RTE Dragon: Sean O'Sullivan
Business man and Dragon's Den star, Sean O'Sullivan will head up a new Government entrepreneurship forum.
The announcement was made today by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton. The Minister said he has asked O'Sullivan to provide recommendations on how to stimulate greater levels of start-up business in Ireland.
It's understood the new forum plans to meet regularly over the coming months before preparing a policy statement for the Government based on entrepreneurship.
The policy statement will contain discreet actions for inclusion in the 2014 Action Plan for Jobs.
Initial membership of the forum will be supplemented at different meetings with representatives and experts from different areas of the economy that can help the ongoing work of the group.
Speaking about the creation of the forum, Mr O'Sullivan said: “There is a clear and urgent need for the people of Ireland to make more jobs. This may seem impossible, like some kind of fantasy, that jobs can be created out of thin air. But that’s what entrepreneurship is."
"Creating opportunity and economy out of courageous people, discovering and creating market needs and filling them. If not us, who? If not now, when?" added the Dragon investor.
Minister Bruton said that 67 per cent of all new job-creation came from businesses in the first five years of existence. He added that supporting entrepreneurship and start-up activity was a central part of the Government's action plan for jobs.
"Since taking office we have introduced a range of changes to support greater activity in this area, including a microfinance scheme and credit guarantee scheme to provide better access to finance. We have also established a network of 'first-stop' shops in every county to make it easier for businesses to access supports," Minister Bruton said.
Members of the Forum include:
Minister for Transport: Leo Varadkar
Speeding, using a mobile phone and not wearing a seatbelt will see drivers occur increased penalty points under the new Road Traffic Bill 2013.
The new bill published today by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, will also legislate for roadside impairment tests for 'drug-driving'.
The Bill was drafted following consultation with the Oireachtas Transport Committee, in particular the changes to the penalty points system. It's hoped that the bill will enhance safety on Irish roads by also introducing the new roadside drug tests alongside increasing penalty points for driving offences.
Minister Varadkar appealed to Irish motorists to renew their safe driving habits following an increase in road fatalities so far this year.
“Last year saw the lowest number of deaths ever recorded on Irish roads, but the rise in fatalities so far this year is deeply worrying. The measures in this Bill will have a significant effect on road safety by targeting key areas, the Minister said.
He said that the publishing of the new bill will not only strengthen the penalty points system but will also reinforce the driver learning process.
Under the new bill all learner drivers will be labeled as 'novice' for the first two years of driving and will be required by law to display 'N' plates on their vehicle.
A new disqualification level of six penalty points for 'novice' drivers will be put in place. This is half the level of 12 points for all other drivers.
Learner drivers will also be expected to produce a record of accompanied driving experience (minimum to be agreed under regulations) in addition to 12 formal lessons with a registered, qualified instructor.
Minister Varadkar said his intention was to introduce this bill in the Oireachtas as quickly as possible.
As of today, 91 people have lost their lives on our roads in 2013, compared with 89 at the same time in 2012 and 88 in 2011.
A further 6,000 part-time, higher education places have been announced today by Education Minister, Ruairí Quinn as part of the Springboard programme.
The free 'Springboard' places are being made available to provide re-training opportunities for Ireland's current jobseekers. Today's announcement marks the third allocation of places under the initiative.
It's understood that over 200 courses will be provided at 38 Institutes of Technology, Universities and privately-run, higher education colleges across the country. They will enable individuals to acquire new skills that are in demand in today's economy.
The courses will focus on growth areas such as Information Technology, Communication, International Languages and International Financial Services.
Minister Quinn said: “Springboard is providing a pipeline of job-ready graduates, with up-to-the-minute skills and valuable qualifications for expanding sectors of the Irish economy."
Chairman of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), John Hennessy, said Springboard was more than an education initiative and labeled it as "driving a culture change within the system".
“The Springboard approach is transforming how we prepare people for the jobs market. Instead of education administrators designing courses in the hope that they make people employable, we start with industry needs," he said.
"Courses offer the skills-set employers need from graduates, in conjunction with educators”, Mr Hennessy added.
Applications can now be made on www.springboardcourses.ie
A Freephone Springboard guidance line is available on 1800 303 523
Belfast is all set to be beamed into homes across India In an effort to cajole people to pick Northern Ireland as a gourmet holiday destination.
In an effort to bring visitors to the North from Asia and the Indian subcontinent, Tourism Ireland arranged for an award winning Indian Travel and food show to include Belfast in an episode of their show. The episode will air in India later in the year.
'Will Travel for Food' is a popular, award winning show on India's NDTV channel. Each episode of the show focuses on a different world city and pays special attention to that area's local foods and the diversity of places to eat.
The TV crew recorded the footage in the North earlier this week.
The show will introduce Indian viewers to Belfast and its latest iconic landmark, the new Titanic Museum, before taking them on a gastro tour of the City.
Presenter Aneesha Baig will take the audience on a journey to discover some of the gourmet and quirky delights of Belfast, including Café Conor, a modern bistro café near the Ulster Museum and Long's Fish & Chip Shop (the oldest chippy in town).
Aneesha was also filmed enjoying dinner on board the Belfast Barge, listening to stories of the city’s colourful maritime and industrial past.
The film crew then travelled through the Co Down countryside to Glassdrumman Lodge near Annalong. There they met chef Jonny Hall who showed Indian viewers how to make Irish bread.
Huzan Fraser of Tourism Ireland India, said they were delighted that NDTV had chosen to film in Northern Ireland.
" It's a wonderful opportunity to showcase some of the many things to do and see in Northern Ireland, and to highlight the array of fine food available, to an audience of over two million people – or prospective holiday makers from India," she said.
" The publicity value of a TV programme like this is incalculable," added Fraser.
Tourism Ireland works closely with both Fáilte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB).
The full itinerary for the Indian TV crew was designed by NITB.
My Purple Chair
The My Purple Chair title was born from my favourite place to sit and think about what's happening in the world. It's old but comfortable. So i suppose it's a bit like myself!