Employment Contract – must it be in writing?

 Employment Contract – must it be in writing?

Generally , an employee is given a written Employment Contract , even if it is no more  than a letter of welcome. Indeed the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 requires an Employer to give a written statement of the Employment terms ( an Employment Contract) within 2 months of the commencement date.

However, an Employment Contract can also be an oral one.  In either case , the Law inserts certain types of clauses into the Contract , even if the Parties never even thought of them. These are called IMPLIED TERMS

Such IMPLIED clauses have been relied on by the Courts to allow them decide a dispute between an Employer and Employee, where  there is no clear agreement between them as to what was in  the Employment Contract.

What kinds of Terms can be implied in the Employment Contract?

  1. Duty of Care – the Employer must take reasonable care for the Employees’s safety which means having a safe place of work ; safe equipment; safe systems of work and competent co-employees.
  2. Duty to maintain trust  and confidence- “the employer’s right to manage has to be balanced with the employee’s right not to be unfairly exploited by the employer” ( House of Lords in Malik v Bank of Credit  and Commerce Intl SA- 1997).
  3. Duty of Good Faith  and Loyalty – an employee should not reveal confidential information obtained during the employment contract unless authorised to do so. This includes trade secrets, client lists, prices, financial information, marketing methods or plans and future development plans.
  4. Mutual Duty of respect – both employer and employee should act in a way  that does not bring either in undeserved disrepute
  5. Duty to provide a Reference – UK Case law suggests  that in certain circumstances, an employee can require an employer to give a reference, usually at the request of a prospective employer. While there is yet no clear Irish decision on the topic, it is likely that the argument would find favour in our system. It is also clear  that an employer owes a duty not to give a reference  that is misleading or inaccurate.
  6. Obligations that are inserted because they are in our Law already – these include
    • minimum Notice periods
    • equality protections
    • the right not to be unfairly dismissed
    • the right to redundancy payments
    • working time rights  including the right to rest breaks, to holidays, maximum weekly hours
    • Protective Leave – maternity  rights, parental leave, Carer’s Leave
    • Jury Leave
    • The right to payment of wages
    • Rights  for fixed-term or part-time workers
    • Health and Safety rights and obligations, inserted  by many Regulations on the subject especially in certain more dangerous occupations
  7. Obligations arising under Codes of Practice – these Codes are not set out in legislation but are what Irish Courts  and Tribunals consider to be best practice within an Employment Contract. One of the most important is the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures ( Declaration) Order, 2000. It sets out the principles of fair procedures for employers and employees generally including :
    • that employee grievances are fairly examined and processed
    • that details of any allegations or complaints are put to the employees concerned
    • that such employee is given a chance to respond fully to any allegations/complaints
    • that such employee is given a chance to be represented during the process
    • that the employee has a right to fair and impartial assessment of the issues concerned, taking into account any representations made by the employee, plus any other relevant and appropriate evidence and circumstances

  There are other Codes of Practice dealing with issues such as Bullying in the Workplace, Health  and                Safety matters, Equality problems or issues and suchlike.

8.   Terms implied to the Employment Contract by Custom or Practice – any such term must be so     well known and generally accepted,  that if it is not in the written Contract, it can be taken to be one of the      terms between employer  and  employee. So, not every custom can or should be implied.

    Examples of these are rights to sick pay, the right of an employer to suspend and employee and the right        in  some employments to ex-gratia payments on termination, especially on redundancy.

     For such a term to become part of the Contract, it must reflect a clear, recurring, uninterrupted practice        that has been the norm for a number of years.

9.  Collective Agreements – often, in the manufacturing or other labour-intensive industries, unions               negotiate certain agreements  that both employers  and workers then agree should form part of their               Employment Contract. In the past one of the largest such has been the National Wage Agreements                   negotiated by  Government with certain Sectors.

10. Terms implied by the Constitution – certain rights are implied to the  Employment Contract under          the Constitution such as the  right to earn a living and the right to associate. The most important is  the          right  to Natural Justice which  has been taken to mean the right to fair procedure.

This means  that all aspects of disciplinary proceedings, up to and including dismissal, must be very carefully handled to ensure there is no breach of the employee’s rights here. It is a powerful tool and one       the Courts  and Tribunals are very prepared to use.

It is clear  that the Courts have not been slow to expand  the range  and detail of the rights that are seen to accrue to both sides in the employment relationship and to insert them into the Employment Contract, whether that is a written document or not.

For both Employers  and Employees , it is vital to understand  the issues and obligations in this area- early  and expert legal advice is worth the investment.

CONTACT me today – use our Free Enquiry Form or call on 0504-24173 ; email neil@njbutler.ie

“By Neil Butler”

Succession Plan for your Business

You need a Succession Plan  for Your Business – use our Checklist!

You have put huge effort and money into your Business, right?

You need it to continue to provide support to you and your family, right?

What happens if something unforeseen happens to you ?

Are you ready – is your business ready – if you decide to sell it ; to emigrate; to take up another challenge ?

Early planning  can really help you achieve the best return on your investment in the business. Have a look at the Check-list set out below and , in this New Year, promise yourself to start implementing it.

Any consideration of a Succession Plan for your Business should involve a chat with your Solicitor to review the Business Structure and to plan your personal affairs by making a Will and an Enduring Power of Attorney.

 Checklist for Succession Plan for Your Business

  • Establish a process
  • Start planning early
  • Carry out a comprehensive CSA (current situation analysis)
  • Do you have a plan? – a business plan and a personal plan
  • Know and understand your plan – ensure the objectives are SMART.

Specific – target a specific area for improvement

Measurable- quantify or suggest an indicator of progress

Assignable – specify who will do it

Realistic – state what results can be realistically achieved with available resources

Time-related – specify when the results can be achieved

  • Analyse the roles, management functions and areas of responsibility
  • Give serious contemplation to your exit (planned and unplanned)
  • What would your exit (planned and unplanned) mean to the business’s ability to trade?
  • Think of a transition timeframe for you
  • Your financial security – what would give you peace of mind
  • Is the business profitable? – what measurements do you use?
  • What do you require to live comfortably?
  • Plan for yourself – know your worth, have a Will
  • Contact your Solicitor to review the Business Structure and to plan your personal affairs by making a Will and an Enduring Power of Attorney
  • Encourage inter-generational discussion
  • Involve the family and others in your thinking
  • Take advantage of outside help/advice
  • Set a timeframe to achieve the business objective (this may differ from your personal transition timeframe)
  • Start the grooming process (of the business and family) well in advance
  • Be vigilant, be aware
  • Create a good physical environment, the ordering and maintenance of your physical space sets the scene for an uncluttered and well planned change process

CONTACT me today – use our Free Enquiry Form or call on 0504-24173 ; email neil@njbutler.ie

“By Neil Butler”

Apartment Law – Apartment owners Rights

Apartment Law

 

Apartment Owners Rights

Owning an Apartment is very different from owning a house. It is not just about size- it relates to the fact  that a lot of the building structure and services have to be shared between many users.

The legal rights of all those users are set out in the Title to the Apartment – usually in the Lease. The legal device most used is to have a Management Company “ in the middle” as it were. Owners are billed a Service Charge by the Management Company, ( assuming  that the Development has been transferred to the Company) which it uses to pay  for the common services , like building insurance, lighting in corridors, in car parks , refuse collection , security  and so on.

Apartment owners left powerless

In practice, the ability of a developer to design the management structure to suit its interests, rather than those of unit owners, led to developers retaining significant control over developments (including the common elements) long after completion of the development. This was achieved by having the voting rights in the management company weighed in favour of the original subscribers of the management company (ie the developer’s nominees) to the detriment of the unit owner members until the transfer of the common areas and reversion takes place. In many cases, unit owners were left powerless to get the Common Areas transferred to the Management Company or have completion of the development itself. In extreme cases, certain developers structured their developments so that existing unit owners were obliged to pay service charges for unsold units or to include costs within the service charge attributable to the original construction costs.

 

I am sure  that many Apartment owners have experienced a sense of not knowing what is going on in their developments , or worse , utter frustration  that the Builder/ Developer  has not put a Management Company in place. That becomes a bigger issue if that Builder has gone into liquidation or simply disappeared.

 

Some of the problems are :

  • A lack of understanding of the different roles and responsibilities of Owners, Tenants, Builders, Managing agents  and Management Companies
  • Builders holding on to effective control of the Management Company , even after most of the Units have been sold
  • Managing Agents having too much administrative control of the Management Company
  • The AGM of the Management Company not being held , or if held , organised at short noticve and at an awkward time or place
  • Increases in Service Charges not being explained or discussed
  • Failure by Owners to pay Service Charges
  • Lack of clear arrangements for those Developments already in trouble

In recognition of these problems, the Multi-Unit Development Act 2011 was enacted. I’ll call it “the MUD Act”.

Management Companies and the MUD Act 2011

 

This Act seeks to tackle the issues mentioned above  and more. It provides a Statutory framework to regulate the operation of Management Companies and seeks to provide redress where difficulties arise.

A point to note is that the developer retains certain flexibility regarding what it decides to include in or exclude from the common areas. This flexibility is subject to other provisions in the Act which restrict the omission of parts of the development reasonably necessary for the use and enjoyment by the residential unit owners of the development.

The focus of the Act is on residential rather than commercial units, however, where the development is a mix of both uses the Act still applies but certain flexibility is given allowing commercial units to be treated differently to residential units.

 

Common Areas must be transferred

The Act provides that only those common areas either exclusive to the residential units or common to both the residential and commercial units must be transferred to the management company. Common areas exclusive to the commercial units are not obliged to be transferred to the management company, but nothing in the Act prohibits their transfer. In most cases, however, save where there are stand alone commercial units with separate common areas it is likely that the common areas and reversion in the commercial unit cannot be practically separate and so will by default transfer to the management company. The Act also allows for more than one management company to be incorporated to deal with separate parts of a MUD.

SECTION 3.1 of the Act says  that the Developer cannot transfer his interest in a residential unit in a MUD unless:-

  • an Owner’s Management Company (OMC) has been established at the expense of the developer.
  • ownership of the relevant parts of the common areas and of any reversion in the residential unit has been transferred to the OMC.
  • a certificate from a suitably qualified person ( my note -Engineer, Architect) that the relevant parts of the MUD have been constructed in compliance with the fire safety certificate issued under the Building Control Acts 1990 and 2007 concerned has been furnished to the OMC.

 

 

  • a written contract has been entered into between the OMC and the developer setting out their respective rights and obligations and including in particular:-
  1. confirmation of compliance with all relevant statutory requirements
  2. completion of the work on the common areas concerned.
  3. the release to the developer of any monies held by the OMC where the contract provides for monies to be so held by the OMC pending completion of the common areas concerned. [this is unusual as monies are not normally held by an OMC for a developer]
  4. the process for resolving disputes between the parties to the contract as respect the completion of the development.

 

 

Section 3.3 requires the Developer to transfer to the OMC all rights needed to allow the Common Areas actually work – so , rights of way for use of roads, drains, conduits, pipes etc ; rights for all Owners necessary to allow them peaceable enjoyment of their residential Unit and all necessary amenities intended to be available for use  by Owners.

Section 6 says  that the OMC must have it’s own legal advice , paid for by the Developer – thus avoiding  the conflicts  that might previously have arisen where the Developers Solicitor acted for both.

There are provisions that compel a Builder to complete  the Development; to insure against any associated building work risk; to hand over specified documents etc.

The Act also provides methods  by which all the rights conferred  can be enforced in the event of default. It allows the restoration of a Management Company to the Companies Register , if it has been struck off. That might have happened if it failed to file Returns.

Section 17 imposes rules about AGM’s  and the information  that must be given to Owners.

Section 18 sets out Rules about  the Service Charge – what can be included ; how it’s calculated; how it’s allocated and so on .

Section 19 imposes obligations on the OMC to set up a Sinking Fund.

The Act sets out methods for dispute Resolution, in an effort to reduce the involvement of the Courts.

While not perfect , this Act gives some chance to many frustrated Unit Owners  to have their Scheme improved, thereby protecting their investment in an Apartment.

It requires a clear and experienced legal eye , to be used properly.

I have been working with Builders  and Owners for 20 years in these Schemes. Let me help you.

CONTACT me today – use our Free Enquiry Form or call on ; email neil@njbutler.ie

By Neil Butler

 

 

The Charities Act 2009 – more problems for Community Volunteers?

The Charities Act 2009 – activated 16th October 2014

As is well known , the Social obligations accepted by Ireland as a modern democracy to help those needy and dependent members of our population, are met in huge part by the contributions of a vast army of Volunteers across the country.

As we say in the Lions Club here in Thurles , they are Ordinary people doing Extraordinary things……

The Charities Act 2009 aims to provide for the better regulation of charitable organisations (charities). Its main provisions are in effect since 16 October 2014. The Charities Regulatory Authority was formally established on that day. Its temporary website is charitiesregulatoryauthority.ie. Charities will be required to register with the Authority. Those charities which already have tax exemption will be deemed to be registered.

 

This will be the first time that there are registered charities in Ireland. In order to become and remain registered charities, charities will have to abide by various rules in relation to how they operate. The Act provides for the statutory definition of a charity, based on the current law ( and which dates originally from 1601 !) and does not involve any major change.

Among other things, the Act sets out the duties and responsibilities of the Trustees of charities and provides extensive powers to the Charities Regulatory Authority to ensure compliance with the law.

The Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests for Ireland, which performed specific functions in relation to charities but was not the regulator of charities, has ceased to exist from 16 October 2014.

WHAT IS A CHARITY ?

A charitable organization is a group of people ( not being a Company), or people who are the trustees of a formal charitable trust or a Company:

  • That promotes a charitable purpose only
  • That is required under its constitution to apply all of its property to further that purpose except for money used in its operation and maintenance (for example, payments to staff) and, in the case of religious organisations or communities, money used for the accommodation and care of the members of the organisation or community, and
  • None of whose property is payable to the members of that body except in specific circumstances

A Charitable Trust is a Trust that is established for charitable purposes only and is established under a Deed of Trust that requires the Trustees of the Trust to apply all of the property of the Trust to further the purposes of the Trust except for money used in its management, and where none of the property is payable to the trustees except in specific circumstances.

There is an excellent document produced by the Citizens Information Board that provides more information – view it here.

While the intent is improved regulation to minimize fraud, excessive unmanaged spending and so on, I feel it will also add a heavy administrative burden to many Groups. That burden will come with cost , too , which in many cases has to be met from fundraising , which in turn has seen a significant drop in the past few years. Insofar as any funds are made available by Grant from the State, it’s clear that only those Organisations that are compliant with this new structure will continue to receive those funds.

In my experience in being a Board Member of a Voluntary Housing Company, these changes show clearly the value in becoming affiliated with an umbrella Organisation that has expertise and resources to support local Community Volunteers . I offer the example of the Irish Council for Social Housing of which the Housing Company that I am involved with, is a member.

Some of the legal requirements now demamded by the new Regime , require a clear understanding of this Sector.

I have gained such an understanding and indeed valuable personal network connections, in my years with one of our local Voluntary Housing Companies. Please contact me if you need advice on these issues.

Neil J. Butler

www.njbutler.ie

neil@njbutler.ie

0504-24173

By Neil Butler

 

This is Vital if you want to move house quickly!

If you have finally found a buyer for your house or property, you want to move house as quickly as possible, with the least stress or anxiety.

To move house quickly, do the following….

Choose a Solicitor who will deliver  the attention and efficiencies that are needed to ensure you get the Result – not all Solicitors are the same !

Look at my Tips for Choosing a Solicitor here

Having chosen the correct Solicitor – hopefully, me…!- there are some things  that are really important that you can do  and that will help accelerate things :

1   Have your PPS number  and that of your spouse or Partner easily available . A letter from Revenue or a P60 Form  are ideal.

2   LPT or Local Property Tax – you should have a PIN  and a Property ID Code. Either print out the LPT history from the website  or give the numbers to your Solicitor  so he/she can do it.

3   Septic Tank Registration – if you live in the country  and have such a drainage system , it must be registered with the Co Council. Those Registration numbers etc are also needed by your Solicitor.

4   NPPR – Non Principal Private Residence Tax. If you own an investment apartment or house  that you rent out  and are now selling it , you need to give your Solicitor a print-out of the tax history. If you can’t access it , your Solicitor can help you.

5   Irish Water Registration – again , have the details  ready.

6   Have you built any extensions to the house ; or maybe converted your

garage ? Your Solicitor will need the Planning Permission or else details of when it was built and what floor area it has

7   If you have a mortgage, then the Mortgage account details and the last Statement showing the balance due will be a great help to your Solicitor.

8   Arrange an appointment with Me – I can meet you personally OR we can meet online , using Google Hangouts  or  Skype. We can also use e-mail to set up the initial processes. Location and time is not a barrier !

By working together and being organised , we can get this done for you !

Why not give me a call – 0504 24173.

Or email me on neil@njbutler.ie

By Neil Butler

Do I need a Solicitor for my Injuries Board Claim?

Legally , according to the Rules , the answer is No.

But some 90% of Claimants prefer the security and support provided by engaging a Solicitor to act for them in handling an Injuries Board Claim.

It does make sense …..

How can a Solicitor help my Injuries Board Claim?

  • Do you know what is meant by General Damages and Special Damages?
  • Do you know  what the Book of Quantum is?
  • Do you know where to get Expert Reports , if needed to support your Claim?
  • Do you know when the time is right to settle and when to fight ?
  • Do you know how to read a Medical Report and understand if further information is needed , maybe from another Consultant?
  • Do you know what  value other , similar Claims have had before the Injuries Board  and before the Courts?
  • Do you know enough to be sure  that you are getting the best possible result in your Claim?

 

Most people would answer No to these questions – because you are not a Solicitor  and never had any reason to learn  these things.

But we at Neil J. Butler & Co. Solicitors have learnt these things .

We have been handling Injuries Board Claims since

And we can use  that specialist knowledge for your benefit if you have been hurt  and need to bring a Claim before the Injuries Board.*

 What about Costs?

Yes, we’ll explain that the Board  does not pay anything toward your costs  and that we therefore have to be paid by you. But you’ll pay  for an Expert service from experienced Professionals who will work to get the best result possible for you and who will tell you if the Offer from the Injuries Board simply is’nt enough.

 

Call us today ………. 0504-24173 ; neil@njbutler.ie

www.njbutler.ie

* in contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

By Neil Butler

BER Certs – Not such a Waste?

BER Certs

Since the obligation for property sellers and their agents to have Building Energy Rating Certificates was applied to Irish Law, I  have wondered about the value of them.

Sure, they have provided a whole new “cottage industry” where many people did a short course to become qualified to carry out inspections and provide  the Certs.

But I have always felt there was almost a resentment on the part of property owners to having to incur yet another tax, for no apparent benefit. It was always assumed  that the buyer really did’nt care about how energy-efficient the place was.  As long as he/ his partner/ family  liked it and they could afford it , generally they bought it anyway.

Now , we learn, from our own Central Statistics Office no less, that in fact BER Certs have become a factor in the assessment of a property by prospective bidders.

The Irish Times carried this story on Oct 30th 2014 last…..

Developers and those building privately are becoming more conscious about the energy ratings in homes, according to a new CSO study.

The report on Building Energy Ratings (BERs) found that 29 per cent of all homes built here between 2010 and 2014 have an A Energy Rating with a further 64 per cent posting a B rating.

In contrast just 1 per cent of dwellings built between 2005 and 2009 had an A rating, with just 38 per cent having a B rating. Compare this with the period 2000-2004, when 0 per cent of homes had achieved an A rating.

Since January 2013 all properties sold or rented in Ireland are required to display the BER when advertised. According to Pat Mullery a senior negotiator with DNG, buyers are becoming increasingly conscious about the energy rating of houses when making their buying decisions.

“It does have an impact on sales,” he said.

“People are definitely conscious about BERs and would have an interest in them.

“I sold one A rated house recently to an elderly man and he was able to rattle off all the A rated properties that were on the market in the area, so it was clearly important to him.

“Even in second-hand properties, people are conscious about the ratings and if there are low ratings they look to improve them. Builders are also trying to get as high a rating as possible too,” he said.

The CSO found that 515,732 dwellings nationally had a BER audit conducted between January 2009 and September 2014.

Mid-floor apartments were found to have the highest BERs with 30 per cent awarded an A or B rating. In contrast, only 11 per cent of detached houses received an A or B following the energy audit.

So, as the Auctioneer must have the BER Cert before he advertises the premises, ask for a copy of the Cert. and the Report before you bid. Running costs are relevant!

By Neil Butler

 

Local Property Tax 2015 – issues for sale of your house.

 Local Property Tax 2015 – issues for sale of your house.

It gets harder to keep up with the changes Revenue keep making to Local Property Tax.

There are issues for sale of your house.

As we now know , the 2015 tax is based on ownership of a house on 1st November 2014, even though the tax is not due till 2015.

I have problems appearing in my Files where a homeowner is paying this tax by monthly deduction from salary and has agreed  the sale of his house within  the past 2 weeks. Obviously, anyone selling or buying a house in November wants to be in for Christmas , so there is a bit of pressure on all sides.

The Buyer’s Solicitor must get from me as Seller’s Solicitor , proof that LPT  is paid in full when the house sale completes as that is the only way he can be certain that there are no arrears  that might attach to the title of the house and continue to gather interest.

The usual proof is a print-out from the LPT website that shows no tax due. However, since Nov 1st 2014 , even if the 2014 tax is fully paid, the taxpayer is shown as owing the 2015 tax.

My client , who has been paying by the month , must now pay all of the tax for 2015 in a lump sum , so that the printout will show a nil balance.

But he won’t be in the house in 2015 – the new buyer will. So, I ,as the Seller’s Solicitor must PROTECT my client by inserting a Condition in to the Contract for Sale  that requires the buyer to refund my client for all of the 2015 LPT.

Because this Tax is paid in advance  and also becomes linked to the property Title if not paid , sellers are placed in a very harsh position from a cashflow perspective.

If you are selling in these weeks or indeed in the first months of 2015 , then check that you are protected.

 

Contact us for further help.

By Neil Butler

 

Thinking of buying or selling your home?

Thinking of buying or selling your home?

While the Dublin economy has been energised for some time now , it is only recently that we  in rural Ireland are seeing the beginnings of change.

In my Practice , I see people who are finally able to consider getting on the property ladder , as there are houses being brought to the market by Banks ; by people who are in discussions with Banks or others who are simply in trouble and are looking for a way out.

While there is some pent-up demand , there is also a big obstacle in the way Banks who have loans on premises  that are in arrears , take so long to make decisions when asked to consent to sales. That is a real problem at a human level – it is taking up to 9 months to get a decision.

Buying or selling your home is a big decision – some might even call it brave.

There are some useful points in the following Article from the Irish Times…

Eoin Burke Kennedy – Irish Times May 27 2014

The housing market, too, is showing signs of recovery. Property prices across the State were up 7.8 per cent in the 12 months to the end of March, according to the Central Statistics Office, with the capital recording a year-on-year bounce of 14.3 per cent.

Property transactions The price rises are not confined to Dublin – data shows they have started to spread across the State. The number of property transactions are increasing significantly year on year – although they are still well below the 4 per cent turnover threshold expected from a normal functioning market.

According to The Irish Times-owned Myhome.ie, transaction levels rose right across the country in 2013. Counties that reported a strong rise in transactions include Leitrim (up 57 per cent to 350 sales; Carlow (up 41 per cent to 376); and Cavan (up 55 per cent to 500).

And the banks appear to be back in business to some degree. The value of mortgage lending rose by 72 per cent on an annual basis in the first quarter of this year, with 3,425 mortgages, worth €568 million, drawn down.

A survey by the Irish Brokers Federation and PricewaterhouseCoopers has shown that activity in the Irish mortgage market rose by 66 per cent in the first quarter, the highest increase since 2010, and the first year-on-year growth since 2006.

Banks are still taking a cautious approach and looking for a solid track record of savings. Their primary considerations now are repayment capacity if interest rates rise. Lenders are also focusing on the level of outstanding borrowings would-be customers have, but they claim to be lending.

Problem mortgages When it comes to housing, and mortgages in particular, much of the talk has been about those struggling to pay mortgages or trapped in negative equity. However, there is another cohort who need solutions, even if they have equity in their homes and can pay their debts. People in this group are trapped because they will lose their tracker mortgage – whereby the interest rate they pay is tied to European Central Bank rates and can’t be changed by banks – if they move.

A person with a €350,000 mortgage paying interest on a tracker mortgage at a rate of 1.5 per cent has monthly repayments of just €1,207. If they sell, lose their tracker and take out a mortgage of the same size at a rate of 4.5 per cent, the monthly repayments climb to €1,773.

Banks have finally started to do something about this log-jam. A couple of months ago, Permanent TSB brought a new product to market allowing tracker holders to sell and buy and keep their tracker – sort of. Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, AIB, EBS and KBC Bank are offering similar products or plan to do so.

There are caveats. PTSB applies a 1 per cent margin on an applicant’s existing tracker rate so if they are on ECB+1 per cent, it will increase to ECB+2 per cent, for a total interest rate of 2.25 per cent. This is two points less than the best variable rate loan on offer.

And these products can be time-limited too. Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank will offer the lower tracker for just five years only, after which people have to switch to a variable or fixed rate. It is too early to tell if the new deals will amount to much. However, if they succeed in allowing people to sell up and move on, then the “next big crisis” of too much demand in too few areas leading to another property bubble could be still be averted.

By Neil Butler

The Garda Inspectorate Report – are they all Breaking Bad?

Garda

 Garda

While this Report , at one level , is long overdue in highlighting the limitations in our Police Force , given the demands now being made of it , I am saddened at the media frenzy which has highlighted the negative  and sensational, forgetting about the human aspect behind the analysis.

 

I have worked in the legal world for over 30 years , living most of that time in rural Ireland. I have come to know many members of An Garda Siochana professionally but also socially. I have also encountered them in Voluntary Organisations of which I have been a member.

 

With some few exceptions – and what walk of life does not have them – I have come across Gardai and Detectives who are decent, caring and in the best sense , ordinary ; who are good parents and supportive friends; who believe in Community Service, even in their personal time by volunteering in Lions Clubs , in the Vincent de Paul, in Sports Clubs and much more.

 

They have long been doing  what at times is a very difficult and unpleasant job and  are now struggling to retain pride in the doing of that job, given the damage caused by some of their colleagues , some of their Senior Officers  and by successive Governments in under-resourcing them.This Report is another very painful chapter for them.

 

The huge and valuable changes made over the last 10 to 15 years in the training programmes delivered to recruits in Templemore have, in my experience , given us many young Gardai who have a far greater professionalism  than their predecessors. Much of the enthusiasm with which those young professionals come to their first Stations can be quashed in the frustrations they must experience by reason of some of the issues mentioned in the Report. But given the chance under a new approach from Management of the Force , the qualities that I  and I’m sure many of us have seen at first hand when we meet them in ordinary life in our Communities, can result in a dedicated and best-of-class Garda Force of which we can all be proud.


Let’s give them a chance !

By Neil Butler

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WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU? – get in touch ... we will help

We will guide and support you through the necessary steps and procedures using our years of experience and expertise to make sure we get the best possible outcome for you.