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Connacht Tribune

Tax auditor PwC trebles Galway workforce

Dave O'Connell



One of the country’s ‘big four’ tax auditors has announced a major expansion of its Galway operations – labelling it as a vote of confidence in the continued growth of business and industry across the west.

PwC’s expansion will also see the country’s largest professional services firm relocate its Galway base from its existing Tuam Road facility into the city centre – and it has also resulted in a number of new senior appointments.

PwC Galway Tax Partner Mairead Connolly described the expansion as a response to increased demand – particularly from SMEs – and a chance to increase the company’s range of services.

“We have seen the economy bouncing back quite strongly – but particularly in Galway and its hinterland which, from our experience, is outstripping other regions,” she said.

The Limerick native works between PwC’s Galway and Limerick offices – indeed the Limerick native is married to a Claregalway man, so on many fronts she has a foot in both camps.

And she revealed that the decision to expand will see the workforce grow from 25 to 70 over the next few years, with a combination of experience tax practitioners and new third-level graduates in keeping with their current policy of recruiting the brightest and best through NUI Galway.

“Galway is synonymous with a strong med-tech sector, and that spawns a significant number of start-ups and entrepreneurial activities,” she says.

“We’ve done a lot of work with many of those entrepreneurs over the last few years; they had the successful products and ideas, but it’s often a question of getting their affairs in order so that, for example, they don’t lose so much in tax when they sell,” she adds.

PwC’s expansion also allows them to develop their own range of services, because up to now they were primarily concerned with audit and tax services, which will now grow to encompass corporate finance and business services.

One of the key new arrivals at PwC is Florita Dolly, who joins as a Tax Director within the Galway office.

The Abbeyknockmoy native previously worked with the Revenue Commissioners in Galway, where she spent over seven years as Assistant Principal.

And having moved from one side of the tax equation to the other, she has a list of aspirations that she hopes Finance Minister Paschal Donohue will tackle in his upcoming budget – not least to ensure continued growth here, irrespective of the Brexit outcome.

“Galway has a strong record for start-ups, particularly in the med-tech sector, and typically the ultimate aim is to grow the business for sale.

“Therefore the whole question of tax relief for entrepreneurs is one we’d like to see movement on – specifically in the area of Capital Gains Tax which is at ten per cent, but is capped at €1m.

“That is capped at €10 million in the UK, which gives a clear advantage to entrepreneurs across the border as it stands, never mind post-Brexit,” she says.

Brexit is a question occupying so much of the public space just now, with the impact on either the UK or Irish economy still unclear.

But Mairead Connolly admits that, whether hard or soft, the outcome ‘will not be pretty’.

That said, she also sees ways that the Minister can lessen the impact here by improving the taxation landscape for investors and for SME’s in particular.

“The Department of Finance recently reviewed the Enterprise Investment Incentive Scheme which offers a 40% tax right-off on investments for SMES, which is very favourable . . . if you can get it.

“But the conditions have been tightened to the extent that investors have to be independent of the business itself. In our experience, those most likely to invest know the business and indeed those running the business – which is why we would like to see this scheme broadened out to facilitate that,” she says.

Research and Development is also excluded from the EIIS – something that PwC would like to see altered in advance of the Brexit outcome.

But most of all, Mairead believes we need to see more investment in the regions – in infrastructure, technology and connectivity.

“Outside the Pale, that is a much greater challenge to business – as is the lack of skills and key talent in some sector.

“Strong employment levels often mean that SME’s and family businesses struggle to recruit and hold onto staff – and that’s an area the state could also incentivise,” she says.

Florita points specifically to KEEP (or Key Employment Engagement Programme) Scheme which Minister Donohue introduced in last year’s budget.

This allows owners to allocate shares to employees in a tax efficient manner to avoid losing key staff, by giving them a direct interest in the company – but again there are restrictions that PwC would like to see loosened.

“Bonuses like this for loyalty incentivise all involved to grow the company – and that’s the key to success,” she says.

Connacht Tribune

Influx of visitors heightens Covid fears

Dara Bradley



Saolta CEO Tony Canavan

Local health chiefs are planning for the worst case scenario of a second surge of Coronavirus brought on by domestic tourism – as ‘staycationers’ from parts of the country where the virus is more prevalent carry it into the west.

There has been just one new confirmed case of Covid-19 in Galway in the past week, and just a handful of new cases in the past several weeks.

But the authorities fear tourists from parts of the country more affected by the virus will result in an increase here during August and September.

There are also concerns that there are not enough beds in the public health system to cope with a resurgence of Covid-19 alongside regular winter hospital admissions.

Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta, which manages public hospitals in the West, at the HSE West Regional Health Forum this week, said health workers are anxious that the deadly virus will spread to the West, as the reopening of society continues.

“There are concerns among those working in the health system associated with Government plans to reopen society and the economy, even though we know that is absolutely necessary and important for the well-being of the population as a whole.

“But the concerns we have relate to the greater movement of people whether it’s going to and from work, or going about their business, whether it’s attending the shops or entertainment events and so on, and that greater movement of people creates an environment where the risk of the spread of Covid-19 is increased.

“We’re particularly concerned in the West and North West, that there would be a level of movement of people associated with tourism at this time of year,” said Mr Canavan.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

Chanelle McCoy unveils her clinically proven cannabinoid cure

Stephen Corrigan



Chanelle McCoy (left) and Caroline Glynn with their new Pureis product line in Galway this week. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The usage of CBD food supplements to treat a whole raft of illnesses and conditions in recent years has given rise to concern that many of the products currently on the market are being sold to consumers without any clinical trials to verify their safety.

It was the rise in demand for these products that first caught the attention of well-known Loughrea business woman Chanelle McCoy who this week, together with her business partner and fellow Galwegian Caroline Glynn, launched the first CBD product on the Irish market that has been clinically proven to be safe – Pureis.

Chanelle, whose family business Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea has a proven track record in the medical world, stepped back from that venture five years ago to focus on her own Chanelle McCoy Health.

“My family business in Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea and so I’ve worked there for about 18 years. When I joined the business, it was a veterinary business and my father and I co-founded the medical side of the business. Then I was lucky to have the opportunity to lead that medical business over the last 18 years with a great team and with Caroline working with me,” says Chanelle of the beginning of her working relationship with Caroline.

“We bought the medical business into 96 countries around the world and we got over 2,500 product licences granted across those 96 countries. We would be looking at products in terms of what to put into the R&D pipeline and I started looking at CBD back in 2015, probably inspired a bit by Vera Twomey and the inability for moms like her to access good quality CBD products for kids like Ava,” she says, explaining that Cork woman Vera Twomey’s plight to secure cannabidiol treatment for her daughter’s epilepsy was a real eye-opener.

Read the full feature in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

State can’t leave Galway addiction services in limbo

Dara Bradley



Any further delay in setting up an alcohol addiction treatment service in Galway City will result in more deaths, including suicides, of problem drinkers – and cause ‘total devastation’ to local families, addiction experts have warned.

Addiction Counsellors of Ireland (ACI) has demanded that the Health Service Executive (HSE) immediately establishes an alcohol treatment service in the city.

The professional body which accredits counsellors claims that GPs in Galway are ‘flooded’ with drink-related patients, and the Emergency Department ‘can’t cope’ with the level of alcohol admissions.

It said the long-awaited alcohol addiction treatment service planned for the city would save lives and save tens of thousands of euro on alcohol-related emergency admissions at University Hospital Galway.

Some €470,000 a year funding for the service was announced by the previous Government last December; and a commitment for the service was contained in the Programme for Government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party.

This week, Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, a Minister of State in the new administration, confirmed that some €225,000 for the service from now to Christmas, is available in the 2020 HSE budget to get the service up and running.

Local addiction counsellors have now demanded that the HSE urgently hire the staff, and source a building, to roll out the alcohol addiction service, which has been absent for the past seven years.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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