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Council Journal
INFORMING LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEADERS

www.council.ie

SPRING 2016

THE LUDGATE HUB

Skibbereen Hosts Irelands First Rural Digital Hub

FLOOD PREVENTION
Finding the Right Solutions

DATA SECURITY
The Growing Imperative to
Protect Information

ALSO THIS ISSUE:


COMPANIES THAT CONNECT: THE RISE OF THE SHARING ECONOMY
THE BUSINESS OF GOING GREEN: AN INTERVIEW WITH GREEN BUSINESS PROGRAMME MANAGER JAMES HOGAN
News: All the latest County Council news

National Publishing Institute Ltd.


24 South Frederick Street,
Dublin 2.
Tel: (01) 707 1931
Website: www.council.ie

DISCLAIMER: While every care is taken to

COMPANIES THAT CONNECT


The rise of the sharing economy.

03

THE LUDGATE HUB


Skibbereen hosts Irelands first rural digital hub.

09

DATA SECURITY
The growing imperative to protect information.

15

THE DDOS ATTACK ON IRELAND


Cyberattacks in January brought national websites to a halt.

21

THE ENVIROMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY


Strategic plan 2016 - 2020.

22

FLOOD PREVENTION
Finding the right solutions.

27

106M TO ASSIST FLOOD REPAIRS


Transport Minister annouces fund to assist local
authorities with flooding.

31

DONEGAL TOURISM AT HOLIDAY WORLD SHOWS


Collaborative marketing hailed a great success.

32

ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCE INVESTMENT PLAN 2016


New strategy supports diversity in the arts.

33

THE NEW CLIMATE CHANGE ADVISORY COUNCIL


Helping Ireland reach its emission goals for 2020.

35

40M GRANT FUNDING FOR GATEWAY AND HUB TOWNS


European Regional Development Fund will see regeneration
across urban centres.

37

BIG LEAP IN NEW START-UPS EXPECTED IN 2016


More than 260 start your own business training programmes
expected this year.

38

PUBLIC SECTOR HALF WAY TO ENERGY EFFICIENCY TARGET


FOR 2020
Energy efficiency measures in public bodies reduced energy
spend by 120 million in one year.

39

ROAD DEATH STATS FOR 2015


The lowest death rate seen in over 50 years.

40

THE BUSINESS OF GOING GREEN


An interview with Green Businesss James Hogan.

42

#GE2016
Will this be Irelands first digital election?

44

SIAC BITUMINOUS PRODUCTS LTD


Flexibility and innovation are key to service delivery.

46

ensure the accuracy of the content herein,


National Publishing Institute Ltd cannot be
held responsible for any inaccuracies that
may arise. The opinions are the contributors
own and may not reflect those of the
publisher, its clients or suppliers.

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FEATURE Companies That Connect


COMPANIES THAT CONNECT

COMPANIES THAT CONNECT: THE RISE OF THE


SHARING ECONOMY
The business world has traditionally functioned on the principal of companies
producing products or providing specific services. In recent years, however, the
development of the Internet and the proliferation of smart-phone and mobile
device technology has established a new business model which is not based on
supply and demand in the traditional sense, but rather on finding innovative and
mutually beneficial ways of connecting existing businesses and sellers to a wide
consumer base. Following a model established by eBay, exciting new high-growth
companies like Hailo, Uber, Spotify, Deliveroo and Airbnb are making money
hand-over-foot by bringing people together and generating mutually beneficial
relationships rather than producing traditional goods or services themselves. In this
article we are going to look at the rise of the sharing economy, and the ways it is
changing how business is done across a variety of different industries.
Disruptors and Innovators
Also known as shareconomy or collaborative consumption, the
sharing economy refers to a complex series of changes which have
occurred in the business world since the early 2000s, largely as a
result of the emergence of peer-to-peer sharing networks on the
Internet. The challenge presented to the traditional business world
by these new technologies was that commodities, which in the past
needed to be bought and owned as physical objects, could now be
shared online as downloadable information. The classic example
of how peer-to-peer networks completely disrupted a traditional
marketplace is provided by the music industry.
Born in 1979, Sean Parker was the son of a TV advertiser and a US
government oceanographer. When he was seven, his father taught
him how to programme on an ATARI 800. By his teens, Parker was
a proficient hacker, and narrowly avoided jail time at age sixteen
when the FBI tracked him hacking into the network of a Fortune 500
Company. In 1999, Parker and his friend Shawn Fanning created
Napster, a peer-to-peer file-sharing network which allowed users to
share music encoded in MP3 format.
A year later, the founders of Napster checked how many people
world-wide were using their platform and discovered that it was a
whopping 20 million. The effects of Napster, and the various filesharing platforms that followed, on the music industry cannot be
underestimated. Previously, music could only be shared physically
by people who knew each other directly; now total strangers would
share their entire record collections online.

File-sharing precipitated the first major dip in global music sales, it


terrified record labels, and lead to a series of prolonged legal battles.
Napster was shut down in July, 2001, but by then the genie was
well out of the bottle: music would never be consumed in quite the
same way again.
This illustrates the classic pattern that the sharing economy has
taken: a new technology completely disrupts an existing marketplace, and eventually innovators establish new ways to re-integrate
the sharing technologies back into the market-place. The Swedish
music streaming platform Spotify is an example of how file-sharing
has been re-integrated into a profit-making business model.
What Spotify does is to acknowledge that 21st century people
are used to having access to vast stores of music for free. To make
this reality profitable, the company offers a two-tiered, fremium
service to its customers. At a free rate, customers can access the
music, but with lower quality audio and obtrusive advertising.
However, by upgrading to Premium, customers are able to remove
the advertising, improve audio quality, and download songs for
listening to on other devices.
As of June 2015, Spotify had 75 million users, with 20 million paying
Premium customers. The combination of advertising and paying
Premium customers allows the company to pay record companies,
and stay within digital rights management law.

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FEATURE Companies That Connect


COMPANIES THAT CONNECT

Connecting the Dots: Activating Potential


Business Networks
As the examples of Napster and Spotify illustrate, business in the
21th century is becoming more and more defined by how the
internet allows people to share all kinds of things, and mobile app
technologies are making consumers increasingly smart about
maximising their buying power in the market-place. What began
as new technologies disrupting traditional business models has
developed into businesses developing increasingly innovative
strategies to tap into the nets inherent capacity for generating
relationships of synergy: connecting people to people in mutually
beneficial ways, and providing consumers with instant, valuable
market information. Ebay provides a good example of an early
success story in the shared economy.
Today a multi-billion dollar multinational corporation, and one
of the most recognisable successes of the dot-com bubble of the
90s, eBay started out as a hobby for Iranian-American computer
programmer Pierre Omidyar. Omidyar set up the AuctionWeb
on his personal website. One of the first items which was sold on
AuctionWeb was a broken laser pointer for $14.83.
When Omidyar checked with the buyer to see if he understood that
the pointer was broken, the buyer explained that he was a collector
of broken laser pointers! Omidyar didnt regard the enterprise as
a business proper until he was forced by his internet provider to
upgrade to a business account due to the high volume of traffic on
the site. Omidyar started charging people to use AuctionWeb to

meet the increased cost, and the eBay success story started from
there. What is interesting about eBay is that it is really a facilitator
rather than a conventional provider of services. Ebay provides
a location and a user-friendly platform where its various clients
provide the products and conduct the sales themselves.
Ebays greatest achievement, as in many sharing economy
businesses, was to harness a whole network of potential business
and commerce that merely needed to be connected in a convenient
way. In any market-place there is always an abundance of potential
commercial activity that isnt happening because nobody has found
the right way to connect the various dots; the challenge of the
shareconomy is to do precisely this.
In the past few years, some of the most exciting, rapid-growth
global companies have all utilized similar strategies, opening up
business networks across every sector: accommodation (Airbnb),
transport ( Hailo, Uber), and food (Just Eat, Deliveroo), These
companies are quickly altering businesses operate.
A service like Deliveroo allows restaurants to operate takeaway
services by simply providing the food; eBay allows regular
consumers to be retailers, and Airbnb allows average property
owners to operate as landlords for short periods of time. Real-time
and on-demand phone apps make consumers more aware of the
choices which are available to them. We will now look at some of
the success stories and up-and-comers of the shareconomy.

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FEATURE Companies That Connect


COMPANIES THAT CONNECT

Airbnb
Like eBay, Airbnb started out from very humble beginnings.
Founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were college friends
who had once vowed, idly enough, to form a business someday.
Chesky got a call out of the blue from Gebbia years later to say he
had a room available in his San Francisco apartment. Impulsively,
Chesky quit his job, threw a foam mattress in his car, and drove to
San Francisco. There was only one problem: they couldnt afford to
pay the rent! That weekend the Industrial Design Conference was
being held by the Designers Society of America nearby. Noting
that all the local hotels were booked out, Chesky hit on the novel
idea of turning their apartment in a temporary bed and breakfast.
The pair managed to accommodate three guest on their living
room on air-mattresses, making $1, 000 dollars in the process.

One of the great success stories of the on-demand app/internet


start-up industry in recent years, Deliveroo was established in
London by two impassioned food lovers: CEO Will Shu with a
background in finance, and software developer Greg Orlowski.
The pair had spotted a vital gap in the market: home delivery just
didnt offer consumers the type of quality and choice they were
looking for. The quality of food, and the delivery experience,
from pure online marketplaces had been sub-par, Shu told
WIRED.co.uk., customer choice has been limited to restaurants
that already provide a takeaway service, which have tended to be
on the lower end of the scale; we bring people high-quality local
cuisine from the places that they know and love.

What was more interesting was the feedback they got back.
Rather than viewing the pairs make-shift B&B as a necessary
evil, guests enjoyed the low-cost, friendly and down to earth
atmosphere provided. In February 2008, Chesky and Gebbia
were joined by architect Nathan Blecharczyk to form a company
proper called AirBed and Breakfast. Initially, the company focused
on capitalizing on high-profile events where accommodation
was scarce, but gradually the company began to move into more
general accommodation. While the company was expanding
rapidly, and still being operated from their San Francisco
apartment, Chesky was pushed out of his bedroom, and used only
Airbnb accommodation himself for a year.
Today Airbnb is a massive global success, with over 1, 500, 000
listings in 34, 000 cities and 190 countries. Like eBay, Airbnb is
primarily a facilitator of existing potential business networks. It
provides a platform where people who want to rent out their
properties on a short-term basis are connected to potential
customers. Prior to the existence of Airbnb, many of these
casual landlords would never have taken the plunge because a
convenient method of doing so simply didnt exist.
For the consumer, it opened up new avenues of choice and
affordability in terms of accommodation. This is the key to success
in a shareconomy model: spotting a synergy, a mutually beneficial
network of relationships, that only needed the platform to bring
them together.

Deliveroo
Traditionally, food delivery was a limited market which offered
only minimal choice to the consumer. The restaurant itself had to
run its own delivery service, and the online world only impacted
the market in terms of advertising existing delivery services. This
meant that the quality and diversity available to order home was
sorely limited, with fast food pizza chains and Chinese restaurants
dominating the market.
The innovation of Deliveroo was to do all the delivery and
marketing themselves, thereby offering the opportunity to
restaurants that dont traditionally deliver to get into that market
with minimal investment. All they have to do is provide the food.

Initially established in 2012, Deliveroos dramatic success in


London made it a hot property in the fiercely competitive world
of VC funding (VC, or Venture Capital, funding is early seed
money provided to new, innovative, and potentially high growth
companies; the start-up money is usually in exchange for equity in
the companies.) In January of last year, the company received $25
million in funding from VC companies Index, Hummingbird, and
Hoxton Ventures; this was followed in July by a further $70, and in
November it announced that DST Global and Greenoaks Capital
were adding a further $100 million, bringing their total funding
haul to a whopping $200 million.
Deliveroo had its official Irish launch in Dublin in April of last
year, and has since expanded to Cork and Galway. The company
now has operations in Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, France,
Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Dubai, Australia, Singapore, and
Hong Kong. It is a classic example of spotting a distinct gap
in the market diverse, high-quality, home-delivered food

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FEATURE Companies That Connect


COMPANIES THAT CONNECT

and applying networked, smart-phone technology to address


the problem. To use Deliveroo, you simply have to enter your
postcode into the homepage, and the site will then show you all
the participating restaurants in your area. Payments are made by
card, and the company promises an average delivery time of just
32 minutes. Deliveroo also has a iOS app available for free from
the App Store.

While Laundrie is Irelands first indigenously developed laundrette


for the smart phone, it faces strong pre-existing competition in
this particular market. A couple of years ago witnessed a frantic
scramble among start-ups to become the Uber of laundrettes, and
Rocket Internet, the Berlin-based internet company and startup studio, quickly established Zipjet in London, itself following
the model of premium dry-cleaning/washing delivery service
pioneered in America by Washio.

Laundrie

Conclusion

Laundrie is a new app which is designed to cater to busy urban


professionals who find themselves lacking sufficient time to
race down to the dry-cleaners, nevermind filling up the washing
machine the old-fashioned way. Customers using Laudrie can
simply click the items they want washed using the app, and a
collection van will arrive shorty, with a guarantee that the clothes
will be delivered back fresh and folded within 48 hours.

The sharing economy is not without critics and controversies.


Many have taken issue with the suitability of the term sharing in
the first place. Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Gianna
M. Eckhardt and Fleura Bardhi argued that access economy was
a better term, since the sharing in question is market-mediated,
ie undertaken for profit and facilitated by a profit-making
company. Others have argued that share economy companies,
by breaking down the conventional relationship between service
provider and consumer, are evading many of the responsibilities
that conventional service providers have to maintain in order to
insure their future business relationships. Nevertheless, there
is no doubt that this type of business model one which spots
existing potential business networks and synergistic relationships,
and joins them together using user-friendly platforms and
technologies will only become more prevalent and influential in
the business landscape in the years to come.

Laundrie is the brain-child of Evan Gray, an Irish entrepreneur who


had previously worked in corporate finances for Dell. The current
model of a retail location on the high street with a fragmented
owner-operator base across the country is greatly improved upon
by Laundrie from a consumer and an operator point of view, Gray
told technology news website Silicon Republic, our operation
provides convenience, scalability and competitive pricing,
therefore benefiting both us and the consumer.

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Providing our customers with transport & warehousing

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INTERVIEW The Ludgate Hub


THE LUDGATE HUB

THE LUDGATE HUB: SKIBBEREEN HOSTS


IRELANDS FIRST RURAL DIGITAL HUB
The Ludgate Group came about in November of 2014, as a call to action in revitalising
the town of Skibbereen via a sustainable digital outlook. The establishment of the
Ludgate Digital Hub will facilitate up to 75 people in a co-working office environment
promoting creativity and innovation in a rural setting. Ludgate@Skibbereens long
term objective is to facilitate the creation of 500 direct jobs and 1000 indirect jobs in
Skibbereen and the wider West Cork area. A digital outlook focussed upon external
demand and the global market will lead to a greater degree of export potential and an
aggregated injection to the local economy.
In recent years Ireland has been growing in its reputation as the
digital capital of Europe. Its not hard to see why: since 2010 there has
been a 23% rise in the number of people employed in science and
technology, since 2000 there has been an 80% rise. Ireland is home to
the headquarters of some of the biggest tech companies in the world
today including Google and Facebook, as well as other born-on-theweb giants such as Dropbox, Twitter and LinkedIn. Even the more
established players like Accenture, IBM and Oracle are busy ramping
up their cloud presence here.
However, to call Ireland the digital capital of Europe isnt entirely
accurate: it projects the notion that tech companies are dispersed
across all four provinces, when in fact they are almost exclusively
located in Dublin. It is Dublin that has positioned Ireland as one of
Europes leading tech hubs, and as one moves away from the capital
they will see less and less evidence of Irelands technology boom.
Of course, Irelands other cities are not excluded. Cork has become a
significant technological location, hosting Apple, EMC, Big Fish Games
and McAfee. And Galway is home to companies such as Avaya, Cisco
and HP. Tech companies flock to these locations because there they
have the resources and infrastructure required to hold pace in such
a competitive sector. Rural Ireland just hasnt been able to offer the
same draw. Or at least this has been the case up until now.

square foot of space, hosting up to 75 desks, training and meeting


room space, a state of the art telepresence suite, and canteen and
break out facilities. Most importantly, the Ludgate Hub will provide
1000MB of uncontested internet connection suitable for any digital
enabled business.
Skibereen is not new to innovation. It was the birthplace of celebrated
astronomer, Agnes Mary Clarke, in 1842. It was also home to Percy
Lusgate, who designed the first portable computer in 1907. He lived
only 100 meters from where the hub is located now, and was the
man from which the Ludgate Hub takes its name. One can imagine
that with the new hub in place it is only a matter of time before more
innovators become associated with the town of Skibereen.
Callum Donnelly, the Corporate Development Officer for Ludgate@
Skibbereen spoke to us about how the project got started, the
concept of tehc innovation in rural areas, and how rural communities
will benifit from having their own hub.
Below: The new Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen

This year will see the National Broadband Plan getting underway. Up
to 500 million will be used to bring high speed broadband to 300,000
homes and 100,000 businesses by 2020. Up to 85% of premises in
Ireland will have access to high speed broadband 2018. The plan will
not only bring rural Ireland up to speed with its urban centres but it
will create a digital infrastructure that could ultimately change the
definition of rural itself. With ubiquitous connectivity, the threshold
between urban and rural will suddenly not be such a deterrent for the
tech industry. This was the thinking behind a new digital hub set to
open in the West Cork town of Skibbereen.
Ludgate Hub, like its urban predecessor in Dublin, the Digital Hub,
will be there to provide the resources necessary to innovators and
entrepreneurs who want to call West Cork their home. Located in the
refurbished Old Bakery building, the Ludgate Hub will provide 10,000
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Comhairle Chontae na M
Meath County Council

Tel: (046) 909 7000

Meath County Council, County Hall, Navan


Fax: (046) 909 7001 Email: customerservice@meathcoco.ie

Providing the level of professional service


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INTERVIEW The Ludgate Hub


THE LUDGATE HUB

Ludgate@Skibbereen is Irelands first rural


digital hub can you tell us a little bit about
how the project initially came about, and what
its goals and objectives are for the future?
The Ludgate Group came about in November of 2014, as a call to
action in revitalising the town of Skibbereen via a sustainable digital
outlook. The establishment of the Ludgate Digital Hub will facilitate
up to 75 people in a co-working office environment promoting
creativity and innovation in a rural setting. Ludgate@Skibbereens
long term objective is to facilitate the creation of 500 direct jobs
and 1000 indirect jobs in Skibbereen and the wider West Cork area.
A digital outlook focused upon external demand and the global
market will lead to a greater degree of export potential and an
aggregated injection to the local economy.
Most people will tend to associate digital hubs and digital startups in general with urban areas do you think that looking past
preconceptions like this is an important step to take in rejuvenating
rural economies, and boosting the general health of the national
economy?
The establishment of rural digital hubs will rejuvenate rural Irelands
economy. The beauty of the digital economy is that it is not
confined to a geographical area. The market is truly global and very
competitive, rural Ireland is home to very creative and enterprising
people. The facilitation of innovation in rural areas can provide
young people with a future that does not entail migration to urban
centres for career success.

The further development of regional hubs by supporting towns and


villages will in the long-term provide a platform for entrepreneurs to
start and grow businesses, the establishment and upgrade of High
Speed Broadband services will balance the economy and is / will be
the driving force for job growth in rural areas.

Ludgate offers high-speed internet facilities for


existing businesses what kind of benefits does
it offer to entrepreneurs and new start-ups?
High speed broadband connectivity in the Ireland of 2016 is
essential! For Digital/Tech start-ups the benefits should be
reclassified as essential, poor connectivity will stall development
and growth; without the broadband services provided within the
Hub a start-up will be forced to relocate to an urban centre. Existing
enterprises can now begin to innovate to a level that has not been
seen in Ireland. With encouragement and a small bit of advice a
traditional business can use connectivity to diversify.
The benefits are only limited by imagination and willingness to be
creative. For instance, a service based enterprise may now be able
to interact with clients in Dublin or Donegal via video conferencing.
Broadband can open up new revenue streams for all business
regardless of whether they are a traditional industry or a tech start
up.

From left: Callum Donnelly, Adam Walsh, John Field, Sean ODriscoll, Anne OLeary, Alex White
TD, Dee Forbes, Leonard Donnelly, Oliver Farrell, Kevin Buckley, Grinne Dwyer

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Slieverue, Co Kilkenny
087 274 0599
rocketteng@eircom.net

Waterford City &


County Civil Defence
Fire Station,
Kilbarry Road,
Waterford,
Tel: 0761099922
Civil Defence Offices,
Shandon Road,
Dungarvan,
Co. Waterford,
Tel: 05822012,
To support the emergency services and to provide community
support by promoting, developing and maintaining Civil Defence as an
effective volunteer based organisation

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INTERVIEW The Ludgate Hub


THE LUDGATE HUB

Minister for Communications Alex White has


said that rural broadband is the most important
issue for rural Ireland in terms of economic
infrastructure. Do you think that enough is
being done to improve the quality of rural
broadband in Ireland, or have we a long way to
go yet?
Yes, I believe the Government are working to solve Irelands
broadband connectivity across rural Ireland; the National
Broadband Plan is in its early stages of implementation. Both
Public and Private Investment in high-speed broadband services
are occurring throughout Ireland, however at an aggregate level of
service provision we are still in the early stages of the roll-out.

Can you tell me a little about Skibbereen itself?


What kind of challenges has it faced in recent
years, and what advantages does it have as the
location for a digital hub?
Skibbereen is the most Southerly town and has traditionally been
known as a market town with a population of around 2500 people,
the large hinterland of Skibbereen is circa 15,000 people. Like most
Irish towns the recessionary period from 2008 has significantly
reduced revenues generated through the town, this reduction can
be attributed to the rapid decline in the purchasing power of the
domestic economy. The vast majority of towns in Ireland are reliant
upon domestic demand and this reliance has decimated rural
Ireland. The advantages of having a digital hub is three-fold,
1. Start ups and digitally based businesses locating within the Hub
will be externally focused, the majority of digitally based businesses
are not reliant upon the domestic economy, and instead they focus
upon foreign markets.

2. With external focus from digitally based start-ups Irelands


balance of trade remains in a positive situation. In short, more
money is coming into the country than leaking from the economy.
3. This injection from a positive balance of trade will impact on the
local economy. More money in circulation within the economy
will benefit retailers and service providers. Statistically, for every
digital job created 1.5 additional jobs are created elsewhere in the
economy.

Do you think that Ludgate@Skibbereen offers


an example to other rural communities and
small towns which are looking for innovative
solutions to the economic problems lingering
from the downturn?
Yes, this platform can be replicated in rural towns and to date we
have had a number of towns enquiring about the project and they
are now forming teams to implement something similar in their
town. Rural Ireland is home to very creative people: a hub which
can facilitate innovation and enterprise can provide a platform for
entrepreneurs. However, high speed broadband services are an
essential requirement for 2016 and into the future.

What kind of role do think local councils can


play in promoting and supporting innovative
initiatives like Ludgate?
A balance between public and private is essential. We believe that
the private sector should initiate projects like the Ludgate Hub but
councils need to provide support once initiative is off the ground.
Once an ambitious job creation platform like a digital hub is in
motion the council and central governments need to support it in
some way, shape or form. In the long run, projects like the Ludgate
Hub benefit the entire community as well as the promotion and
facilitation of enterprise.

Below: The Square, Skibbereen, Co. Cork

Council Journal 13

CJ-3.1-Magazine.indd 13

2/18/2016 2:38:51 PM

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14 Council Journal

CJ-3.1-Magazine.indd 14

2/18/2016 2:38:54 PM

FEATURE Data Security


DATA SECURITY

DATA SECURITY: THE GROWING IMPERATIVE TO


PROTECT INFORMATION

At the beginning of November 2014 a small group of


representatives from Norse Corp, a threat-intelligence firm in
Silicon Valley arrived at Sony Pictures Entertainment in the Los
Angeles suburb of Culver City. After a quick security check at the
front gate the group walked straight into the unlocked first-floor
offices of the information security department. There they were
shocked to discover that all the Info Sec was empty. Rows and rows
of computers that provided access to Sonys international data
network were left logged-in and unattended. If the men from Norse
had been criminals they could have done some serious damage.
Hackers aren't well known for physically entering a property in
order to steal information, but in Sony's case that's all they would
have needed to do. Data security was obviously not their priority. It
was only three weeks after the visit from Norse Corp that the most
crushing cyberattack in Sony's history was launched. Within an hour
Sony had reverted back to the last century. Company data from
3,262 computers was immediately erased, along with everything
on 837 of their servers. The attackers even added a special deleting
algorithm that overwrote the data in seven different ways. When it
was done, the computers were rendered all but useless.

Most jarring of all, Sonys electronic security was no worse than that
of any other companys. It was weak and outmoded but it was the
norm. It should have been a wake-up call to companies everywhere.
Greater security measures needed to be put in place to safeguard
sensitive data or there would be more hacks, more security
breaches. However, the lessons of the Sony hack went ignored.
It was seen, just like the thousands of recorded hacks before it,
as the anomaly; an exception to the rule. They were targeted for
specific political reasons and therefore most thought it unlikely
that it would happen to anyone else. It would take another year
of crippling cyberattacks before data security would be taken as
seriously as it needed to be.

The aftermath was even worse. Not only was the data destroyed
from Sonys computers, it was now in the hands of the hackers. Over
the following weeks batches of confidential files were dumped onto
public file-sharing sites. Movie scripts, personal emails, salary scripts
and social security numbers were all released. So too were four of
Sonys upcoming film releases, which the hackers made available
on piracy websites for free viewing. The multinational technology
company was reduced to using fax machines and sending
communications through the post.
Council Journal 15

CJ-3.1-Magazine.indd 15

2/18/2016 2:38:58 PM

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16 Council Journal

CJ-3.1-Magazine.indd 16

2/18/2016 2:39:01 PM

FEATURE Data Security


DATA SECURITY

When the numbers of data breaches first started being recorded in


2005 by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse there were 136 recorded
incidents. In 2014 that number was up as far as 783, with at least
85.61 million records exposed. Thats an increase of over 500%
in less than 10 years. These numbers dont even account for the
breaches that went unreported. In 2015 the trend continued. It
seemed that every other week another company was being hacked,
with data of unquantifiable quantity and sensitivity being purloined
by unknown players. There was the infidelity service Ashley
Madison, the telecommunications company Talk Talk, Carphone
Warehouse, Uber, IRS. A complete list of 2015s known data breaches
complied by Bromium reveals that no industry was safe, no
company too large or too small.
IBMs 10th annual Cost of Data Breach Study, conducted
independently by Ponemon Institute, revealed that the cost of data
breaches are increasing. The cost per stolen record has increased in
2015 by 6%. Thats an average of 143 per record. Overall, the total
average cost per breach increasing by 23% to 3.5 million. Not the
mention the cost of long term damage to reputation and customer
trust. With such large stakes at play it is imperative that companies
take every precaution.

End User Security Awareness


Recently, the cybersecurity firm Symantec admitted to the Wall
Street Journal that anti-virus software is dead. Anti-virus, anti-spam
or firewall software simply isnt good enough as a one-stop solution
to data protection. As more and more companies increasingly move
their data to cloud based services so too do they increase the risk of
having their data compromised. Building a hard wall around data
is no longer sufficient. The priority must shift from protecting data
from the outside-in to ensuring that it is secure from the inside-out.
This means that all employees need to be trained in data security
protocol.
As the line between personal and business devices blur, and as the
practice of accessing information from remote locations increases,
it is becoming harder and harder to keep track of were businesscritical data ends up. Tools used to sync and share cloud data only
increase the risk of a data breach. The best way for a company to
defend against this risk is to establish data security policies by which
all employees must abide. Organisations need to be aware of who
has access to the data, and if, when and where it is being shared. A
security-first mindset needs to be established, and the only way to
do this to provide adequate training within the organisation.

At the other end of the scale, large companies can become soft
targets for hackers when they become too complacent to take
appropriate security actions. Though they have the advantage
over SMBs in that they can afford to enlist help from established
IT security vendors or by contracting an experienced data security
expert, they often fail to implement appropriate procedures
amongst their own staff to enforce endpoint security.
So how does a company prevent being hacked? The short answer is,
well, they cant. No matter what security measures are taken, there
is no fool-proof way of preventing sophisticated and determined
hackers from infiltrating a network. However, this is not to say that a
company should just accept its faith and carry on using the safe old
prevention measures that it has been using all along. As previously
stated, criminals want a return on their investment. The harder it
becomes to hack a network, the more likely they are to give up.
With this in mind, we have compiled a list of measure that should be
taken to secure private data that should be put in place no matter
what the size of the company.

Council Journal 17

CJ-3.1-Magazine.indd 17

2/18/2016 2:39:07 PM

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FEATURE Data Security


DATA SECURITY

Data Assessment
One of the first things a company needs to do when it comes to data
protection is assess the data that it is storing. They need to determine
what data is most vulnerable; what data is most likely to be targeted by
attackers; what safety measures have been put in place to protect it; and
who will be affected if it gets infiltrated. Assessing data is the best way to
avoid the pitfall of over-investing in Personally Identifiable Information
(PII) security. PII protection is a serious matter, but its prioritisation
has often led to the neglect of other digital assets, such as intellectual
property, executive communications about sensitive matters, private
conversations, as well as other important business and financial
information. Any of these can cause an equal amount of damage to a
companys reputation or value if they are breached by hackers.
A data assessment can also help identify and track what data is being
collected and stored. This will also encourage more careful thought
about what kinds of data is being stored. Up to now, companies have
been cultivating the notion that data and information are always an
asset, and so they have collected it diligently and indiscriminately.
However, sometimes data can be more of a liability that an advantage.
Consider the example of the Target hack in 2013. Hackers attained
the four-digit pin numbers of Targets customers debit cards. This was
information that that no reason to be collecting. And yet they did,
causing irrevocable damage to their reputation.

Encrypt Data
Most people feel fairly safe shopping on Amazon. They may not
know it, but their peace of mind can mostly be attributed to the
fact that their card numbers are being protected by encryption.
Encryption is one of the best ways to keep cybercriminals away
from sensitive data. If data is encrypted, then even if there is a data
breach, the information taken will be unusable. This is especially
useful if information is stored on the cloud. Ultimately, companies
that dont use encryption will be the less attractive option when
compared to those that do.

Encryption is not infallible. It can be broken. However, this usually


has to be done by brute force. A hacker has to try every possible key
combination until the right one fits. With a long key this becomes
a difficult task. And as has been reiterated before, hackers want a
quick return in their investment. If an attack takes too much time
and effort they will be deterred.

Create a Response Plan


Companies usually have an emergency plan. If there is a fire or a
flood, they need to be prepared for what to do next. The reason
for this is that the immediate responses to such emergencies are
pivotal. In the same way, the immediate responses to a data breach
are pivotal, yet many companies dont have a plan of action for such
an event.
The new thinking in data security is to take on the assumption that
at some point or another there will be a breach. When it becomes
an inevitability, having a response plan is the best defense. A data
breach can happen at any time. It can happen in the middle of the
night or at the weekend. In such events keys members of staff need
to be prepped to make quick decisions.
A protocol needs to be drafted to encompass all relevant aspects
of the organisation. For instance, the IT department will need to
know their next response, disclosure requirements will need to be
met, and public relations will need to be approached with care and
caution. How the aftermath of a data breach is handled can have
huge consequences on a companys reputation.

Get Rid of the Computers


If a company isnt willing to take on any of the above measure, then
they may as well.

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FEATURE DDOS Attack


DDOS ATTACK

THE DDOS ATTACK ON IRELAND


On the 22nd January, a cyber-attack hit a number of Irish websites. Central Statistics
Office, the Oireachtas, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defence, the
Courts Services of Ireland and The National Lottery were all hit. Daft and Boards were
also brought down. Each of them went offline one after the other in quick succession.
As of yet, the perpetrators have not been identified and their reasons for conducting
the attack remain a mystery. A special unit to tackle cybercrime from the Department
of Communications is still investigating.
The attack was particularly disruptive for the National Lottery. It
was a weekend when the jackpot was at an all time high of 12
million. There were many people looking to buy a ticket online for
their chance to get a piece of it. Undoubtedly, the attackers knew
this. In fact, the particular mix of websites attacked suggest that
the attackers may have been Irish, but there is really no knowing. A
DDoS attack can be conducted from anywhere and its origins are
almost impossible to trace.
As to the reason why, a number of theories have been suggested.
Colin Larkin, MD at Irish mobile security company MoQom, says
that the best explanation is usually the simplest. He claims that the
perpetrators probably just wanted money. The DDoS attack, in his
opinion, was a means of forcing a ransom. This may have explained
the attack on the National Lottery a similar attack happened
to a bookmaker a few years ago in the run up to a big race meet.
However, this theory doesnt give a satisfying explanation as to
why Boards.ie or Daft were hit, or indeed the Irish government.
To explain that, there is a compelling theory that came from an
anonymous individual who contacted The Register. They claimed
that the attacks were the beginning of a national cybersecurity
audit and that we can expect to see news outlets and financial
institutions go down next. As of yet, this happened happened.

traffic until it eventually crashes. This is done by a hacker who can


command thousands of personal computers all to log into the
same website at the same time. These computers are usually owned
by regular people who unknowingly installed malware. Because
security cant distinguish between normal traffic and the traffic
coming from a DDoS it is very hard to defend against. Worse still,
practically anyone can carry this out.
Hackers can be hired on demand from the dark web for as little as
25/hour to take down a website. A large website would cost a little
more, but the cost is still so low that it would be within the pricerange of someone looking for an unusual hobby.
Those responsible for the attack on these Irish websites may have
already extorted cash from their targets, or they may yet plan
to such deals are often kept quiet. Then again, it may just have
been the act of a bored teenager with no intention of taking it any
further. Whoever it was or whatever their intention, the toll is a
necessary one if it means that cyber security will now be given its
due prioritisation in the coming year.
The National Lottery experience a DDoS attack in January

Regardless of whether Irelands biggest websites are being audited


or not, there is an aspect of the theory that remains true: these
DDoS attacks have been a wake up call to how cyber security is
approached in this country. Undoubtedly, those affected, as well
as those who understood that they could just as easily have been
targeted, are now thinking very seriously about how they can
protect themselves from such an attack ever happening again.
David Miller, the COO of AdaptiveMobile isnt one bit surprised
by the attack. Like the rest of us he is somewhat baffled as to the
reason why the attacks took place, but he says that similar attacks
take place around the world every day. Its interesting whats going
on and it seems an example of where the world is heading. Every
application can be perceived as an online threat now.
Perhaps the most worry thing about this attack is that it wasnt
necessarily very sophisticated. Distributed Denial-of-Service
(DDoS) works by overcrowding a network by sending it too much
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FEATURE Environmental Protection Agency


THE EPA

Laura Burke, Director General, January 2016

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FEATURE Environmental Protection Agency

THE EPA

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FEATURE Environmental Protection Agency


THE EPA

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FEATURE Flood Prevention


FLOOD PREVENTION

FLOOD PREVENTION: FINDING THE


RIGHT SOLUTIONS
Athlone, Cork, Galway, Wexford, Kilkenny, Limerick, Roscommon. The list of flooded
regions goes on. Equally as long is the list of storms that have hit Ireland this winter
season, in what has been one of the worst years of flooding on record.

Estimated costs of damages is already set to reach 100 million and


this is before a full assessment has taken place. Families have been
psychologically and financially devastated. Many fought for weeks
to keep the deluge from breaching their doors, but in the end the
water could not be held back. Homes and businesses have been
abandoned, and some have been damaged beyond repair.
As the waters slowly subside around the country and the cleanup
and repair process begins to take place, it has reached that time
again, much like in 2014, when we must consider what measures we
should take to prevent such disasters from reoccurring.
There is much to consider. In 2014 the issue at hand was coastal
flooding. It seemed clear then that coastal communities needed to
be prioratised over all else. Now, however, the focus has shifted to
inland flooding. There is also the looming election, which will no
doubt affect decisions about flooding prevention as politicians vie
to implement the most voter-friendly solutions.
What remains constant is the immutable fact that flooding is now
a part of life in Ireland. Climate change has brought us heavier and
more frequent rainfall, and our rivers can no longer be contained
within the allotment of space they have been given; they will
continue to swell and flow over into our fields, towns and cities.

This is the new reality we have to deal with. How we proceed with
our adaptation to this reality over the coming years will be the
difference between a few flooded homes and thousands of homes
abandoned.
Soon Ireland will be receiving a 200 million loan for flood
prevention from the European Investment Bank (EIB). This money
will go towards some of 30 flood-related projects the government
have in mind, nine of which are flood prevention schemes. However,
full details of the projects have not yet emerged.
When considering how we can prepare for the next inevitable bout
of flooding it is important to weigh up the options very carefully.
Flood defense such as flood gates are not infallible. In fact, such
defenses can often increase vulnerability in more extreme cases:
some British communities found themselves unexpectedly flooded
behind their defenses despite the high level of precaution they
took. Even where flood defenses do work, they often just pass the
problem further downstream. What we need is not a single defense
plan that relies too heavily on bulwarking flood water but a range of
initiative that can make a combined effort to alleviate the potential
for destructive flooding and to prepare those who must face it. The
first step is to properly assess the risk and accurately identify the
problem areas.

Pictured: An elderly couple in Boyle, Co. Roscommon , struggle to keep flood water from breaching their home.

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28 Council Journal

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FEATURE Flood Prevention


FLOOD PREVENTION

Dr Michael Hartnett, an engineer at the Environmental Change


Institute at NUI, Galway, has developed a flood model that can
accurately pinpoint how flood-waters will affect individual houses.
His model can be used to deploy flood defenses in the most
strategic positions possible. According to Dr Hartnett, What
you can do with a model like that is, say, if we put in these flood
defenses, if we put in a sea wall here or embankments, how does
that change the scenario? Certainly from a planning point of view it
is important, he said.
Dr Hartnett also suggests that dams should play a greater role
in flood prevention, and not be solely used as means to produce
electricity. They are worth money to the ESB, but they are worth an
awful lot more to society if they alleviate a flood risk. I think we need
to look seriously at this as an option, he said.
Another prevention measure comes from Andrew St Ledger, the
chairman of the Woodland League. He suggests that planting native
trees in the uplands can help reduce flooding. The latest scientific
research conducted by Bangor University in Wales supports this
theory. They found that soil under mixed native trees absorbed
water 67 times faster than under grass. Native trees have such
deep roots that they provide channels to sent water much further
underground.
The soil under native trees also acts as a sponge, sucking in water
and then releasing it slowly. Full reforestation of upland areas
would reduce flooding by 50% or more, but even partial native tree
coverage would give significant flood alleviation.
However, if we want to find the most effective solution for flood
prevention we must look further afield to a country that has been
dealing with the threat of floods for a lot longer than we have. When
the North Sea flooded the southwest of Holland in 1953 it killed
1,835 people and devastated the country. But from that devastation
Dutch officials devised an ingenious network of dams, sluices and
barriers called the Deltaworks. They also began to produce the
worlds best water engineers and managers, and have advised on
water governance projects in China, Africa and Australia. Now the
Dutch are implementing a new flood prevention measure to control
their river systems, and if we dont want a repeat of last December
we should be paying full attention.

Room for the River is an agency that was set up in 2006 to reduce
Hollands four main river flooding. With a budget of 2.2 billion,
it has been busy lowering floodplains, widening river and side
channels, and moving 200 families. The overall aim is one that may
seem counter-intuitive to an Irish observer: rather than try to hold
back their rivers, they want to give them more space.
The prospect of relocating families is one that nobody wants to face
and even the Dutch were initially hesitant. However, when floods
in 1993 and 1995 saw more that 200,000 people evacuated and
hundreds of farm animals killed, they soon saw that it was the only
viable option. They knew that they had to find a way to live with
water rather than fight it.
The Dutch have been fighting back water for an incredibly long
time. Their first mount dwellings dates back to 500BC, their first
dykes were built 1,000 years ago, and their windmills have been
pumping water off the land since the 14th century. Its fair to say
that the Dutch think about their flooding prevention in the long
term. Of course the main reason they have been so successful at
dealing with the flood problem is because of the very real threat
water is to most of the population. 26% of the country is below sea
level and 29% is susceptible to river flooding. For this reason, when
a new flood prevention measure is introduced there are very few
oppositional voices. Though flood prevention spending in Holland
is very high the population are in favor of it because their survival
depends on it. So when farmers are asked to relocate they do so
compliantly, knowing that their sacrifice will ensure the safety of an
entire city further downstream.
In Ireland we are still only learning the most lessons about flooding.
We must stop building inadequately prepared developments in
flood zones. Developmental planning not only needs to account
for the risk of flooding one year down the line but ten years, fifty
years, and one hundred years. We also need to think beyond flood
gates a solution that is barely one step above sandbags and start
thinking about how to employ a variety of measures to prevent
flooding. Dredging is a start but not a solution in itself. Dams can
regulate water flow; smart ecology can be used to manage water
absorption and release; and adapting the Dutch philosophy of
leaving space for water can ensure that when the floods do come
that they dont go where theyre not invited.

Above: Groynes being lowered on Hollands Waal River

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NEWS Flooding Repairs


FLOODING REPAIRS

TRANSPORT MINISTER ANNOUNCES 106M TO


ASSIST LOCAL AUTHORITIES WITH FLOODING
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Pascal Donohoe TD, announced
that 106 million is being earmarked to repair damages done to the transport
infrastructure.
Below: Satelite image of Storm Gertrude

The amount was agreed with by the Minister for Public Expenditure
and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD. The money will be used to to
fix roads and bridges, along with rail networks that have been
damaged by the winters storms.
Minister Donohoe said: The most extensive impact of the recent
severe weather on the transport sector has been on the road
network through both pluvial and fluvial flooding. There has also
been some damage to rail infrastructure. This resulted in serious
disruption to daily life in many areas and in some cases, the isolation
of small communities and households across the country.
The funding will be allocated based on projects nominated made
by local authorities. County councils have been providing the
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with lists of projects
for both short-term releif and long-term repair. The scale of the
damage, along with the susbtantial costs accrued have required a
cross-Departmental response, with the Department of Environment,
Community and Local Government taking the lead in responding
the immediate call for relief from Local Authorities following the
storms and flooding.
Minister Donohoe said that his officials are currently in the
process of reviewing estimates submitted by local Authorities.
My Department will be engaging closely with Local Authorities to
put together work programmes. This funding will also include for
preventative works on key roads across the country. The aim will be
to ensure that critical repairs are addressed as quickly as possible,
he said.
The minister acknowledged that roads between Avoca and
Rathdrum in Co. Wicklow, and around Crosskeys in Cavan as being
in urgent need of repair, along with a bridge in Stradbally and Four
Masters Bridge in Leitrim.
Minister Donohoe said, the Government fully recognises the scale
of the damage and the disruption to peoples lives. In affected areas,
damage to transport infrastructure has included road subsidence,
failure of bridges and culverts, failure of embankments and serious
ravelling of road edges and pavements. Local authorities need
assistance to deal with all of this and the money earmarked today
will provide that financial support.
I would like, once again, to acknowledge the tremendous work
of all concerned during the storms and flooding to ensure that
warning signs were in place, diversion routes organised and
signposted and information and advice made available to the public
via websites, social media and local radio together with the great
work done at community level.
Above: Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe

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NEWS Donegal Tourism


ARTS COUNCIL INVESTMENT

ARTS

COLLABORATIVE MARKETING AT HOLIDAY WORLD


SHOWS HAILED A GREAT SUCCESS
FOR DONEGAL TOURISM

County Donegal has been extensively promoted over the last two in
January at the Holiday World Shows in Belfast and Dublin reaching
an audience of an estimated 60k potential visitors. The events have
been hailed as a great success with much interest from visitors in
coming to County Donegal this year.
The Holiday World Shows are two of the most significant tourism
travel shows in Europe that take place annually with visitors
attending from around the world including Europe (including UK
and ROI), the Middle East, Asia and America.
The Holiday World Shows 2016 have shown that Donegal is a
destination that is growing in popularity with visitor numbers this
year forecast to increase on the previous year thanks to marketing
activity from within the sector and the Wild Atlantic Way initiative.

Representatives from the tourism sector attending the shows


were delighted by the wonderful good will and enthusiasm shown
by the visiting public in both Belfast and Dublin towards County
Donegal. There was much interest in camping and caravanning with
campervans being a popular choice. Many visitors said they were
planning a staycation this year as they wanted to choose a safe
destination to travel to in 2016. Families were searching for family
friendly options. Marine leisure activities were popular with referrals
to MalinWaters.com provided. People said they had visited Donegal
previously but were very keen to return. On finding out about direct
flights to Donegal, better road transport options and the wonderful
places to visit, Donegal is set to be high on this years travel agenda
for many people.
Below: Representitives of Discover Bundoran at Holiday World Show

Donegal Tourism Ltd in association with Donegal County Council


invited representatives from across the tourism sector to participate
at the 2016 Holiday World Shows in Belfast and Dublin as part of a
collaborative cost effective approach to promoting the county as
a joint initiative. Various tourism sector representatives attended
the shows to promote their respective areas including Discover
Bundoran, Donegal Community Chamber, Killybegs, Donegal
Airport, Letterkenny Tourism and Inishowen Tourism.
The stand was well designed with professional imagery of our most
iconic attractions such as Sliabh Liag, Fanad Lighthouse and Malin
Head displayed to showcase the county. Having a wide variety of
representatives from across the county ensured that visitors could
find the information they needed about specific areas with local
knowledge and expertise on hand to advise.

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NEWS Arts Council Investment


ARTS COUNCIL INVESTMENT

ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCE INVESTMENT


PLAN FOR 2016
The Arts Council recently announced its investment plan for 2016,
which will see it invest 60.1 million in bringing the arts to people
and communities across Ireland.
The annual investment strategy will see the Arts Council introduce
its new 10-year strategy, Making Great Art Work, which sets out the
direction the Council will take in leading the arts in Ireland over the
coming decade. The strategy, which was drafted last September
will focus on five key priority areas: the artist; public engagement;
investment strategy; spatial and demographic planning; and
developing capacity. In support of this new strategy, the council
has allocated funding to a wide array of organisations, disciples and
events and schemes.

2016 gives particular support to independent artists through


bursaries and projects. The new artists bursary scheme is worth
180,000, and bursaries for writers were increased by 232,000. Arts
organisations in literature, music, dance, visual arts, theatre, street
art, circus, spectacle, opera, film, architecture and the tradition arts,
and well as arts for young people and arts education have also seen
either standstill or increased funding.
With regards to the individual breakdown of funding, the council
has kept its levels steady and consistent with previous years. Druid
Theatre Company saw its grant maintained at 762,000, as did
Opera Theatre Company with a grant off 680,000, Music Network
with a grant of 515,000 and Rough Magic with 480,000.

The Chair of the Arts Council Sheila Pratschke said: The Arts Council
has a new strategy focused on the artist and public engagement
our grant from Government in 2016 will enable us to begin to
deliver on this strategy, investing public resources strategically to
ensure more high quality art for the people of Ireland.

Individual festivals saw similarly steady figures. Wexford Festival


Opera and Kilkenny Arts Festival saw their grants maintained at
1.42 million and 390,000 respectively. Dublin Theatre Festival
and Tiger Dublin Fringe also saw stead figures. Galway Arts Festival
received a small rise of 7,000.

The funding includes: 32 million to 195 arts organisations; 1.4


million in touring, which will see performances tour through
every county in Ireland; 1.72 million in regular funding to Local
Authorities; over 5.2 million to venues in every county; 2.6 million
to festivals; 2.24 million to literature organisations and initiatives;
4 million to the visual arts (with 500 thousand specifically for
artists bursaries); 6 million was awarded to theatre (with 1.2
million specifically for new projects). An additional 1 million to
support multi-disciplinary projects for artists and organisations will
be announced in the sprint.

Other grants include: 135,000 for Town Hall Theatre, Galway;


157,000 for Hawks Well Theatre, Sligo; 145,000 for Wexford Arts
Centre; 361,000 for Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin; 865,000
for Irish Chamber Orchestra; 215,000 for National Association for
Youth Drama; 230,000 for Barnstorm Theatre Company, Kilkenny;
and 205,000 for CoisCim Dance Theatre.
Arts Council Director Orlaith McBride said: These grant decisions
will sustain and support artists as well as key arts organisations,
venues and festivals in Ireland in 2016. Our renewed partnership
with Local Authorities has also been prioritised through the
establishment of a new partnership scheme. I am confident that
the work these organisations and individuals are already planning
will inspire and engage communities right across the country, and
capture the imagination of the public throughout the year.

The new strategy will help ensure that the arts are not a privilege
reserved for people living in Irelands cultural capitals but
something that can be enjoyed throughout every part of the
country.

Pictured: The Chair of the Arts Council Sheila Pratschke

CJ-3.1-Magazine.indd 33

Council Journal 33

2/18/2016 2:40:10 PM

NEWS IFA Road Development


IFA ROAD DEVELOPMENT

CLIMA

AGREEMENT REACHED WITH IFA ON COMPULSORY


LAND PURCHASE FOR NATIONAL
ROAD DEVELOPMENT
The Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism
and Sport, Michael Ring TD, announced the signing of a renewed
co-operation agreement between his Department, Transport
Infrastructure Ireland and the Irish Farmers Association in respect of
land compulsorily acquired or to be acquired for the development
of the national road network.
Minister Ring said: I am delighted that we have renewed our
partnership with the IFA and TII to ensure the delivery of key
national infrastructure while respecting landowners rights and
concerns.

IFAs National Chairman, Jer Bergin, said: The agreement is an


important framework which shapes further the original 2001
agreement. Important measures such as the fixed payment are
restored, albeit at a reduced rate, and the assessment process where
disputes arise is streamlined. IFA has also secured a commitment
that the fixed payment will be made retrospective and all eligible
farmers who missed out on this payment will now benefit.
The Chief Executive of Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Michael
Nolan, said: We look forward to delivering national roads projects
across the country over the next few years in co-operation with the
IFA and its members.

The renewed agreement will see a fixed payment of 3,000 per acre
being paid to landowners on all lands and associated areas acquired
for national road improvement works in accordance with the terms
of the agreement. I thank everyone for the work they have done in
getting to this stage and ensuring continued co-operation..

GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES NATIONAL SKILLS


STRATEGY 2025 IRELANDS FUTURE
The new Strategy is a key pillar in the Governments plan to keep the
recovery going and build sustainable economic growth.
The Taoiseach and Tnaiste launched the new National Skills
Strategy 2025 Irelands Future, along with Minister for Education
and Skills Jan OSullivan, TD, and Minister for Skills, Research,
Innovation Damien English, TD, at the Blackrock Further Education
Institute, Dublin.
Irelands current skills profile, provides a strategic vision and specific
objectives for Irelands future skills requirements, and sets out a road
map for how the vision and objectives can be achieved.
According to the Taoiseach, The Government has a long term
economic plan to keep the recovery going and the first step of that
plan is the creation of more and better jobs. The ability to attract
new jobs, and having our people fill those jobs, is dependent on
having a well-educated, well-skilled and adaptable work force.

In January alone, some 2,775 STEM-related jobs were announced


around the country, covering everything from app making to
medtech.
The Strategy will aim to ensure that Irelands current and future
workforce needs are met through increased participation,
educational attainment, skills development and skill use to achieve
greater productivity and support economic and social prosperity
and growth.
The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D.,
commented: Winning the war for talent is the key to keeping the
recovery going and for future sustainable economic growth. The
National Skills Strategy will ensure our people have the skills they
need to succeed and that Irish Business has the skills it needs to
expand.

The Strategy recognises the growing need for investment in


education, training and development in STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering and Math), due to the growing demands in the sector.

34 Council Journal

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2/18/2016 2:40:10 PM

NEWS Climate Change Council


CLIMATE CHANGE COUNCIL

GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHES ITS CLIMATE CHANGE


ADVISORY COUNCIL

The order legally establishing the Climate Change Advisory Council


was signed by the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, TD, on
the 18th of January. The important work of the Council commenced,
on an interim basis, in June 2015 and it has already held two
preliminary meetings.
The Council is an independent advisory body which will act to
assess and advise on how Ireland is making the transition to a low
emission climate resilient society and economy. The roles of the
Council include assessing progress in meeting greenhouse gas
emissions targets to 2020 as well as those that are expected to be
agreed shortly at EU level for 2030.
It will also Advise on the most effective policies to make the longer
term transition to a carbon free economy, as well as advising on
how best to respond to the impacts of climate change.
The Council will provide annual progress reports, and more
comprehensive periodic reports on a less frequent basis. The first
annual report (for 2016) will be published early in 2017.
The Paris Agreement, which received unprecedented global support
at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting
during December, provides a global context for the establishment
of the Council.
In welcoming the formal establishment of the Council Professor
John Fitzgerald, Chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council,
commented: Our task is to contribute to the development of

effective policies to decarbonise the economy by providing relevant


expert advice to government. This advisory role will be independent
of government and our work will be informed by the best available
Irish and international research.
The task of combatting climate change is a complex one. It will
involve significant policy developments at both a national and an
international level. Making the transition to a carbon neutral world
needs to be undertaken speedily and in ways that minimise the
cost of the necessary transition. The Council will advise on how
this can be done in the most effective manner, realising any related
economic and societal opportunities.
In addition, the Council will advise on how Ireland can best
adapt to the impacts of the global warming, which are already
inevitable as a result of past emissions of carbon dioxide and other
greenhouse gases.
He continued: The analysis and advice provided to the government
by the Council will be published in a timely manner, as provided for
in the Act.
In concluding Professor Fitzgerald stated: I speak for all Council
members in welcoming the Paris Agreement; it is truly an historic
step forward which provides the global context for our work.

Pictured on right: Professor John Fitzgerald, Chair of the Climate Change Advisory

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2/18/2016 2:40:12 PM

NEWS N86 Upgrade


N86 UPGRADE

MINISTER DONOHOE WELCOMES TIIS DECISION


TO ALLOCATE 3.8M FOR N86
UPGRADE & CYCLEWAY
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD,
has welcomed the decision by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII)
to allocate funding of 3.8 million for the upgrade of the N86 Dingle
to Annascaul and Gortbreagoge to Camp Road sections of the
N86, which will include a cycleway, road widening and improved
pedestrian facilities.

Minister Donohoe said: Getting to this stage in the decision-making


process in respect of the N86 in Kerry has taken many years. There
have been many legal challenges taken during that time, with
the project unable to be progressed. I am satisfied now with the
outcome and with TIIs decision to make funding of almost 4
million available for works to be carried out.

The N86 Dingle to Annascaul and Gortbreagoge to Camp Road


Improvement Scheme comprises two sections; Dingle to Annascaul
which is 16.5km in length and Gortbreagoge to Camp which is
11.5km. The scheme includes a total of 24.1km of on-line widening,
2.3km of off-line widening and 1.6km of pavement improvement
through the villages of Lispole, Annascaul and Camp. The road
development comprises the improvement of the existing road, with
3.0m wide carriageway and 0.5m wide hard strip in each direction. It
will also include a pedestrian/cycle facility on one or both sides.

The upgrading of theses sections of road, with the inclusion of a


cycleway and improved pedestrian facilities, will enhance safety
on this stretch for all road users, encourage greater tourist activity
in the area, provide a valuable local amenity and add to regional
connectivity. I am glad that this matter has finally been brought to
conclusion and that works can commence at last on making this
road safer and a better resource for everyone who uses it.

GALWAY CITY COUNCIL PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR


COMMUNITY GARDENS
Over the past decade the amount of community run gardens
has grown exponentially. There is now estimated to be over 200
community gardens located throughout the country; in city parks,
disused car lots, patches of wasteland, within church grounds,
schools and apartment complexes. Galway city planners are now
the latest to make a long-term commitment to support allotments
and city gardens.
Galway City Councils new development plan says that it will
continue to provide and facilitate allotments and community
gardens throughout the city for the next five years, subject to
council approval. The plan extols the benefits of such gardens,
saying, They encourage self-sufficiency, healthy living and create
spaces that help bring communities together.

In Dublin, many community gardens already exist inside dense


urban environments. The award-winning St Brigids community
garden, for instance, is extraordinarily productive despite being
located only yards from the busy N11.
They can house a surprisingly wide variety of food crops, flowers
and farm animals; including bee hives, chicken runs, small
meadows, goats, polytunnels and orchards.
The Galway City development plan has also highlighted the
economic benefit of community gardens: These spaces within the
urban landscape attract inward investment and business by creating
attractive settings, contribute towards climate change resilience and
enhance the biodiversity of the citys environment.

Supported by local councils and groups such as The Community


Garden Network and Green Side Up, community gardens are
proving to a very popular means of promoting sustainability and
productivity, as well as helping to enrich community life, educate
children, and provide a form of therapy.

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2/18/2016 2:40:12 PM

NEWS Grant Funding


GRANT FUNDING

40M GRANT FUNDING ANNOUNCED FOR GATEWAY AND


HUB TOWNS

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe


TD, has welcomed the announcement of 40 million in European
Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant assistance for local
authorities for designated gateway and hub towns across Ireland.
The scheme will enable investments in sustainable transport and
urban regeneration measures in Irish urban centres to the tune of
127 million for the period 2014-2020. ERDF is providing 40 million
to the projects, which are co-funded by the local authorities.
Minister Donohoe joined Ministerial colleagues, Kelly, Humphreys
and Coffey, for the announcement by the Department of the
Environment, Community and Local Government, in conjunction
with the Southern Regional Assembly and the Northern and
Western Regional Assembly. In respect of the proposed local
authority capital projects around Ireland that have been approved
for ERDF grants under the Designated Urban Centres Grants Scheme
2014 2020.
Projects that have been awarded funding are located in Cork,
Dublin, Limerick, Waterford, Ennis, Kilkenny, Mallow, Tralee, Wexford,
Athlone, Dundalk, Galway, Letterkenny, Mullingar, Sligo and
Tullamore.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD,
stated: Im particularly pleased to see the number of sustainable
transport measures being funded under this call. Weve seen a
significant growth in the numbers cycling over the past few years
due to the continued investment in cycling infrastructure by my
Department, the National Transport Authority and local authorities.

The measures announced today will see that growth continue. This
also ties in with our recently launched National Physical Activity
Plan and shows this Governments commitment to sustainable
transport modes. Im pleased to see, for example, that Limerick is
continuing to seek to improve its sustainable transport provision
under this scheme, following on from 9 million granted to them
under my Departments Smarter Travel Area funding stream. The
commitment to funding urban regeneration also ties in neatly with
my responsibilities for tourism as these funds will make these towns
and cities more attractive not only to live and work in but to visit.
The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local
Government, Alan Kelly TD said: There is a strong correlation
between healthy and vibrant urban centres and the creation of an
attractive environment and enterprise development within the
wider region. Strong urban centres enable their regions to realise
their potential in attractiveness for business investment for Foreign
Direct Investment for talent and for tourism and to create conducive
and attractive locations for investment and for people to live and
work in.
This investment in sustainable urban development recognises
our cities and towns as the engines of the regional economy. This
scheme will provide grant assistance to designated local authorities
for urban capital projects. I am delighted that sustainable urban
development is being prioritised for funding, and that the
investment being leveraged by these projects has the support of
40 million ERDF grants as announced today.
Pictured: Dn Laoghaires Victorian baths will be one of many sites to benefit from the European
Regional Development Fund

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2/18/2016 2:40:14 PM

NEWS Start Ups 2016


START UPS 2016

BIG LEAP IN NEW START-UPS EXPECTED IN 2016, SAY LOCAL


ENTERPRISE OFFICES
A big leap in the number of start-ups is expected in Ireland in 2016 according to
the network of Local Enterprise Offices, which is planning to run more than 260
Start Your Own Business training programmes throughout the year.
Based within the Local Authority Network, the 31 Local Enterprise
Offices (LEOs) were set up as the first-stop-shop for new start-ups
and small businesses looking to grow. In 2015, an estimated 4,000
aspiring entrepreneurs benefited from the LEO Start Your Own
Business programmes, which were held across every county in
Ireland.
Helping a new entrepreneur become start-up ready, typically these
training programmes run over several weeks, focussing on how
to prepare business plans, what market research and marketing
tools are available, how to manage cash flow and making the most
out of technology. According to the LEOs, the majority of those
completing the SYOB programme successfully start up their own
business, creating further employment in local communities.
More positive news comes from the ESRI, the Economic and Social
Research Institute, which has revised upwards its outlook for the
Irish economy in 2016, forecasting a growth rate of 4.8 per cent.
Ireland has also retained the fourth spot in the Best Countries for
Business world rankings, according to Forbes Magazine.
The Local Enterprise Offices are also highlighting the other
supports that are on offer to new-start-ups in 2016, such as grants,
microfinance loans, one-to-one mentoring and business advice
clinics.

Kieran Comerford, the Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise


Offices explains: 2016 is set to become a record-breaking year for
starting a business in Ireland when you consider the economic
growth outlook for the year ahead from the ESRI and the range of
Government supports and tax incentives on offer.
Following on from two years of remarkable growth in the Irish
economy, were encouraging anyone thinking of starting a business
in 2016 to talk to the experts at the Local Enterprise Offices, to find
out about the supports on offer and to sign up for the Start Your
Own Business training programme.
Paul Reid, Chair of the Economic, Enterprise and Tourism Committee
with the County and City Management Association (CCMA), said:
Through our local authority network, the Local Enterprise Offices
are the first-stop-shop for promoting entrepreneurship, helping to
increase the number of start-ups in every area. By fostering business
start-ups, we look forward to the creation of more jobs locally in
2016, in every local authority area.
All 31 Local Enterprise Offices will be offering the Start Your Own
Business training programmes throughout 2016, with many
scheduled to begin in January and February. More details around
the supports on offer to start-ups through the Local Enterprise
Offices are available through www.localenterprise.ie

38 Council Journal

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2/18/2016 2:40:15 PM

NEWS Energy Efficiency Target


ENERGY TARGET

REPORT SHOWS PUBLIC SECTOR IS HALF WAY TO ENERGY


EFFICIENCY TARGET FOR 2020
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has published the Annual Report
2015 on Public Sector Energy Efficiency Performance which shows that in 2014
energy efficiency measures in public bodies reduced energy spend by 120 million.
The Energy White paper which I published last month, committed
us to improve the energy efficiency of the rail network and support
further rail electrification.
Mr David Franks, CEO of Iarnrd ireann said For the past 10 years
we have engaged in a number of projects which have dramatically
reduced our energy costs. These efficiencies have contributed
significant savings to our bottom line, but even more importantly
they have made us the most sustainable form of land transport in
Ireland.
Pictured from left: William Walsh, interim CEO of SEAI, Minister White, David Franks, CEO of
Iarnrod Eireann

Better Energy
Solutions.ie

This puts the public sector about halfway towards its 33% energy
efficiency target for 2020, against a backdrop of increasingdemand
for public services as the economy recovers.
The report includes annual returns from 281 public bodies with
an energy spend of around 600m, which represents 87% of total
public sector energy spend. Overall the report shows great progress
with four out of five bodies more energy efficient and over half are
already on track to reach their energy savings target by 2020.
Alex White TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural
Resources said: I want to congratulate the public sector bodies
and staff who have worked to get us to this important milestone
of being halfway to our 2020 energy efficiency target. Their efforts
mean we are saving money, cutting harmful emissions and making
our public sector more efficient. With less than five years to go there
is still a lot to do, but I am confident that our ambitious 33% target
can be met.
The forthcoming Public Sector Energy Efficiency Action Plan will
give added impetus to this important work. Speaking at the launch
hosted by Iarnrd ireann at Dublins Heuston Station, Minister
White said the transport sector would play a major role in Irelands
transition to a low carbon energy system.

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Council Journal 39

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2/18/2016 2:40:19 PM

NEWS Road Deaths 2015


ROAD DEATHS 2015

ROAD DEATHS IN 2015 ARE SECOND LOWEST IN


OVER 50 YEARS
Ireland is making progress in road safety. Countless lives have been saved through
widespread changes in driver behaviour. Figures show that 165 people lost their
lives in 2015, compared to 193 in 2014, the second lowest number of road deaths
since records began in 1959.
Despite the good progress, it is hard to say that 2015 was a success
for road safety when many lives have been lost. 165 lives were lost
on the roads in 2015, each one of them a tragedy. An average of 14
people every month lost their lives on Irelands roads in 2015. The
statistics show that there were 28 fewer deaths compared to 2014,
which has to be welcomed, but 165 deaths is still too much. It is
important to note the progress made, but it is more important to
remain vigilant for the coming year.

We have already held detailed meetings with our colleagues in An


Garda Sochna to ensure our education and awareness plans for
2016 are closely aligned with their policing efforts. The focus for
the RSA will be on the challenges posed by Driver Distraction, in
particular mobile phone use while driving, the dangers of low level
speeding and the consequences of this behaviour for vulnerable
road users. We will also raise awareness of the new enforcement
intervention to be introduced to tackle drug driving.

Brian ODonnell. Road Safety Officer stated, The most frightening


figure is that of the drivers killed, 20 were not wearing a seatbelt and
9 passengers killed had not got their seatbelt on. A large number,
despite the horrific consequences are still ignoring the dangers of
not wearing a seatbelt. It seems incredible that after years of public
education, including the use of graphic television advertisements
that people will still travel in a car and not put on their seatbelt. If
we can learn from these tragic figures and every safety measure is
taken when using the road including slow down, wear your seatbelt,
never use a mobile phone while driving, never drink and drive and
by wearing high visibility clothing, road fatalities will fall.

In addition to these priorities, we need to go back to basics and


revisit some old chestnuts that have worryingly resurfaced as
significant pre-crash factors in collisions, namely drink driving and
non-seatbelt wearing.

RSA Chief Executive, Ms. Moyagh Murdock said that, 2016 will be a
challenging year. It is vital that we build on the success of 2015 and
not regress as we did in 2013 and 2014.

It should never be forgotten that behind every figure and statistic


are real tragedies and real victims with real lives lost. Road safety is
not an issue for the authorities alone. Each one of us who use our
roads can make a difference and should take a moment to reflect
on how we use the roads and whether or not we could improve our
driving and ensure that we do not become another bleak statistic
or the cause of one. Every road user should ensure to do all they
can to keep the graph moving in the right direction so that 2016 will
be a safer year on the road for everyone.

Above: RSAs current road safety advert

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2/18/2016 2:40:20 PM

NEWS Road Deaths 2015


ROAD DEATHS 2015

A TOTAL OF 166 PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES IN 2015.


IN 2015
THERE
WERE
130
36
130 MALES AND
36 FEMALES
KILLED ON THE ROADS

COMPARED TO 193 IN 2014,

A 14% DECLINE.
ROAD SAFETY
REVIEW

VEHICLE OCCUPANT
FATALITIES

103

0%
NO CHANGE
IN DRIVER
DEATHS
(76)

31%
DECLINE IN
PASSENGER DEATHS
DOWN FROM
39 TO
27

VULNERABLE ROAD USER FATALITIES

32

22

22% DECLINE
ON 2014

8% DECLINE
ON 2014

31% DECLINE
ON 2014

THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN*


KILLED IN 2015 REDUCED BY

29%

OF DRIVERS AND
PASSENGERS KILLED WERE
NOT WEARING A SEATBELT

77%
(down from 13 to 3)
(*14 years and under)

SUN
SUNDAY WAS THE
MOST DANGEROUS DAY
OF THE WEEK
(32 FATALITIES)

BETWEEN 10AM AND 12PM WERE


THE MOST DANGEROUS HOURS.

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2/18/2016 2:40:20 PM

INTERVIEW The Business of Going Green


BUSINESS OF GOING GREEN

THE BUSINESS OF GOING GREEN: AN INTERVIEW WITH GREEN


BUSINESS PROGRAMME MANAGER JAMES HOGAN
In Paris last November the leaders of all the worlds nations came together to set
long term goals to tackle climate change. After almost two weeks of talks and
negotiations an agreement was reached. It was the first climate deal to commit all
countries to cut emissions. Compromises had to be made, and the end agreement
wasnt perfect, but the fact that everyone had committed
was held as a great success.
The implication is that when entire nations commit to
environmentally friendly policies they are doing so at a financial
loss. To a certain degree, this is true. This is the reason why $100
billion a year in climate finance was committed to supporting
developing countries. However, this is all at a macro level. We
are talking about nations where change is slow and inefficiency
rampant. At the micro level the picture is much different. For a
business, big or small, introducing green policies does not mean
that they will be taking on financial loss. Though the belief that
going green is terribly expense was held by many until very
recently; in 2016 it has officially been put to rest. Going green is not
only good for the environment, it is financially profitable.
In Ireland we are seeing first-hand just how profitable it can be
when the cost of waste is eliminated. The energy saving sector is
now more than a cottage industry, as can be seen with the success
of Cork-based firm Nualight, and more recently the UCD spin-out
Oxymem. The future belongs to those who can curb waste and
reduce energy costs. In a country with a very small reserve of fossil
fuels but with plenty of potential to harness renewable energy,
green thinking has turned from being solely an environmental
matter to being one of profitability. The issue is no longer the
resistance to going green but the knowledge as to where to begin.
This is where Green Business comes into play.

saving loaf end slices to use as raw material for bread crumbs. This
reduced waste costs by 7,500/annum and generated an income
of 8,000 from sale of the product. Another example is Sodexo, a
large IT company in Cork. By simply switching from using disposable
paper cups in the canteen to issuing thermal mugs free of charge
to all 2,000 members of staff they were able to save 120,000/
annum. Such efficiency measure seem almost like old wives wisdom
(Eat your bread! Dont throw out a good cup!) and in a way, thats
precisely what it is.
James Hogan is the Programme Manager for Green Business. He has
20 years experience in the field of environmental science, having
worked as waste minimisation officer with the pharmaceutical
industry and more recently as environmental consultant with the
Cleaner Technology Centre, CIT where he has worked on a wide
variety national resource efficiency programmes and on a number
of international cleaner production and carbon management
projects under the EU LIFE,Tempus and Asia Pro Programmes.
With Green Business James now sets his sights on improving the
efficiency of Irish businesses by helping them reduce consumption
of resources such as energy, water and raw materials. We talked to
him about the service and how it works.

Green Business is a service funded by the Department of the


Environment, Community and Local Government. Its objective
is to deliver substantive resource efficiency improvements and
cost savings to businesses around the country, through waste
prevention and reductions in water and energy consumption.
The service is free, and it has helped businesses save hundreds of
thousands.
The charm of Green Business is that they dont demand large
investments to be made. Most of the opportunities they identify
cost very little, if anything at all, and they are often surprisingly
simple and creative. In their booklet Greening your Business... How
Much Can you Save? they give some case studies that exemplify
how a little extra thought put into business practices can not only
be environmentally friendly but also save significant sums of money.
For example, they explain how Kerry Foods began a practice of
42 Council Journal

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Pictured: Sofrimar Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford improved water efficiency by 30%

2/18/2016 2:40:21 PM

INTERVIEW The Business of Going Green


BUSINESS OF GOING GREEN

What is Green Business?


Green Business is a free and confidential resource efficiency service
for all types of SMEs in Ireland. Were funded by the Environmental
Protection Agency under the National Waste Prevention Programme
with the objective of delivering substantive resource efficiency
improvements and cost savings, through waste prevention and
reductions in water and energy consumption.
Businesses can request a free site visit carried out by our
experienced Green Business advisers. These consultants then
provide a report, which identifies opportunities to reduce waste,
water and energy consumption.
Many saving opportunities the advisers identify are either no-cost
and low-cost, with short payback periods, which are attractive to
business. And companies can be reassured that all information is
treated as confidential and is not passed to any outside party.
The Clean Technology Centre, at CIT, manages Green Business. The
CTC team has 120 years experience working with business, industry,
and the public sector in the area of improved environmental
performance and resource efficiency.

What are the most prevalent forms of waste


that you discover while carrying out your
assessments?
As energy is the biggest utility spend for most businesses, the
greatest opportunities are identified in this area. On average a
Green Business assessment identifies 40,000 worth of savings for
the companies we visit; 70% of which are associated with energy.
Typical wastage of energy is attributable to inefficient equipment
used for lighting, refrigeration, heating air compressors, etc., as
well as equipment being left on needlessly;extractor fans, heating,
cooling, lighting. Most companies also dont make good use of
waste heat.
Other wasteful practices which occur in every business include
leaving equipment on at night and weekends, wasting water with
the continuous flushing of urinals, the use and disposal of paper
cups.

What are the biggest obstacles you come


against when trying to get businesses to adopt
green thinking?

businesses. People tend to fall back on what they know rather than
trusting in a new machine, product or method. It is our job to help
them see the benefits of making the switch. zAnd of course finance
is seen is a significant barrier. Getting the upfront capital for energy
efficiency investment is not an easy thing, even when the long term
savings are attractive.

Is the adoption of Green Business ideals


dominantly for financial reasons or do you think
businesses are becoming more environmentally
aware?
The key driver is still cost savings and improving the bottom line.
However, the growing demand for products that are produced
sustainably is driving the green agenda, which companies must
adhere to or loose market share. The Origin Green Programme
has been hugely successful in encouraging food manufacturers
in Ireland to adopt the Green Agenda which has boosted Irelands
Green reputation on the international stage.

Can you give an example of how waste can be


turned into profit?
Hotels, restaurants , hospitals and other food providers waste an
incredible amount of valuable food every day. Its estimated that
every tonne of food waste discarded costs the business, or the
public sector in the case of hospitals, 5,000. This cost is associated
with the purchase of food, cost of labour and energy to prepare
food, as well as waste management costs. The average Irish hotel
disposes of 50 tonnes of food per annum.0% of this food waste, or
30 tonnes per hotel per nnum, is avoidable.
Based on a value of 5,000/tonne the average Irish hotel has
potential to reduce its costs by 150,000/ annum. This is equivalent
to these hotels bringing in an additional 1.5million income with a
profit margin of 10%. It might just be easier to reduce food waste by
60%!!

What other services does Green Business offer?

Many businesses lack the time and resource to be able to focus on


resource efficiency, even if it will make significant savings. There is a
lack of monitoring and measuring of energy, waste and water, and a
lack of benchmarking of resources used.

After the free on-site Resource Efficiency Assessments carried out


by our experts we will follow up with on an on-going bases to assist
with the new resource efficiency programme. We are basically a 24/7
advice service on how to green your business. We also hold regional
seminars and conferences to introduce the concept of waste
prevention and discuss resource efficiency issues with businesses.
Any business with a utility spend in excess of 25,000 can apply for
an REA.

I also find that companies often dont fully understand their energy
bills many dont realise that they are needlessly paying too much
for their energy and dont know how to read their bills. There is also
a lack of transparency in the breakdown of the costs in bills. We can
help them understand this.

(This includes costs of energy, waste management and water).


To apply fill in an REA application form available online at: www.
greenbusiness.ie/contact-us/ or email contactus@greenbusiness.ie
with your request. Support and advice for any size business can be
found online at: greenbusiness.ie/resources.

The wide range of technologies and methodologies for improving


resource efficiency can be confusing and overwhelming for

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FEATURE Digital Election


DIGITAL ELECTION

#GE2016: WILL THIS BE IRELANDS FIRST


DIGITAL ELECTION?
If you have logged onto Facebook over the past few weeks (and statistically
speaking, you most definitely have) you will have by now noticed the deluge of
political content in your feed.
It may be content posted by media outlets you are following, links
shared by your friends, or even sponsored content directly from the
political parties competing to win your vote. What is abundantly
clear is that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter
have become the new campaign battleground.

active users, Enda Kenny has 41,400 followers, Leo Varadkar has
30,000, Fianna Fil 20,000, and Labour 28,000. Then there are the
other social media platforms: Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine.
The question is not whether voters can be reached through digital
media but how they should be reached.

Of course, social media campaigning isnt a totally new invention. In


2007 we were exposed to the first tentative steps by campaigners
to influence constituents online with several candidates posting
blogs and video. In 2011, political attempts to utilise the digital
world led to Fine Gael closing down its website and replacing it
with a simple video of Enda Kenny drinking a cup of tea and inviting
people to have a conversation with him.

According to Facebooks politics and government specialist for


EMEA Elizabeth Linder, Politicians think they have to stick to
policies but they build trust when they take part in conversations
and reveal what they care about in a fuller, richer context. Here
in Ireland more people are using Facebook than voted in the last
election. This will have real impact. People who use Facebook
every day are two-and-a-half times more likely to attend a political
meeting.

There was a growing awareness that social media was different


from traditional media in that it wasnt a one way communication.
People were not only hearing the message but they insisted on
responding to it too. That year, both Fine Gael and Labour put a lot
of resources into their social media campaign, to great effect. Yet,
once the election was over it was back to the old ways. Two-way
communication with the public had its uses, but their seemed little
sense in continuing beyond what was necessary.
It was in 2015 that the political power of social media reached it
zenith. During the same-sex marriage referendum traditional media
was totally eclipsed by the online campaigns that were being run
by grassroots organisation which made clever use of short videos,
attention grabbing graphics, and other content. One such campaign
was the #hometovote hashtag campaign that called for thousand
of Irish emigrants to return home to take part in the referendum. To
put the reach of the Yes Vote campaign into numbers, on the final
week before voting the Yes Equality Facebook page reached 1.6
million people.
Its now a year later, and for the first time since the idea of a digital
election emerged candidates are fully prepped. Each party now
has their very own digital team, with designers, videographers,
and social media experts at the helm. Candidates have attended
workshops and courses to prepare them to navigate these new
waters. One thing is clear to everyone: they either get on board or
get left behind.
There are now 2.5 million people in the Republic of Ireland who are
using Facebook every month, 2.2 million of whom voted in the 2011
General Election. Thats 70% of eligible voters who exercised their
democratic right. Since 2011 Fine Gael has seen its Facebook reach
quadruple to 12,200. On Twitter, where a quarter of population are

The main political parties have adapted well to the new digital
campaign paradigm. The key is direct engagement that encourages
people to comment and share with their peers. Labour used a
fantastic graphic during the Fianna Fil Ardfheis comparing the
respective records of both parties on employment. Tipperarys
Fianna Fil candidate Jackie Cahill posted a Facebook video that
reached over 21,000 people there was nothing revolutionary; he
simply introduced himself on camera.
Fine Gael are using many graphic based posts to attack Fianna Fil,
its main rival. Labor ran a series of short videos that purport to show
the improvements made to the lives of everyday people. In one
video, a woman welcomes builders into her home saying: Its great
to be able to finally do the kitchen.
Effort and production cost varies across all platforms. On one end
of the scale, there are 140- character Tweets, which are free to send
out; they can have a wide reach but there is a limit to the amount
of information that can be communicated. On the other end of the
scale there are videos , graphics and infographs. These are often
sent out as sponsored content through Facebook. The advantage of
sponsored content is that it doesnt require users to be following a
parties page in order for them to see the content. It is a paid for ad,

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FEATURE Digital Election


DIGITAL ELECTION

and, because Facebook can offer incredibly targeted advertising,


it can be highly effective. Whether or not the focus put into digital
campaigning this election will pay off in the end will perhaps be
best judged by how well the breakout social media star of Irish
politics does when the votes are all tallied. Gerry Adams has a
phenomenal 100,000 followers on Twitter. He has twice as many
that Enda Kenny; he has more than every Fianna Fil candidate
put together, more than the Social Democrats and more than the
Greens. The reason for Adams popularity on social media isnt so
much his politics as it is his personality his often very bizarre social
media posts.
Adams posts are unlike any other other politicians. They can include
anything from a picture of his loofah, a selfie with a goat, or a
picture of his fried eggs. His text tweets are often even more bizarre.
One such said, Standing @ the corner (in the rain) watching all the
girls go by. Standing @ the corner (in Dundalk in the rain) giving all
the girls the Eye. There is in fact a noticeable lack of political content
in his posts. Adams hasnt taken the traditional political path, but
the path of the YouTube celebrity.
Its about being original, unique, and weird. What attracts people to
Adams is that they know there is no team of social media experts
telling him what to do. He is attracting followers because he says
things that show he is not just a politician but a a human. When he
tweeted, Feel like a duvet day, the political establishment might
have shuddered but the voters understood the feeling. Adams has
cleverly softened his image from the hard-nosed republican to the
silly, lovable goof.
But whether or not Gerry Adams light-hearted Twitter posts can
actually sway people to vote Sinn Fin on the day remains to be
seen. Adams posts garner followers but they dont necessarily
start the political conversations that are imperative to digital
campaigning. As Elizabeth Linder said, politicians need to start
conversations that are real, that matter and that influence people.
As the election looms closer, each political party is now competing
for the gain ground in the digital realm. For Majella Fitzpatrick,
director of communications for Fine Gael: Its about conversations,
linking our people with an audience that will resonate. If you do not
engage you are not relevant; if you are not relevant you will not get
elected.

The head of Labours digital strategy, Shauneen Armstrong, says


they are using all available platforms to get their message out,,
including Instagram, Vine, Periscope, and Audioboom. We need to
bring our message to where people are. It is clear in this campaign
that they are on social media.
Sinn Fins director of communications Ciarn Quinn says social
media is perhaps more suited to their style of campainignthan to
that of any other party. The traditional republican approach is using
direct methods to talk directly to people. Dont get me wrong, we
have pointy elbows when it comes to traditional media. In the past
we bypassed that with murals and our own newspaper. Now its
social media.
Will this be Irelands first digital election? By any standard, it is
shaping up to be. As each party takes its own approach as how to
manage their social media accounts, how to present themselves
to the public, and how to display authenticity and encourage
conversation it will be interesting to see who comes out ahead and
how it will reflect the final results.
Linder doesnt agree with the term digital election. It will be
Irelands first conversational election because only now we have
the kind of technology that enables conversations to take place at a
scale that is relevant.

David Laws Tree Care and Training Company


provides professional and specialist tree care
services to private residents, public bodies and
commercial businesses in Cork and all over Ireland.
We offer a wide range of arboriculture services
as well as a wide range of courses.

www.davidlaw.ie
Mobile: 086 820 6811
Phone: +353 (0)21 466 7687
Email: david@dltreecare.com
Dromada Beg, Ladysbridge, Co. Cork, Ireland
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FEATURE Siac Bituminous Products


SIAC BITUMINOUS PRODUCTS

SIAC BITUMINOUS PRODUCTS LTD


The majority of end users, i.e. everyone using some sort of motorised vehicle,
cycling or walking, will take for granted the bituminous surfacing they are
travelling over, in the quest to get wherever they wish to go. Most will probably
never give it a second thought on how it got there in the first place. Nearly
everyone will still refer to it as tarmacadam. In truth, it is over 50 years since tar has
been used in the manufacture of road surfacings in Ireland.
Engineers at the very least will understand that modern day
asphalts are essentially dried hot aggregates graded and blended in
set proportions with hot bitumen to produce the finished product
that we refer today as asphalt.
But not everyone will appreciate that before we can get to the
actual mixing process there are many factors to consider. Not all
aggregates are equal and certainly not all are suitable for asphalt.
Aggregates which have the potential to be used in asphalt must
meet strict criteria validated by testing with regards to their
strength, durability, abrasiveness, resistance to polishing and
cohesion with bitumen - to mention just a few.
The bitumen, the black substance which when heated above 60
degrees C is a liquid, is used to bind the aggregates together is also
selected based on its performance properties such as elasticity
temperature resistance and durability. Different bituminous
surfacing options are designed to meet different performance
criteria, depending on the purpose of the finished pavement i.e.
motorway, footpath carparks.
Recent advancements in asphalt and bitumen technologies have
allowed us to venture above the standard black pavement and
embrace everyones natural affinity for colour. Colourless bitumen
is now available which conforms to EN standards, allowing the
designer greater choice in paving surfaces.
We are fortunate in Ireland; we are endowed with a spectacular
variety of geology to which we have a rich source of strong and
coloured rock types.

This we can use to our advantage when producing our Duracolour


blending natural aggregates and pigments to create aesthetically
sympathetic pavements and cycle ways.
Over the past 20 years SIAC Bituminous Products Ltd has been
actively paving colour into our urban landscape and amenities,
adding colour can enhance architectural buildings delineate
pedestrian areas cycle paths and parks, overall, creating a more
interesting built environment. Have you ever wondered how the
path, through the African Plains in Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife
Park in Cork are so bright? Or admired the light coloured tow path
along the Grand Canal near Portobello in Dublin? Or ever wondered
how the cycle path you are using is red or green as they are in
Dublins Phoenix Park? Well SIAC Duracolour is the answer.
It probably never occurred to you before, but they are all asphalt
surfacings. Using the Duracolour brand we have been able to design
coloured asphalt surfacings with enhance our built environment
while provide the stability and soundness of European
Standard (I.S. EN 13108) and NRA specified material.
Obviously, at SIAC Bituminous Products Ltd we have a bias toward
our products. With our vast experience (102 years to be exact) in the
pavement industry you could almost call what we do at this stage, a
passion. Combined with our thrust for innovation and the
advancements which allow for greater understanding of materials
properties, we are better placed than ever before to advise our
clients on the materials which best suits their
requirements.

SIAC is ready to advise you on the product most suitable for you application.
Further information and technical details for specifiers please contact SIAC BP Ltd
at the following:
Phone: 01 4033 3111
Email: siacbp@siac.ie
Web: www.siac.ie

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FEATURE Siac Bituminous Products


SIAC BITUMINOUS PRODUCTS

Council Journal 47

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GET INVOLVED
Have any important or
interesting information
you would like to share
with your fellow readers?
Is there an innovative idea
or solution you would
lilike to see covered by the
Council Journal team?
Send any articles, videos,
ideas, etc. by dropping us
an email at:
talk@council.ie

or give us a call at:


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