Waterford News

Europe Direct BrexitOver 100 people of all ages from Leaving Cert students to Senior Citizens gathered in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) last Friday (23 November) to discuss Ireland and the EU – Moving beyond Brexit at a public meeting organised by Europe Direct Waterford in partnership with WIT, The European Commission Representation in Ireland and the European Movement Ireland.

The audience listened to a panel of key players and experts; Gerry Kiely, Head of EU Commission Representation in Ireland, Deirdre Clune, MEP, Dr. Mary C. Murphy, Lecturer in Politics in University College Cork (UCC) and Gerard Arthurs, Lecturer in International Relations and Politics at WIT outline what Brexit will mean for Ireland and Europe.

In his opening address Gerry Kiely, Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland, said "Brexit will have an impact on all countries in Europe, but none more so than Ireland. In addressing these challenges, the European Commission has been very clear. We stand full square behind Ireland, including with regard to the absolute necessity of avoiding the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland."

Speaking next and giving the view from Brussels, Deirdre Clune, MEP for Ireland South, said “the draft Withdrawal Agreement agreed by EU and UK negotiators and backed by the UK Cabinet last week is a significant step forward in the Brexit process. Even with the best possible agreement, it is still the case that the UK is leaving the EU and this will bring change. It is important that Ireland is ready for that change, for our citizens and our businesses. We will continue our preparations for all scenarios.”

She added, “EU and UK negotiators have worked really hard to get to this point. We are particularly grateful to Michel Barnier and his team. However, there is still a lot of work to do. Having a withdrawal agreement in place is essential to avoid the UK crashing out of the EU at the end of next March. We hope that we can now look ahead towards the future relationship and focus on the considerable work that is required in agreeing it.”

Waterford native Mary C. Murphy, a Lecturer in Politics, UCC who was delighted to speak to an audience in her home City outlined some of the challenges ahead for both Ireland and the EU: “The UK decision to leave the EU has resulted in profound political and economic challenges which will continue to impact on Ireland for many years to come. There will also be new and similarly challenging times ahead as the EU adjusts to life without the UK and sets course on a future informed by new policy priorities and altered political landscapes. Ireland and its citizens will be asked to contribute to discussions and dialogues about Eurozone reform, security policy, the EU's budgetary framework and other issues, all of which will shape Ireland's future EU membership after Brexit.”

The discussion was ably moderated by Rory Harte of The European Movement who invited the audience to share their ideas, concerns and expectations on the topics at this pivotal time while history is unfolding. The engaged audience put a variety of questions to the panel on a wide range of topics including climate change, tax, CAP, the future shape of the European Parliament, polling day, engaging young voters, pensions for EU Citizens in the UK and the border in Northern Ireland.

In summary, Gerard Arthurs, Lecturer in International Relations and Politics, WIT stated: “We are living in turbulent times, with Brexit being perhaps the most pressing economic - and political - challenge to Ireland's positioning within the European family. As the relationship with our nearest neighbour and major trading partner undergoes a transformative realignment, this Citizens' Dialogue is a timely opportunity for the people of the Southeast to not only hear from, but more importantly to engage with, the European Commission and their political representatives.” Arthurs added: “Waterford Institute of Technology working with Europe Direct, Waterford is honoured to provide this platform for engagement. With European Parliament elections in May 2019, it is more important now than ever to have your voice heard.”

The Waterford Europe Direct Information Centre, based at Central Library, Lady Lane is a service which helps the public find answers to questions about the European Union. It offers information on all sorts of subjects related to the EU including your rights and opportunities as an EU citizen. It can provide direct responses to general inquiries and, if you have more detailed questions, signpost you to the best sources of information and advice at EU, national, regional and local levels.

Spraoi Winter WonderlandA brand new free Winter Wonderland attraction by award-winning street theatre company, Spraoi will be unveiled at Ireland’s largest Christmas festival, Winterval this Friday (30 November).

Waterford city’s Wyse Park is to be transformed into a magical walk-through experience at Ireland’s Christmas Capital — with large-scale effect toys, light, sound, music and mystical forest dwellers. It runs from 5pm-8pm on weekends until 23 December. See www.winterval.ie for more.

Festival Director at Winterval, Tommie Ryan, said: “This Winter Wonderland is set to be an impressive show. Spraoi are Ireland’s foremost spectacle producers, and we are incredibly fortunate to have them based here in Waterford where their performances attract local and national audiences.  

“Families and friends, old and young, will be amazed by the fascinating experience Spraoi deliver. We’d implore everyone to come and see it — entrance is via Manor Street — and to remember that admission is free. This is part of our continued commitment in ensuring both free and ticketed events of superb quality run throughout Winterval.”

Spraoi’s Winter Wonderland is one of more than 60 free and ticketed events at Winterval. Over 500,000 visitors are expected to attend the 2018 festival, running until 23 December.

Director at Spraoi, Mike Leahy said: “The city’s historic park will be transformed into a walk-through wonderland set against the ruins of the 12th century Benedictine Priory. We’ll be presenting the installation Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings until Christmas .”

Other events at Winterval 2018 include the brand-new Enchanted Christmas Santa Experience at the Old Postal Sorting Office; the Winterval Illuminates festive lights show; and the 12 Days of Winterval, presenting everything from spoken word to céilí dancing. There is also the big wheel experience Waterford Eye; the Winterval Express Train and Sleigh; and the many Christmas markets, craft fairs and workshops.

For full details, visit www.winterval.ie, or see:

Facebook: @WintervalWaterford

Twitter: @Winterval_WAT

Instagram: @winterval_waterford

An important step in choosing any career path is pursuing something you enjoy. To help prospective students with their CAO choices WIT’s Try Business Event on Wednesday, 5th December 2018 will give secondary school students the opportunity to try out a range of business disciplines to help them figure out which area of focus is for them.

Throughout the day the participants will be engaged in a variety of workshops based around a number of business related disciplines including accounting, finance, enterprise and social media marketing. Booking is essential at www.wit.ie/trybusiness.

This event is one of a number of ‘Try’ events run at WIT and follows on from College Awareness Week, a national initiative, and WIT’s Schools’ Open Day on 23 November. WIT Registrar and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr Derek O’Byrne says: “Helping students making the right choice for them is something we care strongly about at WIT."

WIT was the highest ranked institute of technology in The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 published on 4 November 2018, and in 7th place overall among 21 higher education institutes, up from 12th place the previous year.

The range of 70 CAO courses contains many standalone and specialist courses as well as a selection of common entry courses. To view the full 70 CAO Undergraduate programmes, visit www.wit.ie/cao.

Deise Sleep Out 2018 photo

Almost 4,000 children will be homeless this Christmas and they urgently need your help.

Focus Ireland is calling on the people of Waterford to take part in a sleep-out on Friday, November 30th. The venue for this year’s sleep out is The Edmund Rice Centre. The event will raise funds and awareness for families and children who are homeless or at risk of losing their home in Waterford City and County.

David Niblock, South East Regional Services Manager said: “In August, 388 people across the South East were homeless, including 71 children. Since January 2016, the number of families experiencing homelessness in the South East has increased by 227%. Focus Ireland is to the fore in responding to the housing and homelessness crisis, as we see increased demands on our services locally in Waterford, and nationally.”

Focus Ireland has provided homeless services in Waterford for the last 18 years and the city is now the charity’s largest centre outside of Dublin. Over 300 people access our Waterford Services every month. In the last year Focus Ireland has helped 491 households in Waterford who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Focus Ireland is driven by the fundamental belief that homelessness is wrong. Wrong because it is a failure of society that creates victims out of ordinary people and robs them of their potential. Wrong because it can be prevented, it can be solved but is allowed to continue and in doing so, undermines society. Focus Ireland believes that everyone has the right to a place they can call home.

David further said, “The Big Deise Sleep Out is an opportunity for the Waterford community to show their solidarity with families and children who face homelessness this Christmas. Sadly, many parents in Waterford and around Ireland will have to explain that although they no longer live in their home Santa Claus will still know how to find them this Christmas. These families live under terrible stress and children suffer the most; so much so that specialist support services for children and families traumatized by their experience of homelessness are now needed. We are asking the people of the Deise to come out sleep under the stars for one night after which we can go home unlike so many others. Sleep Outs are always unique and very rewarding to take part in so all are welcome to join us in making a statement that much more needs to be done, and very importantly to help raise funds to help us meet the constant rising demand for our services. 89c of every euro received goes to frontline services.

The Big Deise Sleep Out will take place in the Edmund Rice Centre 8.30p.m on Friday November 30th. If you would like to take part and help raise vital funds and awareness for Focus Ireland this Christmas please contact Cathryn O’Leary on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 086 6042854 for more information.

STEAMWORKS meetup is back at Boxworks, Patrick Street, Waterford on Wednesday, 21st November from 6.00-8.30pm.

Format: Couch Discussion with a panel of speakers including:

Chaired by: Maria McCann - Presenter of The Chat Room - WLR

Jennifer O Connell - The Irish Times staff features writer and Magazine columnist. Presenter of StressedIrl documentary. Ex SBP, RTE, TheJournal. Waterford & Dublinirishtimes.com

Julie (Kirby) Smyth - Presenter of The Business Show - The Hot Desk at WLR 
freelance journalist with extensive experience across broadcast and print. She can shoot, edit, write, research, pitch, report live on air, analyse and produce all with professionalism and polish for broadcast, print or web.

Jacquai Corcoran - Producer 20 yrs with #RTE as producer Jacquai is currently working on a number of creative projects, including writing for The Irish Times

Mary Frances Ryan - Editor Waterford News & Star

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/steamworks-boxworks-women-in-media-in-times-of-turmoil-tickets-52291204400

Ireland and the EU

The Waterford Europe Direct Information Centre in partnership with The European Commission Representation in Ireland, European Movement Ireland and Waterford Institute of Technology is delighted to bring this Citizen's Dialogue to Waterford City.

This public meeting is your chance to hear from key players and experts what Brexit will mean for Ireland and where Europe is headed. More importantly, the format will allow you to share your ideas, concerns and expectations on these topics, facilitating real engagement and debate. With European Parliament elections in May 2019, it is more important now than ever to have your voice heard.

Expert Panel:

Gerry Kiely, Head of EU Commission Representation in Ireland

Deirdre Clune, MEP

Dr. Mary C. Murphy, Lecturer in Politics, UCC University College Cork

Gerard Arthurs, Lecturer in International Relations & Politics, Waterford Institute of Technology


Rory Harte – European Movement, Future of Europe Project Manager

This is a free event and all are welcome. Reserve your place here

For more information contact Sinead O'Higgins, Waterford Europe Direct Information Centre, Central Library, Lady Lane.

mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

060 Winterval2016 highresInternational Rose of Tralee, Kirsten Mate Maher will join Santa and the Mayor for the launch of Winterval, Ireland’s largest Christmas festival, this Saturday (17th November) in Waterford City. They will arrive from 4.15pm at John Roberts Square to turn on the city’s Christmas lights at 5pm, with music provided by local band, Brass & Co. WLR FM will broadcast live from the event.

Kicking off festivities this Saturday from 2.30pm, Santa’s elves will hit the streets of Waterford city for an exclusive “Golden Ticket” giveaway — offering free entry to some of Winterval’s top attractions. Clues for the giveaway will be promoted on Winterval’s social media channels this week.

Over 500,000 visitors are expected to attend Winterval 2018, running from 17 November to 23 December. There will be more than 60 free and ticketed events at Ireland’s Christmas Capital, including a brand new Santa experience. For more, visit www.winterval.ie.

Festival Director, Tommie Ryan said: “The exclusive Winterval Golden Tickets, not available for purchase, provide access for two adults and two children to some of the top highlights of Winterval including the Enchanted Christmas, a brand-new Santa experience at the Old Postal Sorting Centre; the Winterval Express Train and Sleigh; Winterval on Ice; and rides on the Waterford Eye, Carousel and Helter Skelter. We’d encourage everyone to keep an eye out on Winterval’s social media — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — in the lead up to Saturday for clues on where the elves will be in Waterford that day.”

Among the 60 free and ticketed events running across the Festival is the Winterval Illuminates Christmas Light Show at Cathedral Square, a light show with music which runs every half hour from 5pm on Winterval days. There is also an opportunity to have breakfast and afternoon tea with Santa at No.9 Café in December; a Christmas Cinema Club at The Reg; and Christmas markets at Cathedral, Constitution and Arundel Squares.

There will be a Black Friday Weekend in Waterford from Friday, 23 November to Sunday, 25 November celebrating Christmas shopping in Waterford city. There will be live radio broadcasts from WLR FM and Beat 102-103, as well as selfie stations, competitions and gifts for shoppers.

Tommie added: “There is great excitement in the air as we prepare for the seventh annual Winterval. Saturday is set to be a fantastic day, from the Golden Tickets giveaway with Santa’s elves in Waterford city, to the arrival of the man himself, and the International Rose of Tralee and the mayor, for the turning on of the Christmas lights. These events will certainly sprinkle some festive magic on what is sure to be an amazing festival this year in Ireland’s Christmas capital.”

For full details, visit www.winterval.ie or see:

Facebook: @WintervalWaterford

Twitter: @Winterval_WAT

Instagram: @winterval_waterford

waterford port 13An economic impact study commissioned by the Port of Waterford shows that the Belview Industrial Zone surrounding and including the port now supports 632 full-time jobs directly and a further 348 indirectly, a total of 980.

In 2017, the 265-hectare zone in south Co Kilkenny generated turnover of €388m directly and a further €555m through its multiplier effect in the wider economy, giving an overall impact of €942.4m.

The zone’s estimated gross valued added (GVA) last year was more than €190m while the direct regional impact of the Belview Industrial Zone is underlined by a review of those employed within it.

Of 588 personnel reviewed for the study, 317 (54%) live in Waterford, 147 (25%) in Kilkenny and 94 (16%) in Wexford. This makes the Belview Industrial Zone one of the biggest sources of employment across three counties in the southeast with the remainder commuting from counties Tipperary, Laois, Limerick, Kildare and Cork.

The value of goods shipped through the Port annually is estimated at €1.7bn in the 36-page study completed by Raymond Burke Consulting.

Reviewing the sources and destinations for freight transiting Waterford, the report’s authors found the direct impacts of Brexit should be minimal as three-quarters of the Port’s business is with mainland Europe and just 2% with the U.K. Furthermore, the Port’s southeast location makes it a good option to facilitate businesses wishing to bypass the U.K. and provide direct connections with the continent.

With Waterford now established as the country’s third most popular cruise destination – attracting more than 20 cruise calls this year – there is also a considerable economic spin-off to the Southeast’s tourism and hospitality sector.

Commenting on the study, Frank Ronan, CEO, Port of Waterford, said: “The findings highlight the very significant economic impact of the Belview Industrial Zone on the southeast and national economy.

“While this is something we’ve obviously been aware of, it is valuable to have the data collated so we have a holistic view of the zone and how the 20 or so companies based alongside the port here contribute in terms of employment and economic activity.

“What has been delivered here over the 25 years since shipping activity was relocated from the quays in Waterford is a strong infrastructure, a major economic asset in the port and a business-friendly environment. There is very considerable potential for further development here and, for our part, the Port of Waterford is committed to working with other stakeholders to unlock that growth potential.”

Going for Growth aims to assist ambitious female entrepreneurs achieve their growth goals. 60 new female entrepreneurs will be selected this year. The programme is seeking female entrepreneurs – across all sectors – who are strongly focused on growth.

Ideally, businesses should be well established and trading for at least two years. Consideration will be given to those with less than two years sales, if the new business is highly innovative, with a longer development cycle than the norm and with an entrepreneur that has very significant growth ambitions. If selected these participants are known as Starting Strong.

This is the 11th year of the programme. Over 600 female entrepreneurs have already taken part in Going for Growth to date and 60 new participants will be selected this year. The award winning Going for Growth has been recognised internationally as a best practice by the OECD, EU and the European Institute for Gender Equality.

The success of the previous 10 cycles shows what a difference peer learning can make to women scaling their businesses. Previous participants have reported an increase in confidence, a reduction in psychological isolation and a feeling of being nearer to achieving their growth goals. Participants on the last programme (from Jan 2018 – Jun 2018) reported combined sales of €66.8 million and the creation of 90 full time jobs over the six-month period. While four became exporters for the first time.

The programme is structured and includes attendance at monthly round-table meetings with the participant’s Lead Entrepreneur and small group of fellow entrepreneurs and a national launch on 14th January in Dublin, where everyone involved in the new cycle comes together.  

A core element of Going for Growth is the involvement of ‘Lead Entrepreneurs’, successful business women with personal experience of growing a business. These business women, on a voluntary basis, facilitate the interactive round table sessions, act as role models and hold the participants on their round table  to account in achieving the goals and milestones which they have set for themselves. The Lead Entrepreneurs on the 11th cycle are Fidelma McGuirk, Payslip, Fiona O’Carroll, Louise Phelan, Marian O’Gorman, the Kilkenny Group, Marissa Carter, Cocoa Brown, Monica Flood, formerly OLAS IT, Oonagh O’Hagan Meagher’s Pharmacy Group, and Susan Spence, SoftCo.

After the six-month programme, participants have the opportunity to stay involved with the Going for Growth community and attend topic based workshops, networking events and Continuing the Momentum round tables devised specifically around the needs of participants who wish to continue to drive forward the growth of their businesses.

To be considered for this Going for Growth programme, applicants must demonstrate a real growth ambition, be a major shareholder and key influencer, and  working full time as the owner-manager of the business. It’s expected that the business will have been trading for at least two years. In exceptional cases, a business at an earlier stage will be considered. However, earlier stage companies must already have generated some revenues, be highly innovative, with significant ambition. The programme is open to all sectors based within the Republic of Ireland.  

The deadline for application for this year’s Going for Growth programme is Wednesday 28 November 2018. Interested female entrepreneurs can access information and should register their interest at www.goingforgrowth.com to receive an application form.


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