Today marks 29 years since the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality as a mental illness from the International Classification of Diseases
May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia ( IDAHOBIT ) – a time to champion inclusion and build a better world for the LGBTI+ community.
BeLonG To Youth Services is the national organisation supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI+) young people in Ireland. Since 2003, BeLong To have worked with LGBTI+ young people to create a world where they are equal, safe, and valued in the diversity of their identities and experiences. We also advocate and campaign on behalf of young LGBTI+ people, and offer a specialised LGBTI+ youth service with a focus on mental and sexual health, alongside drug and alcohol support. We respond to the needs of LGBTI+ young people in Ireland and we help them thrive.
Yesterday, BeLong To launched their first National School Climate Survey in partnership with the Ivy League research university, Columbia University in the USA.
They are gathering the experiences of LGBTI+ people between 12 and 18 years at school and ask that we all share this survey with the LGBTI+ people in our lives.
They will be sharing the results with politicians, policy makers, educators, and the media and make sure the experiences captured are heard far and wide. With research comes a better understanding of how to make things better and helps us make change.
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA), on May 15th, launched a free short on-line course aimed at assisting tradespeople who may encounter asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in the course of their work.
It can be accessed through the HSA e-learning portal https://hsalearning.ie. The 30 minute online course will help raise asbestos awareness amongst a range of workers including electricians, plumbers, carpenters, installers, maintenance workers, caretakers and construction workers.
If an employee unknowingly disturbs ACMs, asbestos fibres that can seriously harm health are released into the air. The course includes an interactive building highlighting potential areas where ACMs may be found, and their risks. A variety of examples are provided including images of what to look out for. Learners will also hear a personal account of the health effects of asbestos exposure.
Completion of the ‘Asbestos Safety for Tradespeople’ course will help learners to improve their awareness of ACMs and how to protect themselves and others. However, it does not in any way enable individuals to work with ACMs.
At the end of this course learners should be able to:
understand what asbestos is,
outline the health effects of exposure to asbestos,
identify potential locations of asbestos containing materials (ACMs), and
outline the steps to take to protect yourself from exposure to asbestos.
Darren Arkins, Senior Inspector, with the HSA said, “The ‘Asbestos Safety for Tradespeople’ course will provide learners with important information on ACMs in the workplace. It will help employers and employees to be aware of potential locations of ACMs and how to manage a situation when these materials are found. Employers can also incorporate the course into staff induction or training programmes.”
He added, “This short online course will give those who may encounter asbestos in the course of their work a good introduction to it and plenty of guidance on where to seek further information.”
Joanne Harmon, Business and Education Support Manager, with the HSA said, “Learners can take courses during their own time, at their own pace and can download a certificate of completion on passing the short assessment. Although not a formal qualification, certification can form part of an individual’s training or continuous professional development record.”
To see the full range of HSA on-line courses on offer, browse and/or register as a learner on https://hsalearning.ie. If you are interested in further information on HSA on-line learning or to register these or other courses for continuing professional development points, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will find further information, advice and the HSA publication ‘Asbestos-containing Materials (ACMs) in Workplaces – Practical Guidelines on ACM Management and Abatement’ on www.hsa.ie.
Rachel Stewart, Business Development Director with Stewart Construction gives the CIF an update on some major projects currently in the works by Stewart Construction, including the much anticipated Central Plaza.
Work at the iconic Central Plaza is well underway. Originally designed by Sam Stephenson the building opened in the late 1970’s to mixed reviews but it’s distinctive design would become one of the Dublin city’s most striking buildings. Works are being undertaken on a design and build basis with the building’s exterior remaining largely preserved with the addition of a new, grand stairway entrance and an enhanced, open plaza space for the public to enjoy.
Works also include the upgrading and refurbishments of the main tower’s existing office floors which span over 7 storeys, which are to be fitted out with elegant and high-end finishes. Additionally, the top-most level of the Central Plaza Tower will be a two-storey, glass-roofed structure which will house a restaurant, hospitality, and viewing areas where visitors will have breath-taking views of Dublin’s city scape.
This is the second project Stewart Construction has undertaken in conjunction with Hines, a major player in global real estate investment.
Stewart Construction is also nearing completion on the design and build contract for Hines’ prestigious Bishop’s Square office development on Kevin Street. This sees an existing Dublin city centre building go higher with a substantial extension to the 5 storey existing office block by expanding the existing floorplates of the top two floors and adding an additional 6th floor.
This ‘live site’ office expansion will see an additional 5154m2 to the 5 storey existing office block. Renovations and high-spec fit-outs will also take place at reception and lobby areas. The project also includes for sections of Cat A & Cat B fit outs and revisions to Mechanical & Electrical installations.
The original office block on Kevin Street was constructed approximately 12 years ago and the Grade A office space is fully occupied by high calibre tenants. The focal point of Bishop’s Square is an impressive landscaped six-storey atrium, which provides natural light to the entire building. The building’s façade is a mix of metal cladding, glazing and stone units and precast concrete with red brick terracotta.
To view a video update on Central Plaza, please head to the Stewart website by clicking here.
4* IHG® Hotel, close to Dublin Airport
Work is also well under way on the new 4* IHG® Hotel close to Dublin Airport at Clonshaugh. Works are being undertaken on a design and build basis with Stewart Construction collaborating with an extensive design team and a specialist design-led supply chain. Collectively they have designed a coordinated, pre-engineered, system-build construction incorporating a twin-wall precast structure, a unitized glazing and cladding system with bathroom pod installation.
The development site is located only 1km from Dublin Airport. With Dublin Airport welcoming over 30 million passengers each year, this new 10 storey, 421-bedroom hotel will provide much-needed accommodation in a modern, and high-end setting.
Plans for the 4* star hotel include meeting and conference rooms, a fitness gym, restaurant, bar, coffee dock and buffet area, with all rooms having high performance ICT for tech-dependant guests, business people, and conferences. It will be fitted out with inviting, comfortable internal finishes and a contemporary style. A large car park, elegant landscaping, an ESB substation, and new access roads are also in the works.
Stewart Constructions is also making great progress at their student accommodation site at Carman’s Hall, Dublin 8. Located within Dublin’s main ring road, just to the west of the city centre and south of the River Liffey, this development will see much needed accommodation for the ever-growing student population in Dublin. Located just a short walk from Trinity College and the Royal College of Surgeons’ campus, University College Dublin and Dublin City University are also easily accessible by public transport.
Works include the construction of 3 residential buildings of between 5 and 6 storeys, containing 207 high-specification, en-suite bedrooms arranged in cluster apartments of between 5 to 8 bedrooms. The property will also feature significant dedicated communal areas, including a common room, gym and study room, a management suite, bicycle storage, a public coffee shop at ground level and a private outdoor landscaped courtyard.
For more information on Stewart Construction and their projects, see www.stewart.ie
Rachel Stewart, Business Development, Stewart Construction
Leonard Daly, Commercial Director with Mythen Construction gives an insight into the historical and exciting project that is the conservation of the previously know Evan’s Almshouse and the relocation of the Kilkenny Butler Gallery.
Established in 1994, Mythen Construction Limited has grown to become a nationally recognised Main Contractor having successfully completed hundreds of projects across all ranges of the Construction Industry in both the Public and Private Sector with values ranging from €250,000.00 to €30 Million.
The long neglected Evan’s Home building in County Kilkenny, a former Church of Ireland almshouse, is getting a new lease on life. This historic listed building was founded in 1818 and previously known as Evan’s Almshouse (Evan’s Asylum). It has languished vacant for some years. Kilkenny County Council as the client wanted to develop a cultural quarter in the heart of Kilkenny City. It was envisaged to relocate the Butler Gallery into this historic property. Kilkenny County Council put forth a public procurement request on ETender, and Mythen Construction Ltd won the tender competition.
It was known that this was going to be an exciting project when the archaeology team found trinkets and two full skeletons inside the building and 148 individual remains were found outside under Barrack Lane. This significant archaeological discovery halted works for about 5 weeks. The burials date back to the 13th or early 14th century. Barrack Lane formed part of the original cemetery of St John’s Priory which dates back to the 1240s.
In addition to the historic finds, the conservation and restoration of the building is paramount to the client. In this respect, Mythen Construction Ltd excelled in complying with the specifications and current guidelines for the likes of re-roofing works, building fabric restoration, stone replacement and re-pointing and, sash window restoration. Mythen Construction have recently completed stone conservation and re-pointing and the roof is completely restored by the specialist works of RPN Carpentry.
A new contemporary extension has been connected to the listed building. The extension is located adjacent to the River Nore. Therefore, an augur piling solution was required to meet the challenging ground conditions.
The marrying of the new contemporary building to the existing building, with its intricate details, created challenges to the build process which Mythen Construction successfully overcame.
The Butler Gallery relocation will create an entirely new type of place for art in Ireland, which incorporates both the original Evan’s Home, a large historic building which is currently derelict, and will be carefully conserved alongside the small new extension. It will support a range of art forms including the Butler Permanent Collection, the Tony O’Malley Collection, and a gallery for major temporary exhibitions. The new Butler Gallery will also house an interpretative centre, telling the story of the residents and the findings on site.
The new art space will also include Evan’s garden where sculpture and archaeology can be displayed. The Butler Gallery will be operated by Kilkenny Arts Society Ltd which has been in existence since the 1940s. It currently operates the Butler Gallery in a much reduced space in the basement of Kilkenny Castle.
Over time, the Butler Art Gallery will facilitate artist studios and fully house their Education and Community Outreach Programmes. In doing so, Mythen will be bringing back to life a building and site that has remained largely empty for many years, imbuing it with a renewed energy and dynamism.
It won’t be long now before Kilkenny has a wonderful Art Gallery; with a building rich in history.
Additional information and pictures from the project so far can be found below;
The CIF has warned that the decision to increase wages by 2.7% per annum for the next two years will put pressure on regional construction companies still in recovery mode.
CIF Director General Tom Parlon said,
“The reality in regional Ireland is that there is not enough activity to sustain construction companies in those areas. We have consistently highlighted the disparity in activity between the Greater Dublin Area and the rest of Ireland. Our regional contractors and housebuilders are reporting low levels of activity in the regions already. This wage increase will put more pressure on these companies making the delivery of essential housebuilding, infrastructure delivery and job creation in the regions even more parlous.
Balanced regional development and growth in regional cities and towns is fundamental to the delivery of Project 2040 and the creation of a sustainable Irish economy. We are again warning that without strong construction companies operating in the regions, Project 2040 is under threat. For example, housebuilding in the regions is still very subdued even in areas where there is viable demand. Increases in costs, such as wages, can make it more difficult to secure development finance for housing development at a time when the cost of housebuilding still surpasses the cost of existing stock in many places outside the GDA.
We are working with Government to address blockages to the delivery of essential construction in areas such as public sector procurement, finance availability, planning and infrastructure but everything must be done to avoid upward pressure on construction costs to ensure construction is viable across the entire country.”
A new report from the CIF shows that 10,600 extra workers joined the construction workforce in 2018, up 8% year on year and bringing the total workforce to 145,500.
· Irish construction workforce increased by 8% in 2018, with 145,500 now working in the industry
· €26 billion invested in building and construction in Ireland during 2018, up 20% year on year
· 24% increase in housing investment in 2018, with non-residential construction up 12%
· Cost of construction rose by 8% in 2018.
There was a 20% increase in investment in building and construction in 2018, with €26 billion invested during the year. The report shows that housing investment increased by 24% in 2018, with 18,072 new housing units completed, an increase of 25% on 2017 and 22,467 new housing units commenced construction in 2018, which is an increase of 28% year on year.
Speaking at the CIF’s quarterly briefing in Davy’s, Jeanette Mair, CIF Economic and Policy Research Executive said:
“CIF forecasts predict completions of new homes will increase to 23,000 in 2019 and 28,500 in 2020, with an increase in housing investment in 2019 of 20% and further increase of 12% in 2020.
The report also shows that non-residential construction increased by 12% in 2018, which has been driven by the commercial and FDI sectors. However, due to the sheer volume of commercial building from 2015-2017, it is expected this growth will slow in 2019 and 2020 to 7% and 6% respectively.
Growth in the sector is expected to average 16% in 2019, before moderating to 10% in 2020. Even with growth moderating after 2020, the Department of Finance has predicted investment in the sector will increase to €41 billion by 2023.”
The report shows the cost of construction rose by 7.7% in 2018 and is forecast to rise by 6.5% 2019. The CIF report indicates that these increases are being caused by the high demand for construction services, skill shortages in the sector and wage increases.
Working Permit Changes
To combat these increases and the current skills shortage in the industry, CIF has engaged with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to make amendments to the Critical Skills Occupations List. These changes will mean non-EEA nationals will be able to apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit from April 22nd 2019 if they are a civil engineer, quantity surveyor, construction project manager or a mechanical/electrical engineer with BIM experience.
A number of occupations will also be removed from the Ineligible Occupations List and will now be eligible for a General Employment Permit including sheet metal workers, crane drivers, plasterers, bricklayers, pipefitters and welders.
Hubert Fitzpatrick, Director of Housing, Planning & Development at CIF said,
“The Irish economy has been growing strongly over the past number of years and it is clear from these figures that the construction industry has been growing with it. We’ve seen an extra 10,600 workers join the construction industry last year, which is helping to meet the 20% increase in investment in the sector.
With investment in the industry expected to reach €41 billion in 2023 and construction costs continuing to increase, we need to encourage more people to enter the construction industry, so skill shortages are not holding back growth, both of the industry and the economy as a whole. We’re confident that the employment permit changes we have secured will help to address this issue and that Ireland will start to see more skilled workers enter the construction industry.”
Geoscience Ireland (GI) is a business cluster assisting 39 Irish, and Irish-based, contractor and consultancy firms in winning business in international markets and is supported by Geological Survey Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.
Geoscience Ireland joined the Construction Industry Federation in 2016 and is most prominent in the early stages of infrastructure development, although it is relevant at all stages in contracting works in terms of design, construction and in-situ monitoring of geotechnical solutions and environmental impacts.
The geoscience skill-set underpins a number of sectors including mining and quarrying, civil engineering for roads, ports and airports, and water and environmental engineering. The target markets of GI’ member companies are the UK, the Nordics, sub-Saharan Africa, the Gulf States and Canada.
Ireland in Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa has significant development opportunities and Ireland has accumulated a strong track record of delivering high quality infrastructure projects across the continent. GI member companies are active in the mining and quarrying, and transport and economic infrastructure sectors and have worked in almost every country on the continent.
Africa in 2019: Challenges and Opportunities
Africa comprises 54 states which have individual economic and development agendas. As Africa continues to develop – expecting a population of 2.5 billion by 2050 and an evolving middle class in parts where today one in 5 Africans are aged 15-24 – challenges and disparities are still very evident.
Nigeria remains Africa’s largest economy though it is yet to recover fully from the 2014 oil price crash and its currency crash of 2016 which saw the Naira’s value drop 44% against the US Dollar. The continent’s fastest growing economies include Ethiopia, Kenya and Ghana, all of which hosted Trade Missions from Ireland recently; however rising debt is an undertone to these fast-paced transformations. The geo-economic shift over the past decade has witnessed China becoming Africa’s largest trading partner, and India, Russia and Turkey competing with Europe and the US.
Multilateral and international financial institutions (IFIs) will play a major role in development assistance. Commercial contracts supported by the likes of the World Bank Group, European and UN development programs and funds, and Ireland’s imminent membership to the African Development Bank will offer Irish companies a low-risk route to market.
Civil infrastructure is critical for the development of a country; by 2025, the PwC Capital Projects and Infrastructure report projects spending to be $180bn per annum. High quality roads, airports and ports are a necessity for a developing country to enable itself to prosper domestically and trade internationally. Such developments require expertise and quality delivery throughout the value chain from sourcing materials to engineering and constructing projects.
The Irish Expertise
GI member PW Nigeria operates its own quarries and has its own batching plants, self-loading mixers, transit mixer trucks, concrete pumps and slip form pavers to supply materials to developments in the West African country. To date, PW Nigeria has completed 5,000 kilometres of road, 100 KMs of runways (working on live runways including Lagos and Benin) and moved 65 million cubic meters of earth.
Neighbouring PW Mining International, based in Accra, Ghana, is a major player in Western Africa markets and provides contracting and engineering services for earth moving, pavement construction and industrial building. Its airport works include Kumasi and Kotoka in Ghana, and harbour repair works the port city of Sekondi for Tullow Oil.
Civil engineering is the design, development and problem solving in such developments. Both PW Nigeria and PW Mining have in-house expertise here while specialist, Africa-orientated, GI member companies include Nicholas O’Dwyer and JB Barry & Partners. Africa remains a key market for Nicholas O’Dwyer and has operated there since the 1970s. Its projects include undertaking an EU-funded hydrological survey in Mozambique; both highway and rural road developments in Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Senegal, Swaziland and Tanzania; consultancy for wastewater plant construction in Zambia; and water supply projects in Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
JB Barry has provided the technical expertise in project management, procurement, civil engineering, tunnelling, access roads, environment, public health and socio-economics to the Lesotho Highlands Water Project; this project has been in development since the mid-1980s and involves the construction of an intricate network of tunnels and dams to divert water from the mountains of Lesotho to South Africa.
Designer Group delivers the mechanical and electrical works enabling industrial, port and airport developments, such as Diageo’s brewing operations in Kenya and Tullow Oil’s Kenyan field facilities.
Commercial, economic and geo-political risks are considerable factors for new entrants in the market, notwithstanding these however; GI’s member companies are continuing to export their skills to an ever growing market.
If you wish to learn more about the opportunities for Irish companies in Africa, or to connect with Irish experts in-market, please contact Andrew Gaynor; email@example.com or 01 6782673.
Join Pieta, Electric Ireland and thousands of people across the country on May 11th and walk to raise funds for suicide prevention at this year’s Darkness into Light 5k walk at over 168 venues throughout the country, register now at darknessintolight.ie
With just 9 days to go until Darkness into Light on May 11, the event organisers, Pieta, proudly supported by Electric Ireland since 2013, are calling on as many people as possible to join them to raise much need funding and awareness for the prevention of suicide and self-harm and the promotion of positive mental health.
Over 200,000 people are expected to come together in the pre-dawn hours in 19 countries across 5 continents to take part in the global movement that seeks to remove the stigma around suicide and self-harm and spread the power of hope in Ireland and around the globe.
Last year, Darkness into Light walkers raised €6 million from the event, of which €800,000 was raised across our international venues. Worldwide close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year – one person every 40 seconds. In Ireland 392 people took their own lives in 2017. (Source: National Office for Suicide Prevention.)
2019 marks the 7th year Electric Ireland have walked alongside Pieta to bring hope to customers, staff and communities across Ireland that have been affected by suicide. To join the thousands of people around Ireland who are taking part in this year’s Darkness into Light 5k walk, go to www.darknessintolight.ie.
The funds raised from Darkness into Light help to keep Pieta centers open, offering free therapy, the 24 /7 Helpline line, education and bereavement counselling for people in need of support. In 2018, over 8,000 clients were supported with face to face therapy by Pieta experts. Since 2006, over 40,000 people received support from our intervention and bereavement counselling services. By the end of this school year, Pieta will have reached out to over 7,500 students with a bespoke schools’ programme called the Resilience Academy a free programme for second year students in secondary schools designed to increase young people’s resilience, hope for the future, ability to cope with difficult feelings and connection to their school.
Siobhan Leijen, Clinical Manager, Pieta Midlands “It’s difficult to describe the incredibly hopeful feelings created by Darkness Into Light. As a therapist and Clinical Manager we see firsthand the undisputable need for Pieta to be present in our communities. The walk is about far more than just the raising of fund. It brings people together from all over the world every year because the need for change is immense.”
Leijen added “Among those who walk are the people we have been so humbled to assist in their greatest time of need, their families, friends, neighbors and coworkers the list is relentless. Darkness Into Light is unity and true human compassion from one human being to another. It is Hope”.
Irene Hehir, from Ennis, is one of the many thousands of people who have experienced challenging times and sought the help of Pieta. “Almost 2 years ago during a time of deep crisis Pieta Midwest in Limerick took great care of me and helped me to find my way to a better life, one where I learned to believe in myself, to learn what a good person I was and to learn skills to help me get through day to day life without the thought of suicide.
Hehir added “This year, I will rejoice in the life I now have and will relish the dawn when it breaks letting us all come from the Darkness into the light on Saturday May 11th and let that be a new dawn of fresh hope and love to all that need it the most”.
Pieta operates a free 24-hour suicide helpline on 1800 247 247
Darkness Into Light is vital for fundraising, for raising awareness and for bringing people together in a spirit of solidarity and comfort in giving all hope.
Anthony Brady, Industrial Relations and Employment Services Executive with the CIF, outlines the public holiday entitlements for employees in the Construction Sector.
Next Monday, 6th May 2019, is the start of the eagerly awaited summer public holidays. There are three in total which include the first Monday in May, the first Monday in June and the first Monday in August.
It is at the discretion of the Company to decide what benefit they provide employees in respect of a public holiday. In line with the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997, employers can provide any of the following as benefits in respect of the public holiday:
A paid day off on that day,
A paid day off within a month of that day,
An additional day of annual leave,
An additional day’s pay.
Construction Sector workers are entitled to double time for time worked on a public holiday in addition to an additional day’s leave.
Full time employees will automatically be entitled to one of the benefits outlined above in respect of the public holiday.
Part-time employees will need to have worked a minimum of 40 hours in the five weeks preceding the public holiday in order to qualify for a public holiday benefit. If part-time employees have worked 40 hours in the five weeks preceding the public holiday and are not required to work on the public holiday, they are entitled to their normal days pay if they were rostered to work that day. If they do not normally work on the day the public holiday falls, or work a variable week, they are entitled to receive one-fifth of their average weekly wage. If their weekly wage varies from week to week, it is recommended that you seek an average from the previous 13 weeks worked.
In relation to an employee whose employment is terminated on or before a public holiday, if their last day of employment is during the week ending on the day before a public holiday, and they have worked during the four weeks preceding that week, they are entitled to a benefit for same. For example, the May public holiday is on Monday, 6th May 2019, therefore if an employee ceases to be employed on any date between 29th April 2019 – 5th May 2019, they should receive a benefit, provided they have worked any time between 1st – 29th April.
In total, the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 provides for the following 9 public holidays:
1st January (New Year’s Day)
17th March (St Patrick’s Day)
First Monday in May
First Monday in June
First Monday in August
Last Monday in October
25th December (Christmas Day)
26th December (St Stephen’s Day)
For queries relating to public holidays or the Organisation of Working Time Act, please contact a member of the Industrial Relations & Employment Services Department on 01 406 6000.
Anthony Brady, Industrial Relations and Employment Services, CIF
On the 19th May, 2010, Independent Senator Feargal Quinn introduced the Construction Contracts Bill to the Seanad as a private members’ Bill. The purpose of the Bill was to introduce a payment mechanism and greater protection to contractors, particularly subcontractors in the construction industry.
The Bill received Government support and Senator Quinn championed the course of the Bill through to its implementation on 25 th July 2016.
At the time, Senator Quinn stated that the impact of the Construction Contracts Act would be hugely valuable to those working in the construction industry and the Act would focus on the issue of the non-payment of contractors and subcontractors in the construction sector.
On the momentous day of the Act’s implementation, Senator Quinn stated:
“For me as a legislator this is a proud day. This Bill has become law against the odds. This legislation has taken almost six years to become law. I initiated many Bills during my time in the Seanad and to see this one become law just as my time as a Senator is coming to an end is very fitting.”
Since its implementation in 2016, there has been a gradual cultural change with the Act providing for the mechanism of interim payments every thirty days and thus reducing a contractor’s exposure to non-payment. The Act also introduced a new mechanism for the swift process of adjudication to resolve payment disputes.
Feargal Quinn understood the plight of the subcontractor and we owe him our sincere thanks in implementing this ground-breaking legislation.