Make room to improve

Posted on: 5th October, 2015

Category: Home, Garden & Environment

Contributor: West Cork People

Savings of up to €4,050 on home improvements would be a nice sweetener to your Christmas stocking this year says Ciara Moore. With the festive season just around the corner, make some room to improve by organising any last minute repairs and avail of the Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) Scheme before it comes to an end on December 31, 2015.

Launched by the Government in 2014 to boost the flagging construction sector, homeowners can claim back VAT paid to contractors for works that qualify under the scheme. This includes projects such as extensions, kitchen fittings, insulation and decorating – but it must be carried out by professionals registered under the incentive.

Not to worry if your head is brimming with questions on whether you tick all the relevant boxes in order to make significant savings. Here’s the low-down of the main points you need to know so you can benefit from the scheme before the all-important cut-off deadline looms.

How much can you save?

Homeowners can recoup up to €4,050 in income tax credits on works ranging from almost €5,000 to €30,000(before VAT). This is subject to the 13.5 pc VAT rate and credit is redistributed over a two-year period following the year in which the renovations are completed. All details on works, payments and claims must be entered through Revenue’s HRI online.

Who qualifies?

You are eligible for the scheme if you are the owner of a main home or have purchased a property, which you will live in after the work is finished. You must pay income tax under PAYE and your property tax obligations must also be up to date in order to qualify. New builds, holiday homes and refurbishments of uninhabitable homes are not covered under the terms.

Be HRI savvy

As with any big project, it’s wise to shop around when planning your home renovation. Just because a builder is tax-compliant does not mean they are reliable and efficient. In this case, opting for cheaper materials and contractors will not yield the long-term results you are hoping for. While splashing the cash on the higher end of the scale doesn’t necessarily mean better quality workmanship or more durable products. Source a number of estimates before choosing the most reasonable quote and always seek recommendations or work references. And be sure to keep every receipt throughout the project process as proof of every cent spent.

In order to get your tax rebate, the buck stops with your builder when it comes to submitting data to the Revenue Commissioners. Bear in mind the relevant dates and agree with your builder beforehand that you will withhold partial payment of the job until all your relevant paperwork is filed on time. Work must be registered before it begins and each payment made must be logged in to the system by your contractor. All you need to provide is your Property ID number.

And if you have had any previous jobs completed since the beginning of this year, don’t forget to check if your contractor was qualified under the HRI Scheme and fill out the appropriate forms to add these to any work you plan to submit before the expiry date. After all, these will add up and could just take you over the minimum spend allowing you to make money on your repairs.

Make use of every square foot

Whether you live in a small space with limited storage or are running a busy family home to a tight schedule, the HRI Scheme is the perfect kick-start to de-clutter and organise your home. Utilise your space by creating smarter solutions to make it look and feel bigger. Storage solutions need not be sterile and there are fabulous options, which your carpenter can talk you through. Hidden roller drawers built-in underneath staircases are great options for storing toys and shoes. Totally genius!

Turn up the heat

Before the crisp weather and dark winter evening’s draw closer, it’s time to seriously consider insulation options for your home. If you have been putting these projects on the long-finger, it’s time to avail of the incentive’s savings before those budget busting heating bills come through the door.

Over 35 per cent of heating is lost through poor wall insulation. Cavity wall insulation is a great option for retaining heat and eliminating condensation on wall space, while attic insulation will remove the risk of heat escaping through the roof of your home. This is a more inexpensive and efficient option but it is worth noting that you will not be eligible for the HRI if you have already received a grant for the work carried out.

Central heating upgrades and the supply and fitting of solar panels are also worthy contenders listed under the HRI list of qualified works. Your home will be extra warm and cosy in the depths of winter this year.

Décor trends to watch

If your home is in need of a much sought after facelift, investing in autumn/winter’s top décor trends is a must. And if you are seeking a makeover, this season’s hottest colour palettes are most definitely not for those seeking a more demure style.

Glamorous luxe is the call of the day here with dark tones and rich paint schemes set to backdrop against opulent designs to give an air of grandeur. Think sumptuous berry shades, deep greens and purples. Moody black added in small doses will add a dramatic twist to this contemporary palette. Or if this is too risky, opt for a charcoal grey in its place for a more graphic feel. Autumn/winter 2015 is all about breaking traditional home designs and making a bold statement. Pair with daring patterns to add warmth to your home will exude high-fashion and edge. The unique character is sure to be a starting point of conversation with every guest who steps through the door.

For more information on tax reliefs and to see the full list of jobs, which can be claimed for under the HRI Scheme, visit

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.
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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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