July, 2012


31
Jul 12

Windfarm holds jobs promise for Offaly

Pictured is Kevin O' Donovan, Element Power ,Sean Flemmimg, FF TD Laois-Offaly, and Charile Flanagan, TD, Laois-Offaly and Tim Cowhig, CEO Element Power. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell PhotographyPictured is Kevin O’ Donovan, Element Power ,Sean Flemmimg, FF TD Laois-Offaly, and Charile Flanagan, TD, Laois-Offaly and Tim Cowhig, CEO Element Power. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography

National Grid UK, the operator of the UK electricity network, has confirmed that a firm grid connection of 3,000 megawatts has been awarded to global renewable energy developer, Element Power and this holds the prospect of a major jobs boost for Offaly and the Midlands region.

This is the first such dedicated UK connection offered to an Irish renewable energy exporter and enables Element Power to progress ‘Greenwire’ – a series of connected projects exporting wind power generated in the Midlands of Ireland to the UK via two independent subsea cables. ‘Firm’ connection means that the UK power market can take the output at all times, enabling €1.2billion worth of energy exports annually from the Irish economy.

Greenwire will involve a total spend of €8billion during the construction phase, of which a significant proportion will be spent in developing wind energy infrastructure in Ireland. It will result in the creation of an estimated 10,000 development and construction jobs and up to 3,000 long term jobs. A legacy interconnector between the two countries will also provide an enduring benefit.

Greenwire will deliver considerable direct benefits to the Midlands region as well as the national economy. Rental payments to local landowners combined with annual rates to the local authorities across the Midlands will amount to €50million each year.

Greenwire’ proposes the development of around forty separate wind farms across the Midlands. These will be linked together through underground cabling to a central collection point.

Up to 3000 megawatts (MW) of electrical power could then be exported from this point via two underground and subsea cables to UK grid connection points, Pentir in north Wales and Pembroke in south Wales. No new overhead power lines will be installed. The first 2000MW connection has been confirmed for 2017 and remaining 1000MW connection will be available for 2018.

The project will use the latest high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology, which allows for very efficient transfer of energy over long distances, and is offered by established companies such as Siemens and ABB. The cables will be laid in the verge of public roads on shore, in a similar manner to other services such as water, phone, or gas pipes. Offshore, the cable will be installed by specialised ships under the seabed of the Irish Sea.

The project will be totally independent of the Irish electricity grid and will involve absolutely no cost to the Irish taxpayer. It will however, enable Ireland to export in excess of €1.2billion of wind generated electricity annually to the UK.

UK National Grid has requested tThe Greenwire cables be sized to help offset the need for UK onshore grid reinforcements and enhance the level of interconnection between the Irish and UK power systems.

It is also intended to install fibre optic connection along the two undersea cables between the UK and Ireland and between each of the wind-farms which will itself create a new an substantial broadband network in its own right, significantly improving the prospects for attracting technology and data processing related industries to nearby towns.

Along with the existing 500MW EirGrid Interconnector and the 450MW Moyle Interconnector, the additional interconnection capacity created by Greenwire will give Ireland enormous additional security in its electricity supplies, helping attract foreign investment in energy sensitive industries.

Element Power’s Irish operation in Cork is headed up by Tim Cowhig and a team of experienced wind developers, previously of SWS Energy. The wider Northern European operation is led by Mike O’Neill, previously of RES Group. The company is backed by Hudson Clean Energy Partners, a leading global private equity firm with over $1billion in funding capital dedicated to investing in clean energy.

IDA Ireland is championing the development of Ireland’s renewable energy export industry, recognising that Ireland has wind resources far in excess of what is needed to meet its own renewable energy targets. IDA’s Clean Technologies Division sees the ‘export of electrons’ from Ireland to the UK and other European neighbours as a great opportunity for employment creation in Ireland.

Last month Irish Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte and UK Energy Minister, Charles Hendry agreed a formal Memorandum of Understanding on renewable energy trading between the two countries to be in place by the end of the year.

Element Power Ireland CEO, Tim Cowhig commented, “Greenwire is a particularly timely project which will enable the economy to harness our renewable energy resources to our economic advantage. The UK energy requirement has become Ireland’s opportunity, it makes perfect sense to capitalise on our geographic location and create an export industry. Greenwire is the enabling project that will allow this to happen boosting our national trade and generating considerable employment and benefit to the Midlands region.”

“In anticipation of getting UK grid connection, the company has been working in Ireland over the past two years identifying potential wind farm sites, speaking with local authorities, working with environmental consultants and reaching agreements with land-owners. This is an important step in enabling the project and helping us to meet our target of exporting renewable energy to the UK by 2018. We also spent considerable effort identifying the best grid points in Wales, and we designed our project to match the capacity available. Our connections are not triggering any new overhead line reinforcements in the UK, and this gives us confidence that we can connect by 2018, in time to help the UK meet their 2020 targets.”

The planning application for the Greenwire project will be made in consultation with local authorities and communities in the Midlands. Element Power is currently in consultation with An Bord Pleanála with a view making an application under the terms of the Strategic Infrastructural Development Act 2006.

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31
Jul 12

Irish Economy: IBEC food and drinks subgroup dreams of 30,000 new jobs by 2020

Irish Economy: IBEC subgroup, Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII), which represents the food and drinks sector, today published a brochure ‘Sharing the Harvest: The Food and Drink Sector Jobs Dividend‘, [pdf] which claims that 230,00 jobs in the economy are linked to the agri-food sector which spends €7.9bn in the economy on goods and services every year. The brochure suggests that 30,000 new jobs could be created if the sector achieves the ambitious export growth targets set out in Food Harvest 2020.

FDII says to achieve the ambitious targets, the sector needs, among other things, financing facilities to support expansion and the development of new companies in the sector, and reduced business costs. If the Government puts the right policies in place, this important sector will drive growth in the wider economy, more so than any other in manufacturing.

FDII director Paul Kelly said: “Ireland’s food and drink sector is deeply embedded in the Irish economy, which means that an increased focus on food will drive growth in the wider economy as well as in the sector itself. The food sector spends €7.9bn, or 76% of its total expenditure, on Irish goods and services. This represents a significantly higher contribution to the domestic economy than in any other area of manufacturing. If we increase exports to €12bn, the sector will potentially deliver in the region of 30,000 jobs across the whole economy due to the proportionate increase in spend by the sector.”

Finfacts: If only we could monetise aspirations!

Alan Matthews who is professor emeritus of European Agricultural Policy at Trinity College Dublin, said last March: “The most striking thing about the trend in the value of agricultural output (measured at basic prices, which includes the value of any coupled payments or premia linked to the output a farmer produces) is that, following some growth in the early 1990s, it has basically stagnated since then.

At the same time, expenditure on agricultural inputs has steadily increased, partly due to greater volumes but also to higher prices.

Throughout the period, farm incomes have remained static (again, with the exception of the dip in 2009).”

He added: “Less than 7% of Irish farmers are under 35 years of age, and 45% are over 55. While this demographic structure has characterised Irish farming for some time, it is an unpromising basis as a platform to launch a major increase in output.

Thus there are promising opportunities for Irish farming in the future, but these opportunities should be evaluated realistically. The lessons of the past are that sudden changes in the trajectory of farm output and incomes are unlikely.”

During the bubble period, 2000-2007, 10,000 direct jobs were added in the whole indigenous international tradeable goods and services sectors. All these jobs were subsequently lost.

The total of 30,000 is plucked from the air to create an impact by guessing the impact on indirect jobs.

First, provide a basis for direct jobs estimates and forget about the spoof.

Check out our new subscription service, Finfacts Premium , at a low annual charge of €25 – - if you are a regular user of Finfacts, 50 euro cent a week is hardly a huge ask to support the service.

It’s a simple fact that in the prevailing economic climate, the provision of high quality content cannot be sustained through advertising alone.

Business executives who put a premium on time and value high quality information, should use our service.

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29
Jul 12

Ireland prepares first cattle exports in 16 years

Ireland is preparing to export live cattle to Libya in the coming weeks, for the first time in 16 years.

The first batches of cows will travel overland in trucks. However, the Irish Department of Agriculture is assessing at least one specialised walk on-walk off livestock vessel to cut future transport costs.

This is the first time in 16 years that Ireland has exported cattle to Libya. In the early 1990s  large numbers of livestock were exported from Ireland, peaking in 1995 at 81,420 cows, valued at €70 million. Trade ceased in 1996 when, following an outbreak of BSE, or mad cow disease, Libya banned all cattle imports from Europe.

There remains, however, some controversy regarding the age of the grass-fed dairy-cross steers. In the past, livestock have been fattened up in Ireland for the first 30 months of their lives but now cattle will be exported when still less than 24 months old. This is in keeping with new standards set by Libya for imports of cattle from South America and Australia, where all recent imports have consistently been under 24 months of age.

The Libyan beef market offers European countries valuable export opportunities, especially Ireland, which has a €2 billion livestock sector. Irish beef faces competitors, however, as France, Spain and Italy are already shipping cows to Libya.

Libya and Ireland had been trading in cattle since the 1960s. During the European fuel crisis of 1973-4, Ireland exchanged cattle for Libyan oil.

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28
Jul 12

Irish businesses reap €300m reward from Olympic contracts

Irish enterprises have secured €300 million in contracts as a result of the Olympic Games in London.

Businesses all over the country have benefited from the Games, and it is hoped that ties have been made which could lead to contracts at future major sporting events.

With work upcoming for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Brazil’s hosting of the World Cup and Olympics in 2014 and 2016, and UEFA 2016 in France, Irish enterprise will hope to build on the boost to their business which the London Games has produced.

At a pre-Olympic athletics meeting in Dublin on Wednesday, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring said that the success of Irish businesses exceeded expectations.

The Mayo man was speaking at the Morton Games and said that Irish enterprises have benefited greatly from the country’s close proximity to this year’s Games.

“We have known for some time that the biggest benefit to Ireland from the Olympics was likely to be in terms of enterprise and tourism. The €300 million in contracts secured through Enterprise Ireland is a significant achievement. Early signs are that the tourism benefit will also be positive,” he said.

Many Londoners are aiming to flee the chaos of the city for the period of the Olympics and Irish tourism is hoping to benefit from this. Tourism Ireland has spent €500,000 on their ‘Escape the Madness’ campaign, which aims to attract people from all over the UK to escape to Ireland during the Games.

Campaign ads have appeared in London tube stations, the Evening Standard newspaper and, a viral video campaign spearheaded by actor Chris O’Dowd has also been used to promote the campaign.

Website Hotels.com has reported an increase in interest in breaks to the ‘Emerald Isle’ since the introduction of the campaign.

While no full national teams have based themselves here in the lead up to the Games, Ireland has still welcomed many athletes here as they look to prepare for their respective codes. Groups which have based themselves here include members of the Australian and Jamaican athletics team, the German pentathlon team and the USA synchronised swimming team.

The Paralympic Games which begin in late August has also attracted national teams here. The Zambian team will be based at Morton Stadium, Dublin while the Vietnamese contingent will be hosted at the University of Limerick training facilities.

The following enterprises secured contracts for the Games- ABM Precast, Swords; Anord Control Systems, Dundalk; Banagher Concrete, Offaly; Clearpower, Wicklow; Donseed, Kerry; Heneghan Peng Architects, Dublin; John Sisk & Son; Leinster Reinforcements, Kildare; Techrete, Dublin.

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27
Jul 12

Sherlock welcomes job creation by seven start-up companies in Cork

Sean SherlockMinister of State, Department of Enterprise, Jobs & Innovation and Department of Education & Skills with responsibility for Research & Innovation

Minister for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock has welcomed today’s announcement that 911 new jobs will be created over the next three years in 53 new high potential start up companies, 7 of which are located in Cork.

Today’s announcement relates to companies to which support has been provided in the first six months of 2012 under Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Ups Programme. Both the number of investments and the number of jobs to be created are significantly up on the same period last year (755 jobs/42 companies).
Minister Sherlock said “These high potential start-up companies, which are supported by Government through Enterprise Ireland, are extremely important to both the regional and national economy.

“Now more than ever we need ambitious and energetic entrepreneurs who can play a real part in driving this economy. Every one of these employers is playing their part in getting Ireland back on track, contributing in a significant way to our local communities.

“They clearly show that despite the many challenges of the current international environment there are significant opportunities for new business start ups in a wide range of sectors including the innovative sectors that the Government is targeting for growth such as financial services, ICT, digital games, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

“This announcement reflects the Government’s commitment to getting our people back to work by growing our indigenous sector, increasing our exports and creating much needed jobs for this economy”, Minister Sherlock concluded.

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26
Jul 12

Irish high-potential start-ups to spawn 911 new jobs over next three years

Irish high-potential start-ups to spawn 911 new jobs over next three yearsIrish high-potential start-ups to spawn 911 new jobs over next three years.  Up to 911 new jobs are set to be created by 53 new high-potential start-ups (HPSUs) that are supported by the Irish Government through Enterprise Ireland, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, TD, has just announced.

Bruton made the announcement at the online start-up Connectedtrips, a HPSU that currently employs five people. The Enterprise Ireland-supported start-up has today committed to creating an additional 17 jobs by the end of 2014.

The company is located at Dogpatch Labs on Barrow Street as part of Dublin’s digital hub. Connectedtrips is a global travel website and online community aimed at anyone who is interested in holidays, retreats and courses in the area of personal growth, ie yoga, healing and self help.

The company was founded in 2011 by serial entrepreneur Alan Wyley, the co-founder of eWare and former CEO of EuroCommerce. It set up shop in Dublin with five employees last year.

Creating jobs around Ireland

As for the remaining 52 Enterprise Ireland supported start-ups that will be aiming to create up to 900 jobs within the next two years, they are based all around the country. They include EasyDry, a company that is pioneering biodegradable paper towels. It is based in Dundalk, Co Louth. The UCD spin-out Wattics, which has developed a smart metering solution and is based at NovaUCD, is another company that will be on a mission to create new jobs, as will Akari Saoftware, which is based in Little Island in Co Cork.

Dogpatch companies also plan to scale up and create jobs

And Dogpatch Labs also said today said that each of the 21 companies that are based there have hiring plans similar to Connectedtrips. Apparently, they will be looking to scale their teams aggressively in the coming months and quarters.

Dogpatch Labs located in Ireland last September following an investment by the National Pensions Reserve Fund under Innovation Fund Ireland.

Creating our own Google’s and Microsoft’s …

Bruton said today that developing a strong engine of indigenous business is central to the Government’s plan for jobs and growth.

He spoke about how Ireland has a base of multinationals that have located in the country, making it the envy of other countries.

However, he said the aim is not only to attract the next Google or Microsoft to Ireland, but to make it possible for the next Google or Microsoft to start up in Ireland.

“We have established a new potential exporters division in Enterprise Ireland to provide new supports for exporters. We have delivered new mentoring and management support programmes to help companies improve their performance. We are delivering new funding mechanisms, such as the credit guarantee scheme and the microfinance fund, that will provide more than €800m of new funds for Irish businesses,” added Bruton.

Scaling start-ups

Enterprise Ireland also announced today that the number of jobs is up 20pc and companies up 26pc compared to the same period last year in its HPSU programme.

Greg Treston, head of HPSUs and scaling at Enterprise Ireland, said this morning that the agency is constantly reviewing and broadening the range of supports it can provide to the early-stage companies it supports.

“Initiatives are in place with specialist support at critical points along the start-up development path, and the overall seed capital and VC funding environment for new business has never been stronger,” he said.

Treston also spoke about Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund that provides early stage financing to entrepreneurs, the Accelerated Growth Programme for companies that offers the potential to scale faster to achieve rapid international growth, and the €10m International Start-Up Fund for overseas entrepreneurs to locate start-up businesses in Ireland.

“Enterprise Ireland’s funding and development supports, along with our network of overseas offices, are all at the disposal of innovative start-up companies to help them grow thriving international businesses,” he added.

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26
Jul 12

Sabeo launches jobs app for IT staff in Ireland and UK

Sabeo launches jobs app for IT staff in Ireland and UKSabeo Contracting Services has launched a new IT Jobs App on iPhone and Android that allows IT staff to search for new jobs.

Sabeo currently provides IT contract staff to clients in Ireland and the UK, and permanent IT staff and recruitment services to many employers in Ireland.

The free app allows the user to search for jobs, depending on their location preference, skills and type of employment. The search can be saved, and the app notifies the user when new positions are released. No registration is required.

Paul Schmitz, Sabeo Contracting Services’ director said the app was part of its strategy to reach out to more IT professionals. “While we’re not the first to market with a jobs app we feel this one, which is specific to IT staff, gives the user a great tool to interact with us.”

Fergal Benson, the company’s head of social media added: “The market demand for IT staff is very strong. Sabeo is continually looking at ways to make it easier for candidates to find out about good opportunities and then interact with us.

“Our candidates are very tech savvy and the development of this app very much kept that in focus.”

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26
Jul 12

Irish Govt establishes digital games group to deliver 2,500 new jobs by 2014

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton has asked a new group to consider how jobs can be created in the digital gaming sector.Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton has asked a new group to consider how jobs can be created in the digital gaming sector to deliver 2,500 new jobs by 2014

Ireland’s Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, TD, has established an industry group consisting of executives from the major games companies present in Ireland to spearhead a strategy to create 2,500 new digital games jobs by 2014.

Driving ‘on-the-ground’ collaboration and networking, the Clustering Development Team (CDT) will proactively develop relationships between the foreign and indigenous cohort of games companies, start-ups and well-established multinationals, industry and education institutions, games companies and related sectors.

Influencing the policy system, the CDT will also have a key role in bringing about a change of thinking and approaches in relation to policy development for the games sector and related digital economy activities for the longer term.

Building a games talent base

The CDT will be chaired by Paul Breslin of PopCap Games, with internet entrepreneur Dylan Collins as vice-chair. The team also comprises representatives of other leading Irish and multinational games companies based in Ireland, as well as representatives of relevant Government bodies.

The group will be tasked with driving the implementation of recommendations of the October 2011 Forfás report on the games sector, which targeted the creation of an additional 2,500 jobs in the sector by the end of 2014.

“A key part of the Government’s plan for growth and employment is targeting sectors where Ireland has the potential to grow large numbers of jobs,” Bruton explained.

“These are sectors where, because of companies already located here, because of research being carried out here, because of the talent base we have or for other reasons, we have competitive advantage and therefore have the capability to attract more multinational companies, grow more indigenous companies, and ultimately create more jobs.

“Digital games is clearly one such sector. Not only do we have a base of ICT companies here which is the envy of many other countries, but we are fast developing an expertise in digital games specifically which can be a foundation for major jobs growth.

“The games sector here has expanded fivefold since 2004 and now employs approximately 2,500 people here – and continues to grow worldwide at a rate of 8pc annually. A major Government report has targeted the establishment of a further 2,500 jobs by the end of 2014, and recommended the establishment of an industry-led group to drive the implementation of measures necessary to achieve that goal. Today we have delivered on that recommendation.

“The task now is to sustain the momentum we have created in this sector and see through the creation of the jobs we need. I am convinced that, driven by the industry experts who have agreed to serve on this group, that can now become a reality,” Bruton said.

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25
Jul 12

Further boost for tech sector as two Cork-based firms to create 30 jobs

YouGetItBack LogoThe booming tech sector is set to add a further 30 jobs in Cork as two companies expand on the back of investment and the securing of a US Patent.

CompuCal Calibration Solutions Ltd will take on 20 new employees over the next two years while Yougetitback.com is hiring 10 software engineers.

CompuCal, which provides calibration solutions, is expanding on the back of investment by Endress and Hauser.

The investment will allow the company to expand its research and development division.

Managing director of CompuCal, Jackie Dornan, said: “We are an indigenous Irish company who are securing continued growth with new global customers and partners as well as new jobs and R&D projects for our Cork office.

“CompuCal is proof that Ireland is still an ideal location for foreign companies to invest in.”

Meanwhile, Yougetitback.com has secured a US patent on an element of its technology that enables insurance and warranty providers to detect and recover the loss of data on mobile devices.

Chief executive of Yougetitback.com, Paul Prendergast, said that the value of patents were increasing all the time The company has another 59 US patents in the pipeline.

“Securing the patent has given us the confidence to continue hiring here in Cork,” said Mr Prendergast.

The company is now hiring 10 software engineers, taking the company’s total number of employees to 40.

Yougetitback.com sells its technology to insurance and warranty companies, who will in turn bundle it in their offerings. In doing so, the insurance company provides a market-proven sales incentive that has been shown to boost sales, by up to 10%.

Securing patents will help Yougetitback.com when it comes to selling its services to multinational companies.

The Cork-based firm already works with multinationals such as Best Buy, Virgin Mobile, Carphone Warehouse, Global Warranty Group and CPP.

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25
Jul 12

Ward Solutions to create 20 new jobs

“Ward Solutions”

Securing your Information at all times with all of the services and solutions you need.

Extra investment IT firm Ward Solutions is to invest a further €3 million in its Dublin operation, creating 20 new jobs.

The firm, which provides information security hardware and software to businesses, said it planned to double the size of its security facility at Dublin’s Citywest, which would increase its workforce by 50 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Envelope Supply Company is to establish a manufacturing facility in Kilkenny, creating 32 jobs. The new plant, which will be up and running by 2014, will supply stationery products to the companys customer base across Europe.

The company was established in the UK in 2008 and is jointly owned by German, Austrian, Belgian and British shareholders. Managing director Sue Hale said: “In order to continue the strong development of our company, it was important to increase our capacity and range of product. We have only a positive experience of Ireland as a base for manufacturing and the response from the local people and the support from the IDA has made our decision to base our production facility in Kilkenny an easy choice.”

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