News Ireland daily BLOG

Wednesday 11th December 2013

Number’s of Irish workers on low pay estimated at 21% of workforce


The number of Irish workers on low pay has been estimated at 21% of workforce and these workers typically have no occupational pension. They have the lowest job security and on redundancy, it would also be typical to be paid only the statutory entitlement.

The Nevin Economic Research Institute (Neri) says in its latest quarterly report that 20.7% of workers are classified by the EU as low paid (with the cut-off point being €12.20 per hour). They also generally work fewer hours per week, although they wish to work more.

The institute, which is funded by the trade union movement, says that globally there has been a ‘polarisation’ of the labour market with middle paying jobs being hollowed out. It notes that the construction boom masked this underlying trend in Ireland.

During the recession managerial, professional, and technical jobs showed employment increases, while middle paying craft and secretarial jobs showed decreases.

The institute says there is a need to both retrain unemployed former construction workers and also to prepare administrative workers in employment for future changes in the labour market. While a domestic led recovery is unlikely, over the coming years it is probable that  there will be a continued expansion of employment for the higher paid, stagnation or declines for those in middle paying occupations, and the fate of the lower paid will depend on a trickle down from those in higher paying jobs.

6 smart tips to take into account on your health cover

Personal Finance, Financial Planning, Health Insurance, Hospitalization, Mediclaim     

We often hear our client’s saying that “I don’t need to take Health Insurance separately as I am getting covered by my Company”. Well, we strongly recommend you to consider a secondary health insurance for below reasons:

1. The amount of the Company Cover may not be sufficient

2. Your Company can change the Medical scheme in future

3. As you grow, you may develop medical problems and may not get a new health policy

4. If you change the Job, the new Company may not have an equally good scheme or may not have a scheme at all, if you join say a start-up

5. Not all Companies cover your parents Now, if you decide to go in for a secondary health cover, then here are few smart tips for you to determine what kind of cover and amount you should opt for: Current insurance cost: First, please review your current cost of insurance as a % of your total income.

As a broad guidance, we suggest that your total yearly cost of insurance should be around 10% of your yearly take home income.  Keep in mind your Age & Medical History:

If you are in your 40’s, it’s a good idea to start investing in a solid secondary health cover. Based on your present health condition and family history, you can decide the type of cover and amount of the coverage. In addition to the normal health cover, now there are specific policies for Sugar & Heart patients.

Go for smart features: As you are likely to continue using your Company’s policy as a primary health cover, we suggest you opt for a high no claim bonus policy. Private sector leads with lot of innovative features like high amount of no claim bonus, combination of Individual + Family Floater cover and no sub limits for the claim purpose. Take the right amount:

You can decide the amount of the coverage based on your current lifestyle, medical situation, your location (i.e. Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 town) and available budget. As a broad guidance, we generally recommend our clients to take Rs.

10 Lakhs family floater health cover. Based on the specific situation this can be far higher or even lower.  Select the right Company:  Here you broadly have 3 choices.

You could go with National Insurers, Private Sector Players or opt for the Group Health cover by Nationalized Banks. With competitive pricing and innovative features, we believe that private sector policies generally score higher over National Insurers.

Group Health cover by Nationalized Banks are very cheap and often the only option for people above 65 years of age. However, the service levels and sub limits in the policy can be a constraint.

We suggest you to study the comparative analysis available on many personal finance blogs. Prioritize: You are likely to be “Mr. Busy At Work”. We normally recommend you to prioritize Health Insurance before Term Plan (Life Insurance) as the probability of hospitalization is higher than death and with increasing age the entry becomes difficult. Again this depends on client specific situation but we normally recommend the personal finance actions in this order:

• Obtain health cover

• Setup emergency corpus

• Take term plan

• Setup SIPs for Goal based savings

• Take satellite covers (e.g. Critical Illness, Personal Accident, Hospital Day Cash)

30,000 foreign nationals living in Ireland are illegal


Supporters of undocumented families wearing Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD & Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore TD masks during a 24 hour vigil to highlight the plight of undocumented migrants at Christmastime outside Leinster House, Dublin.

P TO 30,000 foreign nationals living in Ireland are undocumented, new research shows.

The findings indicate as many as a third of these may have been living here for a decade or more.

Similar to the Irish undocumented in the US, most are caught in a limbo situation where they are afraid to return home for family occasions and funerals in case they are not allowed back into Ireland.

The research, conducted by the Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland (MRCI), provides the first proper snapshot of the undocumented community in Ireland.

The MRCI has been pushing the Coalition to provide a pathway which would allow the undocumented to regularise their immigration status — similar to what successive Irish governments have been lobbying for in the US.

However, Justice Minister Alan Shatter is not in favour of such a scheme and said it is incumbent on non-EU nationals to ensure that they have permission to live here.

The MRCI findings were drawn from a number of sources, including data supplied by the Department of Justice and the EU, as well as its own research. It estimates that the number of undocumented currently living in Ireland is between 26,000 and 30,000.

In the past four years the centre has had contacts with over 2,100 undocumented people living here.


This diverse group contains 87 different nationalities, with the most common being Filipino (16.3pc); Chinese (13.5pc); Mauritian (8.5pc); Pakistani (7.7pc); Ukrainian (5.9pc); and Brazilian (5.4pc).

Four-fifths of these were found to be over the age of 30. And almost three-quarters were working. Despite not legally being allowed to live here, many have been able to obtain PPS numbers and pay income tax.

“Most are engaged in some form of employment in the State, typically in more informal job sectors such as restaurants and domestic work, and are living on very meagre incomes,” the researchers found.

“Many have been with the same employer for several years and, interestingly, many pay income tax and PRSI through their employment.”

Researchers found many undocumented obtained PPS numbers after arriving in Ireland on foreign student schemes which also allowed them to work and can last for up to seven years.

However, when the scheme ended they remained here and continued working, despite not being legally entitled to so.

The most common jobs worked by the undocumented included positions in the restaurant and catering industry (16.3pc); domestic work (7.2pc); cleaning and maintenance (4.1pc); shopping and retail (4pc); and manufacturing (3.2pc).

Smaller numbers also worked in construction, as hotel staff, as carers, in agriculture and in the security industry.

The MRCI accused the Government of hypocrisy for calling for the US to help the Irish undocumented while offering no hope to undocumented people in Ireland. It is holding a protest outside the Dail on the issue today.

Aurivo to develop €5.5m biomass project in Ireland


A new wood-fuelled energy system being installed at the Aurivo dairy ingredients plant at Ballaghadereen, Co Roscommon will cut carbon emissions in half through a dramatic reduction in usage of heavy fuel oil.

The €5.5m biomass plant, construction of which gets underway this week, will use 30,000 tonnes of woodchip per annum, all sourced from forests in the west and north west. It will result in the annual displacement of almost five million litres of heavy fuel oil.

With a capacity of 15 tonnes of biomass, the plant is the first of its kind in the west and Aurivo will become the first large scale milk processor in the country to switch to biomass as a source of energy.

The new plant, which will be operational in April 2014, will have an output of 15Mw of steam energy. Ultimately, it will be developed into a combined heat and power (CHP) plant and, by 2016, Aurivo plans to be exporting energy into the national electricity grid.

Aurivo chief executive Aaron Forde said the new plant provides a long-term, sustainable energy solution for its dairy ingredients business, which is supplied by 1,000 dairy farmers in the west, north west and midlands.

“As well as cutting carbon emissions, it will also result in energy savings. The move to biomass is an integral part of our commitment to Bord Bia’s ‘Origin Green’ sustainability charter. As a major food exporter, sustainable systems must be at the core of all stages in the production and manufacturing chain,” said Mr Forde.

The plant was designed and manufactured by Irish company, HDS Energy. Based in Kells, Co Meath, HDS has designed, manufactured and installed boiler systems for companies including Intel, Wyeth and Guinness Ireland.

The components, weighing over 200 tonnes, were transported over two nights last weekend from Kells to Ballaghadereen in a Garda-escorted convoy. Assembly will get underway this week when a 500-tonne crane will arrive at the Aurivo plant in Ballaghadereen.

Newly Discovered Greenhouse Gas 7,000 Times Stronger Than CO2,

But Not Quite as Prevalent

A Newly Discovered Greenhouse Gas Is 7,000 Times More Potent Than CO2  

Haze is one of many indicators of a rising global climate.

A newly discovered greenhouse gas is believed to be 7,000 times stronger than standard carbon dioxide (CO2), but researchers suggest it may not be new at all.

Accoridng to the Guardian, the University of Toronto (U of T) research team determined that the electrical industry has used perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA), the newly discovered gas, since the mid-20th century.

The researchers said the chemical does not occur naturally and there is no other gas that compares in terms of climate impact. The researchers published their study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Over a 100-year period, PFTBA was found to be 7,100 times more influential on global warming than CO2.

“We claim that PFTBA has the highest radiative efficiency of any molecule detected in the atmosphere to date,” said study co-author Angela Hong.

However, the concentrations of PFTBA in the atmosphere are still relatively low, at 0.18 parts per trillion in the Toronto area versus CO2’s 400 parts per million.

“This is a warning to us that this gas could have a very very large impact on climate change – if there were a lot of it,” Drew Shindell, a climatologist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said. “Since there is not a lot of it now, we don’t have to worry about it at present, but we have to make sure it doesn’t grow and become a very large contributor to global warming.”

Other similar studies have already warned of new greenhouse gases becoming more prevalent in the atmosphere. While still not as prevalent as CO2, the newly discovered gases have a stronger impact per molecule.

“From a climate change perspective, individually, PFTBA’s atmospheric concentration does not significantly alert the phenomenon of climate change,” Hong said. “Still the biggest culprit is CO2 from fossil fuel emissions.”

The research team was not able to determine how widespread the use of PFTBA is outside Toronto, but its discovery will certainly raise questions heading forward.

“PFTBA is just one example of an industrial chemical that is produced but there are no policies that control its production, use or emission,” Hong said. “It is not being regulated by any type of climate policy.”


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