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'Late Late' boost for Kildare entrepreneurs

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'Late Late' boost for Kildare entrepreneurs

KILDARE GENERAL, 9 January 1999: by Brian Byrne. A number of Kildare entrepreneurs were highlighted on last night's Late Late Show Enterprise special programme, which has been an annual feature of the internationally-acclaimed Gay Byrne TV talk show since - to quote himself - 'God knows when.' They included Una and John Mulligan of Naas, whose garden decks were shown ... their idea came when they built one for themselves to cover rubble in their garden. From Leixlip there was Jarlath McNamara's 'Cabs Online', which provides an internet-bookable quality cabs service that already has 10 taxis in service that include TV, computer and mobile phone facilities for clients. John Hayes from Clane showed his mushroom picker invention which provides a consistent quality picking system for an industry which is now worth £30 million a year to Irish businesses in this area.


Indebtedness 'should not be a stigma'

MAYNOOTH & NEWBRIDGE, 9 January 1999: by Brian Byrne. The Kildare Money Advice and Budgeting Service assisted 176 households during 1997, ten times more than in the four months of its existence in the previous year. Of the clients to whom the service gave help in the first full year of its operation, the service provided a budgeting account for 24 'severely indebted' people. On average, KMAB had three meetings with each client, and dealt with creditors on 10 occasions.

"Indebtedness is an insidious social problem that traps people in a vicious cycle of fear, stigma and silence," KMAB chairman Jim Walsh said at the presentation of the service's annual report for 1997, which was launched by finance minister Charlie McCreevy. "Our service helps clients to regain control over their personal finances, and thus to restore their dignity and hope."

The KMAB service is free and confidential, and employs two professional money advice officers funded by the Department of Social, Community & Family Affairs. An analysis of its client list shows that a third are lone parents and some 55% depend on social welfare payments. A quarter live with other family members and 40% rent their homes. Jim Walsh commented that while indebtedness was a fact of life for a 'minority' of people in County Kildare, even people in well-off positions could find themselves in debt through over-borrowing or a sudden change in family circumstances. "We need to take the stigma away from debt, and realise that in the vast majority of cases people just can't repay, rather than just won't repay," he said.

The service has now been provided with a three-year funding programme to implement its 1998-2000 strategic plan. It has offices in Maynooth and Newbridge. Further information from 01 6291660 or 045 435558.


Naas tourism group in joint promotion with Mondello in UK

KILDARE GENERAL & NAAS, 9 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. Kildare in general and Naas in particular were highlighted in Birmingham last weekend when the Naas Tourism Working Group was involved in a joint promotion with Mondello Park Racing Circuit at the Auto Sport International Motor Racing Show. Over 3,000 special promotion fliers, sponsored by the Manor Inn, were distributed at the show to further advertise the Naas area. A promotional video produced by Naas Tourism Working Group, and assisted by Naas Insurance Ltd, was on continuous display, highlighting local attractions such as horse racing, golf, fishing, car racing and local pubs and restaurants and showing pub shots of 'the exciting night life on offer in Naas town.'

The only purpose-built racing track in the Republic, Mondello Park celebrated its 30th anniversary last May. The RAC Super Prix was the first meeting to use the newly-extended 2.25 mile track.

Naas Tourism Working Group are currently completing a promotional procure to help promote the businesses of their 60-plus members drawn from local businesses, B&Bs, pubs, shops and golf clubs. The group have their own website to help attract visitors to the Naas area.


Local development organisations looking towards a quiet 2000

WEST KILDARE, 8 January 1999: There will be 'little or no activity of a developmental nature' in the year 2000 by local development organisations which have been dependent on EU funds, according to Pat Leogue, director of the OAK Partnership in West Kildare. "Any activity at all which has been supported by the ESF will be mainly of a 'tidy up' nature, involving projects to which funds have already been committed," he told KNN. "I'd expect this to continue for the about first six months of the year."

However, Mr Leogue noted that a number of projects initiated by his organisation are not dependent on EU funding, such as the Youth Training scheme in Rathangan. "We've been getting good support from FAS for this, and there are a number of other things like this in the pipeline." But he noted an increasing worry about the tardiness in the negotiations of Euro 2000 which are aimed at settling EU funding levels in the first years of the new millennium. "There are real fears being expressed that if they're not concluded before the European elections in June, then funds for roads and other important infrastructures will not be available either when the existing arrangements end."


KNN 'in Canada' this weekend

NAAS, 8 January 1999: The KNN word has spread far beyond Kildare, and the service is now being acknowledged by an increasing number of Kildare and Irish organisations around the world. The latest of these means that KildareNet News innovators Trish Whelan and Brian Byrne have been invited as guests on the Celtic Voices weekly radio programme which is broadcast across western Canada every Saturday morning. They'll talk live on the show this Saturday to programme host Dave Abbott.

The show is also broadcast live around the world on the internet at, at 4pm Irish time (8am in western Canada). Previous guests on the show in the last six weeks have included Paddy Maloney of the Chieftens, Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes, and author Maeve Binchy.


Globetrotting county finance officer helping out in Beirut

NAAS, 8 January 1999: Kildare County Council finance officer Peter Minnock is currently in Beirut on secondment to a DEVCO project which involves the administration of World Bank funding to rebuild the war-damaged capital of Lebanon. He's no stranger to assignments abroad ... in 1993 he was one of 25 Irish observers overseeing elections in Cambodia under the aegis of the UN; in 1994 he carried out a similar task in South Africa; and in 1996 he was involved in monitoring elections in Bosnia.


Canal pollution perception 'not founded' say Co Kildare students

RATHANGAN & KILDARE, 7 January 1999: by Trish Whelan. The canal at Rathangan is not polluted say three fifth year science students from St. Joseph's Academy, Kildare Town. The students, Paul Moore (Rathangan); Pauric McCormack (Red Hills, Kildare); and Padhraic Kennedy (Kildare Town) are this week exhibiting their project: 'The Canal as an Amenity' at the Esat Telecom Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition at the RDS, Dublin. In a project survey of 100 local people in Rathangan some 95% said they believed the canal to be a 'useful amenity' but 55% claimed the town 'is not in any way dependent' on the facility.

"In our survey 80% of respondents believed the canal to be polluted and this was the main reason why they would not swim or fish in it. With this in mind we took samples of three different areas along the canal which show the water is in fact very clean. The only trace substance found was ammonia, a chemical present from the urine of fish. If the canal is to used as an amenity, people have to see for themselves that it is not polluted" the lads claim.

RealAudio : Canal survey students talk to Trish Whelan


Boys hope beekeepers can beat merciless mite

KILMEAGUE & NEWBRIDGE, 7 January 1999: William Byrne, (Kilmeague) and Enda O'Rourke (Newbridge) who attend Newbridge College, hope beekeepers will take note of their research on the Varroa mite parasite which is threatening the country's bee population. William (12) and Enda (13) are exhibiting their project: 'The Varroa Mite in Bee Populations' at the Esat Telecom Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition in Dublin this week. The two joined forces for the project because of Enda's interest in parasites and because William wanted information on the parasite to protect his own bees.

RealAudio : Bee mite investigators talk to Trish Whelan


Roads, tourism investment promise by Kill retail village promoters

KILL, 6 January 1999: Irish International Tourist Outlets Limited, the promoters of the proposed Kildare Tourist Outlet Village at Kill, County Kildare, say they are prepared to substantially invest in road improvement measures which will serve to 'significantly improve' road safety on the nearby N7 at one of the county's most notorious accident blackspot at Kill. Their statement follows a decision by the Kildare County Manager to recommend the proposed development for planning permission. It now goes before a full meeting of the Council for decision.

IITO claim the development will 'bring enormous economic and social benefits to the town of Naas, Kill village and all surrounding areas.' It is estimated that some £8.8m in additional revenue will be generated each year for the local economy in terms of spin-off jobs, additional expenditure by visitors to the area, wages and ancillary services. The company hopes to develop a 'strong partnership' with local traders and will provide promotional facilities for shops in the county at the Village. They claim the project 'has been overwhelming endorsed by the people of Naas, Kill and Newbridge' and that independent market research shows 93% of residents in these areas said that they believed the development would be good for County Kildare.

Malcolm Hockaday of IITO, says: "The Kildare Tourist Outlet Village will bring 400 new and permanent jobs for local people as well as another 150 during the construction phase." He claimed it will bring 1.3m visitors to the area who otherwise would simply pass by. A retail assessment study - available for inspection at Kildare County Council's offices - shows the proposal would not have a negative impact on retail trade in Naas. The company has agreed not to sell items which are on sale in Naas or Kill shops at full price and say the enterprise will not be converted into a traditional shopping centre.

IITO's proposal has received the backing of tourism agencies in the county. A permanent Regional Tourism headquarters would be located at the Village and ongoing joint promotions between the company and the county's tourist attractions would help provide additional revenue for those areas.
Other business could come from agreements reached with all major tour operators bringing tourists into Ireland to ensure that the Kildare Tourist Outlet Village and adjoining local facilities in Naas, Kill and the rest of the county will form part of their regular itineraries.

Previous stories on this subject here


Good Kildare representation in young scientists competition

RDS, DUBLIN, JANUARY 6, 1999: by Brian Byrne. There are ten exhibits from Kildare young people listed among the 485 at the 1999 Esat Telecom Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition being held this week in the RDS in Dublin. And they represent five of the secondary schools in a county that prides itself as being one of the fastest-growing and progressive in Ireland. If one reckons that there should be an average of more than 15 exhibits from each of the 32 counties, it might seem a little on the short side for an area that has such world leaders in technology as Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Modus Media inside its borders. However if one deducts Dublin and its 137 exhibits, things look quite decent against the average of just over 11 for the remaining 31 counties. And if Cork is taken out of the equation, Kildare is quite likely to show above-average participation.

The schools represented by a total of 24 young Kildare people - nine of them girls - are Scoil Mhuire Community School in Prosperous, Colaiste Lorcain in Castledermot, Dominican College in Newbridge, St Paul's Secondary School in Monasterevin and St Joseph's Academy in Kildare. The proportion of girls to lads in the county this year is a reverse of the event's usual - since 1965 the overall ratio in the competition has been almost twice as many girls as boys, though the balance has been shortening in recent years.

Kildare has one serious claim to fame in the competition - the very first winner (and the only one, so far, from the county) of the Young Scientist of the Year title, in 1965, was John Monaghan from Newbridge College. Over the years, only 17 counties have had winners. Dublin, understandably, has had 12 holders, the last time in 1992. The winner of this year's competition will be announced at 4pm on Friday. The public sessions of the event are Friday through Sunday next. Leixlip-based Intel Ireland is one of the sponsors of the event.


Darragh has weighty things on his mind

PROSPEROUS & CLANE, JANUARY 6, 1999: by Trish Whelan. A 14-year old Clane schoolboy is hoping his project on the effects of schoolbags on the backs of pupils will attract the attention of the judges at the Esat Young Scientist & Technology exhibition at the RDS this week. Darragh Rogan, who attends Scoil Mhuire in Prosperous, is of the opinion that schoolbags are far too heavy and are causing long-term harm to students. He believes ergonomic schoolbags should be available to help carry the load, at an economic price - and preferably Irish made - and he has suggested a number of guidelines for schools to alleviate the problem. These include agreements between teachers on homework allocations; allowing students access to IT equipment; the provision of secure and convenient lockers for students and ergonomic chairs (with support for the lumbar areas); students to pay an annual fee to have materials provided for certain classes and instruction given on the proper method of lifting schoolbags. Darragh has his own website. You can visit it at

RealAudio : Darragh Rogan talks to Trish Whelan


'Warm welcome' for retail village planning move

CLANE, JANUARY 5, 1998: County Kildare Failte has warmly welcomed Kildare county manager Niall Bradley's decision to recommend approval of a material contravention of the county development plan in relation to the proposed Kildare Tourist Outlet Village at Kill. Acting chairman Tom Malone (pictured left) said the move offers the county a 'significant lever' in encouraging an increase of visitor numbers, which would impact on the economic wellbeing of tourism in the county and on the general commercial activity in Kildare.

"The tourism trade are delighted with the proposed development as it will have significant positive impact on existing and planned products which will in turn add to the potential of local shops, services in the catchment area," Mr Malone said. "County Kildare Fáilte in its action plan published June 1995 suggested that a flagship proposal such as this development was one of the ways forward. Given that the Ambassador Hotel Kill was the venue where the plan was launched and that in the intervening period Kill has had to endure the waste disposal site at Arthurstown this proposed project may well go some way to address the imbalances in Kildare's tidiest village."

The promoters, Irish Retail Outlets Limited, suggest that some 400 jobs will be created as a result of the development. This will be welcome news for Kill and its environs, Mr Malone said.

Previous stories on this subject here


'Move population south' - O Fearghaill

KILDARE, JANUARY 5, 1998: Kildare County Council should be seeking to move the county's population 'in a southerly direction' according to Cllr Sean O Fearghaill. He says this should be part of the council's strategy to acquire land for housing and industry in an area where it is available more cheaply than people might think. Cllr O Fearghaill also accused the council of having a 'huckster shop mentality' where it did not appear to be willing to go and buy land at market rates.

"It seems to me that they want landowners to surrender land in some way rather than pay the market rate," he said. "This has negatively affected our ability to provide industrial and building land ... even if we got a massive increase in money for house-building, we wouldn't be able t deliver those houses, because we don't have ownership of the land to build them on."

RealAudio : Cllr Sean O Fearghaill on 'huckster-shop' mentality


Town development plan draft on display

ATHY, JANUARY 5, 1998: The draft new Development Plan for the Athy UDC area is now on display at the Municipal Offices and will be there until March 31. It is available for public viewing during normal office hours, and any ratepayer or householder who wishes to make an objection with respect to the draft plan may also request an oral hearing of their objection. Further information from Tommy Maddock, Athy UDC Town Clerk.


KNN's 'Wild Geese' now in flight

NAAS, JANUARY 3, 1998: We're glad to announce a new service from KNN - the 'Kildare Wild Geese'. This is where we're going to post any details of Kildare people and organisations which make contact from abroad. If you have any 'wild geese' of your own, or you happen to be one yourself, give us an email or website address and we'll be delighted to hear from you and let your friends back home know what they (or you) are at. KNN's email address is


Man dies in crash

MONASTEREVIN, JANUARY 3, 1998: A 32-year-old man died in a crash this morning on the Kildare-Monasterevin road, when his Ford Transit van overturned after hitting flood water. The dead man was later named as Matthew McDonald of Ballydavis, Co Laois. A passenger suffered slight injuries, but was later released from hospital. The accident happened shortly after 7am.



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