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Wednesday, 3rd July 2013

Will Ireland exit its current bailout programme by the end of 2013?

Ireland’s macro-economic landscape has improved dramatically over the last number of years but challenges still remain.

Fiscal compliance is the only component fully under the Irish Government’s control.

Growth levels will largely be determined by the international export market.

Bank recapitalisations represent the great unknown in Ireland’s fiscal horizon.

A prolonged European recession presents the greatest risk for Ireland’s longer term debt sustainability.

There is a need for increased domestic growth initiatives in the short term.

The Government’s steadfast commitment to austerity over the last six years now allows for additional domestic growth policies immediately without harming Ireland’s fiscal credibility.

Ireland should seek some leniency in its deficit reduction targets, similar to what was granted to Spain in April 2013.

Maintaining Ireland’s fiscal credibility is critical but following the stabilisation of Ireland’s finances, fiscal credibility can now

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Wednesday, 3rd July 2013

Asking prices for property in both Waterford city and county have continued to fall in the second quarter of the year, according to the latest survey from property website

The survey shows the median asking price in the city fell 6.3% in the quarter to €149,000 and in the county by 5.6% to €169,000.

The asking price for a threebed semi in Waterford fell in the second quarter of the year by almost 8% to €143,000, almost half the asking price at the 2006 peak. The median price of a 4-bed semi was 14.6% lower in the quarter at €158,000 – a fall of almost 27% in the past year and a bigger annual decline than in any other Irish county

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Tuesday, 25th June 2013

John Smiles

Can I transfer my UK pension to Ireland?

People, who worked in the UK and built up a fund in a UK pension and are back living in Ireland, may now bring their pension home.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) introduced legislation in April 2006, allowing any UK pension to be transferred to another country once the receiving pension has been approved by HMRC. This is known as a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).

The advantages of moving are:

- You are no longer only restricted to a set income for life. Now, you can choose how and when you want to access your retirement fund.

- The taxation regime in the event of death compares favourably with the UK where death taxes can be up to 73%.

- Reduce the risk of potential currency issues in retirement by moving your pension into

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Wednesday, 19th June 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

How secure are Irish bank deposits?

Until very recently, depositors in European banks held the following core beliefs:

- The Europe-wide Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS) was sacrosanct for amounts below€100,000.

- Depositors above€100,000 would be protected by governments.

• The European Central Bank would support Eurozone governments to protect depositors.

• The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) would provide funding to recapitalise banks.

• Capital could move freely within the Eurozone.

Recent events in and around Cyprus have challenged, if not fundamentally undermined, widely-held beliefs about the security of deposits. In March, Cyprus requested a bail-out. The initial plan was to levy a tax on all depositors, with a lower level applying to deposits under€100k. The plan was resoundingly defeated in the Cypriot parliament and following further discussions, a new plan was unveiled which included:

- No levies/taxes/haircuts on deposits under€100,000

- Complex arrangements for amounts above€100,000

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Wednesday, 19th June 2013

Threshold welcomes PRTB Index as "Comprehensive & Accurate Source" of Information for Tenants, Landlords and Government

Threshold, the national housing charity, has welcomed the new rent index by the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) as the most comprehensive and accurate source of data on the private rented market.

The index, which shows rent levels throughout Ireland, is based on data collected from landlords registered with the PRTB. The index published today tracks trends in rent levels since 2007. From now on, the PRTB will publish its rent index on a quarterly basis.

Welcoming the index, Senator Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold, said it is a valuable source of information for tenants and landlords.

"The publication of this index is a very welcome move. This provides more accurate information on rent levels for the first time," she said. "Up to now, we have been reliant

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Wednesday, 19th June 2013

A Ratepayer Support Team from the Valuation Office will be based in Waterford from Monday 17th June to assist local businesses in relation to the National Revaluation Programme which is nearing completion across the county.

The Team will be based in the Property Registration Authority (PRA) offices, Cork Road, Waterford city. Ratepayers can meet the Team in person at the PRA offices between 10:30am and 4:30pm from Monday to Friday, to clarify any issues or answer any questions which they may have in relation to their recently received Proposed Valuation Certificates and the making of representations.

While in Waterford, members of the Team held an information session for business representative groups on the outcome of the Revaluation process to date on Tuesday, 18th June in the Large Room, City Hall, Waterford at 6:00pm. The event was attended by members of the Waterford

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Tuesday, 11th June 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

What is a Vested PRSA?

A PRSA is a Personal Retirement Savings Account. It was designed to be a low-cost alternative to traditional pension products and provide retirement pension benefits to those not a member of an employer sponsored pension scheme or to the self-employed.

Anyone aged from 18 to 75 may contribute to a PRSA; all contributions qualify for full tax relief at the marginal income tax rate subject to Revenue restrictions. The contributions are invested in a range of investment funds with varying degrees of risk and reward and any growth on the contributions will be tax-free.

A PRSA holder can take benefits at any time from age 60 to 75. When a person takes their pension benefits from either an employer's pension scheme or from a personal pension plan, the industry describes their policy as 'vested'.

At retirement,

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Tuesday, 11th June 2013

The latest edition of the National Housing Construction Index compiled and issued by Link2Plans ( illustrates that Waterford has had a sharp decrease in Planning Applications as well a significant fall in commencements compared to the national average.

Waterford has experienced the eighth sharpest drop in applications after falling 17% in January to April 2013 compared to the same period last year. Waterford planning applications fell from 81 in January to April 2012 to 67 in the same period in 2013. Moreover, Waterford also has the sixth highest percentage drop in commencements after a fall of commencements in the county from 50 in January to April 2012 to 31 in the same period in 2013.

Compared to Waterford, the outlook is positive for particular pockets around the country which are experiencing an increase in commencements and applications.

Although planning applications were

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Tuesday, 11th June 2013

The new valuations that have been issued by the Dublin-based Valuations Office have been hitting businesses in Waterford this week.

I have not got a

comprehensive picture from around the city and county – but what I have seen in some instances in Tramore defies belief.

Some SMEs in the town have been hit with indications of a review that will increase their Rates for 2014 by a jaw-dropping 150% plus. I have seen documentary evidence of Rates reviews going from well under €2,000 this year to well over €4,000 for 2014. And this in the middle of the worst recession we have ever had!

Does this Government not realise at all that businesses in many cases are on the ropes, trying to stay up. They are

giving good and steady employment. A goodly

number are in difficulty already trying to pay the Rates for the

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Tuesday, 4th June 2013

John Smiles, Qualified Financial Advisor

What is risk taking?

European regulators and the funds industry have become acutely aware of the need to give retail investors a greater understanding of the amount of risk they might be taking when making an investment. The European Securities and Markets Authority [ESMA] is an independent committee of European Securities regulators. Its role is to help improve co-ordination between different securities regulators and act as an advisory group to assist the European Commission. It has produced guidelines as to how investment managers should represent risk and return to consumers. It is intended that these guidelines will be adopted as the standard approach across all European fund managers.

The ESMA Risk Rating methodology uses a seven point scale based on 5-year annualised volatility without the scope for subjective intervention. Investments that are most likely to experience large changes

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Letters to the Editor


    Keeping a checkIt is common knowledge that when it comes to technology, if you want to do something, just ask a young person to show you. They have grown up with all the technology that is around us at the moment and seem adept at using it in the easiest fashion possible. But just because young people are good at technology, does that mean that they should have unfettered access to all the sites and apps that are available to them today?Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has just come out and said that he and …

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