Heritage Minister Malcolm Noonan has praised the co-operative impact of the Collaborative Town Centre Health Check and how it brings all the key players together to gather evidence and data about their town. Speaking at the online launch of the launch of the Sligo Collaborative Town Centre Health Check Report the Minister said he had just come from a press conference outlining the planned increased investment in Heritage, bio-diversity and town centre renewal in Budget 2021. RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley attended the zoom launch. Click here for details.
Tanaiste & Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar thanked RGDATA members for all their efforts to date in delivering essential retail services to communities. The Tanaiste was chairing the Brexit Enterprise Forum (7/10) and he made the comment in response to RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley’s intervention.
Buckley told the meeting that the independent wholesalers were engaged in tremendous work preparing for Brexit and that independent retailers were still focussing on delivering essential retail in a safe way for their staff and customers and ensuring compliance with all the Covid-19 health and safety measures and mandatory face coverings.
The Forum heard updates from all the various Government Departments about getting Ireland Brexit Ready. The Tanaiste and other Government contributors emphasised that despite all the pressures from Covid 19 Irish businesses must also focus on getting Brexit ready over the next weeks.
Click here for a range of Government and other supports that are available to assist retail and food businesses in getting Brexit ready.
RGDATA has urged Government to amend the Mandatory Mask regulations to provide more support for shop owners and their staff when dealing with abusive anti-maskers in their stores. RGDATA has suggested amendments to the Statutory Instrument to include specific penalties for people who abuse retail staff when they are asked to comply with Covid-19 safety measures. Click here to read the letter to Government. RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley did an interview on Galway Talks to highlight the issue and call for more stringent measures to support retailers and their staff. Jim Kenny from Centra Blackrock went on RTE’s Liveline to highlight an incident in his store.
Please take 10 minutes to fill out our Covid-19 member survey. This will help us to make representations on your behalf and highlight the issues that are impacting on independent retailers. Click here to do the survey.
A key RGDATA campaign for the past number of years has been to get reductions in the cost of shop insurance. This is a long, frustrating process but there have been some developments recently that are giving the Government a new impetus on this issue. The Central Bank has raised concerns that there is dual pricing going on in the insurance industry and the CCPC has separately raised concerns that there may be cooperation going on between companies to gain an unfair advantage on price.
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar is heading up the Cabinet’s insurance sub committee and Cabinet has now agreed to advance plans to increase competition in the insurance industry, introduce tougher sanctions for insurance fraud, increase transparency in the industry and reform of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board.
Separately, the Law Reform Commission has published its report looking at the constitutional feasibility of the Oireachtas legislating to cap personal injury awards, and has deemed this to be constitutionally acceptable. The Personal Injuries Guidelines Committee of the Judicial Council, which is looking at the level of damages awarded for claims, is expected to publish its initial draft guidance by the end of this month. RGDATA put insurance reform at the top of our submissions on the programme for Government and our Budget 2021 submission.
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar last week chaired the first meeting of a special ministerial committee on insurance which was attended by Ministers Paschal Donohoe; Michael McGrath and Helen McEntee.
The Tanaiste reported after the meeting that Justice Minister McEntee was working to enact the perjury bill, which would make it an offence to make false or exaggerated insurance claims, by the end of the year.
“She will also examine the Occupiers Liability Act, placing more responsibility on an individual not to injure themselves on a premises”. RGDATA has circulated a draft Occupiers Liability Amendment Bill to all the Ministers involved in the Committee and is urging them to pass the Bill to make the Duty of Care fairer and more proportionate.
FSAI Brexit E-learning module designed to bring food businesses step by step through all of the various food import requirements that will have to be met to continue to trade with the UK post Brexit. RGDATA members who trialled this found it extremely straightforward and helpful in their journey to get Brexit ready.
The Government has announced a public consultation on the design of a Deposit and Refund Scheme in Ireland. The consultation documentation can be accessed here.
RGDATA Director General Tara Buckley urged Minister for Retail Damien English to ensure that retail and other town centre businesses are consulted and included in the programmes and policy development to deliver the Town Centre First policy promised in the new Programme for Government “Our Shared Future”. Minister English was chairing the quarterly meeting of the Retail Consultation Forum which was held via conference call on Thursday24/9. “Independent retailers welcome the Government funding that is being put into town centre regeneration and Covid-19 mobility schemes like cycleways and extended pedestrianisation but the shops and the businesses in the town centre must be consulted and engaged in the development of the plans so that they deliver the desired results – to make our town centres safe, attractive and vibrant,” Buckley told the Forum.
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