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Wednesday, 20th December 2017

New research shows that it might not be such a happy New Year for Irish consumers when it comes to their finances in 2018. Many admit to feeling less than optimistic about the year ahead, with money concerns and financial woes weighing heavily on people's minds.

New research published by independent price comparison and switching service, Switcher.ie, reveals the extent of consumers" financial concerns for 2018. Rather than looking forward to a happy New Year, money worries look set to remain high on the agenda with little to suggest that consumers" concerns will be alleviated anytime soon.

Already, a huge 95% of Irish adults admit to worrying about their finances. One in five (18%) say they"re always worried, while a quarter (25%) say they often are - just 5% say they never have any financial concerns.

As we head into 2018, this looks

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Wednesday, 13th December 2017

Michael Garland,

bizBoost Chair,

Waterford Business Group

"Tis the season to be jolly?”

Whilst out and about over the last weekend, I was stopped on several occasions to be asked about the mess that is Brexit. I suppose, being so vocal on the politics of Ireland, makes me an ideal person to stop and quiz when it comes to all things governmental in the UK, GB and of course Scotland.

Unfortunately it does appear that the political glitterati, on both side of the Irish Sea, are crafted from a very similar gene pool.

On Sunday last, due to frost and snow my unicycle stayed snugly wrapped under the duvet. I therefore had time to watch David Davis MP (The Tory baddie) squirming on Andrew Marr’s BBC show. He was asked probing question, after probing question on the lies spouted by the leave side, during the Brexit

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Wednesday, 13th December 2017

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

Q3 2017 investment review

Quarter 3 of 2017 was another positive period for risk assets with growth of between 2% and 4% in most global equity markets. Government bonds [Gilts] fell in September resulting in a loss for the quarter. The quarter saw modest global growth that surprisingly came from all regions.

The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Indices [PMIs] and global trade data suggest that growth will continue with US growth likely to see increased momentum.

Much of the push behind global growth was provided by Central Banks quantitative easing programmes and low interest rates. Central Banks now appear to be moving towards removing that support with the ECB having reduced its bond buying programme and the Bank of Japan and Bank of England likely to follow suit.

The US Fed will likely increase interest rates shortly and begin reducing its balance

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Wednesday, 13th December 2017

A new survey conducted by Christmas FM, the hugely popular radio station which raises hundreds of thousands of euro for charity each year, has revealed that we are an organised nation with 72% of us completing our Christmas shopping by November.

While 18% pick up gifts throughout the year, only one in four of us complete our shopping in December (27%). Just 1.4% of us work best under pressure and leave all the Christmas shopping until the 11th hour on Christmas Eve!

The Irish are generous nation at this time of year with almost one in ten of us (8.8%) spending up to €2,500 on Christmas gifts for others. A little over 25% of us spend up to €1,000, with one in three of us spending between €250 - €500 when shopping for others over the festive season.

Shopping locally is also important

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Wednesday, 6th December 2017

Michael Garland,

bizBoost Chair,

Waterford Business Group

"Terms and Conditions Apply!"

So Frances Fitzgerald finally fell on her own sword - not before putting up a huge, behind-closed-doors fight, with her Fine Gael colleagues. There was even talk about her "having something on Leo?" Nonetheless, he remained so steadfastly on the side of

"She has done nothing wrong and let’s wait for the tribunal, before judging her!"

The trouble was, that Leo’s pantomime Dames were also told, in no uncertain terms, to get behind their Tánaiste. "They’re behind you!"

The spin was "innocent until proved guilty." Then more and more, leaked emails started to appear. Evidence against the Minister was mounting, indications being that Frances knew more about the shenanigans surrounding Maurice McCabe, than she was willing to tell the Dáil. Had she convinced Leo, she was no Panto Baddie, no Wicked Witch?

Pressure mounted on ALL concerned,

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Wednesday, 6th December 2017

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

What is the Employment Incentive and Investment Scheme?

The Employment & Investment Incentive (EII) allows individual investors to obtain income tax relief on investments made, in each tax year, into EII certified qualifying companies. The EII replaced the Business Expansion Scheme (BES) and runs until 2020. Companies seeking EII relief must directly seek certification from the Revenue Commissioners. EII relief is given under Article 21 of GBER and now requires EII funding to meet the following requirements:

Eligible undertakings shall be undertakings which at the time of the initial risk finance investment are unlisted SMEs and fulfil at least one of the following conditions:

- they have not been operating in any market

- they have been operating in any market for less than 7 years following their first commercial sale

- The cumulative limit on EII investment is now €15m as

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Wednesday, 6th December 2017

Three of Ireland’s best-known charities have taken the unprecedented step of coming together to launch a national campaign The Refund Project which is asking members of the Irish public who can afford it, to consider donating their Irish Water refund to tackle the homelessness crisis.

At a special launch event in Dublin a national advertising campaign was unveiled and a special website refundproject.ie went live on behalf of Simon Community, Peter McVerry Trust and Focus Ireland who will be the 3 beneficiaries of the initiative.

Almost 8500 people are now homeless in Ireland and more than 3000 of these are children. The Irish Water repayment scheme will see €173 million repaid to account holders in the coming weeks and the three charities are hoping that a proportion of the monies will be donated to deal with the homelessness crisis.

A special oversight group

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Thursday, 30th November 2017

Michael Garland,

bizBoost Chair,

Waterford Business Group

"Rotten apples – we’ve a barrel full of them!”

"Surprise Surprise”, as Cilla Black would once have said.

Leo "The Limelight” Varadkar has with all the Wisdom of Solomon, decided to give his full backing to his embattled, beleaguered, Tánaiste, Minister Frances Fitzgerald. In many ways, he is very quickly becoming our very own version of the "Iron Lady”, Margaret Thatcher. He is very clearly "Not for turning!”

Over the last few days, right across our national media, he has repeated the same mantra, time after time, after time. He will, come hell or high water, not throw out, sack, dismiss, get rid of, abandon, or ask her to resign.

As a result, there has been nothing but incessant talk about a possible general election before Christmas. Come on Leo, we have barely had time to recover from "Trick or

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Thursday, 30th November 2017

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

Government Bond Yields and Pensions

Anyone with a personal or defined contribution pension requesting retirement benefits will discover unless they have a valuable guaranteed annuity locked in, they will be offered a smaller pension at retirement than previously.

There are two reasons for this – annuity rates and longevity.

Annuity rates are the rate a pension provider offers a guaranteed income for life in exchange for a lump sum. Current annuity rates for a female taking retirement benefits at age 60, is 3.34%. So that female with a pension fund of €100,000, taking their retirement benefits now, will receive a guaranteed pension for life of €3,340 pa. Once accepted by an annuitant [pensioner] the annuity rate is guaranteed for life and cannot subsequently be reduced or cancelled. Therefore, pension providers need to have a balancing source of future guaranteed income

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Thursday, 30th November 2017

Over three quarters of people in Munster (79%) will deck their homes out in festive decorations this Christmas with 15% planning to go all out with both indoor and outdoor lights and decorations. However, despite the great efforts that people in

Waterford and across Munster go to in preparing their homes for Christmas, the majority (61%) will take no steps to protect their home against season-related risks, such as chimney fires, electrical faults or boiler breakdown, in advance. That’s according to Aviva Home Insurance, who released the findings of their latest research.

The research, which was carried out by RED C on behalf of Aviva, found that paying for everything is the number one concern for 40% of people in Munster at Christmas. Other key concerns include pipes freezing (24%); power cut (22%); boiler breakdown (13%); Christmas tree going on fire (12%);

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Letters to the Editor

  • Our View

    A Paper AnniversaryAs he has been in high profile politics for such a long time, it is hard to think that Leo Varadkar has just celebrated his first year as Taoiseach. Over the last decade, there has hardly been a time when the man hasn't been out of the headlines for one reason or another. But it is his role as Taoiseach which has cemented his position in Irish history.Of course such an anniversary didn't go past uncommented and he was given a rough ride in the Dail when the subject came up. As mu …

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