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Planners seeking workable legislation Conference told

Gavin Lawlor, President of the Irish Planning Institute, has said that the priority of planners is to ensure that the Planning and Development Bill, currently passing through the Oireachtas, is workable for the long term, not to slow the legislative process down.

Addressing over 300 professionals from across the planning, construction and sustainability sectors at the Institute’s annual conference in Waterford on the progress of the Bill, he said, “In its current form this Bill is not fit for purpose. It will have a detrimental impact on citizen engagement in the planning process, and it proposes unrealistic timelines, guidelines and compliance, making aspects of the Bill unworkable.

“Our ambition is not to slow down the Bill but to work with policy makers to get it right. We have made a number of submissions on the legislation and engaged very constructively and openly but remain convinced that the Bill requires further section-by-section consultation and review with practitioners so that the implications in practice of the new measures can be considered.

“The IPI want to see a Bill that serves the needs of society and the common good for generations to come. We remain fully committed to working with the Minister, Minister of State, Department, Oireachtas members and all stakeholders to make sure this legislation is fit for purpose, and we look forward to seeing further revisions and amendments at Report Stage.”

Addressing his first Conference as President, Gavin Lawlor, who became head of the Institute in January also said his focus for the sector is establishing planners’ critical role in delivering climate action and sustainability.  Attracting more people to planning as a career and ensuring the profession provides a united front are also priorities of his tenure.

He added: “Sustainability is at the heart of what we do. Planners understand the issues of climate, biodiversity, demography and economic development but our voice risks being drowned out by those that don’t have a holistic understanding of these issues.

“Planners know how to ensure the housing and infrastructure we need is delivered for the benefit of the environment and society and we need to be more assertive about the skills and knowledge we bring.”

“To do this we have to work collaboratively. Much of this year’s conference programme is about building understanding across the planning, technology, construction and sustainability sectors but we also need to build understanding across the planning profession itself and break down barriers. “

Also, welcoming delegates to this year’s Conference Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr Joe Conway said, “This year’s conference will focus on planning for smart, sustainable, and competitive regions and cities, and it is our vision in Waterford City and County Council to make Waterford City ʻthe most liveable city in Irelandʼ where our growing population can sustainably live, work and play.

“The North Quays is a flagship sustainable urban regeneration project. The project creates the opportunity to develop a sustainable and exemplary city centre by connecting the north and south sides of the city and will reduce dependency on travel by private car and will increase the modal shift of journeys to walking and cycling, and further encourage this by the creation of high-quality public realm space. The overall North Quays project is a model for the proper integration of land use planning and transport planning which is critical to delivering the smart, sustainable and competitive cities needed to meet our future challenges.”

He added, “Waterford City and County Council, in partnership with the Urban Regeneration & Development Fund and other stakeholders is also investing in the regeneration of the heart of the historic city centre, while investment in the sustainable regeneration of Waterford’s towns and villages is also continuing with the support of the Rural Regeneration Development Fund.”

Among those addressing the IPI Conference this year is Peter Mullan, new chair of An Bord Pleanála who gave the keynote address this morning (Thursday) while the conference will also be addressed by Michael Flood from the OECD.

Waterford City and County Council leads the way in tackling vacancies

St. Joseph’s House, Manor Hill
St. Joseph’s House, Manor Hill

Last month, Dublin City University (DCU) and the Dublin Simon Community published “Opportunities and Challenges of Vacant ‘Above the Shop’ Units (VATSUs) for Residential Use in Ireland.”

According to the report, vacant above the shop units (VATSUs) are particularly complex units to bring into reuse, requiring significantly more flexibility, resources, risk mitigation and absorption, contingency planning, and multi-disciplinary work than other types of vacant units. The report addresses the challenges, opportunities and processes presented by the conversion/reuse of VATSUs for residential use.

Waterford featured prominently in the report as an example of where a local authority can activate and encourage the reuse of vacant above-shop buildings and spaces, in particular due to its widespread take up of the Repair and Leasing (RLS) scheme.

The report noted, “Property owners are working closely with local government officials to renovate vacant properties, including VATSUs, and increase social housing stock in the process. Following on this trend, one business owner has renovated two of their properties using RLS in recent years. Along with stripping both buildings back completely ‘from the floor to the roof’, renovations included putting in new walls, ceilings, floors, rewiring, replumbing, and kitchens. They also had to take out and rebuild the rear wall on one of the buildings, as it was in a poor state of repair, and put in a vented bin store outside each building.”

The continued uptake and delivery through the Repair and Lease scheme were noted, with Waterford accounting for a substantial number of dwellings brought back into use.

More recently in the Dáil on April 9th Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said, “Waterford City and County Council is the leading local authority in delivering units under RLS.

“It participated in the original pilot scheme, commencing in October 2016. To end 2023, Waterford has delivered 312 homes under RLS, 56% of national delivery.  This includes the largest RLS project to date, St Joseph’s House, Manor Hill, where 71 homes have been created in a previously vacant convent in a city centre location.”

In June last year, the Minister cut the ribbon on the age-friendly housing development at the landmark site on Manor Hill, saying, “Waterford City and County Council is leading the way in delivering new social and affordable homes, and in particular in tackling vacancy which to be frank is a scourge in many villages, towns, and cities across the country.”

The former convent has been transformed with 50 dwelling units located within the main building and 21 located in the various out-building clusters on the site, while the former chapel on the site has been repurposed as a community space for multiple uses by tenants.

Over €4.9 million was approved through the Repair and Lease Scheme, funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.  The funding was provided under Housing for All – A New Housing Plan for Ireland.  The Repair and Lease Scheme has been pioneered in Waterford and is a significant driver in providing high quality affordable housing solutions and at the same time has significantly addressed and delivered the return to use of vacant buildings in Waterford.

In County Waterford, 48% of homes provided to the end of 2023 by RLS are one-bed units, with a further 37% providing two-bed homes.

The Report Opportunities and Challenges of Vacant “Above the Shop” Units (VATSUs) for Residential Use in Ireland  by Michelle Connolly of Dublin Simon Community and Dr Kathleen Stokes of Dublin City University can be found at:

https://www.dubsimon.ie/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/19834_VATSU_Report_Web.pdf

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Image: St. Joseph’s House, Manor Hill

Deadline for Increased Cost of Business (ICOB) Grant fast approaching

Increased Cost of Business Grant

As part of Budget 2024, the Government signed off on a package of €257m for the Increased Cost of Business (ICOB) Grant as a vital measure for small and medium businesses.

Waterford City & County Council, funded through Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE), is managing the rollout of the grant to qualifying businesses.  Closing date for businesses to confirm eligibility and to upload verification details is May 1st 2024.

Eligible businesses will receive a once-off grant payment. The amount of the grant payable to eligible businesses is based on the value of the Commercial Rates bill the business received in 2023. However, it is not a Commercial Rates waiver and businesses should continue to pay their Commercial Rates bill as normal.

What is the purpose of the grant?  The grant is available to qualifying businesses as a contribution towards the rising costs faced by businesses. The grant is intended to aid businesses but is not intended to directly compensate for all increases in wages, or other costs, for every business.

How much is the grant?  The grant is based on the value of the Commercial Rates bill received by an eligible business in 2023.

– For qualifying businesses with a 2023 Commercial Rate bill of <€10,000, the ICOB grant will be paid at a rate of 50% of the business’s Commercial Rate bill for 2023.

– For qualifying businesses with a 2023 Commercial Rate bill of between €10,000 and €30,000, the ICOB grant will be €5,000.

– Businesses with a 2023 Commercial Rates bill greater than €30,000 are not eligible to receive an ICOB grant.

What businesses are eligible to receive the grant?  The following are the main qualifying criteria:

  • Your business must be a commercially trading business currently operating from a property that is commercially rateable.
  • Your business must have been trading on 1st February 2024 and you must intend to continue trading for at least three months from the date you verify your information.
  • You must provide confirmation of your bank details.
  • Your business must be rates compliant. Businesses in performing payment plans may be deemed to be compliant.
  • Your business must be tax compliant and must possess a valid Tax Registration Number (TRN).

Please note that Waterford City & County Council reserves the right to claw back any grant payment which is later found to be incorrect. This includes any circumstances such as error by the recipient business or the local authority making the payment, or where a business makes a false declaration of eligibility.

What is the closing date?  The closing date for businesses to confirm eligibility and to upload verification details is May 1st 2024.

Where can I find out further information?  Correspondence and guidance have been issued to qualifying commercially rateable businesses.  In addition, an FAQ is available online and you should refer to this guidance and FAQ prior to making your submission.

For further information about the ICOB Grant visit https://bit.ly/Waterford-ICOB

If you have queries regarding your Commercial Rates account including outstanding balances, contact Waterford City & County Council at rates@waterfordcouncil.ie.  Our team are happy to discuss any balances outstanding on your rates and what steps can be taken to ensure compliance with the scheme.

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Two Construction Contracts Awarded for Cappoquin Regeneration Project

Waterford City and County Council has awarded the first two construction contracts for the Cappoquin Regeneration Project.

Marlhill Construction from Ardfinnan has been awarded the contract for the refurbishment of Moore’s Hotel on Main Street, and Conor Phelan Construction from Dungarvan have been awarded the contract for the refurbishment of three terraced townhouses at 6, 7 and 8 Main Street.

The Department of Rural and Community Development is investing over €6m in the overall Cappoquin Regeneration Project through its Rural Regeneration & Development Fund (RRDF).  This investment is being augmented by additional funding from Waterford City and County Council and the Cappoquin Regeneration Company. The Regeneration Project aims to address vacancy and dereliction in the town centre and invest in the town centre’s public domain.

The construction contract for the derelict former Moore’s Hotel will transform the 150-year-old building into residential upper floor accommodation over ground floor commercial premises.  Extensive reconstruction, refurbishment and conservation works will be completed over the coming 12 months with the new properties ready for occupation by the end of 2025.  The housing contract will transform the vacant terraced townhouses into three new homes with ancillary mews accommodation at the rear on Green Street.  Again, extensive reconstruction and refurbishment works over the coming 12 months will deliver the new homes for occupation by the end of 2025.

Further projects currently in design development under the RRDF Regeneration Project include the refurbishment of Fennell’s Pub & Uniacke’s Shop on Main Street and proposed public realm works at Market Square and Main Street.

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Conway acknowledged that it was a significant day for Cappoquin, saying “This investment is a ringing endorsement of the potential of Cappoquin and surrounds, as a vibrant, sustainable, and vital area that will see families locate to and thrive in.

“The success of the Cappoquin Regeneration Project will be measured against the success of similar rural regeneration projects, such as the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the West Waterford Sports Hub, and the rejuvenation of Blackwater House.  These have breathed new life and energy into Waterford’s rural communities and no doubt, we can anticipate the same outcome in Cappoquin with the delivery of new, energy efficient, modern family homes to the area.”

Dr Ben Murphy, Chairperson and Director of Cappoquin Regeneration Company CLG, said that he and his fellow directors and members of Cappoquin Regeneration Company are delighted to see the first contracts of the town regeneration project being awarded.

“The company members have worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Cappoquin to reach this very important milestone for the town and acknowledges the support of the members and staff of Waterford City and County Council and the Tomar Trust in this regeneration project.”

He added, “We would also like to acknowledge the funding of the Department of Rural and Community Development through the Rural Regeneration Development Fund and we are very much looking forward to having another phase of the town centre regeneration project completed over the next 18 months.”

Reminder: Expressions of Interest sought for 2024 Town & Village Renewal Scheme

Town & Village Renewal logo

Waterford City & County Council will administer the 2024 Town & Village Renewal Scheme funded by the Department of Rural & Community Development. The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is funded under Project Ireland 2040 and is a key initiative of Our Rural Future – Ireland’s Rural Development Policy 2021-2025. The objectives of the 2024 Town and Village Renewal Scheme are focused to align with the commitments within Our Rural Future and the Town Centre First policy documents.

The focus of the Town & Village Renewal Scheme is on ensuring the development of Waterford’s rural towns and villages and making them more attractive places to live and work and increase their economic potential.

Waterford City & County Council now seeks expressions of interest from towns and villages, for funding of suitable projects under this initiative. Expression of interest form and details of the Scheme’s outline can be obtained by e-mailing townvillagerenewal@waterfordcouncil.ie and completed expression of interest forms are to be returned before 5.00pm Friday 19th April 2024.

All applications will be subject to a selection process using National Criteria.  Selected expression of interest applications will be developed into detailed bids for consideration for the 2024 Town & Village Renewal Scheme.

Meabhrúchán : Scéim Athnuachana Bailte & Sráidbhailte 2024 Léiriú Spéise

Town & Village Renewal logoRiarfaidh Comhairle Cathrach & Contae Phort Láirge Scéim Athnuachana Bailte agus Sráidbhailte 2024, arna maoiniú ag an Roinn Forbartha Tuaithe agus Pobail. Maoinítear an Scéim Athnuachana Bailte agus Sráidbhailte faoi Thionscadal Éireann 2040 agus is príomhthionscnamh í de chuid Ár dTodhchaí Tuaithe — Beartas Forbartha Tuaithe na hÉireann 2021-2025. Tá cuspóirí Scéim Athnuachana na mBailte agus na Sráidbhailte 2024 dírithe ar ailíniú a dhéanamh leis na gealltanais laistigh dár gcáipéisÍ pholasaí Ár dTodhchaí Tuaithe agus Tús Áite do Lár an Bhaile.

Tá an Scéim Athnuachana Bailte agus Sráidbhailte dírithe ar a chinntiú go bhforbrófar bailte agus sráidbhailte tuaithe i bPort Láirge agus áiteanna níos tarraingtí a dhéanamh díobh chun cónaí agus oibriú iontu agus chun a n-acmhainneacht eacnamaíoch a mhéadú.

Tá léirithe spéise ó bhailte agus ó shráidbhailte á lorg anois ag Comhairle Cathrach & Contae Phort Láirge chun tionscadail oiriúnacha a mhaoiniú faoin tionscnamh seo. Is féidir foirm léirithe spéise agus sonraí faoi imlíne na Scéime a fháil trí ríomhphost a chur chuig townvillagerenewal@waterfordcouncil.ie agus tá foirmeacha léirithe spéise comhlánaithe le seoladh ar ais roimh 5.00i.n. Dé hAoine 19 Aibreán 2024.

Beidh gach iarratas faoi réir próiseas roghnúcháin a úsáideann Critéir Náisiúnta. Forbrófar iarratais léirithe spéise roghnaithe ina dtairiscintí mionsonraithe lena mbreithniú do Scéim
Athnuachana Bailte agus Sráidbhailte 2024.

Reminder: Expressions of Interest sought for 2024 Town & Village Renewal Scheme

Town & Village Renewal logo

Waterford City & County Council will administer the 2024 Town & Village Renewal Scheme funded by the Department of Rural & Community Development. The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is funded under Project Ireland 2040 and is a key initiative of Our Rural Future – Ireland’s Rural Development Policy 2021-2025. The objectives of the 2024 Town and Village Renewal Scheme are focused to align with the commitments within Our Rural Future and the Town Centre First policy documents.

The focus of the Town & Village Renewal Scheme is on ensuring the development of Waterford’s rural towns and villages and making them more attractive places to live and work and increase their economic potential.

Waterford City & County Council now seeks expressions of interest from towns and villages, for funding of suitable projects under this initiative. Expression of interest form and details of the Scheme’s outline can be obtained by e-mailing townvillagerenewal@waterfordcouncil.ie and completed expression of interest forms are to be returned before 5.00pm Friday 19th April 2024.

All applications will be subject to a selection process using National Criteria.  Selected expression of interest applications will be developed into detailed bids for consideration for the 2024 Town & Village Renewal Scheme.

Expat Taxes wins Waterford National Enterprise Award

National Enterprise Award Winner_Waterford 2024

Expat Taxes Ltd., a Waterford company specialising in tax for expatriates has been named as Waterford’s Enterprise Award winner and will go on to represent Waterford at the 24th National Enterprise Awards which will take place in the Mansion House, Dublin, on Thursday May 23rd 2024.

The announcement was made as part of the Local Enterprise Office’s Local Enterprise Week at the Mayor’s Parlour on Friday March 8th.

Expat Taxes Ltd. is a boutique Irish tax practice that simplifies taxes for people moving to or from Ireland. As Chartered Tax Advisers and Chartered Accountants with over 15 years’ experience they are experts in expatriate tax. It offers tax advisory and tax compliance services. Its aim is to make taxes less stressful and to help its clients navigate the complex work of international tax.

The aim of the National Enterprise Awards is to spotlight, showcase, encourage and support a culture of enterprise and entrepreneurship in our communities in Ireland, to promote entrepreneurship and to celebrate the achievement of the core client portfolio of the LEOs.

Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Conway who presented the award was impressed with the winner, saying, “Expat Taxes represents the new outward looking Waterford. As our city and county continues to grow, progress and attract investment, companies such Expat provide a valuable and seamless service to those thinking of locating to Waterford and Ireland.

“I’d like to wish Stephanie and her team the best of luck as they go on to represent Waterford at the National Enterprise Finals.”

Gareth Evans, Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Waterford, congratulated the winners, “The National Enterprise Awards are very much a benchmark for excellence for small businesses across the country.  Expat Taxes has demonstrated its calibre, innovation and resourcefulness and is a very deserving winner of the Waterford award. To be so successful after just a few shorts years in business is a real achievement and I’m sure they will go on to represent us well on the national stage.”

Stephanie Wickham, owner, was obviously delighted to win the award, “After winning the Waterford Digital Award last year we know how important they can be for our profile. We’re really looking forward to representing Waterford on the national stage in May and would like to thank the team at the LEO for all their help over the years.”

The other four finalists in the Waterford NEAs were:

  • Euro Tachograph Solutions Ltd
  • CMC Hygea Ltd
  • Reso Health Ltd
  • Uoto Ltd

The Waterford Enterprise Awards took place as part of a very successful Local Enterprise Week programme of events.  There were over 300 events which took place across the country, run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices from March 4th to 8th.

Stiúideo Shortcourse wins Student Enterprise Awards

Stiúideo Shortcourse wins Student Enterprise Awards

Maebh Dimond from Gaelcholáiste Phort Láirge wins Best Student Enterprise in Waterford and qualifies for the National Student Enterprise Finals.

Stiúideo Shortcourse, winner of the Senior award, created, produced and sold local greeting cards providing creative new designs in Irish with recycled materials and crisp card designs for special occasions. Stiúideo Shortcourse’s key focal point is promoting the Irish language through sustainable sources. Maebh, from Gaelcholáiste Phort Láirge took part in the Local Enterprise Office’s Student Enterprise Awards on Tuesday March 5th at the Tower Hotel in Waterford City.

The Waterford Student Enterprise Programme started in September with 1,000 students from 14 schools in Waterford City and County. They created their businesses, developed, branded, promoted and sold. But most importantly they learned what it felt like to run their own business.

Finally, 100 students represented 11 schools in Waterford County and competed in the Waterford Student Enterprise Final on Tuesday March 5th at the Tower Hotel in Waterford City. 36 businesses in total, shortlisted from a total of 350 who commenced the competition in September, presented their business plans and challenged for the top prize in the county section of the Student Enterprise Programme. Stiúideo Shortcourse will represent Waterford at the National Finals on May 9th, taking on 34 other businesses, the best of the rest of the country.

Co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Office Waterford, the final took place during Local Enterprise Week. The competition is the most successful programme of its kind in the country. 27,000 budding entrepreneurs from 380 secondary schools across the country have been running their own enterprises, with help from their teachers and Local Enterprise Offices.

National finalists from all over the country will set-up enterprise exhibition displays before taking part in a series of judging interviews.  The judging panels take numerous factors into account, such as business reporting, innovation, market research, risk management and finances.

Praising the teachers and local schools involved in the programme, Gareth Evans, Head of Enterprise at the Local Enterprise Office Waterford, said: “The Student Enterprise Programme encourages and enables students to take on the world of business and develop an entrepreneurial mind-set. By fostering an enterprising culture in the classroom, the Local Enterprise Offices are working with teachers and schools to help nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Further information about May’s National Finals is available through www.studententerprise.ie, which also has free resources and video tutorials for students and teachers for the 2023/2024 programme.

For more information, please contact your Local Enterprise Office at 35 the Mall in Waterford City or Civic Offices in Dungarvan. Alternatively, you can email info@leo.waterfordcouncil.ie .

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Scéim Athnuachana Bailte & Sráidbhailte 2024 Léiriú Spéise

Town & Village Renewal logoRiarfaidh Comhairle Cathrach & Contae Phort Láirge Scéim Athnuachana Bailte agus Sráidbhailte 2024, arna maoiniú ag an Roinn Forbartha Tuaithe agus Pobail. Maoinítear an Scéim Athnuachana Bailte agus Sráidbhailte faoi Thionscadal Éireann 2040 agus is príomhthionscnamh í de chuid Ár dTodhchaí Tuaithe — Beartas Forbartha Tuaithe na hÉireann 2021-2025. Tá cuspóirí Scéim Athnuachana na mBailte agus na Sráidbhailte 2024 dírithe ar ailíniú a dhéanamh leis na gealltanais laistigh dár gcáipéisÍ pholasaí Ár dTodhchaí Tuaithe agus Tús Áite do Lár an Bhaile.

Tá an Scéim Athnuachana Bailte agus Sráidbhailte dírithe ar a chinntiú go bhforbrófar bailte agus sráidbhailte tuaithe i bPort Láirge agus áiteanna níos tarraingtí a dhéanamh díobh chun cónaí agus oibriú iontu agus chun a n-acmhainneacht eacnamaíoch a mhéadú.

Tá léirithe spéise ó bhailte agus ó shráidbhailte á lorg anois ag Comhairle Cathrach & Contae Phort Láirge chun tionscadail oiriúnacha a mhaoiniú faoin tionscnamh seo. Is féidir foirm léirithe spéise agus sonraí faoi imlíne na Scéime a fháil trí ríomhphost a chur chuig townvillagerenewal@waterfordcouncil.ie agus tá foirmeacha léirithe spéise comhlánaithe le seoladh ar ais roimh 5.00i.n. Dé hAoine 19 Aibreán 2024.

Beidh gach iarratas faoi réir próiseas roghnúcháin a úsáideann Critéir Náisiúnta. Forbrófar iarratais léirithe spéise roghnaithe ina dtairiscintí mionsonraithe lena mbreithniú do Scéim
Athnuachana Bailte agus Sráidbhailte 2024.

Expressions of Interest sought for 2024 Town & Village Renewal Scheme

Town & Village Renewal logo

Waterford City & County Council will administer the 2024 Town & Village Renewal Scheme funded by the Department of Rural & Community Development. The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is funded under Project Ireland 2040 and is a key initiative of Our Rural Future – Ireland’s Rural Development Policy 2021-2025. The objectives of the 2024 Town and Village Renewal Scheme are focused to align with the commitments within Our Rural Future and the Town Centre First policy documents.

The focus of the Town & Village Renewal Scheme is on ensuring the development of Waterford’s rural towns and villages and making them more attractive places to live and work and increase their economic potential.

Waterford City & County Council now seeks expressions of interest from towns and villages, for funding of suitable projects under this initiative. Expression of interest form and details of the Scheme’s outline can be obtained by e-mailing townvillagerenewal@waterfordcouncil.ie and completed expression of interest forms are to be returned before 5.00pm Friday 19th April 2024.

All applications will be subject to a selection process using National Criteria.  Selected expression of interest applications will be developed into detailed bids for consideration for the 2024 Town & Village Renewal Scheme.

Increased Cost of Business (ICOB) Grant

As part of Budget 2024, the Government signed off on a package of €257m for the Increased Cost of Business (ICOB) Grant as a vital measure for small and medium businesses. Waterford City and County Council, funded through Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE), will manage the rollout of the grant to qualifying businesses.

Eligible businesses will receive a once-off grant payment. The amount of the grant payable to eligible businesses is based on the value of the Commercial Rates bill the business received in 2023. However, it is not a Commercial Rates waiver and businesses should continue to pay their Commercial Rates bill as normal.

What is the purpose of the grant?

The grant is available to qualifying businesses as a contribution towards the rising costs faced by businesses. The grant is intended to aid businesses but is not intended to directly compensate for all increases in wages, or other costs, for every business.

How much is the grant?

The grant is based on the value of the Commercial Rates bill received by an eligible business in 2023.

– For qualifying businesses with a 2023 Commercial Rate bill of <€10,000, the ICOB grant will be paid at a rate of 50% of the business’s Commercial Rate bill for 2023.

– For qualifying businesses with a 2023 Commercial Rate bill of between €10,000 and €30,000, the ICOB grant will be €5,000.

– Businesses with a 2023 Commercial Rates bill greater than €30,000 are not eligible to receive an ICOB grant.

What businesses are eligible to receive the grant?

The following are the main qualifying criteria:

  • Your business must be a commercially trading business currently operating from a property that is commercially rateable.
  • Your business must have been trading on 1st February 2024 and you must intend to continue trading for at least three months from the date you verify your information.
  • You must provide confirmation of your bank details.
  • Your business must be rates compliant. Businesses in performing payment plans may be deemed to be compliant.
  • Your business must be tax compliant and must possess a valid Tax Registration Number (TRN).

Please note that Waterford City and County Council reserves the right to claw back any grant payment which is later found to be incorrect. This includes any circumstances such as error by the recipient business or the local authority making the payment, or where a business makes a false declaration of eligibility.

How soon can businesses avail of the grant?

An online system is being developed to manage the submission of essential information. Waterford City and County Council will write shortly to businesses with further details, including how to register and how to submit information online. The system is expected to be available in mid-March.

What is the closing date?

The closing date for businesses to confirm eligibility and to upload verification details will be 1st May 2024.

Where can I find out further information?

Further correspondence and guidance will be issued to commercially rateable businesses in the next few weeks. In addition, an FAQ will be available online when the grant scheme opens. You should refer to this guidance and FAQ prior to making your submission.

If you have queries regarding your Commercial Rates account including outstanding balances, contact Waterford City and County Council at rates@waterfordcouncil.ie. Our team are happy to discuss any balances outstanding on your rates and what steps can be taken to ensure compliance with the scheme.

Local Enterprise Office Waterford announces programme for Local Enterprise Week 2024

Waterford Local Enterprise Office has announced a programme of 14 events across 5 days during Local Enterprise Week 2024, taking place for Waterford City and County businesses from March 4th to March 8th.

This year’s Local Enterprise Week will feature a host of informative and engaging workshops, seminars, presentations and advice clinics aimed at local businesses, whether in pre-start, start-up or as an established business looking to grow.

You can learn from the experts in finance, marketing, social media, A.I. and photography. You can create digital opportunities for business, audit your website and source funding.

A key event in this packed programme is the ever popular ‘Social Media Mash-Up’, taking place on Thursday March 7th from 10am to 12.30. Hosted by Teresanne O’Reilly it features digital marketing expert Muriel Foley of MGFD; Stephanie Wickham of Expat Taxes, winner of last year’s Digital Marketing Awards; Kevin Doolan, Director of Innovation at Walton Institute for Information and Communication Systems Science and Paul Dower, founder of Waterford in your pocket.

Tuesday March 5th celebrates the future of enterprise in Waterford with the Student Enterprise Programme County final in the Tower Hotel. 42 businesses from 12 schools will compete on the day for a place at the National Finals in May.

Later in the week the Local Enterprise Office celebrates International Women’s Day with a Dungarvan Chamber event on Thursday evening and a Networking Breakfast event on the Friday morning in the Viking Hotel.

Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Waterford Gareth Evans is looking forward to his first Enterprise Week, “This year’s Local Enterprise Week programme has something for everyone, whatever phase your business is in, or whatever sector your business is in.  The range of events and the calibre of speakers and facilitators have been specifically chosen by the team here in Waterford to address, with practical insight, what is required in achieving your business goals.

“The Local Enterprise Offices are tasked with assisting start-ups and small businesses to “Make it Happen”, each office strives to give these businesses the opportunities and resources to unleash their potential and make the path to growth as unhindered as possible. They also give those thinking of starting or expanding a business access to the full range of supports provided by State bodies and expert third parties, and that cross pollination is well reflected in the 2024 Local Enterprise Week programme.

“Waterford Local Enterprise Office is delighted to work in conjunction with various key business support organisations and state agencies, including Enterprise Ireland, Dungarvan Chamber and Waterford Chamber of Commerce to provide a programme that gives start-ups and small businesses opportunities to help them on the path to growth.”

To register for Local Enterprise Week events taking place in Waterford city and county from March 4th to 8th, visit https://www.localenterprise.ie/!AK56SFMost events are completely free of charge while some have a nominal booking fee.  As with every year, many of the events are expected to book up quickly so early booking is strongly advised.

ENDS