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Weekly Round Up, January 19, 2016

Published on Jan 19 2016 7:49 AM

Weekly Round Up, January 19, 2016

Rising labour, insurance and local utility costs are causing Irish businesses to lose competitiveness, according to a new report from ISME. The association reports that the overall inflation figure of 0.1% masks the struggle that small and medium sized businesses are faced with, and calls on the government to take substantial steps to help keep these costs down.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that while last week’s announcement of a closure of a C&C Group facility in Borrisoleigh, Co. Tipperary, “is very tough on workers”, he believes that the “investment is not lost to Tipperary”. Commenting during Leaders’ Questions, Kenny said “I understand C&C has made its decision and will not reverse it. It will expand in Clonmel, with an additional investment of €10 million and the creation of 80 additional jobs. […] While it is a tough day for the workers in Borrisoleigh, those who wish to travel to Clonmel will have the first option on the 80 positions that will become available there.”

Mandate Trade Union has called for the abolition of minimum wage rates, which it believes exploit young workers. The trade union says that it is 'ageist' to pay below minimum wage to workers who are under 18, are in their first or second year of employment over the age of 18, or are undergoing a training course, and that the current system facilitates ‘unfair practice’ and ‘effective discrimination’.

Avonmore sold a record 3.5 million pots of cream in the run-up to Christmas, according to The Irish Times. Sales of the standard whipped cream product were 24% higher than the previous year. The company also said it experienced its highest ever volume of cream dispatched in one week during the period.

Northern Ireland will soon be exporting pork and beef to India and Canada, Agriland has revealed. Minister for Agriculture Mary O’Neill also hopes to gain access to the US and Philippine markets for beef and the Australian market for pork, with the new trade routes mitigating against price volatility and exchange rate fluctuations.

Lidl is teaming up with Bia Food for a food donation programme in Cork, BreakingNews.ie reports. The discounter will donate food from participating stores in Co. Cork to 55 charities who work with people in poverty. The programme is an extension of the scheme Lidl operates with Crosscare in Dublin.

SuperValu Rosslare has helped a local club GAA invest in a new solar panel, according to the Wexford People. The move is part of a nationwide initiative by Musgrave and the SEAI that aims to have stores reduce their own energy consumption, and then pass the savings on to local community energy projects.

Ornua has announced that it will pay an additional €15 million bonus to its dairy suppliers, according to the Irish Examiner. The bonus has been made possible due to Ornua’s sale of its stake in DPI, and will be paid to the suppliers in April or May along with the normal annual cash bonus. The announcement comes in a climate of depressed milk prices, and ICMSA dairy committee chairman has described it as ‘most welcome’, the newspaper reports.

Germany’s biggest pension scheme provider is targeting retail investments on Dublin’s Grafton and Henry Street, the Irish Independent reports. As part of a €1.3 billion investment programme, Dublin retail has been identified as a high priority in terms of potential returns. Other cities that will also be invested in include London, Paris and Munich.

The Small Firms Association has welcomed the publication of the Action Plan for Jobs 2016, with Director Patricia Callan saying, “Small businesses believe that the business environment will continue to improve in 2016 and they plan to create 30,000 more jobs, which will further enrich their communities and drive economic progress.” However, the SFA has also expressed concerns over Ireland potentially losing its competitiveness through increased businesss costs.

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