Sneachta i mBaile an Mhuilinn
The Dingle News archive: January - 2009
30 January 2009
The bubble has well and truly burst in Kerry's rural tourist hubs with property prices in Dingle, Ballybunion and Kenmare taking a substantial hit in the past few months. It seems that these rural centres have, so far, been worst affected by the recession; their smaller populations, limited industry and dependence on seasonal employment leaving them at an immediate disadvantage to their urban counterparts demand-wise.
In the past few years, towns and their rural surrounds had seen the best of the boom; the demand for second homes and lack of available development land fuelled the market which in turn saw substantial price tags with average homes in some cased in excess of €300,000+ . This, despite stricter planning restrictions, encouraged a large increase in development and constructional activities in these areas. Now the question is posed, who now wants to buy these properties? A new world has emerged in recent times with the price decreases of 15%-30% seen in many of these areas on properties which were previously snapped up without hesitation in what were viewed as safe investments.
"The average 2-3 bed semi-detached home in the Kenmare area which was selling at €270,000 at the beginning of 2008 now lie in the region of €235,000" explained Kenmare based auctioneer John Daly of Sherry Fitzgerald Daly. "People are still querying but it all comes down to price and affordability; difficulties with economies and employment will play a major part in the future."We've seen a substantial price decrease of between 15%-25% since their mid-2007 peak."
"We are definitely going though a period of adjustment in the tourist hub market in places like Ballybunion" added Tom Dillion of Sherry Fitzgerald Dillion Prendiville, Listowel. "There have been some dramatic setbacks; the main market had been the holiday homes sector but it will depend greatly on what happens this summer and what the tourist market in 2009 will bring." The Dingle area, which had in the past few years stood out for the exceptional price tags properties were attracting, many in the region of €300,000 - €400,000, has also been affected. "It is fair to say that prices have decreased in the region of 15-25% in the Dingle area" commented Green Street based auctioneer John Diony O'Connor www.jdproperty.ie. "The average 2-3 bed home is still holding in the region of € 250,000 having said that there is certainly more scope for negotiation." "In addition the prospect of the Government taxing second homes is is cause of concern."We did experience a boom but now there its a question of supply and demand. People all over the world have been hit hard by this recession and the market for holiday homes and second homes has been badly hit." Mr. O'Connor also cited the issue of unfinished or idle developments which are becoming more and more evident in many rural areas. "There is an opening for the local authority to address this issue by perhaps developing affordable housing schemes in rural areas" he said. As an agent for EBS, Mr. O'Connor also reiterated that financial institutions, despite displaying more caution criteria-wise, are still prepared to lend and that prospective buyers, even first time buyers, can still expect competitive rates which will enable them to avail of these price decreases.
However there is some light at the end of the tunnel for these areas as part of their attractiveness, which has proven itself to be true in the past, is that they offer truly unique properties in scenic areas which are simply not available in the urban centres and commuter towns.
"The one saving grace is that some of these properties are unique and offer selling points such as limited development and the areas of scenic beauty in which they are located which will always attract buyers" mused John Daly.
"Its a question of affordability, who wants these properties and who has the money to pay for them. Economies are cyclical and we just have to get through 2009 and see what happens."
26 January 2009
The Government is considering allowing employers in the hospitality, retail and construction sectors to claim an 'inability to pay' the legally-defined minimum wage. Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan said that the lowering of the minimum wage in these sectors "would only apply where employees agreed to the measure in order to keep their jobs". The Tánaiste said the matter is currently before the Labour Court. Eurostat tracked the minimum wage of 20 EU member states in January 2009 - when looked at in monetary terms only, Ireland has the second highest, with recipients being paid €1,462 a month. This compares with €1,642 in Luxembourg, €1,321 in France, and €1,010 in the UK. Under the National Minimum Wage Act (2000), Ireland’s minimum wage is €8.65 per hour. The National Minimum Wage applies to all employees except: Employees in industries which are covered by registered employment agreements (REA's) and Employment Regulation Orders (ERO's), entitling their workers to a higher minimum wage; Employees who are in their first year of employment since turning the age of 18 (€6.92 per hour); Employees who are under 18 years of age (€6.06 per hour); Employees who are in their second year of employment since turning 18 (€7.79 per hour); Employees who are close relatives of the employer ; Employees undergoing structured training such as an apprenticeship (other than hairdressing apprenticeships. In January 2009, 20 of the 27 Member States of the EU (Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain, Estonia, Greece, France, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and the United Kingdom), one candidate country (Turkey) had national legislation setting statutory minimum wages. The minimum wages varied widely, from €123 EUR per month in Bulgaria to €1,642 per month in Luxembourg.
15 January 2009
Dingle has always had stars in its eyes so to speak when it comes to Hollywood; as the location of David Lean’s Ryan Daughter screen legends such as Robert Mitchum made the area their home during filming. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman also lived locally while filming Far and Away while the likes of Julia Roberts escaped the world media when she broke off her engagement to Kierfer Sutherland by fleeing to Greenmount House overlooking the town. Cillian Murphy owns a house locally while Gabriel Byrne was the special guest at this years Dingle Film Festival. Over the years, Hollywood has always made its way to Dingle, but this time, Dingle is making its way to Hollywood as one of our own recently secured a part in a major Hollywood movie. Bride Wars opened in cinemas this week; the romantic comedy tells the story of best friends Emma (played by Anne Hathaway) and Liv (played by Kate Hudson) who become rivals after their weddings are scheduled in the same venue on the same day. Shannon Ferber (10), (pictured, above, on the far right) who plays the role of the young Anne Hathaway (pictured above left) in the movie, happens to be the daughter of Blaithín Ferber (nee Sheehy), a native of Lady's Cross, Milltown, Dingle who moved to the states some years back. Blaithín's parents are Tommy and Ursula Sheehy, who now live in Tralee, while her Uncle Celsius Sheehy and his wife Margaret still live in Milltown-Dingle with their families. Shannon's aunt Gráinne, sister of Blaithín is married to RTE news correspondent Paschal Sheehy.
It’s a double connection as Shannon has the Corca Dhuibhne ties on her Dad’s side too; her father Michael Ferber hails from New York but his mother is Mary O'Dowd of Baile an Lochaigh in West Kerry, a sister of Bridie Fitzgerald, the wife of ex-FF senator Tom Fitzgerald. After starring modelling and starring in many TV and print adverts (including campaigns for Macy’s and Bloomingdales), Shannon was handpicked for the role by Anne Hathaway herself. Shannon attended the star-studded New York premiere of Bride Wars on January 5th, walking the red carpet with her parents Blaithín and Michael, brother Dillon (3) (who also has a small part in Bride Wars (his likeness appearing in a family album at the beginning of the movie) and brother, Brendan (6). "Shannon and the family love coming home to Dingle every summer and we are so looking forward to seeing them this year – we are so proud of all of them” said Shannon’s Grandmother Ursula Sheehy.
Bride Wars is currently on general release in cinemas all over Ireland for listings check http://www.omniplex.ie/
Captions: Zoe O'Grady and Shannon Ferber at the premiere of Bride Wars in NYC on January 5th. Zoe plays a young Kate Hudson in the movie while Shannon plays a young Anne Hathaway (pictured at the premiere above right).Shannon's family hail from Dingle while Zoe also has Irish connections; her father is from Mount Merrion in Dublin.