McGann takes over at Siamsa

Róisín McGarr was last week named as the new Executive Director for Siamsa Tíre, the home of the National Folk Theatre of Ireland.

She succeeds Catríona Fallon who stood down from the role at the end of May but who will remain with the organisation in a part-time capacity curating the visual arts programme.

Originally from Dublin Ms McGarr has a diverse professional background across varied business environments in both the public and private sector.

Since 2003, she has managed arts and cultural organisations in Ireland and the UK, including The Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, Visual and The George Bernard Shaw Theatre, Carlow and The Axis Centre, Ballymun, Dublin as well as Spirit Level, the dedicated Learning and Participation hub in the Southbank Centre, London.

She has produced and toured award-winning professional theatre productions nationally and internationally. Her venue programming encompasses local, national and international work and spans the visual and performing arts in all its forms, as well as literature, film and participatory programming.

She has also collaborated to host, co-produce and contribute programming to numerous established festivals including the Dublin Theatre Festival; the Dublin Fringe Festival; Culture Night and the International Pan-Celtic Festival.

In addition she has served as a management consultant to a range of commercial businesses as well as government and arts organisations.

"The unique character of Siamsa Tíre provides exciting opportunities to bring the best of arts and entertainment to Kerry as well as bringing the best of Kerry and Irish folk culture to a worldwide audience. I'm looking forward to working with the team here, our partners and the wider community to ensure Siamsa Tíre continues to go from strength to strength," said Róisín McGarr,

Siamsa Chairman Pat Dawson said Ms MGann will lead the organisation into "a new and exciting chapter for the theatre.

Allied Merchants Buying Association have just announced Kerry Agribusiness - a division of Kerry Group - as its newest member.

The company, which was formed in 2011, works together to enhance member's businesses through the development and deployment of coordinated negotiation and structured purchasing of the products sold within their businesses.

Allied Merchants Buying Association has 118 outlets with a combined buying power of €400 million across 20 members.

"Kerry Agribusiness share our vision and objectives and we look forward to working together to strengthen our purchasing agreements and grow our turnover and market share with approved suppliers," said Allied Merchants CEO Keith Giblin.

John Collins, Operations Manager of Kerry Agribusiness said the business recognise the value of being a member of Allied Merchants Buying Association.

"We are now working together with like-minded people with a core focus on growing our competitive position and improving product offerings and efficiencies for the betterment of our members and customers," said Mr Collins.

KILLORGLIN based Fine tech and foreign exchange giant Fexco has reaffirmed its commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the payments industry by becoming the newest corporate member of the European Women Payments Network (EWPN).

The Network is a not-for-profit Pan-European community that strives to create more opportunities for women and minorities, as well as being a champion for a more diverse and inclusive industry.

Membership of the network facilitates co-learning, knowledge sharing, mentoring and networking with the objective of highlighting the importance and value of a diverse workforce.

Denis Cleary, CEO of Fexco's Payments and FX Division said it was evidence of Fexco's standing commitment to the promotion of diversity.

"Becoming part of this key network demonstrates Fexco's commitment to promoting diversity both internally and across the wider fintech and payments industry. I am also delighted that Fexco has been shortlisted in the employer category at the EWPN Awards, further reflecting the company's ambition to create a more inclusive industry," he said.

"I want to thank my colleagues for their dedication to this important work in the foundation of the Fexco Women in Payments Network,"

Martha Mghendi-Fisher, founder of the EWPN welcomed Fexco into the network.

"We are delighted to welcome Fexco to the EWPN as our newest corporate member. Fexco's values and ambition to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace and wider payments industry are reflected in our own and I greatly look forward to working together as we drive the agenda of opportunity for women in the fintech and payments sectors," she said.

Forecourt giant Applegreen has said trading for the first five months of 2019 is "in line with expectations."

The chain operates thee filling stations and shops in Kerry with outlets in Tralee, Killarney and Listowel.

Ahead of the groups AGM Applegreen Chairman Daniel Kitchen said its trading performance came in spite more "challenging trading conditions in 2019 as ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit has impacted on consumer sentiment".

"We are pleased with the performance of the business in Ireland where trading conditions remain good," Mr Kitchen said.

Subject to shareholder approval, the group intends to pay a final dividend of 0.91 cent per share later this month.

Pre-tax profits at Newcastlewest based Pallas Foods, more than doubled to €10.7m last year.

Pallas Foods - which is the country's largest food service wholesale operator and supplies hundreds of hospitality businesses across Kerry - enjoyed a hugely successful 2018 according to new accounts filed by Pallas Foods Unlimited Company

The filing shows pre-tax profits at the firm rose by 111 per cent as revenues increased from €319.2 million to €352.18 million in the 12 months to the end of June 2018.

Numbers employed by the firm - led by ceo Peter Jackson - increased by 131 to 1,015 as staff costs rose to €44 million.

The accounts give the first insight into the financial performance of the firm in over 10 years as the unlimited entity last filed accounts to the Companies Office in 2008.

Underlining the growth of the business over the past 11 years, revenues have increased more than three-fold since 2007 when revenues of €116m were recorded.

Numbers employed have almost tripled from 386. According to the directors' report, "the company had another strong performance" in 2018.

The directors said that in achieving the turnover, "the company has focused on increasing sales with existing customers through offering a wider range of products and improving the quality of service and securing new contracts".

Operating profits at Pallas increased from €6.99m to €14.26m, while a net loss on financial liabilities at fair value of €3.18m and net interest payments of €287,968 reduced the business's profits to €10.7m.

Shareholder funds totalled €121.3m at the end of June last and that included cash of €24.82m.

The profit last year takes account of foreign exchange losses of €2.6m and non-cash depreciation costs of €5.3m.

Total pay to directors amounted to €534,045, made up of emoluments, share option gains and pension contributions.

THE head of Enterprise Ireland in Kerry and the Mid-West has welcomed new figures that show significant growth in international sales by the agency's client firms.

ENTERPrISE Ireland client companies have recorded export sales of €23.8 billion in 2018, representing a 6 percent increase on 2017 according to new figures from the agency.

The Eurozone region, which is a key focus of Enterprise Ireland's diversification strategy, saw growth of 7.6 per cent to €4.8bn, with Germany, France and the Netherlands each exceeding €1bn in exports.

Exports to North America increased from €3.87bn in 2017 to €4.08bn in 2018, an increase of 5.5 percent.

Despite the uncertainty of Brexit, exports to the UK were up 4 percent when compared with 2017 to €7.9bn.

The construction sector recorded the fastest growth up 22 percent on 2017 to €1.97bn.

Jerry Moloney, Regional Director, Kerry and Mid-West, Enterprise Ireland welcomed the results.

"These record export results show the resilience of Irish exporters to grow their global footprint in uncertain times. Our target is to increase exports to €26bn per annum by 2020 which we are on track to do. However, a hard Brexit and challenging global trading conditions will negatively impact on export growth for the year ahead," he said.

"We are also working to helpIrish exporters increase their levels of investment in R&D which is critical to mitigating the impact of Brexit and to compete in international markets. Our research shows companies who invest in R&D and take up supports achieve an average of 67 per cent growth in global sales," he said.

TRALEE based e-leaning firm Pulselearning have launched a new mental health initiative and training programme on a world wide basis.

'IAmHere' a division of PulseLearning, recently marked the training programme's global launch in Melbourne, Australia with Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

IAmHere is an evidence-based initiative that trains employees to become 'Mental Wellness Ambassadors' and signpost existing support services in their workplace or community.

One of Australia's largest employers, is the first organisation to launch IAmHere to its 200,000 team members in 3,500 locations across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Over 15,500 team members have already completed the IAmHere Tribe Member training in just two months

The success of the launch and the latest results have already surpassed Pulselearning's initial two-year targets.

The programme is the brainchild of Kerry based entrepreneur Jim Breen, Founder and Chairman of PulseLearning, chairman of Becloudsmart and founder of Cycle Against Suicide.

"We all have a deep desire to help each other but we don't often know what to do." Jim explained.

"It has been an incredible pleasure to launch IAmHere with our Australian Client. It is a company who holds mental wellness as its number one priority and recognises the huge health and safety benefits by protecting the wellbeing of its team members." added Jim.

David Eccles, Director Australia and New Zealand at Enterprise Ireland, the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets, which has supported PulseLearning along their journey of growth in Australia praised the new Pulselearning initiative.

"PulseLearning has a great reputation in Australia for its innovation, professionalism and customised eLearning solutions. With reports of over a third of Australian employees battling with their mental health, we are excited to see the company apply its thinking to the area of mental health and look forward to the success of the program here and across the world."

IAmHere has been created to be effective for companies of any size. . IAmHere is overseen by CEO, Carole Ann Clarke - ex Captain of the Irish women's rugby team, a mental health and leadership coach with 20 years' corporate experience.

Fáilte Ireland is to host a workshop in Killarney this week to guide organisations and businesses on how they can apply for funding under the new 'Platforms for Growth' State investment scheme.

Details of the €150 million programme were announced earlier this month.

Under the programme major new visitor attractions will be developed and existing attractions greatly enhanced with Fáilte Ireland making individual grants available for large-scale visitor attractions of €2.5million upwards.

The first funding 'Platform' will focus on developing "immersive" Heritage and Cultural Attractions.

There will be clear criteria governing investment under Platforms for Growth which are based on strategic importance, potential for economic growth and job creation.

The Kerry workshop on the programme takes place at the Muckross Park Hotel in Killarney this Thursday June 13. The deadline for expressions of interest is July 17.

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