Archive for the ‘Irish Economy’ Category

The ‘Always Great’ boat

October 11, 2017

Always Great

Things are definitely much better than they were but something has also switched with everyone’s moods…

People are bouncing again – can you feel it?

Business seems to be coming in a little easier, moods have lifted, budgets have opened up and people are committing to Positive Costs and positive activities once again.

It’s not so long ago that we were fearful of asking people how business was going – it was one bad story after the next. Now they are starting to whistle!

We might begin to feel that we are better business people than we were a few years ago – we might feel this because the tills are ringing more than before. It feels good, it feels damn good, and therefore we must really be great at what we do as the results are there for all to see – isn’t this true?

But ….we need to be very careful and guard against even the tiniest signs of complacency.

We should most definitely enjoy this time but just as importantly, we need to stay objective and keep delivering our “A” game, even when it feels like our “B” or even our ”C” game might suffice.

When times were tough we had to deliver above and beyond to just survive – now it is just as important that we keep doing this, even when it may not seem as necessary.

There is a very welcome rising tide that is lifting all of our boats – Make sure your boat is called ‘Always Great‘ and that everyone on board knows exactly what this means.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Consumer confidence stats and avoiding self fulfilling prophecies

August 14, 2017

Consumer Confidence

I just received an industry update from one of the key business sector publications in Ireland.

It led with a headline about “Consumer Confidence” statistics.

It went on explain:

In the last month, two key indicators of consumer confidence in Ireland and the UK have been released showing a decline in confidence since the first quarter of 2017

In went on to discuss Ireland: “In Ireland, the B&A consumer confidence tracker found that whilst consumers remain positive, the levels of this positivity have fallen from the optimism shown in the first quarter of the year. This was particularly true for consumers within Dublin, who showed a significant decline in this period

It then went on to discuss consumer sentiment the UK: “In the UK, market research firm Gfk’s consumer confidence index fell to -12 in July from -10 in June. According to Reuters despite low levels of unemployment, household’s assessment of the economic situation was a major component of the decline in confidence for this period

It then summarised both positions: “It is clear that the uncertainty around Brexit has continued to affect consumers and the B&A and Gfk trackers will be a good measure to keep an eye on as negotiations progress

While thankfully they avoided a negative headline the piece did leave me in a negative frame of mind.

While this information is valuable the way it was delivered only succeeds in making everyone who reads it pessimistic about the future and behaving conservatively.

Suddenly ‘negative consumer sentiment‘ becomes a self fulfilling prophecy with industry reacting negatively and so on and so on.

I am not for softening up bad news but when we deliver negative statistics we need to communicate a full story that is never as bad as the potential doomsday outcome in our heads, unless we want it to be.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Incite or Insight?

April 19, 2017

Ena Kenny and Donald Trump, Patrick's Day

Enda Kenny’s St.Patrick Days trip to the U.S. costs the taxpayer €35,000” read the headline in this newspaper article I read at the weekend.

The article documented blow by blow how and where these costs were accumulated as well as the costs of the other Ministers who travelled overseas for our national festival, that day when the whole world acknowledges and celebrates our little country.

St.Patrick would be a great Marketing/PR trick for Ireland if we had planned it!!

The article was designed to incite the reader in a way that we are seeing all too frequently – It is supposed to get us thinking…

This is a total disgrace

What a waste of money

Typical politicians, on a jolly while the rest of us are paying for it

Why does it cost so much, you can fly to the States and back for €500?

Rage, rage and more rage – thanks for exposing this abomination!!

In my humble view, Enda Kenny’s U.S. trip was well worth every cent and much more as he flew a flag for illegal Irish immigrants and our continued trade in the very delicate Trump era. This simple visit will help to preserve our special relationship with an economy that is more than vital to us.

In terms of the cost of the trip do we really expect the leader of our country to travel Economy, take public transport and book into 3-star hotels?!!

Come on guys, less of the headlines that are designed to incite the typical anger and let’s focus on the insights.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

I’m not telling you where it is..

February 5, 2017

Fireside

You can feel everything heating up again..

We spend at least half our working week doing business in Dublin and our home has been a particular hotel, which was located close to the office.

It became a home from home of sorts for years with most of the staff recognising us as we trooped in with our bags week after week. They looked after us really well and we left them lots of business. We had our corporate rate and our bonus nights and they had a regular customer, often at times of the year when Dublin was quiet.

The first sign of things changing was an email last year notifying us that our corporate rate wouldn’t apply on peak weeks. Okay, but wasn’t that the whole point of a corporate rate – a good average rate in exchange for lots of regular business?

The second big sign, which came along a few months later was an email informing us that the corporate rates in 2017 were increasing by 40%. Thank you… it seems that the whole loyalty thing doesn’t quite cut the mustard when things get busier!

So we went shopping for an alternative.

We did find a place, a little further out that gave us a good corporate rate and they assured us that they had a complimentary shuttle service to alleviate the slightly inconvenient location.

On the first day using the new hotel I enquired about the shuttle service – unfortunately the driver was on leave this week so there would be no shuttle service. Okay – Mr Shuttle driver could not be relied on!

I headed on foot to the office and just as I was nearly there I passed a gorgeous little place, an old Georgian house with a sign outside declaring it to be a “hotel”.

I marched up the steps of this beautiful property and pushed the door open to be greeted by a really nice, friendly guy. I asked about rates and asked to see a typical room.

I was so impressed with the package he offered me and the gorgeous rooms and homely atmosphere that I immediately booked us in for a number of weeks ahead. The guy I was dealing with was the owner – the place had been in his family for decades and somehow you knew it had.

Our first stay didn’t disappoint – “Would you like a tea or a coffee?” was just one part of the warm welcome, the room was homely and impeccable and our breakfast was delicious and made to order.

I’m guessing the friendly woman, Agnes who served us was part of the family that owned this special place.

We walked to work, just a few minutes away and there was an extra skip in my step because in all the years that we have been staying overnight in Dublin I have never felt so at home.

So, unfortunately I’m not going to tell you where it is!!

I’ll resist tweeting about it because selfishly I want to keep this place a secret so that there is always a room there for us.

Dublin is booming ..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

The Brexit Scary Monster

January 21, 2017

Old Man drinking a pint by Robert Devereux

Jack walked through the door of his local in the small village in North Cork and made his way slowly with his head down to “his” bar stool.

Alright Jack” asks Mary the bartender who without even asking takes a glass and starts pulling a pint of Guinness. In her 20 years serving Jack he only once asked for a different drink. That was a hot whiskey about 10 years ago when he had a heavy cold!

Jack was unusually quiet and the normal happy go lucky, joke a minute guy was not the person sitting at the bar today.

Jack, are you alright?” Mary probes as she places the creamy pint in front of him.

I’m ok Mary, I’m ok” and the tone of his response didn’t convince her for a second.

He studied his pint and stroked the side of the glass as he always does, before that first taste and he took his first big gulp of the night.

Jack, what’s wrong?” Mary asked

After a big sigh and another gulp of his pint, Jack opened up “I wasn’t sure if I was going to come for a pint tonight. Things are bad

But Jack you always come for a pint, what’s up?

They say it’s going to be a hard Brexit, everyone is saying it. The newspapers, the radio and even Fr. John after mass this morning was talking about it. A hard Brexit is really bad news for all of us.

..he pauses for air and finishes his pint.

I was listening to those two this morning on the radio, Shane Coleman and Colette Fiztwhatever her name is, and they were interviewing some businessman. He was telling them that the whole Brexit thing could actually be good for us, but they told him. It’s bad for us, really bad

Without asking, Mary grabs a glass and starts to fill another pint but Jack gestures to her that he doesn’t want it.

And to cap it all Theresa May is going to trigger Article 50 in March. There will be no more pints for me, I tell ya

Mary grabbed the glass again and started filling another pint.

Jack, do you even know what Article 50 is? This pint is on the house and will you do me a big favour?

What Mary?

Will you ever cheer up and stop listening to those gobshites talking negative day in day out and enjoy your pint

Thanks Mary, I’ll do that”.

He is smiling now, enjoying his pint “Did you hear the one about Donald Trump and his Mexican golf caddy in Doonbeg?” 

No Jack. What about Donald Trump and the Mexican golf caddy? 

The Mexican caddy told him that if he kept losing balls like that he should think about building the wall here instead

She smiled and hoped the next one would be better but at least Jack was back!

While Mary and Jack are fictitious characters I can imagine conversations like this all over the country. I read and hear the negativity about Brexit everywhere and the truth is we really have no idea how it will play out for Ireland.

What I do know for sure is that if we are not careful we will talk ourselves into another recession.

Mary..another pint please and have one yourself

The wonderful image of the man drinking a pint is by artist Robert Devereux (http://robertdevereux.blogspot.ie/2015/06/old-irish-man-drinking-guinness-oil.html)

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

Apple taxation and 1st World Problems

September 4, 2016

Apple - Irish Tax

What a bizarre scenario!

The EU want to charge Apple for back taxes to the tune of €13 billion – Ireland are supposed to get this money and we are all in a flap because this is an unlawful challenge to our tax system so we are appealing!!

Of course the giant have made colossal money and their tax gurus have used every possible loophole and structure to avoid paying the taxes that we get clobbered with.

Is this right and moral? – this is a great question but Ireland has had this fantastic “anchor tenant” in our country, which has no doubt helped us to attract other high profile foreign tenants.

Pierre Moscovici, the EU commissioner for economic and financial affairs, has said the commission is “certain” its decision to charge Apple €13 billion in back taxes is legally valid and he went on to say  “There will be no particular targets, and no particular indulgence. No one will escape. Nothing will stop this revolution of transparency.”

Pierre wants to start his own revolution!!

It’s all very strange timing from the EU coming on the heels of the Brexit vote – are they now walloping us for being so adamant and vocal about the importance of our relationship with the U.K.?

In the meantime our government aren’t taking this “attack” lying down as Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan have launched their own blistering attack on Europe over its ruling, accusing Brussels of using the scandal to create a “bridgehead” to target Ireland’s 12.5% corporation tax.

Our language got even stronger as they claimed the European Commission was “bullying” Ireland in the same way it did during the bailout.

The boxing gloves are well and truly on with the EU.

The Cabinet made a “unanimous” decision to appeal against the ruling but then the politicians started playing their usual games and two ministers undermined this stance when they said they still believe multinationals are not paying enough to the State. Doh!

It’s all very odd and confusing and it makes you wonder about the world we live in where the story of a genius company led by the true revolutionary, Steve Jobs comes crashing into the story of world politics and taxes or should we just say money.

These are very strange first world problems that other parts of the world would love to have right now..

Boy in ambulance in Syria

This is the recent photograph of five-year-old Omran Daqneesha who was sitting dazed and bloodied in the back of an ambulance after surviving a regime airstrike in Aleppo, highlighting the desperation of the Syrian civil war.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communicatons who offer Marketing, PR, GraphicDesign services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Avoiding Brevenge

July 1, 2016

Brexit - NIgel Farage

Brevenge is my new word..

The last week has been horrible ..

We watched as the ‘leave‘ campaigners for Brexit celebrated their unexpected “win” – there was cockiness, arrogance and a big dose of “F##k You Europe” that was delivered with a huge lack of finesse and zero respect.

We heard the speeches in Europe and we listened to the laughing by the Brexiteers and we then heard European officials reacting to this with their own dose of bitterness and recrimination.

If you want out, get out now

On the ground non-UK residents working and living in the UK feel unwelcome in a place that many considered was their home and this hasn’t been helped by yobs who claim they “want them out“. Of course, not everyone is like this.

Stopping immigration was a big emotive message by the ‘leave‘ campaign and this effectively was directed at anyone living and working in the UK who is not from there and those who might consider living there in the future – a big penny dropped with young people from the UK that their ‘explore the world‘ ambitions have now been shackled by the consequences of the referendum.

Beach

Scotland are regretting their lack of independence and are passionately making noises about staying in Europe. Northern Ireland wants the same and it is clear that London certainly wants the same. Those from the UK living across Europe are wondering what their position is as they walk along their sandy beaches every day in Spain and beyond and contemplating how much further their income will drop due to currency changes.

When the results were analysed and the exit polls were conducted it was clear that the working class and the poor communities in the UK felt left behind and abandoned by politicians and big business and a way of registering this anger was by voting for a change and against the establishment.

Companies were dictating to their employees how they wanted them to vote (Nissan in Sunderland was a prime example) and once again this was an opportunity to deliver a big “F##k You…I work for you but don’t you dare tell me what to do!! (the same happened in Ireland during the recent General Elections – is there a big trend?)

It now seems that many were quite unclear about what they were voting for and many of the ‘selling points‘ that were presented by the leave campaign were proven false and this has left a very poor taste in people’s mouths.

Sterling has weakened and stock markets have shuddered with colossal amounts being wiped off company values everywhere, which in turn will affect pension funds. Companies who operate in the UK are reconsidering their positions and already we are hearing that plans to expand have been cancelled. The big, bold and brave Richard Branson is claiming that he has cancelled a project in the UK that would have resulted in 1,000 jobs – not good!

The Irish aren’t happy because we do lots of business with the UK – will Europe allow small little Ireland special flexibility to deal with the UK? If they are in the angry mood that we are currently witnessing they are more likely to give the UK a kicking than a special deal. We are worried and angry about their questionable decision.

At a time when the UK needs strong leadership and stability we are seeing resignations, backstabbing and jockeying for position by those only too willing to enjoy the spoils of power as a result of this debacle.

The young, the old, people from the UK, Europeans working and living there, the Scots, Northern Ireland, the expats on sunny beaches, the Irish and the Europeans – everyone is angry!

At this time it is more important than ever that we stay calm, that we show respect, that our decision making and key next steps are all made with cool, clear heads.

Tony Blair - Brexit

Tony Blair in an article in the Daily Telegraph delivers a special message and a stark warning:

Our nation is in peril. To allow us to come safely through this we need to be adult in our politics, to proceed with calm, maturity and without bitterness; because our future as a nation in the world and as the UK itself is at stake.

He is right!

A second referendum might be a very good idea to ensure that this huge change of direction has been properly thought out and made with all of the information and a clear understanding of the consequences, which will be felt for a long time.

The EU also needs to take a good, long hard look in the mirror and figure out why a key partner and an important and influential global force such as the UK has decided to walk away – please listen and learn from this!

The EU must also be adult in their politics and act with “calm, maturity and without bitterness”

All parties in this complex mess need to do what is best and not what is motivated by anger and the quest for…

Brevenge

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

Housing is the vital first step to progress

November 30, 2015

Dublin Docklands

Before we do anything we have to focus on the housing opportunity. Nothing else will work properly without attending to this key issue first.

I attended a really interesting session hosted by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce to discuss the Draft Dublin City Development Plan. There was a big attendance by the top property companies in Dublin as well as other key stakeholders.

There was a presentation by John O’Hara, Acting City Planner of the Dublin City Council. He carefully outlined the areas around Dublin that have been specifically earmarked for development.

The big message from his presentation is that there is a huge demand for residential accommodation and the challenge for the city is to deliver this with the limited space that is available as quick as possible.

There is also big demand for quality office space – however without places for people to live extra offices will only cause problems.

Dublin City Plan image

John Moran, Managing Director of Jones Lane LaSalle (JLL) presented their medium term outlook on the property market in Dublin.

The highlights of this presentation were big demand for office and residential property matched with insufficient supply and a rising hotel market with 85% occupancy, one of the highest in Europe. Being practical about it (and it will be very unpopular to say) maybe its a good thing that the Web Summit will be in Portugal next year? – we won’t have the hotel capacity otherwise!

Quite tellingly we heard about two FDI projects that Dublin lost to overseas locations due to lack of sufficient office space. While this was a loss (the people in the audience were concerned when we heard this) would we have been able to provide accommodation to the workers needed in these companies ?

He also spoke about rising rents putting pressure on employees. This is simple – the employee looks for a raise because their rent has been increased by €200 per month – their problem becomes the employers problem and this wage increase (its takes a lot more than €200 to put an extra €200 in a persons pay packet) will be passed onto the customer and before you know it we are uncompetitive all over again.

How did we get back to this place so quickly?

Brendan Foster of Grant Thornton took us through a very interesting case study for a proposed National Concert Hall Quarter, which would deliver considerable much needed city centre office and residential space.

Crwods

A few things struck me about the session:

Are we not talking?

I was really surprised at the discussion in the room – it struck me that these vested interests had to be brought together by the Chamber for these important conversations to take place. Surely these vital conversations should be happening for more than just 60 minutes? This is very worrying – joined up thinking is required to tackle such a huge issue and a Draft Development Plan for our capital should have much bigger input.

Business first

We all tend to think first about business, attracting more of it, making sure that quality office space is available – both for the big multinationals and the smaller indigenous start ups and service providers.

I could feel the frustration in the room when John O’Hara spent so much time talking about accommodation – we wanted to talk about business, BUT…

Housing is the most important issue that we have to get right very quickly – without this nothing else will happen!

It is clear that Dublin is seriously ‘overcooked‘ and there are serious issues with the supply of social housing, private and accommodation for rental.

If we don’t first sort out the housing challenge quickly in Dublin we should forget about attracting foreign direct investment and encouraging indigenous growth (I hate making that statement) in the city as it will cause further overheating, which we are not able to handle.

Huge Opportunity

The housing challenge in its own right is a huge economic opportunity, which we need to do everything to grasp and facilitate as a huge priority, right now if we want to progress.

Lets start building ..

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, who conduct brand workshops for clients from our offices in Dublin and Cork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giveaway budget – Yes Please!

October 10, 2015

Michael Noonan - Budget

I’m listening to the commentary and the opinions about the upcoming budget.

Already the accusations are flying that Fine Gael/Labour will be trying to ‘buy’ the next election by making this a giveaway budget – putting smiles on voters faces and all of the different vested interests is a terrible thing?

I’m reading the Irish Examiner and DKM Economic Consultants are questioning the need for the government to pump significant sums into the economy this budget.

Their chairman Brendan Dowling has stated “As market conditions improve and the recovery takes hold, one may question the need for additional fiscal expansion in the upcoming budget

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) are making the same noises: “expansionary budgets could inflate the economy“.

This bunch went even further and requested in their latest report that “the government reverse its plan for €1.5bn of spending and tax cuts“. The report author stated “the increase in the pace of economic growth reinforces the case for a neutral budget this year” and “a reduction in personal taxation is not required for growth in household consumption

Guys … you have got to be kidding me?

The stats show our economy is growing at 6% but surely this is from quite a low base. Personal consumption is starting to grow not because of a huge increase in incomes but because confidence is returning and people are not petrified of spending.

In the last few years big chunks have been taken from all of our pay packets and we deserve to start getting some of this back as things improve – we have to start enjoying the fruits of our labour once again.

Ann Cahill has written a fantastic article in the same issue about how “Workers are ‘left behind’ in Recovery” – this is a fact based article based on the Eurostat report.

Please look at the unemployment figures – we have one of the highest numbers of long term unemployed in the European Union. Take a look at the issues we have with homelessness.

Take one look at the empty shops in our villages, towns and cities and wonder why is this the case? Thankfully there is some progress here and we are starting to see new places opening but there is still a huge way to go.

I welcome with open arms any increase in spending and reductions in taxes – let it come into our pockets and let us enjoy spending it and let us carefully get back to a much better country than the one we have right now.

Giveaway budget.. Yes Please! 

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork

 

Housing Crisis or Housing Opportunity?

September 29, 2015

housing opportunity

I was sitting on a plane coming back from London on the late flight and I noticed someone a few seats ahead of me on the opposite side flicking through the newspaper. I hadn’t tuned into the news that day so I was trying to soak up the headlines as best I could to get some hint as to what was going on.

Headlines are quite dangerous because often they are designed to catch your attention and the actual content may not fully reflect the ‘story’ that is portrayed. You only discover this when you actually read the article but often we never get that opportunity as when we are busy we flick the pages of the newspaper and very quickly we start to consume the ‘headlines‘ as the actual stories.

This headline had the words ‘Housing Crisis‘ in it and as it would imply there must be a housing crisis. I have read these words in so much coverage lately that it would be correct in assuming that we have a big  ‘housing crisis‘ on our hands.

If you Google the words ‘housing crisis‘ you will get a mountain of listings with many published in the last few days.

When we read the articles you will hear about the lack of supply, small numbers of houses being built, negative equity, repossessions, rising rents, tighter controls over bank lending, NAMA and developers sitting on land banks and a looming homelessness crisis.

For the most part it is all negative rhetoric and that word ‘crisis’ is bring used over and over, so much so that we should all get depressed.

In any other industry if you were to describe this exact set of circumstances we would be using the words ‘opportunity‘ instead:

  • There is high demand for the products and lack of supply
  • The demographics indicate that this demand will sustain itself into the future
  • Prices are rising due to demand but there are also low interest rates and an improving economy
  • Employment levels and income are rising
  • Fulfilling this demand (10,000 units per annum extra) will create 25,000 extra jobs
  • More jobs means more ability to pay, creating even more demand
  • Demand will generate income for the government
  • Demand will stimulate growth in supporting industries

Why aren’t we using the word opportunity and looking at the upside and the huge positives?

If this was any other sector, businesses would be seizing the opportunities and they would be supported by the banks. If we could create 25,000 new jobs there would be all sorts of supports and incentives on offer by the government.

And what about all of the ancillary products and services? – the carpets, curtains, tiling, fittings, furniture and electrical sales which would come after all of the professional services. That would be a huge amount of economic activity.

When it comes to property we are suspicious, we are fearful it will ‘overcook‘ the economy once again and we feel that any incentives given to consumers will be abused by the developers. It’s an industry that we distrust and the word ‘greed‘ seems to automatically apply because of the excess of the Celtic Tiger, which is still fresh in all our minds.

Despite this negativity around the industry I am very puzzled  that no one is writing about these obvious positives so I have a peep at the Construction Industry Federation website to see what they are saying.

I find a copy of a press release dated 4th September 2015 with the heading “Six steps to increasing housing supply and stimulate growth in the economy“.

They could just be right ..

The best way to solve our ‘housing crisis’ is to seize the housing opportunity.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design, with offices in Dublin and Cork