Christmas FM raises €412,021 for Barretstown to ‘press play’ on over 1,400 days of life changing programmes for seriously ill children

Radio station has raised almost €2.25 million for various charities
since its inception in 2008

Christmas FM, the popular radio station that is seen by many as the official soundtrack to the festive season, is delighted to announce that it has raised €412,021 for Barretstown, their chosen charity for 2019.

The original goal to raise funds of €250,000 would have allowed Barretstown to ‘press play’ on over 850 days of life changing programmes for seriously ill children. However due to tremendous support, Christmas FM have surpassed targets and can now ‘press play’ on over 1,400 days at Barretstown Castle in Co. Kildare. Through these specially-designed camps and programmes, Barretstown brings back the fun of childhood by helping children affected by serious illness to ‘press play’ on childhood again.

The services provided to all of the children and families who attend Barretstown are entirely free of charge, so donations and fundraising efforts are vital for the charity to help more children to experience the magic of Barretstown each year.

The 2019 fundraising figure brings to almost €2.25 million the total amount of funds the radio station has raised for a range of charities since its inception in 2008. The costs of running Christmas FM are covered by various sponsors, ensuring that all on-air fundraising and donations go directly to the charity partner. The station is run each year by the team and more than 100 volunteers on-air, who devote hundreds of hours of their time.

Paul Shepherd, Co-founder of Christmas FM, says: “We are delighted to have raised €412,021 with the success of this year’s fundraising campaign. We would like to thank all of our loyal listeners who tuned in and donated so generously to Barretstown this year. We’re also thankful to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland for granting us the license to broadcast and our premier FM sponsors for the year – Cadbury, Coca-Cola and An Post. We would also like to thank the Ballsbridge Hotel who have, once again, provided us with a home for our radio studio. We are also so grateful to the team as well as the volunteers who help make Christmas FM happen by assisting with the day to day running of the station.”

Dee Ahearn, CEO, Barretstown says: “This is a fantastic achievement and we are overwhelmed by the generosity and support shown to Barretstown by individuals, businesses and communities across the country over the course of the campaign. I would like to thank the team in Christmas FM for choosing us to be part of this very special campaign. Special thanks also to the Christmas FM volunteers who worked tirelessly to surpass our target and I’d like to acknowledge our Barretstown campers and families who shared their stories so eloquently throughout the whole campaign.”

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) grants Christmas FM a 30-day temporary sound broadcasting license, which enables the station to broadcast on a range of frequencies throughout the country.

Michael O’Keeffe, Chief Executive, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, says: “Radio is a powerful medium, which continues to bring people together throughout the country, and this can very clearly be seen through the fundraising efforts of Christmas FM. On behalf of the BAI, I would like to congratulate the station’s volunteers and listeners for another great fundraising drive, this year for the children who attend Barretstown, and their families.”

This year, Christmas FM was generously sponsored by the premier FM sponsors Cadbury, Coca-Cola and An Post. Christmas FM was broadcast from the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin who kindly gave the space for free.

Christmas FM is still available online at

You can follow the station on social at


Estate agents expect national property values to rise by 3.8% in 2020 – more than double the rate forecast for Dublin

  • Most affordable homes are located in Leitrim, Longford and Sligo where 3-bed semis can be bought for as little as €90,000
  • Border towns showed the highest rise in median prices during 2019 (up 10.1%)
  • Huge disparity across the country with the equivalent three-bedroom property costing €450,000 in places like Greystones, Co Wicklow and €330,000 in Ashbourne, Co Meath

Estate agents are signalling a solid year for national property prices with values outside of Dublin rising at twice the rate of those in the capital, according to the 2020 Sunday Times National Property Price Guide, a dedicated 32-page supplement that will be published free with The Sunday Times Sunday, 12 January. Its findings indicate estate agents are also cautiously optimistic about house prices in the year ahead.

Now in its 17th year, The Sunday Times Property Price Guide is the authoritative guide to the Irish property market, featuring interviews with a number of estate agents nationwide, who outline their predictions for the year ahead.

This year’s guide indicates that estate agents expect average prices to rise by 3.8% across the 25 counties – more than double the 1.6% increase expected in Dublin.

The most affordable three-bedroom semi-detached homes can be found in Ballymote and Tubbercurry in Co Sligo, where they cost, on average, between €90,000 and €100,000. This is followed by Mohill in Leitrim and Castlerea in Roscommon where three-bedroom semis cost €100,000 and €105,000 respectively. 

In stark contrast, someone buying the equivalent property in Greystones, Co Wicklow is looking at paying €450,000. The same property would cost around €330,000 in Blackrock, Co Cork, up to €310,000 in Killarney, Co Kerry, €320,000 in Wicklow town and €330,000 in Ashbourne, Co Meath.

Linda Daly, editor of the National Property Price Guide, says: “Property prices nationally are still some way off their 2007 peak but first-time buyers will welcome a slowdown in the high rate of inflation that we have seen in previous years. On the other hand, homeowners – especially those whose homes are still worth less than what they paid for them in the boom – will take heart in the fact that the majority of agents nationally are predicting some rise in values in 2020.”

“The Sunday Times National Property Guide gives a detailed insight into the trends affecting house prices throughout the country, and should be invaluable to anyone looking to buy a home in 2020.”

One phenomenon few commentators could have seen coming is the fact Border towns experienced the largest rise in median house prices (up 10.1% last year, according to CSO figures).

The amount of new development also increased with Cork, Meath, Limerick, Wicklow and Kildare featuring large-scale developments. Availability of new homes was a welcome relief for people looking to escape the rent trap but also put a downward pressure on the second-hand market as buyers sought A-rated homes featuring all mod cons.

In areas like Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon, house prices are still below the level where developers can make a profit so there is extra emphasis on the second-hand market to make up the shortfall.

With Brexit moving closer to conclusion, the uncertainty that has plagued the market over the last three years could soon give way to clarity. Central Bank mortgage lending rules have brought stability to the market and initiatives like the Help to Buy have kept activity levels ticking along.

For the complete National Property Price Guide, pick up a copy of The Sunday Times this weekend or online at:


If using this information please credit The Sunday Times

To interview Linda Daly, Editor of

The Sunday Times Dublin Property Price Guide, please contact

Clodagh Foley at Unique Media on 01 522 5200 or 085 865 8019


Or contact Linda Daly direct on 087 26 55100

Residential prices in Dublin will grow by maximum of 5% while new ‘Near Zero Energy Buildings’ regulations will significantly impact construction costs according to Lisney Outlook 2020

  • Investment market turnover grew by 18% in 2019 and will remain strong in 2020, with tech sector continuing to dominate the office market
  • Trend in increased enquiries from UK based buyers for upper end of the residential market expected to continue into 2020
  • Sustainability agenda is forcing industry to adapt quickly

Uncertainty stemming from global events will be the key aspect of the Irish property investment market in 2020, according to new figures released today by Lisney, Ireland’s largest independently-owned property advisory company.

Despite this, Lisney expects investment market turnover to be strong in 2020, with several high-profile assets due to be put up for sale that will contribute to overall turnover levels. This activity will be mainly driven by the office and PRS sectors, which will account for at least 70% of market turnover.

This activity will follow a very strong 2019, where investment turnover is estimated at €4.7 billion, the largest amount of investment ever recorded in a year, and 18% more than 2018. This €4.7bn does not include the company sale of Green REIT, which was an additional €1.34bn. Lot sizes increased further due to the sale of some large assets, averaging about €23m per transaction, with demand for the bigger opportunities coming mainly from overseas. Dublin accounted for 82% of investment turnover, followed by Cork at 5%.

In other sectors, Lisney expects residential prices to be relatively steady in 2020, with any growth in selected areas to be no more than 5%. New Near Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) regulations will increase construction costs on residential properties by between 1% and 4%, while a trend in increased enquiries from UK based buyers for the upper end of the market is expected to continue into 2020.

On the office front, occupiers from the tech industry continue to dominate the market, taking half of all accommodation in 2019 and this trend is set to continue into 2020. Elsewhere, nearly 6,000 student accommodation bed spaces are currently under construction across Dublin, Cork, Galway and Kildare while Cork’s top headline office rent, at €345 per square metre, is more than half the top Dublin rate.

A breakdown of the key sectors is outlined below, with full in-depth details contained in the Lisney Outlook 2020 report, which can be accessed here –


The new Near Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) regulations mean that all new building completions and those having undergone major renovations must meet a certain standard by 31st December 2020. Government figures suggest that the construction cost of commercial buildings will increase by between 2% and 8%. With regard to residential properties, the projected increased construction costs will be between 1% and 4%.


The number of second-hand properties for sale on the Dublin market grew during Spring 2019, with over 30% more properties available for sale in March compared with the previous 12 months. This, combined with the quantity of new homes on the market, helped to ease supply tensions in the first half of 2019. Maintaining second-hand supply at around 5,000 units across Dublin at any given time also assisted in keeping prices relatively steady. This improvement in activity is expected to continue into 2020 as vendors price expectations and the amount potential purchasers are willing to pay are more balanced. Spring 2020 could see a burst of activity and Lisney expects prices to be relatively steady, with any growth in selected areas to be no more than 5%.

At the upper end of the market, there was a noticeable increase in enquiries from UK-based buyers in the final two months of 2019, and this is a trend that could develop into a greater number of sales in the more expensive parts of Dublin in 2020.


2020 will be another good year for the Dublin office market with take-up likely to be at a similar level to 2019, estimated at 250,000 square metres. The biggest risk to the office market in the short-term is an external macro-economic event. Over-valuations of second-tier tech companies could also pose a risk to demand, given the Dublin market is now so dependent on such occupiers.

As has been the case for several years, occupiers from the tech industry continue to dominate the market, taking half of all accommodation in 2019 and they are likely to be strong players again in 2020.


There will be continued expansion of stock levels in the Purpose-Built Student Accommodation sector in 2020, with a greater reliance on summer income to justify new development. 1,700 bed spaces completed construction in 2019, all of which were in Dublin. The outlook for 2020 and beyond remains positive with over 5,800 beds under construction across Dublin, Cork, Galway and Kildare. There are also a further 10,180 beds spaces that are either with planning or in the planning system that have not yet commenced construction.


There is now a global movement focusing on the moral obligations of organisations and their environmental responsibilities. The built environment is not immune to this and must adapt. Heretofore, sustainable changes in the industry have generally been forced on occupiers and developers through building regulations. However, the pace of this movement is rapid and for the first-time, people power may force changes ahead of the legislative process. Investors focusing on environment, social and governance (ESG) criteria are more prevalent, as are building performance measures such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and the WELL building standard in the office sector.


The outlook for the Dublin licenses premises market in 2020 is positive, following a strong demand for pubs in 2019. A notable trend was the fact that higher value, well-located prime Dublin pubs were sold. The combined achieved prices of the 14 premises totalled €51.3m, compared to €23.4m in 2018. While Lisney don’t expect to see as many prime assets to come to the market in 2020, they do anticipate a similar number of properties will trade hands in the sub-€2m price bracket.


In Cork, the estimated market turnover was about €240m in 2019 and represented about 5% of the Irish market, making it the second busiest location for property investment. The demand for investment properties in Cork will continue in 2020 as the yields on offer are more enticing than Dublin returns. The PRS sector is also likely to be busy.

Cork’s top headline office rent, at €345 per square metre, is more than half the top Dublin rate, which will mean that Cork’s office market will remain very competitive in 2020 to attract both FDI and domestic occupiers. Activity levels in 2020 will be assisted by the new high-profile schemes that are under construction and other schemes will commence as the year progresses.

Cork’s residential property market remains active with new homes continuing to play an important role in the market. As with the Dublin market, there may be some price growth in selective areas in 2020.

Duncan Lyster, Lisney Managing Director, says:

“In preparing our Outlook 2020, we share our predictions and experiences and find themes likely to play out within the individual sectors and segments of the markets. There is a diversity between the sectors in terms of maturity, energy and activity that points to real opportunities and certain threats for the coming year. At a macro level, the political stage is set for much change domestically, in the UK and the US. Each of these will have an influence on how property will perform in 2020 and beyond.”

Aoife Brennan, Lisney Research Director, says:

“I believe the property market will remain active in 2020. The biggest threat to the various parts of the market is an external global event. The investment sector reached its highest turnover levels on record in 2019 and while we do not expect this to happen again this year, we do expect a very strong level of sales. Occupier demand in the office market will remain busy and construction activity will continue, while in the industrial sector, further construction of larger buildings will address stock constraints. Development in the PRS and student accommodation sectors will assist with supply issues in the residential rental market.”