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Policy Updates

Cork Chamber and UCC Launch Transition Year Business Awards 2014

Cork Chamber and the Faculty of Commerce in the College of Business & Law, UCC, have launched the annual Transition Year (TY) Business Awards for 2014, which is kindly sponsored by BNY Mellon, a global investments company and major employer in Cork.

The TY awards play a key role in encouraging and supporting young entrepreneurs in Ireland. The Chamber would like to acknowledge the generous sponsorship of BNY Mellon and looks forward to working with UCC in ensuring another successful year for the TY Business Awards Programme.

Students participating in the 2014 Transition Year Business Awards are requested to submit a 1,500 word project based on their experience of their school’s Mini Company/Enterprise. This year, the judging panel are asking students to Review the Resources Available to a Start-Up Business and Comment on the Key Framework, Infrastructure or Resource Necessary to Grow Your Business.

The prize-giving ceremony taking place in the Aula Maxima, UCC on the 9th April 2014.

Chamber President, Gillian Keating Talks About Language Skills in Ireland

Cork Chamber President Gillian Keating spoke at Alliance Française de Cork on "Learning a language, just another business skill or an act of cultural generosity?" See full speech here.

JobsPlus - New Jobs, Less Cost

The Department of Social Protection has launched a new employer incentive scheme, JobsPlus, which encourages and rewards employers who offer employment opportunities to the long-term unemployed. JobsPlus provides a monthly employment grant to employers who recruit employees who were long-term unemployed on the Live Register. There are two levels of payment available:

  1. €7,500 for an employee who was unemployed for more than 12 months but less than 24 months
  2. €10,000 for an employee who was unemployed for more than 24 months

The JobsPlus scheme is available to employers who offer employment of over 30 hours per week and do not displace any existing employees. There is no limit on the number of new recruits per employer.

Full details of eligibility criteria and steps to become an approved JobsPlus employer are available on 

Feasibility Study into the development of a National Food Centre in Cork City 


Invitation to Tender 

Cork City Council invites tenders from suitably qualified and experienced Food Business Development/Food Tourism Consultants in collaboration with Architects, Property Economic Consultants and Quantity Surveyor services for the preparation of a Feasibility Study into the establishment of a National Food Centre in Cork City. The objectives of the Study will be to determine the constituent elements of a successful and commercially viable Food Centre and to recommend a strategy for the advancement of such a development.

Full details are available on the website under System ID Number 77552

The closing date for submission of Tenders is 16.00hrs on 13th September 2013.

Chamber Ireland: Guide to Corporate Social Responsibility for SMEs Launched

Chambers Ireland has launched a new guide to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for SMEs, The Sustainability Factor.

CSR embraces responsibility for a company’s actions and encourages awareness of a company’s impact on the environment and local community. While it is often seen as the realm of large multinationals, more and more SMEs are realising the benefits CSR can have on their business. This guide highlights the number of simple ways that SMEs engage with CSR, many of which can have a positive effect on their bottom line.  Despite current economic constraints, CSR continues to grow in Ireland. Implementing responsible business practices and becoming more sustainable has a positive impact on business. Chambers Ireland hopes that this guide will encourage more SMEs to embrace these ideas and make CSR a core part of their business ethos.

Engaging with CSR creates many benefits for SMEs including:

  • Workers are more motivated, creative and innovative;
  • Productivity tends to increase;
  • Improved products or services, leading to better customer satisfaction and loyalty;
  • Members of the local community view the business in a more positive light;
  • Better publicity due to word of mouth;
  • More networking opportunities with other companies involved in similar schemes; and
  • Increased turnover, sales and profit due to competitive advantage derived from the above. 

This guide was co-financed by the South Western Regional Authority through the INTERREG IVC DESUR project and is available online here.

Cork County Council "Adopt a Road/Roundabout" Scheme

In 2012, Cork County Council implemented an “Adopt a Road” scheme which allows businesses and voluntary community groups to adopt a designated stretch of road by agreeing a litter maintenance programme on it with the Council. This scheme encourages businesses and local community groups to work together to reduce litter while promoting local businesses or community interests and offers businesses an opportunity to highlight their commitment to a clean and attractive local environment.

In recent weeks, Cork County Council has expanded this scheme to include roundabouts. The “Adopt a Roundabout” scheme will allow local businesses or community groups to sponsor the landscaping and maintenance of a roundabout in their area. All agreed works must be carried out by professional landscaping contractors and are subject to approval of the Council’s Area Engineer.

This scheme builds on the strengths of the Tidy Towns initiative and community volunteerism alongside corporate social responsibility. When agreement has been reached between the group and the local authority, a sign will be placed on the stretch of road/roundabout highlighting the name and/or logo of the community group or business beside the County Council’s name and logo.

Those interested in participating in the Scheme should first contact Cork County Council’s local Area Engineer’s office, Click here for Contact Details, to discuss their proposals.

For more information click here

Taxsaver Commuter Ticket Scheme  

Cork Chamber’s Membership Transport Survey indicated that almost 89% of businesses in the Cork region do not operate Employee Transport Benefit Schemes. Similarly, over 75% of employers and employees use a private car (single occupancy) for transport to and from work. This is a challenging figure in the context of the efforts of all stakeholders to develop a modern and efficient public transport network and deliver significant modal shift in Cork.

To address this issue, Cork Chamber and our regional partners are advocating the use of the TaxSaver Commuter Ticket Scheme. The scheme is an incentive designed to increase the use of public transport amongst commuters.

In Cork, the scheme is operated by Iarnrod Eireann and Bus Eireann in conjunction with the Revenue Commissioners. The scheme involves employers providing employees with bus and rail commuter tickets while saving on employer PRSI payments.
Participating employees benefit from reduced tax and PRSI payments.

Companies can save up to 10.75% in PRSI while employees can save between 31% - 52% in tax, PRSI and USC.
Over 2,500 companies are now purchasing Monthly and Annual tickets for their employees.

There are several ways companies can assist their employees in receiving a TaxSaver Ticket:

  • Salary Sacrifice – Deduct the cost of the ticket from their gross salary.
  • In place of a cash bonus – Deduct the cost of the ticket from their bonus.
  • Addition to salary – Provide the ticket as an addition to their current salary.

Terms and Conditions

  • There must be a bone fide and enforceable alteration to the terms and conditions of employment (exercising a choice of benefit instead of salary)
  • The alteration must not be retrospective and must be evidenced in writing.
  • There must be no entitlement to exchange the benefit for cash.
  • The choice exercised (i.e. benefit instead of cash) cannot be made more frequently than once a year and then only with the consent of the employer.

For further information on the TaxSaver Commuter Ticket Scheme, please visit

Cork Chamber©, Fitzgerald House, Summerhill North, Cork, Tel: (021) 4509044, Email:, Company Registration Number - 13918

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