Gaza protest in the Market Square tomorrow

Some of the crowd that gathered in the Market Square for a previous protest

Some of the crowd that gathered in the Market Square for a previous protest

A third Support Gaza Protest will take place in the Market Square in Dundalk tomorrow (Saturday).

The event gets underway at 1pm and all are welcome to come along on the day to show their solidarity with the people of Palestine during the ongoing conflict with Israel.

Previous protests have taken place on Fridays, with up to 500 people attending the initial one a fortnight ago.

Bus Stop Bar sold

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The Bus Stop Bar in Park Street has been sold.

The public house, which also traded as Russell’s, has been on the market for some time with estate agents Property Partners Laurence Gunne.

However, a sold sign has been placed on the building in recent days.

The bar had an asking price of €100,000 but as yet there have been no indications as to the selling price or who the new owner is.

IFA call for reduction of property tax in Louth

IFA-Logo1In a submission to Louth County Council, Louth IFA Chairman Matthew McGreehan has sought a reduction in the property tax to reflect the level of services provided and to ensure that there is no further erosion of competitiveness and loss of income for farm families.

Matthew said in a statement: “The purpose of the property tax is to support the provision of local services, with the majority of the proceeds of the tax accruing to local authorities. While this should provide more autonomy to local authorities to provide appropriate services, there can be no change in the rate of the tax to compensate for a reduction, or lack of funding from other sources.

“IFA believes that the local property tax must reflect the level of local services provided, which are significantly lower in rural Ireland than those provided in urban areas. There is a strong argument, therefore, for a reduction in the property tax to reflect the lower level of services provided in rural areas.”

Matthew added: “In addition, the burden of taxation on farm families has, in common with other sectors, increased significantly in recent years. Marginal rates of tax are at a very high level and lower income farmers have been negatively affected through the introduction of the USC and the reduction in personal tax credits. Increases in the rates of capital taxes and reductions in tax-free thresholds have added to the costs of investment and asset transfer. To encourage investment and enterprise and to support overall economic recovery, there must be a reduction in the overall taxation burden and I am calling on Louth County Council to reduce the property tax next year”.

On Monday, Louth IFA held their County Executive Meeting in Darver Castle, at which Ciarán Kinney from Louth County Council was in attendance. He delivered an informative talk to farmers in which he discussed issues such as farm inspections, burning dates, storage and spreading of slurry and other important issues. There will be no County Executive Meeting in August but the Louth IFA will still be dealing with any issues farmers may have.

Sportsman’s on the market for €350,000

The Sportsman's

The Sportsman’s

The Sportsman’s Bar and Restaurant in Ravensdale has been placed on the market with an asking price of €350,000 with local estates REA Gunne Property.

Located on four acres of land just off the N1, the roadhouse has a car park, a children’s playground and a two storey dwelling needing renovation.

Former owner Paul Keane, who ran the business with his wife Susan, passed away last September following an illness.

Barry the first Dundalk motorist with an ‘N’ plate

Barry Kerr with his new 'N' plate after passing his driving test on the first attempt today

Barry Kerr with his new ‘N’ plate after passing his driving test on the first attempt today

Barry Kerr became the first motorist in Dundalk to secure the new ‘N’ plate after passing his driving test on the first go this morning.

Under new rules which came into force today, newly qualified drivers will have to display ‘N’ for ‘novice’ plates for two years or face a fine of €60.

Novices will also be disqualified from driving for six months if they receive seven penalty points, instead of the normal 12 that applies to fully qualified motorists.

Also coming into force today s an increase in penalty points. Speeding rises from two to three points, as does not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone while driving.

Barry passed his test following lessons with Barry McDermott of eLPASSo.ie

Moran encourages local families to speak up on nursing home standards

Senator Mary Moran

Senator Mary Moran

Labour Senator, Mary Moran, is encouraging local people with family members in nursing homes to have their say on national standards for the care home sector. She was speaking as HIQA launched a new public consultation on standards for nursing and residential care homes.

“It is vital that families are reassured that their loved ones in nursing homes are receiving the best possible standard of care, and that concerns regarding patient safety and quality of care are addressed. HIQA have updated the national standards which apply to nursing homes around the country, and are looking for feedback from residents of care homes, their families, and indeed staff.

“The experience and advice of actual residents and staff are just as important as those of experts or HIQA managers. They are the people receiving the care and working at the frontlines, and their views and suggestions will be of great value in charting the way forward.

“I would strongly encourage people who are affected by this area to make their views known. The public consultation feedback form is available on the HIQA website, and interested parties have until September 24th to have their say.”

Kennedy Wilson pays €120m for Elliott loans and Marshes Shopping Centre

The Marshes

The Marshes

US-based property investment group Kennedy Wilson announced yesterday that it had agreed to acquire the Elliott loan portfolio and the Marshes Shopping Centre in Dundalk for a combined €120 million.

It is believed that the Marshes was bought for around €45m.

The centre, which has been trading since 2005, had been funded by Ulster Bank, a member of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which is campaigning to have loans repaid as part of its drive to reduce its exposure to the property market.

The Marshes is a highly successful centre with Dunnes Stores and Penneys as anchor tenants among the traders.

The complex extends to 25,172sq m (270,961sq ft) and has an overall rental income of €3.85 million. Other traders include Eason, Dorothy Perkins, Lifestyle Sports, McArdle Meats, Mothercare, River Island and Peter Mark.

It also has planning permission for a cinema complex.

Kennedy Wilson was part of a joint venture company which also acquired Stillorgan shopping centre in Dublin and Merchant’s Quay in Cork last summer as part of the Opera portfolio for €306 million.

The loans associated with former Cavan-based construction group P Elliott are secured against a portfolio of 13 real estate assets, comprising primarily offices, industrial, retail and residential properties for €75 million.

These assets form part of RBS Capital Resolution, which is responsible for disposing of Ulster Bank’s non-core assets.

The Market Bar prepares for Bank Holiday weekend Fiesta

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The Market Bar in Clanbrassil Street are hosting an August Bank Holiday weekend Fiesta from Friday to Sunday.

There will be food and drink specials over the course of the weekend as well as music from 10pm on Saturday and Sunday.

There will be no cover charge for any of the events.

Government confirm that Narrow Water Bridge project will not proceed

An artist's impression of the Narrow Water Bridge

An artist’s impression of the Narrow Water Bridge

The last remaining hopes of rescuing the Narrow Water Bridge project appear to be dead in the water after the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe confirmed in a Parliamentary Question that the construction of the bridge will not now be proceeding as planned.

The bridge – which was to link Omeath and Warrenpoint – looked to be going ahead last summer until Louth County Council were forced to pull the plug on it due to estimates for its constructions coming in far greater than they had estimated.

That led to EU funding being withdrawn and while several attempts have been made to salvage the project, it now looks doomed.

Commenting on the matter, Fianna Fáil TD for Louth, Seamus Kirk, expressed his disappointment at the government’s decision not to proceed with the bridge.
He said: “I am extremely disappointed that the Government has decided to shelve this project, which was seen by many as a further enhancement of cross border relations.  The project not only represented a new era in north-south affairs, it would have had a radical impact on tourism in the region.

“The Government has refused to allocate additional funding to allow the project to proceed, a decision which I believe is extremely short-sighted.  The construction phase alone would’ve created jobs and brought much needed investment to the local economies on both sides of the border.  It would also create a new tourist attraction in an area that has been neglected for decades.

“Tourism in the Cooley Peninsula and Mourne Mountains, which is a beautiful part of the country, is severely under-developed, primarily because the connection between the two areas is completely inadequate.  The Narrow Water Bridge would’ve filled that gap and given a major economic boost to the region.  The loss of this project is extremely unfortunate and is a lost opportunity.  It has been extremely challenging to encourage investment into this area, and the level of public money spent there remains at relatively low levels.

“Fianna Fáil has been a consistent advocate of this project and after so much progress was made in terms of planning and securing funding from Europe, it is a tragedy that it is being scuppered at this advanced stage.

“I believe more of an effort should have been made by the Minister and his Department to secure a suitable package, which could have been used to draw down the EU funding.  This current project has been in the pipeline for over 5 years, and unfortunately it now appears as if the plan will be scrapped because of the Government’s refusal to work with the Northern Ireland Executive to provide additional funding.  This is a major blow for the residents who were so supportive of the project, for cross border relations and for the local economy,” said Deputy Kirk.