Coverage examples: Every week we take a look at the stories sent through MediaHQ’s press release distribution tool and post the best covered ones in a weekly blog. For this week,Focus Ireland, Red PR, EVO Payments and Hanover Communications made it to the top of our list.
1) Focus Ireland
Title: Focus Ireland Launches New Campaign to require Local Authorities to take ‘Best Interests of the Child’ into account when working with families who present as homeless
Author: Roughan Mac Namara
Email delivery rate: 99%
Time of release: 07:57 on the 9th of May
This new campaign will be launched at 11.30 today Tuesday May 9th in the Gandon Suite, Davenport Hotel, Dublin.
Focus Ireland Launches New Campaign to require Local Authorities to take ‘Best Interests of the Child’ into account when working with families who present as homeless
- Campaign launched as nearly 3,500 children are now homeless as the crisis deepens
Focus Ireland launched a new campaign today to try to help efforts to get to grips with the deepening homelessness crisis as nearly 3,500 children are now homeless.
At the end of March 2023, there were 3,472 children in emergency accommodation. This shows a shocking increase of 662 children since March last year. That is the equivalent of 28 classrooms of national schoolchildren (and their families) all becoming homeless in the last year.
Focus Ireland said the aim of the campaign is to require Local Authorities to prioritise the ‘best interests of the child’ during the ongoing housing and homelessness crisis. The charity stressed that Local Authority staff nationwide are working extremely hard to deal with this crisis, but they need more direction, training, and support.
The campaign calls for the reintroduction and passing into law of the Housing (Homeless Families) Bill 2017, a piece of private members legislation introduced into the Dail in 2017 by Deputy Jan O’Sullivan. The Bill aimed to amend the 1988 Housing Act so that local authorities would be required to consider the 'best interests of the child' in their decision making when a family presented as homeless.
The legislation was supported by all parties - including the current Minister Darragh O’Brien, when he was opposition spokesperson - and reached Committee Stage before falling with the dissolution of that Dail. If passed into legislation it would ensure that the best interest of the child is seen as paramount, and it would ensure that every child would become “rights holders” and their needs assessed.
Speaking at a press conference at the Davenport Hotel in Dublin Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said: "We know that homelessness has a devastating impact on children's physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Every child has the right to a safe and stable home, but shamefully 3,472 children are homeless and living in emergency accommodation. This is unacceptable, and we are calling on the government to put the best interests of the child at the heart of its housing policies."
Mr. Allen explains: “Under the current legislation governing local authorities, children have no official rights. The existing legislation is 35 years old and reflects a world in which homelessness was something that happened to single adult men. The law does not reflect the reality of our current crisis and it does not reflect the sentiment of the Irish people who passed the Thirty-first Amendment of the Constitution (Children) Act in 2012, amending the Constitution by inserting clauses relating to children's rights and the right and duty of the state to take child protection measures.”
Focus Ireland said that, if the campaign is successful, it would mean that local authorities would have to assess the needs of children in homeless families as part of their decision-making process. For instance, because of emergency accommodation shortage, local authorities increasingly pressurize families to stay with friends and family without assessing whether that accommodation is suitable or safe.
This legislation would require all local authorities to assess the suitability of alternative accommodation when they decline to offer emergency accommodation. The legislation would also require the local authorities to ensure that the emergency accommodation that they commission meets the best of interests of children, including such issues as access to schools, the need for child support workers, homework and play areas, etc. Some local authorities already make great efforts in these areas, but others do not.
If local authorities fail to consider these issues, they will be open to legal challenge, so this requirement will encourage them to improve the training and resources available to their staff and to have clearer guidelines and processes.
“We want to be clear that that proposed legislation is not designed to solve the homeless crisis from families – for that we need a massively increased supply of affordable housing – but it is designed to reduce the trauma and terrible harm that homelessness can cause to children. When it decided not to extend the eviction band, the Government signalled that it is prepared to tolerate very high levels of homelessness, if that is the strategy that it has decided on it must also ensure that it puts in place measures to protect children from the worse impacts of homelessness.
Meanwhile, Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family and Julie Ahern, Director of Legal, Policy and Services of the Children's Rights Alliance also spoke at the event.
One Family CEO Karen Kiernan outlined her concerns as she said: “Lone parent households are disproportionately at risk of homelessness, and they also find the reality of living in emergency accommodation much more difficult, as there is only one adult to mind children, source new housing and travel with children to school. If successful, the legislation would benefit children by ensuring that local authorities prioritise their best interests when making decisions about housing. This would mean that children should be accommodated as close to their school as possible and to their support networks.”
Julie Ahern, from Childrens Rights Alliance said: “The Government is failing to meet the need for children and young people to have access to safe and affordable housing. So, at the very least, the Government should be ensuring that decisions being made to address child and family homelessness are being made in the best interest of the child. Home means so much more than just the four walls around a child. Access to education, the ability to socialise and build relationships with friends, integrating into a community – these connections are essential for a child’s development and wellbeing, and these become near impossible for so many children experiencing homelessness. We now have almost three and a half thousand children, and families making extraordinary journeys and going to extraordinary lengths to maintain a normal and happy childhood. It is high time for Government act with the urgency this crisis demands.”
Focus Ireland is asking people to support this campaign by signing an online petition and are asking all TDs to support this Bill when it gets reintroduced. People can sign the petition at https://bit.ly/41l8Z1r
Media Contact: Roughan Mac Namara – Head of Media Communications, Focus Ireland – 086 85 15 117
2) Red PR
Title: Press Release: An overwhelming majority of Irish racecourses vote in favour of AIR proposal on Media Rights Deal
Author: Carey-Ann Lordan
Email delivery rate: 91%
Time of release: 15:32 on the 9th of May
Press Release: Tuesday, 09 May 2023
For Immediate Release
An overwhelming majority of Irish racecourses vote in favour of AIR proposal on Media Rights Deal
Today, at an extraordinary general meeting of the Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR), at the Keadeen Hotel in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, representatives of all 26 Irish Racecourses gathered. The purpose of the meeting was to vote on the recommendation by the HRI Media Rights Committee’s proposed deal with RMG and SIS which was unanimously supported by the AIR Board.
Twenty-one racecourses have passed the AIR resolutions set out today, thus agreeing to their representation by the association to conclude a deal based on the recommendation of the HRI Media Rights Committee and AIR.
Five tracks have rejected the deal. These include Kilbeggan, Roscommon, Sligo, Limerick and Thurles.
Chairman of AIR, Conor O’Neill commented “It’s a fantastic deal and I’m delighted for the 21 racecourses who have signed up to secure it today. I would like to thank the Board of AIR and our CEO Paul Hensey for their hard work and support. I would also like to especially thank our former CEO Paddy Walsh who has worked tirelessly on achieving the best possible deal for our members and the HRI Media Rights Committee whose commitment has been extraordinary throughout the entire process.”
Although it's disappointing that it was not approved by all, today is a very positive day for the future of Irish racing, let’s not take away from that. I look forward to continuing our partnership with SIS and RMG for the overwhelming majority of Irish Racecourses subject to the approval by the HRI Board on Friday.”
For further information contact:
Carey Ann Lordan, Red PR
T: 052 6184343 M: 087 9270730 E: email@example.com
Paul Hensey, CEO AIR
M: 087 2750610 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Conor O’Neill, Chairman of AIR & HRI Media Rights Committees and CEO of Punchestown Racecourse
M: 085 1011000 E: email@example.com
Notes to Editor:
Pic attached – no repo fee
Healy Racing Photography
3) EVO Payments
Title: One in Five Cork businesses want to go cashless
Author: Eric Maher
Email delivery rate: 100%
Time of release: 14:46 on the 2nd of May
BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA), a leading provider of payment technology solutions, recently surveyed Irish businesses about the current payment landscape as well as business confidence and concerns
- 21% of Cork businesses would like to be fully cashless
- 42% of businesses unaware there is no contactless limit on mobile wallets – just below the national average
- 64% believe the increase in card over cash transactions has helped them run their business
- Businesses in other midlands counties, Laois (85%), Westmeath (73%) and Kildare (73%) also above national average (62%) in claiming the increase in card transactions over cash has benefited their business.
- The cost of living crisis (76%) and business running costs (76%) dominate as key concerns across all sectors. Yet, Irish businesses’ outlook remains optimistic with 59% believing their business could grow this year.
- “Our merchant insights show that businesses are continuing to embrace digital payment technology. Results from this year’s survey emphasise the continued growth of digital and mobile wallet payments, a greater awareness of the adjacent benefits of digital payments for small businesses, and lastly the very upbeat sentiment amongst Irish businesses despite the challenging macro-economic picture.” BOIPA’s General Manager, Conor Quirke
- Download the findings HERE.
Business benefits from increase in card over cash transactions
As well as one in five being ready to drop cash for card, 64% also said accepting more card payments at the expense of cash is more cost effective, safer and more secure than handling cash and helps with administrative tasks.
This positive sentiment towards card transactions was strongest in Laois (85%), Kildare (73%) and Westmeath (73%).
2 in 5 businesses nationally felt the general increase in card over cash transaction had made no material change to how they run their business.
Mobile wallet usage’s potential not yet fully tapped
42% of Cork businesses are unaware that there is no contactless limit on mobile wallet transactions, better than the national average of 48%.
Merchants in Westmeath (26%), Wicklow (30%) and Cavan (31%) were most aware of the no contactless limit on mobile wallets.
At the other end of the scale, businesses in Donegal (67%) and Monaghan (55%) were the least aware.
6 in 10 Cork merchants expect to grow this year despite the cost of living crisis and running costs dominating as key concerns
59% believe their business will grow over the next 12 months despite global economic uncertainty. Unsurprisingly the cost of living crisis and running costs were the main concerns the majority of businesses had in The Rebel County. 3 in 4 merchants cited running costs as a key business concern with about three quarters of merchants feeling the cost of living crisis would impact their business. Only 14% of Cork respondents feared they may have to scale back or close.
Role of digital payments as a service is growing
BOI Payment Acceptance’s General Manager Conor Quirke notes how the survey’s findings signal businesses’ growing consciousness of the benefits from the continued advances in the digital payments sector.
"The number of businesses unaware of the absence of a contactless limit on phones and watches may seem high but, given that businesses claimed less than 10% of transactions were made through mobile wallets just two years ago, the potential of this new payment trend is still being realised.”
“Our findings show that businesses are becoming accustomed to realising the adjacent service benefits digital payment technology offers - from reducing cash lodgement trips to the bank branch, managing day-to-day cash flow through to streamlining administrative tasks and planning. And let’s not forget the reduced security risk of not having large amounts or indeed any cash on site.”
BOIPA’s Merchant Insights Surveys
BOIPA have issued the Merchant Insights Surveys annually since 2019, consistently receiving high customer engagement. This year’s survey received over 2,300 responses in March.
For more information on BOI Payment Acceptance, please visit www.boipa.com.
4) Hanover Communications
Title: BT Ireland and Young Scientist & Technology of Year announce three-year partnership extension
Author: Claire Regan
Email delivery rate: 98%
Time of release: 08:00 on the 11th of May
Media Release DC23-073
BT Ireland and Young Scientist & Technology of Year announce three-year partnership extension
BT Ireland to continue as custodian and organiser of the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition through to 2026
2024 BT Young and Technology Exhibition marks 60 years of the exhibition
11 May 2023: BT Ireland, the communications services company, and the education charity, Young Scientist & Technology of the Year Limited (YSE ltd), have announced that they have extended their partnership for a further three years through to the 2026 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.
The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people on the island of Ireland. It is an all-encompassing celebration of science and technology under one roof. The four-day exhibition event returns to the RDS from January 10 to 13, 2024, and will celebrate 60 years of the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.
The three-year sponsorship extension will see BT Ireland continue as custodian and organiser of the exhibition. BT Ireland has been the title partner of the Young Scientist & Technology exhibition since 2001 and will mark 25 years as custodian and organiser of the exhibition in 2025.
Commenting on the announcement, Shay Walsh, Managing Director, BT Ireland said, “At BT Ireland we’re extremely proud of our history with the exhibition and we are thrilled to be extending our partnership with the Young Scientist and Technology of the Year for another three years. The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition has become part of our organisation’s DNA, with 200 of our colleagues volunteering their time each January to help make the exhibition a success.
“The exhibition is much more than a competition, it is an unforgettable experience of a lifetime for the students who take part. We continue to see the positive impact the exhibition has on fostering young talent in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths in Ireland, and we look forward to growing the exhibition further in the years to come with our exhibition partners.”
UCD Professor Pat Guiry, Chair of YSE Ltd, commented, “On behalf of the board of the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition we’re delighted to be continuing our partnership with BT Ireland. BT Ireland has helped the exhibition reach new heights since it became the custodian of the exhibition 23 years ago, increasing engagement levels amongst students and the public and strengthening relationships with exhibition partners. They have introduced a science festival around the annual exhibition as well as extending the exhibition to primary school students through the Primary School Science Fair and developed a business skills extension programme for exhibition alumni. We look forward to celebrating 60 years of the exhibition in January and our partnership with BT Ireland.”
Under its tenure BT Ireland has helped grow the exhibition over the past 20 years to reach new audiences and further the STEM agenda in Ireland. BT Ireland has introduced a science festival at the exhibition with live acts appearing daily. Since 2001, the Primary Science Fair has been a core component of exhibition week. It encourages 3rd to 6th class primary school students to develop their interest in STEM in a non-competitive environment. The Primary Science Fair takes place on the Thursday and Friday of exhibition week at the RDS.
The BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp has been a very successful initiative, which has been an extension programme of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition for fourteen years. It was created by BT as a way to encourage participating BTYSTE students to develop key business and innovation skills.
Applications for the 2024 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition will open in late August 2024 and students from across the island of Ireland are encouraged to submit project proposals and be part of the country’s leading live STEM event.
If you have any further queries, require information or would like to coordinate any interviews, please don’t hesitate to contact the following:
Hanover Communications for BTYSTE: firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire Regan: email@example.com / 086 209 3536
Lorna Jennings: firstname.lastname@example.org / 086 363 0576
Note to editor: Photography by Julien Behal.
Photo 1 caption: Diana Bura, BTYSTE 2016 Winner and Shay Walsh, Managing Director, BT Ireland
Photo 2 caption: Diana Bura, BTYSTE 2016 Winner
Photo 3 caption: Pat Guiry, Chair of YSE Ltd and Shay Walsh, Managing Director, BT Ireland
BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition
The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is much more than a competition – it is the experience of a lifetime for the students and teachers who take part. Designed to raise schools’ engagement in the critical subjects of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM), the Exhibition calls upon students aged 12-19 years from all over the island of Ireland to showcase innovative science and technology project. In 2022, the Exhibition reached almost 8 million visitors around the world through its virtual portal. The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is supported by several valued partners including the Department of Education, Analog Devices, Horizon, Stripe, and RTE. Learn more at www.btyoungscientist.com
BT Group is the UK’s leading provider of fixed and mobile telecommunications and related secure digital products, solutions and services. We also provide managed telecommunications, security and network and IT infrastructure services to customers across 180 countries.
BT Group consists of three customer-facing units: Consumer serves individuals and families in the UK; Business* covers companies and public services in the UK and internationally; Openreach is an independently governed, wholly owned subsidiary wholesaling fixed access infrastructure services to its customers - over 650 communication providers across the UK.
British Telecommunications plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
For more information, visit www.bt.com/about
*Business was formed on 1 January 2023 from the combination of the former Enterprise and Global units. It commenced reporting as a single unit from 1 April 2023, with pro forma reporting information to be produced ahead of BT Group’s Q1 FY24 results.
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