Tips and Topics In Ireland 2008 onwards

Factfiles and News and Information about Ireland

January 2011 Irish Tourism in 2011

Two reports appeared at the end of 2010 regarding the state of Irish Tourism. The country needs revenue from tourists, however getting to Ireland and moving about in Ireland if you rent a car can be very expensive. The article is about personal experiences of unjustified charges by some Irish car rental companies regarding airport collection, cross border travel, phantom use of the M50 toll and insisting a customer pays for car hire excess insurance even when it is declined.

The other part of the article highlifghts the very high costs of taking a car over the Irish Sea compared to crossing the English Cannel from England to France. It also gives advice about these car ferry companies and how they can try and make you pay non existent additional fees for changing the date of travel. More Here

December 2009 Tourism Ireland aims to go against predicted 2 per cent fall

Tourism Ireland the Irish tourist body, defied international forecasts on the 3rd December with its plans to increase visitor numbers to Ireland in 2010 by 3 per cent.

It is aiming to attract 7.85 million visitors next year compared with an estimated 6.6 million for 2009. The additional visitors would be coming from the British and German markets. There will a television advertising campaign in Germany and Tourism Ireland wants to capitalise on the 60 million trips that Germans make each year. At present they only have 1 per cent of that going to Ireland.

St Patrick’s Day celebrations will be promoted in the USA, Europe including Britain and Australia.

November 2009 It is early November and the Irish Times Property section has lost weight

The Irish Times 5th November 09 edition arrived yesterday. What has happened to the property supplement? Last week there were sevel pages with a lot of colour ads for estate agents, but this week.... There are eight pages only. It is very thin. Traditionally the paper's property section takes an August break and Christmas break, however it looks like the winddown to Christmas is very early this year. More Here

October 2009 Sherry FitzGerald reports a pretax loss of €15.5m

Ireland's long established estate agents group Sherry FitzGerald reports a pretax loss of €15.5m according to a report in the 19th October edition of the Irish Times. Sherry Fitzgerald is Ireland's largest estate agent.

The group said the residential sales aspect of its business experienced “very difficult trading conditions” with both house prices and the number of sales falling significantly. The group’s commercial property arm, DTZ Sherry FitzGerald, saw its revenue drop by 36 per cent, “principally as a result of the drop in land and investment transactions caused by the lack of liquidity in the market and falling occupier demand”.

Sherry FitzGerald had 94 member offices at the end of 2008. During the year it reduced the number of staff in its Irish business by 30 per cent and sold some assets to ensure it had sufficient working capital and resources. It also paid down debt.

Turnover for 2008 was €39.97 million, down from €64.95 million the previous year, when pretax losses were €3.79 million. Residential business created turnover of €28 million while commercial property business generated €11.83 million. Wages for 2008 were €33.3 million, down from €44.4 million the previous year.

Marsh & Parsons is the London arm of the Sherry FitzGerald Group offering Residential Sales and Lettings in 14 central London locations.

September 2009 Delays on the Dublin — Holyhead car ferry route 11th September

The Stena Line car ferry "Stena Adventurer" that left Dublin Port at around 8.20 in the morning of Friday 11th September arrived at Holyhead just before 11.30 a.m. Unfortunately they could not unload for an hour and a half due to the fact the ramp would not go down to meet the ferry's ramp. They had to wait till the Irish Ferries "Ulysses" that was moored in the adjoining berth set sail for Dublin. Must have been rather frustrating for those on board

September 2009 LD Lines and Celtic Link Ferries New agreement for Ireland — France Route

As part of a re-organisation of its Ireland – France ferry services, LD Lines has announced a new ship charter agreement with ferry operator Celtic Link Ferries. LD Lines’ vessel Norman Voyager, will now be operating under charter to Celtic Link Ferries from 29 September 2009. "The new commercial agreement between the two companies on the Ireland – France link is a significant move by LD Lines in consolidating ship deployment and meeting customer demand", as LD Lines’ Managing Director, Christophe Santoni explains. More Here

September 2009 Celtic Link Ferries (Ireland) New Route Announcement

Celtic Link Ferries (Ireland) Ltd are pleased to announce the the acquisition of a new vessel and the opening of a new service between Cherboug in northern France and Portsmouth in southern England. The new service will commence in October 2009. The Vessel will have a capacity of 130 trucks or 500 cars, and will be capable of carrying 1000 passengers. ALL PASSENGERS AND FREIGHT CUSTOMERS WILL BE ABLE TO TRAVEL 365 DAYS A YEAR ON THE NEW ROUTE!!! More Here

August 2009 Dublin is having a very busy summer with visiting cruise liners

Dublin is getting a good number of tourists vistiting the city this year from cruise liners. According to a report in last Thursday's edition of The Irish Times the cruise liner business remains a growth area. Dublin port (pictured on the left) is set to experience a record year with some 75,000 cruise line passengers visiting the capital and surrounding area. Back in 1994 there were only six ships a year visiting.

This year eighty three are expected to visit. The main season is April to September and this reflects the change of cruise holidays to take in northern Europe.

In 1994 Cruise Ireland was established to co-ordinate the tourism industry in the ports of Belfast, Dublin and Waterford. In 2006 Tourism Ireland carried out a survey that estimated that each visting passenger average spend is €113.

Cruise liners visiting Dublin range from the small Delphin, a German vessel carrying 443 passengers to the Crown Princess that carries 3,000 passengers. This is operated by Princess Cruises which is part of the Carnival cruise group.

June 2009 Recession what recession in Dublin Ireland?

Eating out in the suburbs of Ireland is very expensive; however restaurants appear to be busy even on a Monday night in late June. Although jobs are going, some people look like they have money to burn. Find out more Here

June 2009 Touring Tipperary, Ireland (or part of it)

A four day tour of Tipperary, Ireland in June, based at a superb country house B & B makes a perfect early summer break. Find out more Here

March 2009 Dublin is still the sixth most visited city in Europe

An Austria based tourism research institute Tourmis have researched that Dublin has retained its position in the top most visted cities in Europe.. It remains sixth in the top ten European cities according to figures for 2007. Dublin is behind London, Paris, Rome, Prague and Barcelona. Other top ten cities are Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid and Vienna. In 2007 Dublin attracted 4.4 million visitors from overseas which was 3 per cent increase on 2006.

January 2009 Lorry crashes through ferry door on Scottish – Irish ferry route

Passengers on a Belfast-bound Sealink fast HSS ferry were stranded in Stranraer after a lorry onboard broke free in the hold, crashed through a door and was left dangling out of the rear of the vessel on Wednesday 28th January. A lorry which was carrying non-hazardous ferrous sulphate powder.broke free and smashed through the back doors of the Stena HSS Voyager. The vessel had nearly 200 people on board.

No one was injured in the incident. The potential disaster comes 56 years after the Princess Victoria tragedy. In 1953 the British Railways car ferry, bound for Larne in Northern Ireland, had left Stranraer on the south-west coast of Scotland when the stern gates to the car deck were forced open in heavy seas. Water flooded into the ship and within four hours it had sunk. More than 130 people died.

A lorry that caught on fire caused the Channel Tunnel to close in September 2008.

October 2008 18,712 car hire Vehicles registerd in Ireland for period January to September 2008

According to a recent report in The Irish Times car dealers are facing increased congestion on their forecourts. as a large number of Self drive car rental hire cars are returning to their forecourts to be sold/ 18.712 hire car vehicles were supplied to date in 2008 and the cars are being returned to be sold as "used cars". The main manifacturers who supply the car rental market in Ireland are Opel, Toyota, Nissan, Ford and VW. These cars now have to be sold together with the numbers of other used cars and even repossessions.

October 2008 Irish Agents Sherry FitzGerald have cut jobs

Ireland's largest estate agency chain havecut 20 of it's 259 staff because of the downturn in the Irish Housing Market. Sherry FitzGerald was founded in 1982 and covers the majority of the country. in 2005 they acquirred Marsh and Parsons in London. Other Irish estate agents have been reducing staff costs, by salary cuts or loosing staff like Savills HOK who have reduced staffing levels by up to 60

October 2008 Irish Budget 2008

The Finance Minister Brian Lenihan presented his first budget on Tuesday 14th October 08. The following measures will affect property owners and the tourism business.

Property Owners of Second Homes including holiday Homes: Will have to pay €200 per year for each additional property they own. This could net up to €80 million.

Air Passengers Tax: From March 30th 2009 passengers flying from all the airports will pay €10 per passenger for travelling more than 300km and €2 for those taking shorter journeys. There are exceptions like from Dublin to the west coast of England and Wales, the Isle of Man and services from Cork to Newquay and Donegal to Glasgow. Passengers flying from the Belfast airports already pay £10 airport tax. This should raise €150 million per year.

VAT: The standard rate is being increased from 21 per cent to 21.5 per cent from the 1st December 2008

Duty on wine cigarettes and Petrol: These have all been increased.

October 2008 The Private Residential Tenancies Board of Ireland (PRTB) has had to set aside 100 decisions over error in board – a worrying situation for Landlords in Ireland

The Private Residential Tenancies Board of Ireland (PRTB), the state body that referees landlord – tenant disputes has been forced to set aside more than 100 decisions after it emerged that two county councillors on its board were illegally appointed.

According to a report in The Irish Times on the 9th October 08, the Minister for the environment John Gormley appointed Fianna Fáil Councilor Dessie Larkin and Green party councillor Vincent Martin in June 2008. The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 under which the PRTB was established precludes members of local authorities and the Oireachtas (Government) as members.

It was not until September that the mistake was noticed and a department spokesperson said, “The Board in the interest of legal certainty reconsidered all decisions to which the two gentlemen had been a party. All the cases at the board meetings of July 4th, July 16th, August 8th, August 20th and September 9th were reviewed at a board meeting on the 19th September. Fresh determination orders and decisions were made and communicated thereafter”.

The PRTB was established in September 2004 to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants; operate a national tenancy registration system and provide information and policy advice on the private rented sector. The PRTB dispute resolution service replaces the courts in relation to the majority of landlord and tenant disputes.

The present situation is not helping dissatisfied landlords with the working of the PRTB. Philip Suter of jml Property Services knows one landlord involved personally who is not at all happy with the PRTB. He appeared on TV news and his case was referred to in the Irish Times report. The landlord is a shopkeeper in north Dublin who was living above the shop and because of his growing family needed a larger home and moved into rental accommodation locally paying €1,500 a month.

He let the flat and the tenant paid the first two months rent and now she owes €17,000. The Landlord had won an adjunction against tenant in April 2008 and the decision was confirmed by the board in July. In September2008 the determination order was issued giving 21 days to leave and she has ignored this.

At the beginning of October the landlord contacted the board asking it to take a prosecution, but was told the original order was invalid because of the error in having the wrong members on the Board. The landlord was also informed that “due to the increasing volume of cases coming before the PRTB, the board may not be in a position to or may in certain circumstances deem it not cost effective to prosecute the non compliant party”.

This is naturally a very worrying situation for Landlords in Ireland particularly when there is so much rental property and many landlords naturally have mortgages that have to be serviced.

September 2008 Findings of Examination of Travel Insurance Claims for Loss or Damage to Personal Items

The Financial Regulator has completed an examination of travel insurance claims practices for loss or damage to personal items. This examination was undertaken as a result of concerns about the claims process experienced by consumers, in particular the requirement to produce receipts or other proof of purchase.

The themed examination focused on compliance with Provision 1 to the General Principles in Chapter 1 and Provision 14 of the Claims Processing requirements in Chapter 5 of the Consumer Protection Code. ..More Information on this Here

August 2008 Nationwide Prepares Ground for Irish Operation

Nationwide Building Society has today announced that it is putting plans in place to operate in the Irish Republic. Nationwide intends to set up an operation subject to approval from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority (IFSRA), which will initially offer savings products by post, phone and online.

This is a prudent strategic move by the Society that will enable Nationwide, the UK's second largest savings provider, to further diversify its geographical operations and funding opportunities in the Irish Republic. The Society already has one of the strongest balance sheets in UK financial services in terms of its construct and its quality.

A further announcement will be made, once approval has been given by the FSA and the IFSRA, prior to the initial launch of the operation. Souurce: Nationwide Building Society 18th August 2008

August 2008 Flash Floods Hit Ireland on Saturday 9th August 2008

The equivalent to a month's average rain fell in parts of Dublin. Met Éireann said that in the 24-hour period from midnight Friday until midnight Saturday 76.2mm of rain was recorded at Dublin Airport, a new record for August. The previous record was 73mm which was noted in 1986 associated with Hurricane Charlie. In the north of the capital Drumcondra and Swords and in the south of the city Firhouse and Knocklyon had severe flooding.

Parts of County Kildare were badly affected. Many roads in the Dublin area were closed including the M50 and M1 motorways and these did not open till late on the Sunday evening. The southbound lane of the Port Tunnel as shut. A lot of damage was done to property and the telephone service badly affected with some lines not functioning properly till Wednesday.. The River Arra in Newcastle West burst its banks after heavy rains, leaving the local ESB station submerged in water. Around 7,000 ESB customers lost power as a result..More Information on this Here

July 2008 Irish Government's health insurance risk scheme set aside

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Government's risk equalisation scheme for health insurance is based on a wrong interpretation of the law and should be set aside. The court upheld BUPA's appeal against a High Court decision rejecting its challenge to the scheme. Quinn Insurance welcomed the judgment.

Minister for Health Mary Harney said it was not clear if there is a legal solution to the issues that have arisen following today's judgment. Ms Harney said it was essential to maintain solidarity between young and old people and she advised subscribers not to panic. The minister said she was seeking legal advice and this would take time. Under the risk equalisation scheme, the VHI was to have received payments of more than €40m from BUPA.

Risk equalisation was intended to compensate the longer-established insurer for the enhanced risk inherent in its customer base of older members.More Information on this Here

April 2008 Dr Patrick Hillery President of The Replublic of Ireland dies

Dr Patrick Hillery who was President of The Replublic of Ireland 1976 — 1990 was buried in St Fintan's Cemetery in Sutton this afternoon, where Taoiseach designate Brian Cowen delivered a graveside oration. Dr Hillery, who held the presidency for two terms from died on Saturday 12th April 2008 at the age of 84.

March 2008 Ikea to start accepting Euros at New Belfast store

The Swedish furniture store IKEA that was opened in Belfast in December 2007 has announced that it will strart accepting euros. Although prices will continue in sterling, IKEA hope to have the installation of new systems installed by the end of April. The main reason is the amount of visitors coming from the Republic. The assistant store manager at the Belfast store, Stephen Gibson said " on an average weekday 10 to 15 per cent of our customers come from the republic. Often at weekends and bank holidays we could be in the position where a third of our customers could be from the Republic. All you have to do is look at our car park to where people are travelling from to Ikea — there are a significant number of cars with Republic or Ireland registrations. They are from all over the Republic — not just areas which are close to border or Dublin".

February 2008 Irish Tourism sector is warned of tough times ahead

Because of the downturn of the US economy, stock market volatility and uncertainty in the Irish economy Irish tourism providers have been warned about tougher times in 2008. Fáilte Ireland’s Chief Executive Shaun Quinn said that he was still cautiously optimistic about the 2008 season. He went on to say that spending patterns of US Visitors. Mr Quinn went on to say that if businesses were not on the web they "don't exist in the minds of today's tourists". The number of overeas visitors increased in 200 by 5% and advance bookings for 2008 are healthy. Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority was established under the National Tourism Development Authority Act, 2003 to guide and promote tourism as a leading indigenous component of the Irish economy.

February 2008 Dublin, experiences the sharpest fall in property asking prices in the country in last quarter of 2007

The capital's total decrease for 2007 was 3.4 per cent according to a report from the property website and NCB Stockbrokers.There was a fall of 1.4 per cent in Dublin and nationally 0.2 per cent. The details come from data from the asking prices on the website. Outside Dublin the sharpest drop was in Roscommon that experienced a 7.7 per cent decrease.

January 2008 €60 million price tag for a house on the top end of the Irish Monopoly board

The French embassy in Dublin has decided to sell two of it's properties on the Ailesbury Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin. They have instricted sales agents Lisney to sell the 11 bedroom mansion that is presently used as the French ambassador's house.If the sale price is agreed it will become the most expensive home sold in Ireland. The house that was built in 1900 was purchased by the French Government in 1930 and is 11,000 sq ft in size. The French Government are also putting the French embassy Chancery opposite to the ambassador's residence on the marlet for €20 million. The French Government are selling properties as part of a worldwide policy to downsize and bring diplomatic properties up to date. Ailesbury Road is one the most expensive roads to land on if you playing "Monopoly".

January 2008 520 bed hotel planned in Irish "Googleland"

An empty apartment bloock that was converted from the former Victorian gasworks at Ringsend , docklands Dublin has not sold. An application is to be put before Dublin City councillors to convert it into a 520 bed hotel. The apartments in the Alliance building have been empty since 2006.The area around the former gasometer had six hundred apartments in it, most of them are now occupied and there is an office complex there as well occupied by Google and the residents of the area originally described the area "like living in Googleland". The former gas holder had 210 apartments and now the Liam Carroll is applying for permission to to turn the block into a hotel

January 2008 Plans for the Carlton Cinema site in O'connell Street, Dublin, Ireland likely to be lodged in February 2008

The derelict Carlton cinema site on Dublin's O'Connell Streey is ending as plans are likely to be lodged with Dublin City Council in early February. The site has been vacant since 1979 and the Carlton cinema closed in 1994. A €500 million development will include a new public squareto link Morre Street with Upper O'Connell Street and expected to include 6,503sq m of retail premises with restaurants and bars. A 150 bedroom hotel plus apartments will also be sort with the planning application. Chartered Land a company owned by Dundrum shopping centre developer Joe O'Reilly is co-ordinating the plans.

January 2008 2007 a very good year for Irish Tourism

7.8 million overseas visitors went to Ireland in 2007 which put €4 billion into the economy according to the Irish Tourist Confederation in their 2007 report. There were big rises from continental Europe with large rises in visitors from Spain (28 per cent increase) and Scandinavia (47 per cent increase). Part of this expansion had been via the growth of low costs flights. There were 3.8 million visitors from Britain, however there was no increase in figure from the 2006 level.

Because of the weakness of the dollar the North American market only grew by only 3.35 per cent. This situation affected other European countries and only Ireland and Italy had actual growth in the number of visitors.

The Chairman of the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation Dick Bourke commented that the overseas revenue figures was about €1.1 billion up on 2006.

January 2008 British and Irish citizens now own 3.81 million properties overseas

The figure does not include timeshares. The research agency Datamonitor has found that 1.21 million properties are owned by permanent Irish or UK residents. There is £44 billion on the overseas property market in 2006 and the research says that growth will be over 13% between 2008 and 2012. The main countries people still choose are France, Spain and the USA.

January 2008 Second hand houses fally by nearly 7 per cent in the Republic of Ireland in 2007

Ireland's largest Estate Agents Sherry Fitzgerald have said that second hand property prices fell by 6.8 per cent throughout the state and by 9.9 per cent in in Dublin. This now means the average cost of a second hand house in Dblin is costing €480,000. Marian Finnegan, Chief Economist of Sherry FitzGerald said that Dublin prices suffered the most because of uncertainty surrounding stamp duty. She went onto say that following a challenging 2007 for the property market, the outlook was positive. This is as a result of ending speculation in relation to stamp duty and greater certainty in terms of the interest rate environment

Tips and Topics in Ireland 2006 and 2007

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