Ages and Stages staff hold sit-in protest

A member of the Ages and Stages staff speaks to reporter Elaine Keogh during their sit-in protest last night

A member of the Ages and Stages staff speaks to reporter Elaine Keogh during their sit-in protest last night

Staff of the Ages and Stages Early Years Centre in Mullaharlin Park staged a sit-in protest yesterday evening against the closure of the facility.

Supported by parents who gathered outside the facility, the staff claimed that crèche operators Dundalk ICTU Ltd had handled the closure of the crèche badly and that they were protesting for “simple dignity” and for theirstatutory rights to be upheld.

Talk of the Town broke news of the closure two weeks ago.

Staff had been campaigning for their P45s and redundancy but it is understood that an agreement was reached late last night.

Moran calls for Port Tunnel toll to be reduced during rail strike

Senator Mary Moran

Senator Mary Moran

The National Roads Authority should reduce the €10 peak-hours toll faced by commuters using the Dublin Port Tunnel for the duration of the rail strike, according to Labour Senator, Mary Moran.

Up to 100,000 commuters, many of them from Louth, were left facing disruptions earlier this week as a result of the strike by rail workers on Sunday and Monday. Further protests are planned for next month, leaving rail users looking for alternative travel arrangements once again.

Commenting on the matter, Senator Moran said: “The disruption to Inter-City, Commuter and Dart services in particular means that people in Louth and north Dublin suburbs who normally use rail services are now being forced to commute by car and use the Port Tunnel.

“Due to the €10 toll that applies to the tunnel between 6am and 10am, and again between 4pm and 7pm, it means commuters could fork out €40 altogether between the two days – and even more again if the strike resumes in September.

“It is unfair that motorists are being financially penalised for a strike that isn’t of their own making. Therefore I am calling on the NRA to reduce the peak-hours toll to €3 – which is the usual off-peak fee – in what would be a welcome gesture that would ease pressure on strike-hit motorists.

“In the meantime, I hope that all sides involved in this dispute will resolve this matter soon, so that we can draw this difficult episode to a close.”

Doctor’s surgery could be demolished

The surgery at 33 Castletown Road, beside Castletown Glass and opposite the Beehive shop

The surgery at 33 Castletown Road, beside Castletown Glass and opposite the Beehive shop

A doctor’s surgery on the Castletown Road could be set to be demolished to be replaced with a new retail unit with overhead apartments.

Padraig Martin, who has been based at the surgery at 33 Castletown Road along with Dr Michael Kiernan, has been granted planning permission to demolish the property.

In its place he hopes to construct a new two storey structure comprising of a retail unit at ground floor level with a two bedroom apartment on the first floor.

Butterflyz and Angelz on the move

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Local wedding store Butterflyz and Angelz closed their premises in Park Street on Saturday ahead of their relocation to the Flurry Bridge Business Park, off the M1 at Junction 20 Jonesborough.

Commenting on their Facebook page, store owner Bernie Rice said: “Hey everyone, on one level I am sorry to say that we closed our beautiful shop in Dundalk yesterday because our lease was up. On a higher level we are sooo excited about our new ventures, yes plural, ventures! At Junction 20 Flurry Bridge business park. We now have two showrooms. one for our wedding and event planning and decor, Room Angelz, and one for our award winning wedding boutique, Butterflyz and Angelz.
“Please bear with us while we relocate and make sure that both are up to the standards that is expected of us.”

For further details call 086 805 1014.

Big Mountain to bring hit show to the US

Jane Kelly and Philip McGovern of Big Mountain Productions

Jane Kelly and Philip McGovern of Big Mountain Productions

Dundalk-based television production company Big Mountain Productions has got one step closer to bringing RTE hit Craft Master to US audiences.

It has signed a deal with US producer North South to pitch the show to US networks. Craft Master harnesses the growing popularity of arts and crafts like Linda McKay’s millinery, knitting and loom-banding.

Big Mountain hopes to emulate the success of its show Genealogy Roadshow, whose format was snapped up by US public broadcaster PBS. The programme is now in its second season on PBS.

Big Mountain made €1.6m last year. Demand for content is booming as online providers like Netflix seek more quality programming, managing director Philip McGovern said.

Bank of Ireland to host Open House event in Dundalk next Saturday

BOI_Spon_logo[Ulster Rugby]Bank of Ireland will host an ‘Open House’ event in their branch in Clanbrassil Street on Saturday August 23rd from 11am to 3pm.

The event will tell you all you need to know about getting a mortgage, whether you are a first time buyer or simply moving home.

Local auctioneers will be on hand to display some of the latest property listings while local solicitors will also be available to answer legal questions you might have on the day.

All are welcome to attend.

Things are really taking shape on Earl Street

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Thanks to Damien Wynne for sharing this picture of things taking shape at Earl House on Earl Street.

Work on the former National Irish Bank and Revenue Commissioners’ building on Dundalk’s main pedestrianised street has been ongoing for several months. Now though, it appears the builders are close to finishing up, with the marble work and naming of the building clearly visible.

Discount retailer Dealz is set to occupy the bottom retail units when the builders vacate it. It had been hoped that they would be open at the end of this month but no exact date has been confirmed as yet.

DFP Group acquire two new financial services firms

Pictured at the announcement of the deal are: Aoife McCarthy, director, DFP Group; Michael Bollard, managing director, Bollard Financial Services; Eoin Doohan, group managing director, DFP; and Brendan Nordone, group actuary DFP.

Pictured at the announcement of the deal are: Aoife McCarthy, director, DFP Group; Michael Bollard, managing director, Bollard Financial Services; Eoin Doohan, group managing director, DFP; and Brendan Nordon, group actuary DFP.

Dundalk-based DFP Group, one of the north east’s largest pension and investment consultants recently announced the acquisition of Bollard Financial Services and Doody Crowley Financial Services in Dublin.

Both Bollard Financial Services and Doody Crowley Financial Services are long established financial advisory firms with over 25 years’ experience advising both private clients and companies in all aspects of investment and retirement planning. These acquisitions further strengthen the DFP Group’s commercial footprint within the greater Leinster region.

Eunan O’Carroll of Core Consulting who managed the deal for the Quayside Business Park-based DFP Group said: “This deal represents a win-win situation for all firms involved. Given the likely changes to the business model as a result of pending regulation and the changing commercial focus of the larger product providers, financial advisory firms will require significant investment is systems and resources, if they are going to transition their business to the new model advisor approach that will emerge in the next two years.”

Commenting on the acquisition to Business and Finance, Eoin Doohan, group managing director of DFP Group said: “We are delighted to welcome Bollard Financial Services and Doody Crowley Financial Services as part of the DFP Group. These are strategic acquisitions on our part and they will ensure we remain one of the leading independent financial advisory practices within the Irish market with combined assets under management in excess of €175m.”

Michael Bollard, a well-known financial services practitioner in Dublin for many years and director of Bollard Financial Services said: “This deal further strengthens our capacity to deliver a highly professional financial advisory services to all our clients and ensure we are best placed to deal with the changing market dynamic that will emerge in the future as a result of further European regulation enforcement.”

Bollard Financial Services will now be rebranded as BFS Pension & Investment Consultants and trade under the DFP Group of companies.

New stores open but others close in a mixed few weeks on the retail front

The Brass Rail boutique closed its doors last Friday after over 19 years in business

The Brass Rail boutique closed its doors on Clanbrassil Street last Friday after over 19 years in business

There has been mixed news on the retail front in recent days with stores both opening and closing in the area.

A new Mace store opened its doors in Blackrock yesterday while Kieran’s Avenue Pharmacy is set to open shortly on the Avenue Road beside The Gym and the former Joan’s Stores.

There have been casualties too unfortunately. After over 19 years in business, the Brass Rail boutique in Clanbrassil Street closed its doors last Friday.

This follows hot on the heels of other recent closures such as The Bar on Francis Street and the Buy and Sell shop on Clanbrassil Street.