energy in the long run.

UNLOCKING YOUR POTENTIAL

Start by thinking about where you are now and where you would like to be – what are your priorities and non-negotiables and what are the practicalities you need to consider? To dig deeper do a self-assessment audit of your transferable skills and competencies, your career values and character strengths. Journal your career change journey by recording anything interesting you find out about yourself or career areas you are interested in. Some people like the idea of drawing up a career vision board as part of the process. Set clear goals and a specific timeline for yourself. As you gain more clarity, write out what your ideal job specification might look like, this will guide your job search. Explore options to up-skill or retrain if you feel this is helpful or necessary. Do a spring clean of your CV so that it reflects you accurately and favourably. Reach out to people in your network who may be able to assist you as you navigate this transition. Think about possible side projects you could work on to explore different areas before taking a big leap. Set up or update your LinkedIn profile, it is an important part of career development. Practice interview skills, you want to be able to perform confidently when they come around. Think about this process as unlocking the potential of your ‘career brand’ so that you and prospective employers have a strong sense of who you are professionally, what you value and what you bring to the workplace. Doing this work will enable you to approach your job search and career change with renewed confidence. It will take some time but it will be worth it!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Careers Advisor – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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