Mac Lochlainn raises the need for financial supports for Donegal tourism and retail sector with Minister Heather Humphreys

Donegal Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has raised the need for financial supports for Donegal’s tourism and retail sectors due to the impact of Brexit with the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys.

Minister Humphreys was appearing before the Oireachtas Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation to outline the government’s supports for businesses in the context of Brexit. Senator Mac Lochlainn serves on this committee as his party’s Seanad Spokesperson on the portfolio.

Senator Mac Lochlainn said:

“The impact of Brexit has already been profound for Donegal’s tourism and retail sector with a big drop in cross border trade and from the British tourism market.

Brexit has also led to a delay in investment plans across the county that is really hurting our local economy. I challenged Minister Humphreys on what supports her government has provided or will provide to these struggling businesses”.

“One area that has caused real anger has been the same application of VAT increases across the entire State. There is no comparison between a hotel in Donegal and a hotel in Dublin city or indeed with restaurants or other businesses, yet they are treated the same from a taxation perspective. It is surely not beyond the wit of man or woman to find a solution to this unfair policy or to reimburse the Donegal businesses in some way.

Donegal businesses are also under pressure from commercial rates and insurance increases. While I welcome confirmation that Donegal businesses will finally see a rates review, the truth is that some businesses will gain, and some will lose from this review.

The Minister lives in and represents a border community herself, so she should know better than most the impact of Brexit on similar border communities in Donegal. While she had sympathetic words in response to my representations at the committee, we need to see real actions and practical financial supports being rolled out as soon as possible”.

 

Ó Fearraigh welcomes ‘Largely Positive’ Meeting over Plans to Resolve Falcarragh Water Disruption but calls on Irish Water to Address Immediate Supply Needs

Sinn Féin Councillor John Shéamais Ó Fearraigh has described today’s (Thursday’s) briefing of elected member of Donegal County Council into Irish Water’s plans to resolve the ongoing disruption to water services in the Falcarragh area however, he has again called on the utility to urgently outline how it plans to met the town’s immediate supply needs.

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Ó Fearraigh encourages Thatch Owners to Apply for Funding Support

Sinn Féin Councillor John Shéamais Ó Fearraigh is urging thatch property owners throughout the county whose structures may require repair works to apply for funding as part the local authority’s Thatch Repair Grant Scheme.

 

The scheme, which aims to conserve Donegal’s traditional thatch roof buildings, provides specialist advice and funding to eligible property owners in order to carry out small-scale thatch repairs.

 

Speaking ahead of the closing date for receipt of applications which is Friday 31st May, Cllr Ó Fearraigh said:

 

“As many people know Donegal is home to some of the highest concentration of traditional thatch properties anywhere in Ireland.

 

“These are beautiful traditional buildings and they have become such an iconic symbol of Ireland abroad, something which really adds to our unique tourism and cultural offering.

 

“In recognistion of this, Donegal County Council administers its dedicated Thatch Repair Grant Scheme whereby eligible property owners can apply for grant funding to carry out repair works to their thatch structures.

 

“The fund enables owners to receive specialist advice from experts on the various conservation methods to preserve and restore properties, while it also facilitates the carrying out of repairs to thatch homes and outbuildings. 

 

“This may include the restoration to the eaves, the ridge, flashings, holes, furrows, fixings, ropes, wire netting, the gable, roof timbers or carpentry, etc.

 

“The closing date for the receipt of applications is Friday, May 31, 2019 at 12pm and interested property owners can download an application form and get further information by visiting the local authority’s website.

 

“Naturally, given the importance of these beautiful traditional properties, I would encourage all those eligible to apply to receive support through this very worthwhile initiative.”