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What happened in Wicklow this week: Weekly News Roundup 15/12/2019

Maxol to create 20 new jobs in Wicklow with new service station

Fuel retailer Maxol is set to create 20 new jobs in Wicklow when it opens its first new station in two years in April of next year.

The new station, costing €3.75m, will be located in Rathnew.

The new station will include the following amenities:

  • The ability for customers to pay at the pumps.
  • A deli capable of seating 32
  • A car wash 
  • A ROSA Coffee outlet.

Maxol has a network of 236 service stations across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, 115 of which are owned by the firm itself.

Singer Mary Coughlan threatens to stage a sit-in over proposed M11/N11 upgrade

Singer and Glen of the Downs resident Mary Coughlan has threatened to stage a sit in over the proposed N11/M11 motorway upgrade, which would see a six lane motorway built near her home.

Coughlan emphasised that Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s plans to damage the forested area of Glen of the Downs would “go ahead over her dead body.”

Speaking to Extra.ie on Thursday, Coughlan said – “This is a protected area, it is impossible to get planning permission for even a shed up here .

“It’s a beautiful, beautiful place to live with lots of wildlife like badgers and hedgehogs running around. These plans will totally desecrate the area.’ Wicklow County Council and the National Roads Office want to build the new road in a bid to cut down traffic gridlock.

“Similar plans were proposed a few years ago and we stopped them then, we will do it again. If I have to go and do a sit in, I will,” said Coughlan.

Fia Caoimh , an architect who has spearheaded the campaign to stop the road proposals, understands the need for road upgrades due to the chaotic traffic, but seeks for the improvements to be carried out while maintaining the environmental beauty of the Glen of the Downs area.

“Ever since I first moved here, I felt very strongly that I should protect this area.

“We have only been working on this campaign for ten days and we already have 2,400 signatures and we’re expecting to get more than 3,000 in total.’ Mr Caoimh insisted he was not opposed to a motorway but claimed planners hadn’t properly accounted for the local wildlife and landscape.

“We understand the need for a motorway – the traffic is absolutely chaotic in the morning – but we are against the current plans because they go right through the top of the slopes.

“We’re asking to bring the highway further down so we can protect the landscape.’ Glen o’ the Downs is one of Ireland’s greatest beauty spots, boasting a 2km-long wooded glacial valley,” said Caoimh.

Wicklow County Council are hosting a meeting on Friday to discuss the plans and residents have until then to lodge their complaints.

Information on the proposed upgrades can be found at www.n11/M11.ie.

Social housing statistics for 2019 fail to reflect level of need in Wicklow

The Housing Agency has published statistics from the Social Housing Assessments for 2019, claiming that the number of households on the waiting list decreased by 3,165 (4.4%) compared to the previous assessment in June 2018. Wicklow County Councillor Mags Crean (Independent councillor, Greystones MD) claims that these figures are distorted:

“The figure reported for Wicklow shows that 2,523 households are in need of social housing but this only represents 60% of the number in need of housing, which was actually recorded as 4,230 in the Chief Executive report for Wicklow in June 2019 when the assessment was conducted. The national data excludes HAP tenancies so the figures are not a true reflection of the actual number on the social housing list”.

Cllr. Crean maintains that the Housing Assistance Payment is meant to be a temporary measure:

“A HAP tenancy does not mean that a person’s housing need has been met so these households should be included in the assessment. We have to remember that HAP replaced rent supplement, which was a short term housing measure. I am meeting families on a weekly basis that are worried about tenure security with HAP as landlords are selling. Also, with rents rising there are fewer properties available within HAP limits especially in areas like Greystones and Kilcoole. This forces people to move many miles away from family, support networks and schools. The private rented sector is not the solution to meet long-term housing needs”.

The issue of affordable housing must also be taken on as a matter of urgency and Crean states that:

“There are also the households not included in these assessment figures who don’t quality for council housing but who also can’t afford to buy in the private sector. Local Authorities need to provide affordable housing. I am a strong advocate for public housing for all and that means taking action on affordable housing in addition to social housing. Affordable housing is a new policy area for councils but it needs to be treated as a priority.

Working people can’t afford a home to rent or buy; now that is a basic right in a developed country. At my first housing policy committee in Wicklow, I requested that affordable housing be placed on the agenda for the next housing policy meeting and I look forward to progressing this issue, which is now on the agenda for the 17th December”.

Wicklow Student Receives Top CPA Ireland Prize for Academic Excellence

Lyndsey Kavanagh from Wicklow town was the recipient of an award for academic excellence which was presented by CPA Ireland in Dublin on Saturday. The award recognises her accomplishment as the top performer in the Professional 2 paper on Strategic Performance Management and the award was kindly sponsored by White Bear.

Gearóid O’Driscoll, President of CPA Ireland, speaking at the graduation ceremony challenged young accountants to show leadership in the fight against climate change. O’Driscoll said “The scale of the climate crisis is now widely understood, but too few businesses and individuals are examining how society can combat this. Every business in Ireland from the largest multinational to a fledgling start-up will avail of the advice of qualified accountants. As a profession, we have a responsibility to help businesses measure their climate impact and lead businesses to transition to a low carbon economy.”

“In conjunction with our sponsors, CPA Ireland each year presents an award to those students who have achieved the highest examination mark in each subject for the CPA examinations. Congratulations Lyndsey and to all the 2019 prize-winners who come from diverse roles in both practice and industry and thank you to all our partner firms involved in this event.” 

Lyndsey Kavanagh who works as a company accountant for Synchro said “I am extremely proud of myself for making it to this day. I contemplated giving up on many occasions. But with the support of my family, not only have I reached graduation, I also achieved top marks in one of the final stage subjects.”

Wicklow Town To Benefit From Funding By Fáilte Ireland To Develop Tourism Potential

Wicklow Town is set to receive a boost in funding from Fáilte Ireland in Spring 2020 to further develop tourism potential in the county town.

Up to €500,000 per local authority across the country will be allocated in two rounds by Fáilte Ireland to boost the tourism appeal of towns nationwide. 

Wicklow will receive its funding in as part of round two of the process in spring 2020, when further develoment work has been condcuted by Wicklow County Council.

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