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Wednesday, 27th November 2013

The private rental market is currently providing 20% of all housing, with around 260,000 tenancies registered with the PRTB. This accommodation for the most part is good quality, and maintained in good order with prompt repairs by landlords and good housekeeping by tenants. It is a partnership that works when both parties comply with their obligations. However, there are some properties that are not of a good standard which is not acceptable. This can be as a result of landlords, or tenants, not complying with their obligations.

Local Authorities are being paid by landlords to inspect all properties but are not carrying out an adequate number of inspections on a yearly basis. The solution is easy: ensure that all Local Authorities inspect a certain quota of properties on a yearly basis. The pass/fail criteria also needs addressing - if there is

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Wednesday, 27th November 2013

The report shows over 1,600 people contacted Threshold last year because of poor standards in their private rented homes. The most common problems included broken or ineffective heating systems, poor ventilation and dampness. In some cases, landlords were refusing to carry out repairs, and many properties had been neglected completely since the onset of the recession.

Commenting, Senator Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold, said: "One in five Irish families now live in the private rented sector and, unfortunately, substandard accommodation is a significant emerging issue. This problem is getting worse because of the current economic situation, with many landlords claiming they can't afford to carry out repairs.

"Furthermore, as demand for rental accommodation grows, rents have been rising in major urban areas. There's now a severe shortage of quality properties to let, and families on lower incomes are being forced to move

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Wednesday, 20th November 2013

John Smiles Qualified Financial Advisor

Some really important financial questions

The economic downturn of recent years has affected most people and many are seeking answers to the following questions:

How confident am I that my financial plans will deliver?

Am I aware of all financial options open to me today?

How important is it for me to exert control over my financial wellbeing?

How would my family replace my income if I had died yesterday?

Would my family comfortably survive financially upon my death?

How will my income be generated if I cannot work?

Will employment or state benefits be adequate upon illness or injury?

Do I have a reasonable emergency cash fund in place?

How much of my current income do I want if I retired today?

Am I confident that my current pension provisions will be sufficient?

How aware am I of state pension benefits and how to qualify?

Am I confident

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Wednesday, 20th November 2013

Fine Gael Waterford Deputy, Paudie Coffey, has welcomed the announcement made by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, that Ireland will leave the Troika programme on the 15th of December 2013 without a new credit facility. Deputy Coffey said leaving the bailout programme is historic as it will mark Ireland's regaining of our sovereignty and show that Irish people's sacrifices over the course of the last number of years are beginning to pay off.

"Ireland and Waterford have been through some of the most difficult economic times since the foundation of the State in 1921. This bailout programme was foisted on the Irish people three years ago due to the economic mismanagement and incompetence of Fianna Fáil. Due to that Party's ineptitude, civil servants have had to take massive cuts in their take-home pay and ordinary workers had the Universal Social Charge

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Wednesday, 20th November 2013

New government legislation being proposed by Government will mean that any commercial premises which is currently vacant will be levied with a bill of 50% of the full rates payable. Currently the situation is that all commercial properties do not pay commercial rates if they are vacant. The legislation will come into effect in 2014.

Pending Local Government legislation refers to changing the current process of waving commercial rates on business properties that are vacant. This new proposal is referred to in "Part 5, section 31" of the pending legislation.

Senator Daly commented "This is huge for every county. It will now mean that Local Authorities will start charging the owners of vacant business properties 50% of the commercial rate they would pay if trading. In this economic climate it will crush towns and villages leading to in some cases buildings being

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Wednesday, 20th November 2013

Waterford Chamber and Enterprise Europe Network will host a four-part seminar series on the theme of 'Access to Finance for SMEs' over the coming months. These seminars are aimed at Start-Ups and existing SMEs who would like to develop a clearer understanding of the various forms of finance and funding programmes available.

The first seminar will take place at the Granville Hotel, Waterford on Tuesday, 26th November from 9am-12 noon. This seminar will focus on 'Bank Financing' and there will be presentations from Bank of Ireland, AIB Bank, and Ulster Bank, showcasing their offerings to the Business Start-up and SME market. The Credit Review Office will also present on the day and will detail the process associated with declined applications bank financing.

The second seminar in the series will take place on 10th December at the Granville Hotel, from 9am to 12

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Wednesday, 20th November 2013

Kieron Brennan, CEO, Irish League of Credit Unions

The announcement by the Central Bank that for the first time in our history, a bank has taken over a credit union was a sad day for the Irish credit union movement which has delivered extraordinary service to its membership for more than 50 years.

The news is ever more disconcerting when one considers that in the last five years the Irish banks, which cost the state E64 billion continue to remain moribund. There has been no significant lending and their mortgage arrears problem continues to escalate. In this environment, credit unions, while not shielded from the general economic difficulties, remain a coherent social and economic force in society.

It should be remembered that Irish Banks tripled in size (E201 billion assets to E621 billion assets) between the boom years of 2003 and 2008, borrowing

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Wednesday, 13th November 2013

John Smiles

Qualified Financial Advisor

Is volatility good for investors?

The higher the risk taken by an investor the wider the potential returns both negative and positive. A high risk investor would expect to be compensated by higher positive returns in the long term when compared to a low risk investor. The crucial difference will be the journey to the end result. The high risk investor is likely to have experienced larger falls and larger gains along their investment journey. The important point is that the higher risk investor is comfortable with and expects such a journey to achieve the desired end result i.e. a higher positive return.

Volatility percentages, used in association with an expected average return, expressed as a range of figures both negative and positive can be very helpful to investors in deciphering what may be meant by a generic "low",

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Wednesday, 13th November 2013

Waterford City Centre Business Group (WCCBG) calls for immediate commercial rates reduction in the 2014 City Council budget process.

In a letter sent to the City Manager, WCCBG have requested an early meeting on behalf of the rate paying community represented by the Waterford City Centre Business Group (WCCBG) to discuss local authority charges in advance of Budget 2014, and local government financing in general.

In addition WCCBG wish to discuss a number of issues that include the need for a targeted reduction in local authority charges that reflect both the current economic climate and the cost cutting measures that have been undertaken by all local businesses.

A Commercial Rates strategy was launched last week to the groups many members and the strategy included the direct lobbying of the City Council, City Councillors, TD's, MEP's and Senators.

WCCBG believe that it is imperative that

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Wednesday, 13th November 2013

The Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation (IMHO) in conjunction with AIB Group (which includes EBS and Haven) today announces an upcoming initiative offering homeowners in difficulty with their mortgage repayments the option to avail of an independent third party facilitator to advise and engage with AIB Group on their behalf. The initiative will be available free of charge to all AIB Group residential mortgage customers who wish to avail of the service.

Mortgage holders in difficulty will be provided by the IMHO with a designated point of contact where they will be assisted with and advised on the completion of a Standard Financial Statement (SFS) which is a key component for determining the most suitable solution for the resolution of the arrears. This assistance will be provided over the phone, online or in person. All advice will be supplied on a fully

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    A Paper AnniversaryAs he has been in high profile politics for such a long time, it is hard to think that Leo Varadkar has just celebrated his first year as Taoiseach. Over the last decade, there has hardly been a time when the man hasn't been out of the headlines for one reason or another. But it is his role as Taoiseach which has cemented his position in Irish history.Of course such an anniversary didn't go past uncommented and he was given a rough ride in the Dail when the subject came up. As mu …

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