Minister Mitchell O’Connor announces publication of submissions to public consultation on resale of tickets for entertainment and sporting events

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, today announced the publication of the responses received by her Department to the recent public consultation on the resale of tickets for entertainment and sporting events. The 24 responses can be accessed on the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation website at http://www.djei.ie/en/Consultations/Consultation-Resale-of-Tickets-Entertainment-Sporting-Events.html

Announcing the publication, the Minister said –
I would like to thank the individuals, sporting organisations, promoters, primary and secondary ticketing service providers and others who took the time and trouble to respond to the consultation. Their responses contain a considerable amount of interesting and informative material about the organisation of major entertainment and sporting events and the operation of the primary and secondary markets for such events. They cover a range of different views on the matters at issue and put forward a range of different, and in some cases conflicting solutions, as to what might be done to help ensure that ticket markets would work better for music and sports fans in the future.

I would encourage everyone with an interest in the issue to read and reflect on the responses to the consultation. Before decisions are taken on a complex issue with a number of different dimensions, it is important that we have the fullest possible understanding of the issues and interests at stake and the widest possible debate on the policy measures that should be adopted.’

Notes
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross T.D., and the Minister for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan T.D., launched the public consultation on the resale of tickets for entertainment and sporting events on 20 January 2017.

The consultation was undertaken in response to public concern at the resale of tickets for major entertainment and sporting events at a price often well in excess of their face value. The consultation paper looked in detail at a number of relevant aspects of ticket resale, including –
§ the workings of the primary and secondary ticket markets for entertainment and sporting events,
§ how tickets sold or allocated through the primary ticket market end up for resale on the secondary ticket market and who puts them for resale,
§ the legislation regulating ticket resale in Ireland, other EU member states, the US and other countries, and
§ what different stakeholders do, or do not do, to address the issues and concerns raised by ticket resale.

The consultation paper sought the inputs and views of interested parties on possible measures aimed at securing fairer access to tickets for consumers. A total of 24 responses have been received to the consultation, including submissions from sporting organisations, promoters and primary and secondary ticketing services providers.

Patronage of New Primary School in Dun Laoghaire Awarded to Educate Together

Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and TD for Dun Laoghaire constituency, has welcomed the news that Educate Together has been awarded the patronage of Dun Laoghaire’s new primary school, to be opened in September 2017.

“Dún Laoghaire is growing and thriving thanks to the hard work of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Chamber, Dún Laoghaire BID, Digital Dún Laoghaire and other local driving forces. This is bringing new people into the area.

“The changing demographic has been reflected in the decision about the patronage of this new school. The Educate Together movement began in Dalkey almost 40 years ago. From one school they have grown to, not just a national body, but an international body, with their first school in the UK opening in 2014. It is fitting that they have been awarded patronage of this new school.

“In accordance with the Programme for Partnership Government, the Government has a strong commitment to increase the number of multi-denominational and non-denominational schools across the country. This will continue as more schools are built to accommodate our growing population.

“As a former teacher, education is always on my radar and this new primary school is a vital addition to the area. Parental preference and demand played a big part in deciding patronage following a public consultation in late 2016. I am delighted that people took the opportunity to be part of that consultation and have their views reflected in the decision.

“September 2017 will be a special time for the students of Dun Laoghaire Educate Together Primary School, and their parents and families who have campaigned for this school for a long time. I look forward to seeing smiling faces at the school gates.

 

Minister Mitchell O’Connor welcomes continuing fall in Live Register

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, today (Friday) welcomed the publication of the latest Live Register figures, showing a continuing fall in the numbers of people signing on. The seasonally adjusted figures show a decline of 4,600 compared to the March figures and a decline of 42,123 compared to the April 2016 figures.

In unadjusted terms at the end of April, there were 263,417 persons signing on the Live Register.

The number of persons on the Live Register in April 2017 is the lowest number recorded in the seasonally adjusted series since October, 2008.
The figures also show that the live register has decreased in all eight regions of the country over the past 12 months.

Earlier this week, CSO figures showed that the unemployment rate fell to 6.2 % down from 6.4 % in March and from 8.4 % in April 2016.

Speaking from the US while on an IDA Marketing Programme Minister Mitchell O’Connor said “We have had very positive employment figures this week from the CSO. Earlier this week we saw a 9 year low of people unemployed with the unemployment rate now at 6.2% and now it is very positive to see that there is a continuous fall in the numbers of people on the live register. I’m greatly encouraged to see that numbers on the Live Register have fallen across all Regions. We are heading towards full employment and I am determined that our focus remains on continuing to create the right environment for job growth right across the country.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor publishes a survey on Irish SMEs views on Brexit and sets out action plan

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, has today published the findings of a survey of 1,045 SME business owners which was conducted in January by Behaviour & Attitudes, and has set out a number of actions being developed to support SMEs in responding to the challenges of Brexit.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “While the survey results are of a point in time, the findings have helped inform the deliberations of my Department in considering what additional steps may need to be taken to support SMEs impacted by Brexit. Extensive engagement has also been undertaken with stakeholders including the Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland, individual businesses and business representative bodies.”

The survey indicated that 49% of companies had experienced no impact on their business from Brexit, and a further 15% had experienced minimal impact. However, when asked to look forward over the next 18 months the percentage expecting no Brexit impact drops to 26%, with 17% (1 in 6) expecting a significant impact.

The Minister for Employment and Small Business, Mr Pat Breen TD, commented “The survey shows that the types of companies impacted most in the short term are small businesses (5 – 50 employees), those in the border region and those involved in food exports. Non-food exporting companies anticipate that they will be affected more significantly in the long term. The survey highlights the importance for SMEs to be Brexit ready.”
Working capital for firms exporting to the UK and indeed beyond to the EU and other markets has emerged as an issue for companies, as has a need to support competitiveness, innovation and market diversification.

The Minister said “My department has been working with the Department of Finance, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Enterprise Ireland and the SBCI to build an understanding of the business needs of companies in adapting to the challenges posed by Brexit and to develop appropriate and targeted responses to support them. Based on this work, I recently secured the agreement of the Cabinet Committee for Economy Trade and Jobs to progress the development of a proposed Brexit Working Capital Guarantee Scheme and to scope out the need for a longer term Business Development Loan Scheme which would assist firms in investing for a post-Brexit environment.”

Development of these proposed responses is at an early stage, and is subject to resources being agreed as part of the annual budget process, and with due regards to State aid rules.

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation is also exploring the development of a business advisory hub which would assist SMEs to make informed funding/investment decisions and helps them avail of private market solutions or existing State supports. This would build on the existing supports available and the advice and guidance offered by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices and the Credit Review Office.

Minister Mitchell O’ Connor concluded “Brexit is an ongoing issue and I am conscious that the environment may change as the Brexit negotiations develop. I will continue to listen to the business community and to develop appropriate policy responses to help them in addressing the challenges of Brexit.”

“Brexit – the view of Irish SMEs” Survey here

Minister Mitchell O’Connor welcomes fall in annual unemployment rate from 8.4% to 6.2% from April 2016 to April 2017

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD today (Wednesday) welcomed the Monthly Unemployment figures for April published by the Central Statistics Office, showing that the official unemployment rate has fallen from 6.4% in March to 6.2%.in April and from 8.4% in April 2016. The statistics also show:

· On a seasonally adjusted basis 4,800 fewer people were unemployed in April compared to March 

· 47,300 fewer people were unemployed in April compared with twelve months earlier 

· Unemployment among people aged between 15-24 has fallen by 0.8% in a month 

Commenting on today’s figures Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “The continuing fall in unemployment for April is very welcome news. Seeing the unemployment rate for April drop down to 6.2% from 6.4% last month and from 8.4% this time last year is very positive. It is important that we continue with our policies to ensure that job creation continues to grow right across the country. The CSO also released this morning data on Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland in 2015 which shows that Ireland has become one of the most globalised countries in the world. We are going in the right direction to make full employment in Ireland a reality. As we know being able to earn a livelihood is all important, allowing people to take charge of their future,to make plans and to have hope and optimism. I would like everyone to have that opportunity for self-determination and fulfilment through employment.” 

 

Government approves priority drafting of legislation to address problems caused by the increased casualization of work and to strengthen the regulation of precarious work

Today, the Government approved draft legislative proposals brought forward by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, and the Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen TD, in response to the commitment in the Programme for Government to address problems caused by the increased casualization of work and to strengthen the regulation of precarious work. The draft proposals, which address zero hour contracts, low hour contracts, banded hours and related matters, are targeted at low-paid workers in particular.

The proposals address the issue of employees on low hour contracts who consistently work more hours each week but whose contracts do not reflect the reality of their hours worked. The proposals also seek to ensure that employees are better informed about the nature of their employment arrangements and their core terms at an early stage in their employment. They include provisions aimed particularly at low-paid, more vulnerable workers. The proposals also include an amendment to the Organisation of Working Time Act which will prohibit zero hour contracts in most circumstances.

Commenting after the Government meeting, Minister Mitchell O’Connor said “I am very pleased that the Government has agreed to the priority drafting of this important legislation. It is important because it will improve the employment protections for low-paid, vulnerable workers in particular. It will also improve the predictability of hours of work and earnings for many employees whose contract of employment does not reflect the reality of the hours they work on a consistent basis.”

The Ministers’ proposals were informed by the University of Limerick study on zero hour contracts and low hour contracts as well as the extensive material and practical examples provided by respondents to the public consultation on that study conducted by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. These proposals have also been the subject of a detailed dialogue process with ICTU and Ibec over a number of months.

The Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen TD, said that “Developing policy proposals on employment rights is a complex matter. A balance needs to be found between protecting the rights of employees and avoiding unintended consequences on business, particularly small and medium sized businesses, which may negatively affect the competitiveness of the Irish economy. These proposals have been subject to broad consultation and represent a balanced response to the commitment in the Programme for Government to tackle problems caused by the increased casualization of work and to strengthen the regulation of precarious work. We have listened carefully to all sides to ensure that the proposals are workable in practice, while minimising the impact on businesses.”

The Ministers added “We look forward to engaging with all parties in the Oireachtas in pre-legislative scrutiny of these proposals.”
The draft legislation will now be referred to the Office of the Attorney General for priority drafting of a Bill.

Background to the proposals:
The draft legislative proposals brought forward by Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Minister Pat Breen are in response to the commitment in the Programme for Government to address the problems caused by the increased casualization of work and to strengthen the regulation of precarious employment.

The draft legislative proposals take account of the study conducted by the University of Limerick (UL) on the prevalence of zero hour contracts and low hour contracts and their impact on employees.

Following the UL Report, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation sought submissions from interested parties by way of a Public Consultation. Some 48 responses were received from a wide range of stakeholders, including trade unions, employers and business representative bodies, public representatives, Government departments/agencies and non-Governmental organisations. The responses to the public consultation contained extensive material and practical examples of the impacts of the specific legislative changes proposed by UL, which have informed the draft proposals approved by Government.

Further, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation engaged in a detailed dialogue process with Ibec and ICTU over the period October 2016 to March 2017 in an effort to secure the deepest understanding of the issues and implications before finalising proposals.

Core Issues being addressed by the draft proposals:

The draft proposals aim to address key issues which have been identified as being areas where current employment rights legislation can be strengthened to the benefit of employees, particularly low-paid, more vulnerable workers, without imposing unnecessarily onerous burdens on employers and businesses. The proposals address the following:

• Ensuring that workers are better informed about the nature of their employment arrangements and in particular their core terms at an early stage of their employment.
Currently 15 terms of employment are required to be given by employers to employees within two months. The UL study recommended that all 15 items be given on the first day. Following consultation, it is accepted that this would be excessive. Instead, it is proposed that employers must inform employees in writing, within 5 days of commencement of employment, of the following 5 core terms of employment:
1. the full name of the employer and employee,
2. the address of the employer,
3. the expected duration of the contract (where the contract is temporary or fixed-term),
4. the rate or method of calculating pay, and
5. what the employer reasonably expects the normal length of the employee’s working day and week will be.
Other required terms of employment should be provided within the current 2 month period.
The Ministers’ proposals also provide for the creation of a new offence where an employer does not provide the proposed statement of the five core terms of employment within one month of commencement of employment. Strengthening the sanction for non-compliance will help to promote better work practices and provide greater clarity around the essential elements of the employment relationship for both the employer and the employee.

• Strengthening the provisions around minimum payments to low-paid, vulnerable workers who may be called in to work for a period but not provided with that work.
It is intended to introduce a floor payment for low-paid workers who are called into work and then sent home in these circumstances. The UL study called for a minimum of three continuous working hours where an employee is required to report for work and if there is not, the employee should be paid for the three hours. The UL recommendation did not differentiate between low-paid workers and high-paid workers. It would result in disproportionate benefits for high-paid employees over low-paid employees and significant costs for employers. Furthermore, the UL recommendation did not take account of arrangements where it suits both parties to agree a contract of employment for less than three continuous working hours. The UL recommendation would set aside the possibility of individuals agreeing mutually convenient contracts for less than 3 continuous hours. Following consultation it is accepted that changes in this area should focus on improved compensation for low-paid workers and to this end, the Ministers’ proposals introduce a new minimum floor payment, of 3 times the National Minimum Wage or 3 times the minimum rate set down in an Employment Regulation Order (ERO), to compensate workers if they are called in to work but do not receive the expected hours of work.

• Prohibiting zero hours contracts, except in cases of genuine casual work or emergency cover or short-term relief work for that employer.
It is intended to delete the phrase ‘zero hours practice’ from the title of Section 18 of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. The Ministers’ proposals will provide that an employer will no longer be able to engage an employee on a contract within the meaning of Section 18 (1)(a) or 18(1)(c) where the stated contracted hours are zero, unless it is genuinely casual work, emergency cover or short-term relief work for the employer. This proposal is to avoid the contagion of an increase in zero hours practices in this jurisdiction.

• Ensuring that workers on low hour contracts who consistently work more hours each week than provided for in their contracts of employment, are entitled to be placed in a band of hours that reflects the reality of the hours they have worked over an extended period.
The proposals provide for the creation of a new right for an employee, whose contract of employment does not reflect the reality of the hours worked on a consistent basis over a reference period of 18 months, to be placed in a band of hours that better reflects the actual hours worked over that reference period. This will provide greater certainty and a truer reflection of their hours of work and level of earnings, thereby addressing, in particular, difficulties employees may have accessing financial credit, including mortgages. The reference period of 18 months is considered sufficiently long to allow for the normal peaks and troughs of businesses, including those subject to seasonal fluctuations. The proposals also provide a mechanism for a review of the arrangement after a period of 18 months, i.e. after the employee has sought and been placed in a band of hours in exercise of their right under this proposal. An employee will be able to seek redress through the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) but redress will be limited to being placed in an appropriate band of hours. The proposal includes reasonable defences for employers to refuse an employee’s request where
– the facts do not support the employee’s claim,
– significant adverse changes have impacted on the business (e.g. loss of an important contract),
– emergency circumstances (e.g. business has had to close due to flooding),
– where the hours worked by the employee were due to a genuinely temporary situation (e.g. cover for another employee on maternity leave).

The provision will not apply to an employer who has entered into a banded hour arrangement through an agreement by collective bargaining with their employees.

• Strengthen the anti-victimisation provisions for employees who try to invoke a right under these proposals.
It is intended to provide against an employer penalising or threatening to penalise an employee for exercising any right under the proposed legislation.

BorgWarner Adds New Production Line for Electric Vehicle Technology and Creates New Jobs at Tralee Facility

As a leading supplier of advanced hybrid and electric vehicle (EV) technologies, BorgWarner further extends its production capabilities in Tralee, Ireland, with a major investment. At an event today with the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, the CEO of IDA Ireland, Martin Shanahan, Seán Kelly, MEP, and the mayor of Tralee, Terry O’Brien, the company announced a €10 million investment in capital equipment and a €1.5 million investment in facility renovations to expand the plant’s engineering and testing capabilities, create new jobs and improve the facility’s environmental footprint.

 
Beginning in 2017, BorgWarner plans to add a flexible manufacturing line for the high-volume production of high-voltage positive temperature coefficient (PTC) cabin heaters in order to meet the growing demand for thermal management solutions that add to extended battery-powered driving range of hybrid and electric vehicles. With the support of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through IDA Ireland, up to 50 new jobs could be created.

 
Welcoming the announcement, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “This is great news for Tralee. BorgWarner is a world-class company at the cutting edge of technologies for electric vehicles and this new investment represents key wins for the government’s job creation policies. Expanding the manufacturing sector generally is a key priority for us and these quality jobs and projects in high-potential business sectors are exactly the type we are vigorously pursuing.”

 
“In Tralee, BorgWarner continues to provide high-value employment opportunities in this regional location and has done so for over 30 years,” said Martin Shanahan. “The contribution the company makes to the local economy is highly significant. This investment marks an important milestone in our long-standing and mutually beneficial partnership.”

 
In addition to expanding manufacturing and test capabilities as well as the facility’s office and warehouse space, the investment will add highly sophisticated assembly and test equipment. “As the trend towards hybrid and electric propulsion continues, we expect demand for our efficient, high-voltage cabin heating solutions to grow. By further expanding our EV capabilities, we are able to continue supporting our customers as they look to rapidly expand their EV product portfolio,” said Joe Fadool, President and General Manager, BorgWarner Emissions & Thermal Systems. “We are pleased to expand our succesful collaboration with the IDA here in Ireland and strengthen our product leadership in advanced thermal management solutions with the investment in this strategically important location.”

 
As a global product leader in clean, energy efficient propulsion systems solutions for combustion, hybrid and electric vehicles, BorgWarner always aims at reducing the enviromental impact of its facilities around the world. The Tralee facility focused on products for advanced hybrid and electric vehicles extends its commitment to the environment with facility investments targeted at energy independence and zero landfill waste.

 

Recent examples include investments in highly efficient heat pump systems, which reduce the facility’s fuel oil consumption by 80 percent as well as improved LED lighting and building insulation.

Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor Announces HQTralee as First Recipient of Vodafone & SIRO’S Gigabit Hub Initiative

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, today unveiled HQTralee as the first business hub to receive two years of free gigabit fibre broadband from Vodafone and SIRO as part of the companies’ national Gigabit Hub Initiative.

 

HQTralee is a business and innovation centre located in the heart of County Kerry, which at present houses 18 local businesses, and was officially launched by the Minister at a special opening ceremony held at HQTralee today. Currently supporting 50 jobs, HQTralee will see this number double to 100 by July 2017.

 
The Gigabit Hub Initiative was announced last month and is open to qualifying hubs in 15 towns across the country. The number of entry applications received for this unique initiative from Vodafone and SIRO greatly exceeded expectations, a clear demonstration of the importance and demand for access to quality broadband from both established businesses and start-ups across the country.

 
The six towns to be awarded free connectivity as part of the first phase of the initiative have been announced today as Tralee, Drogheda, Dundalk, Letterkenny, Cavan and Carlow. The successful hubs from each town will be announced over the coming weeks.

 
The initiative was created by Vodafone and SIRO in order to empower local businesses and communities through connected technologies. By providing world class fibre broadband connectivity into enterprise and community centres, the Gigabit Hub Initiative will enable towns across the country to strengthen and grow their rural communities by supporting regional job creation and positively impact local economies.

 
To further illustrate the significance of high speed broadband connectivity to businesses, Vodafone and SIRO undertook research amongst the businesses based at HQTralee. All surveyed said that super-fast internet connectivity would substantially increase their productivity, and were confident that the provision of reliable 1 Gigabit per second broadband in regional hubs would encourage more companies to establish or relocate to smaller towns. They also believed its provision would make towns with access more attractive to Foreign Direct Investment by multinationals, and that the availability of gigabit fibre broadband would have a positive impact on the local economy and support existing local enterprises and local communities.

 
Nine in 10 of the enterprises surveyed said that they hoped to increase either full or part-time employment in the next 12 months and that the availability of high speed broadband would lead to more people working online from home and result in an improved work-life balance. In fact, over eight in 10 (83%) said that access to high speed broadband had enhanced their own businesses, improved communication with their customers and business partners and made them more optimistic about the future.

 
Commenting at the launch, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “It’s great to see the tangible effect that high speed broadband access can have on hubs such as HQTralee, where businesses can gain access to 1 Gigabit per second broadband and spur the dynamic and exciting entrepreneurship we see here today. The Government recognises the fundamental role that broadband can play as a critical enabler for business and jobs creation across Ireland and welcomes the excellent work being carried out by Vodafone and SIRO to support regional hubs and businesses across the country.”

 
Anne O’Leary, Chief Executive of Vodafone Ireland, added: “We are delighted to be in a position to support local businesses through vital hubs such as HQTralee. If this success is replicated across all six hubs, it has the potential to create up to 600 jobs across Ireland in 2017. The economic and social benefits that 1 Gigabit broadband connectivity can bring to companies in regional Ireland are almost incalculable. New job and business opportunities will allow people to pursue their careers in small towns across Ireland without sacrificing their quality of life, rather than being forced to move to cities or abroad. The Gigabit Society we are creating will mean offering employees better work-life balance, and most importantly, encourage our successful regional businesses to remain in Ireland and compete on a level playing field with the likes of Singapore and San Francisco.”

 
Stephen O’Connor, Director of Corporate Affairs at SIRO, said: “As Ireland’s largest Fibre-to-the-Building provider, we are delighted to be helping to revitalise towns across Ireland. HQTralee and the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen illustrate the digital transformation that our 100% fibre-optic broadband network can spark and our Gigabit Hub Initiative will open up a new world of possibilities for the 15 towns involved. Strong, consistent connectivity will not only help attract new businesses to regional Ireland, it will also help Ireland’s young people create a future in the towns they call home instead of being forced to move abroad. With world beating 100% fibre-optic broadband, new jobs can be created by international businesses or by Ireland’s next generation of home-grown entrepreneurs.”

 
Co-founder of HQTralee, Ken Tobin added: “We feel that there’s no reason why people shouldn’t be able to enjoy the lifestyle of living in a town like Tralee, but being able to take advantage of the same level of broadband connectivity as Hong Kong or Tokyo. Now thanks to Vodafone and SIRO, this dream is a reality as Tralee residents don’t have to compromise and can enjoy the perfect work life balance. At HQTralee you can get 1 Gigabit broadband and still live within minutes of 10 beaches, the two highest mountains in Ireland, and Ireland’s top links golf course, and a tradition of culture, nightlife, food, arts, and sport – all within a one hour flight to Dublin and one-and-a-half-hour flight to London!”

Dingle Welcomes a new Creativity and Innovation Hub

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD attended the official opening of the Dingle Creativity and Innovation Hub (The Dingle Hub) today. The new facility provides state-of-the-art services for start-up companies to establish, expand and collaborate with other businesses, not just in Dingle but across Ireland and internationally. The Hub plans to support the creation of over 100 full time jobs in five years.

The Dingle Hub is a community enterprise initiative supported by a range of significant partners including eir, Dingle Business Chamber, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Kerry County Council and Net Feasa. Focusing on three key areas – Music/Film-making, Animation and Internet of Things (IoT), the Hub will place a significant emphasis on creativity and the role it can play in supporting and developing businesses.

eir is providing an extensive and scalable communications infrastructure which includes a 1 Gigabit dedicated fibre connection, hosted voice services and Wi-Fi. Having access to high-speed internet connectivity in a remote rural setting will be a gamechanger for Dingle. The community can retain local skills, knowledge and talent, compete on a level playing field with national and international organisations and attract new enterprises providing job creation and stimulus to the local economy.
Commenting, Jim Garvey, The Garvey Group and Spokesperson for the Hub said, “Our facility will enable a new generation of people to work and live in Dingle, doing work that was not previously possible. Dingle will continue to be a vibrant place in which to live and, though remote physically, it is now fully connected to the world beyond, so there is no limitation to the type of work that can be carried out in such a beautiful surrounding that inspires creativity and draws deeply from the local traditions and culture”.

Commenting at the launch, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in bringing this initiative to fruition. There is no disputing the significant economic and social benefits that such facilities bring to rural communities across Ireland. Dingle is a place of beauty and has a strong international reputation, not only for its entrepreneurial spirit but also its creative acumen. It is reassuring to see eir play such a pivotal role in rural regeneration. The 1GB connectivity will give users of the Hub access to a best in class network that will allow them to confidently conduct business on a local, national and global scale”.

Emphasising the key role that high speed connectivity plays in supporting such initiatives, Bill Archer, Managing Director, eir Business said “We are undertaking the largest high speed rollout programme in Ireland and a key priority for us, as part of that rollout, is to play a hands on role in the revitalisation of rural communities across Ireland. Reliable, scalable and accessible communications infrastructures are vital to realising that objective. Dingle now has access to broadband speeds that are on a par with leading European cities. This is extremely positive for local business people, entrepreneurs, start ups and visitors to the region. It means they can live, work and visit Dingle and be able to connect on a national and global scale. Our ambition is to replicate what we have delivered in Dingle to communities across Ireland – thereby creating and securing significant job opportunities”.

Working closely with Udaras na Gaeltacta and Kerry County Council, the Hub will also provide a comprehensive support and mentoring mechanism for entrepreneurs, SMEs and start ups.

Uniquely, the Hub will have two Test and Trial Networks – one for Wifi and one for Internet of Things. These will enable businesses based in the Hub to test their products and services in real world situations and to bring customers to view the systems operating in such environments. While Dingle has a resident population of approximately 1,700 people, it has over 1 million visitors per annum, so there are opportunities for testing and trialling products and services at scale.

Finally, recognising the importance of education and the need to provide the educational skills and knowledge to enable people to prosper and thrive in what is now being called the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ (i.e the interconnected world of people and things and the growing importance of data), it is planned to develop an educational programme about the issues involved in such a transformation and that will be based in Dingle.

For further details on the Hub please see – www.dinglehub.com

Shire Opens New HQ Office in Dublin City Centre

Shire plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPG), the global leader in serving patients with rare diseases, announces the opening of its new office in Ireland at the Miesian Plaza on Dublin’s Baggot Street. An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, will join Shire leaders to formally open and dedicate the company’s new offices at an event held today.

Shire’s HQ office will move from its current location in Citywest, including the local commercial and technical operations (supply chain and IT) employees based there, who will move into Baggot Street in the coming months.

Shire has leased 76,000 sq. ft. of the Miesian Plaza. The company has located one of its global corporate services teams in the building who provide support services across Shire’s global operations in the areas of procurement and finance. They are in the process of hiring 150 new employees to join this team.

By the end of June 2017, approximately 300 Shire employees will be based at the Miesian Plaza. The leased space also provides additional accommodation as Shire’s requirements increase over time.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD said: “I met the Shire CEO Dr Flemming Ørnskov at the World Economic Forum in Davos last January. I am glad they have chosen Ireland as the location for a further 150 jobs. This thriving company and their pioneering work in the field of bio-medicine is exactly the type of business we seek to attract. Our unemployment rate has gone from 15.2% to 6.4% and the Government will continue to work for a robust economy for all our people.”

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, said, “As Minister for Jobs, I welcome Shire’s ongoing commitment to Ireland. The pharma industry makes a huge contribution to the Irish economy in terms of jobs and manufacturing exports, and is one of our fastest growing sectors. We are very keen to attract speciality pharma companies like Shire who will broaden the reach of the industry here and generate new opportunities.”

Alan Walshe, General Manager for Ireland said: “It’s an exciting time for us at Shire in Ireland. The decision to open our corporate HQ at the Miesian Plaza and last year’s announcement of our investment in a state-of-the-art biologics facility at Piercetown in County Meath demonstrates that Ireland remains an important part of Shire’s global footprint and future strategy.”

Welcoming the announcement Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland said: “Ireland is a global centre of excellence in life sciences due to the country’s strong regulatory track record and talent availability. Shire’s continued growth here across a number of business activities and its previously announced manufacturing investment is a clear endorsement of Ireland’s ongoing attractiveness to overseas companies.”