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Tourism chiefs come to Galway

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Charlie Troy and Dearbhaill Staundún (left) from Cnoc Suain hosting members of the board of Tourism Ireland at their Spiddal retreat centre last week, pictured with (from left) Galway City Council CEO Brendan McGrath; Chris Kelly of Trad on the Prom; Galway County Council CEO Kevin Kelly; Brian Ambrose, Chairman of Tourism Ireland; Kathleen McDonagh, Go West; Patrick O’Flaherty, Ballynahinch Castle Hotel; Joan O’Shaughnessy, Vice Chairman of Tourism Ireland; Zôe Fitzgerald, Renvyle House Hotel; Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; and Fergus O’Halloran, The Twelve Hotel.

The Twelve Hotel in Barna was the venue for the May board meeting of Tourism Ireland.

And while here, board members took the opportunity to meet with local tourism operators prior to the meeting, to discuss the tourism season and the extensive promotional programme which Tourism Ireland is undertaking to highlight Galway, the West of Ireland and the island of Ireland around the world this year.

Speaking after the board meeting, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We were delighted to be in Galway for this month’s board meeting and to have the chance to meet with representatives of the tourism industry from the West of Ireland and to hear directly how their business is doing.

“It also afforded us the opportunity to discuss the extensive promotional programme which Tourism Ireland is undertaking around the world this year, to build on the success of 2015 and continue to grow overseas visitor numbers to the West of Ireland.

“Priority markets are Great Britain, the United States, Germany and France, but our promotions are also continuing in other key markets across the world – including Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Australia and New Zealand, as well as new and emerging markets like China and India.”

Galway city and county, its events, heritage and visitor attractions, as well as many other aspects of this part of Ireland, feature prominently in Tourism Ireland’s promotions around the world. Tourism Ireland profiles Galway extensively on its global suite of websites, Ireland.com, which which attracted about 16.5 million unique visitors in 2015.

Galway is also highlighted through Tourism Ireland’s social media platforms – to its 3.4+ million active Facebook fans and 324,000+ followers on Twitter.

In 2015, Tourism Ireland helped generate about €55.6 million worth of positive publicity for Galway in key markets around the world, through press releases, press visits, e-newsletters and various media events.

Tourism Ireland’s activity also includes co-operative promotions to highlight ease of access to Ireland West Airport Knock e.g. with Ryanair, Aer Lingus and Flybe to promote their services to IWAK.

Connacht Tribune

Brexit impact on online shoppers

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CCPC chairperson Isolde Goggin: before you buy, check where the business is located and read the terms and conditions on the website.

Almost one in three Irish consumers has bought online from a UK-based retailer in the past two years – with 29% of consumers having done so more than ten times.

That’s according to research carried out to mark the start of a six-week public awareness campaign, aimed at preparing consumers for the potential impact of Brexit on their rights when they buy online from UK-based retailers.

The survey also found that 40% of consumers who bought online said they have returned items they purchased from a UK retailer.

And 71% of those who had made returns did so because the product did not fit or they changed their minds – the right to return in these circumstances is a right under EU consumer law.

One in four consumers said that, following Brexit, they will buy more from Irish companies either in-store or online

The research was published by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, tracking the experiences of consumers in Ireland who buy online from retailers based in the UK.

The CCPC’s research, which was carried out amongst 1,000 adults across the country, found that a significant majority (72%) of Irish consumers had bought online from a company based in the UK in the last two years.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City  and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

New hope for homeowners in mortgage arrears

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Paul Cunningham, CEO, Home For Life.

Over 1,100 Galway householders have mortgage arrears of two years or more, according to Central Bank figures – but there’s a glimmer of hope for them on the horizon.

Because figures also show that a state scheme has ensured a small number of those families – crippled by unsustainable mortgage arrears – have been able to stay in their own homes.

They have availed of the Government’s Mortgage to Rent scheme aims to keep homeowners with unsustainable debt in their current properties debt-free as long-term tenants of their local authority.

So far, 51 Mortgage to Rent cases have either been completed or are being actively progressed across the city and county, according to figures just released by The Housing Agency.

And a recent rise in eligibility values in the county to €395,000, combined with an increased appetite from lenders to work with the scheme, could see Mortgage to Rent engagements dramatically increase in the coming months.

Lenders and funds are now showing a greater willingness to use the Mortgage to Rent scheme as an alternative to repossessing family homes, according to a prominent mortgage expert.

“My experience since Home For Life began operating last year is that both lenders and funds want to find workable solutions to mortgage arrears once and for all,” said Paul Cunningham, CEO of Home For Life, the only Government-approved private Mortgage to Rent operator.

“This means they want to do a deal with families in trouble in Galway and move on.

“What we are witnessing here are changes which very much favour the Galway householder.

“The Government has shown it is interested in developing the scheme by widening the eligibility bands by €30,000 while banks and funds have made it clear they prefer to see a solution where the householder can stay in their home paying an income-based rent.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City  and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

State grants give new energy

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Seán Canney TD: “Cutting emissions is key to achieving our Climate Action targets.”

A host of community and commercial buildings across the county will benefit from a share of the state’s €25 million scheme to improve their energy efficiency.

All the buildings will receive grants towards energy efficiency retrofits involving a variety of areas, including heat pumps, heating controls, doors and windows, roof insulation, lighting and solar panels.

The grants form part of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s national Community Energy Grants Scheme.

Galway buildings covered under the scheme include Tuam Leisure Centre; Portumna Town Hall; Mystical Rose Nursing Home, Claregalway; Loughrea Athletic Club; Castlegar GAA; Corinthians RFC; Glinsk Community Centre; Ballinasloe Leisure Centre, and Hewland Packard Enterprise (HPE) Galway.

They also include the Bon Secours Hospital; Temperance Hall, Galway; Corrib Shopping Centre; Supervalu Galway; Musgrave Market Place, Galway; Aviva, Galway; Cleary’s Insurance, Galway; NCBI charity shop Galway; Glynn’s Service Station, Carnmore; the Connacht Hotel, Oughterard Church, and Cómhar Caomhán Teo, Aran Islands.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City  and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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