Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland releases latest Complaints Bulletin

  • 19 advertisements found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to Misleading Advertising, Nutrition and Food Claims, Principles, Decency and Propriety   

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin, which contains 26 case reports on complaints recently investigated by the organisation.

19 of the 26 advertisements were found to have been in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to Misleading Advertising, Nutrition and Food Claims, Principles, Decency & Propriety and Recognisability. The advertisements complained of related to Email, Social Media, Online, TV and Print advertising. One of those upheld related to intra industry / interested party complaints. The ASAI Complaints Committee chose not to uphold six consumer complaints.

The Complaints Committee is a completely independent arm of the ASAI and is responsible for considering and adjudicating on complaints submitted by the public, by an organisation, by a Government Department or any other person or body. The Committee is made up of a range of experts from the advertising, media, education, consumer and marketing sectors. See further details here –

Commenting on the latest ASAI rulings, Orla Twomey, Chief Executive of the ASAI, stated:

“The latest complaints bulletin from the ASAI illustrates our ability to handle complaints across a large number of mediums. The ASAI is committed to protecting consumers in particular in relation to advertising, – across all mediums – and our approach is to work with all advertisers to ultimately ensure that all marketing communications are legal, truthful, decent and honest.

“The ASAI provide a free and confidential copy advice service to the advertising industry to help them create responsible ads. If an advertiser, agency or medium has any concerns about a marketing communications’ compliance with the ASAI’s Code, they can contact us and avail of the free and confidential copy advice service.”

Professor Bairbre Redmond, Independent Head of the Complaints Committee of the ASAI, says:

“Over the past few years, the Complaints Committee, comprised of independent and industry members, has dealt with a broad range of complaints. The Complaints Committee has also spent considerable time highlighting awareness in relation to advertising best practice within the advertising industry, ensuring all relevant parties are equipped with the knowledge and resources to correctly identify commercial marketing content across their platforms.”

Below is a list of complaints that have been found to be in breach of the ASAI Code:

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
  Paddy Power   Principles/Decency and Propriety   Six complaints were received regarding the advertising:   Issue 1: The complainants considered the advertisement to be racist, offensive, anti-English in sentiment, stirring up anti-English feelings, and both highly insensitive and bigoted towards English people.   Issue 2: The complainants considered the advertisement to be unhelpful in the context of Brexit and inappropriate in the current time of fear of a hard border being re-introduced.   In breach of sections 3.3, 3.16 and 3.17 of the code.   Complaint Upheld. Link:   Principles/Decency and Propriety/Diet and Lifestyle   The complainant said they found the email to be highly offensive and unethical. They said that they had started to cook more at home in an effort to be healthier and save money, and that in this context they found the email insulting. They said they believed it to be unethical to try to discourage someone from trying to be healthier.   In breach of section 8.4 and 8.6 of the code.   Complaints Upheld.   Link:
  The Make Up Fairy   Recognisability   The complainant made two separate complaints that the webpages contained affiliate links and that this had not been disclosed. The complainant forwarded screenshots from the website.   In breach of section 3.31 and 3.32 of the code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link:
  Shandon Travel/Sayit   Misleading   The complainant said the US SIM card was advertised as unlimited data however, data was restricted after 2GB due to excessive usage in line with a Fair Go policy. They said that the promotional material did not state that the usage was subject to Fair Go policy, or that certain features, such as personal hotspot, were unavailable.  In breach of section 4.1, 4.4 and 4.9 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link:
    Flahavan’s     Misleading/Nutrition and Food Claims   The complainant considered that the post implied a health claim relating to both mood and behaviour. As the claim was delivered by a registered Dietitian in a promotional video, they considered that it was in breach of EU regulation, Article 12 (c) of 1924/2006.   In breach of section 8.14(c) of the code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link:
  Apache Pizza   Principles/Diet and Lifestyle     Two complaints were received in relation to the post, one from the Irish Heart Foundation and one from a consumer. Issue 1: The Irish Heart Foundation considered that the advertisement was in breach of the Code by encouraging unhealthy eating habits, discouraging good dietary practice and condoning poor nutritional habits in children. Issue 2: The Irish Heart Foundation objected to the post on the grounds that they believed it was mocking the food pyramid taught to children by suggesting that pizza was healthy because it could contain dairy and vegetables. The consumer complainant said that the Food Pyramid was used to teach children about nutrition and healthy eating habits. She considered the post breached the Code as children could construe that pizza had adequate nutritional composition. The complainant considered that pizza was nutritionally a poor-quality choice that did not align with the food pyramid. The complainant considered that the advertising targeted children’s awareness of the food pyramid with misleading information about an unhealthy choice of food. In breach of section 4.1 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link:
  Ciara O’Doherty Holiday Shop   Recognisability   The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading as the advertisers have not disclosed multiple affiliate links on the website in question. In breach of sections 3.31, 3.32, 4.1 and 4.4 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link:
  Rosanna Davison Nutrition   Recognisability   The complainant considered that the post in question was misleading as the influencer did not disclose the fact that the post contained an affiliate link for which she was potentially receiving a commission from. In breach of sections 3.31 and 3.32 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link:
  The Fit Clinic / OH Fitness   Recognisability   The complainant considered that the OH Fitness advertises The Fit Clinic regularly and does not clearly identify the fact that the posts are marketing communications. She considered that when she does so, it appears at the end of a series of posts. In breach of sections 3.31 and 3.32 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link:
  No label Ireland / Conor Ryan   Recognisability     The complainant said that the post in question had not been identified as advertising material. In breach of sections 3.31 and 3.32 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link:  
  Argos   Misleading   The complainant said that the product was advertised at €16.99 but that the price was actually €48.99. She was only made aware of this when she went to purchase the product. She said that there were no in-store notices to alert prospective consumers of the error. She considered the advertisement to be misleading. In breach of sections 4.1 and 4.22 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link:
  Virgin Media   Misleading   The complainant considered the advertising for a range of TV, broadband and phone packages on sale at a reduced price to be misleading as there was nothing to indicate the offers were available only to new customers. He considered that the initial terms and conditions should have mentioned the promotion being restricted. In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4 and 5.16 of the Code. Complaint upheld in part. Link:
  Dublin Business School   Misleading   The complainant considered the heading of the article to be misleading and instead of offering advice on choosing CAO options it promoted the Dublin Business School. In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.49 and 4.10 of the Code. Complaint Upheld. Link:  
  Evergreen   Misleading   The complainant considered the claims made in relation to the benefits of the product to be misleading and unsubstantiated. She considered that it was irresponsible to mislead the public about health matters, including serious conditions, such as asthma. In breach of section 11.1 of the Code. Complaint Upheld. Link:
  Wild Rover Tours   Misleading   The complainant considered the advertisement for the two overnight tours to be misleading. When he contacted the company, he was advised that the tours were no longer available. However, the tours referenced were listed on the website without any indication that they were subject to availability or had any cancelled. In breach of sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code. Complaint Upheld. Link:
  The Tefl Academy   Misleading   The complainant considered that the advertised special price offers were misleading as the courses were continually offered at a discounted rate with the offer end date being extended each time. The complainant questioned whether the courses had ever been on sale at the advertised “was” price. In breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 5.32 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link:
  Brenda Ward Acupuncture   Misleading / Health and Beauty   The complainant considered the advertisement made specific medical claims for a non-medical procedure, in particular, regarding colds and flu and drawing the pathogen to the surface where the body’s immune system could expel it more easily. In breach of sections 4.1, 4.10 and 11.1 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link:
  Go Life Limited (Omega Brite)   Health and Beauty   The complainant considered that the claim the food supplement was “fab for your mood and cognitive function” was both in breach of EU legislation and the ASAI Code. In breach of sections 8.8 and 8.9 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link:
  Pfizer Healthcare Ireland   Health and Beauty   The complainant considered that the advertisement was attempting to normalise the use of proton pump inhibitors as it implied that it was acceptable and normal to take medication on a daily basis and regularly. While the complainant noted that the advertisement had stated that the medication should only be taken for two weeks, they considered that the advertising was misleading, irresponsible and was trivialising the use of medication. In breach of sections 3.3, 4.1, and 4.4 of the code. Complaint Upheld. Link:

The ASAI upheld one complaint made by Intra Industry / Interested Parties in the following cases:

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
  Apache Pizza   Principles / diet and Lifestyle   The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) objected to the post. They said that it was irresponsible to suggest that meal preparation should take the form of pizza slices every time. The IHF said that this type of marketing should be prevented, especially as young teenagers may view the post and be influenced by its contents.   In breach of sections 8.4 of the code.   Complaint Upheld in part.   Link:

The following two complaints were investigated and following investigation, the ASAI Complaints Committee did not uphold the complaints.

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
  Tesco   Misleading     The complainant said that the advertisement was misleading because when Tesco delivered shopping, they did not put it in the fridge for their customers.    Complaint Not Upheld.   Link:
  Diageo Ireland   Principles / Alcoholic Drinks   Alcohol Action Ireland considered that the statement “Some things just belong together” was joining alcohol with sport and was reinforcing a social norm that alcohol was central to sport. They said that for children viewing the poster, the explicit message was a Guinness and Rugby hold symbiotic relationship and that alcohol was central to sport. They considered that the explicit message of the words “some things”, as only two ‘things’ were central, was that Guinness and Rugby were fundamentally and inextricably linked. They considered that this was supported by the use of the word “just” which reconfirmed this as fact or reason and the use of the word “belong” which determined the attachment or bound by allegiance, dependency or membership, while “together” closed the connection by defining a relationship.   Complaint Not Upheld.   Link:      

The following four Intra Industry/ Interested Parties complaints were investigated and following investigation, the ASAI Complaints Committee did not uphold the complaints.

Company/Organisation Complaint Category Further Details
  Offbeat Donut Co   Misleading/Nutrition and Food Claims     Post 1 The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) considered that the post encouraged excess consumption and poor nutritional habits in children. They said that while they were unable to access the calorie content of the donuts on the advertisers’ website, they estimated that the calorie content per donut would be somewhere in the region of 350 – 400 calories. They also considered it to be inappropriate to suggest that children should eat this amount of calories while watching The Toy Show alongside the additional calories featured in the box of popcorn.   They acknowledged that there was at least one adult present in the post and possibly two.      Post 2 The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) considered that the second post could possibly have been interpreted as being addressed to children with the “Dear Santa” message provided on the top of the box. They considered that the post encouraged excess consumption and poor nutritional habits in children.   Complaint Not Upheld.   Link:
  Ferrero UK Limited   Principles/ Diet and Lifestyle   The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) complained about social media advertising for World Nutella Day. They referenced posts on Instagram which they considered were clearly designed with children in mind. They considered that the advertising was clearly irresponsible and designed for and addressed to children, through the use of imagery, colours and pictures.   Complaint Not Upheld.   Link:
  Glanbia Consumer Foods   Principles/ Diet and Lifestyle   Issue 1:   The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) expressed concern regarding the content of the posts which they considered were targeted at young people. They said the product itself was one which contained a large amount of sugar and mainly consumed by young people and there should be more responsibility taken over advertising the product to young people during a child obesity problem in Ireland.   Issue 2:   Despite this social problem, they considered that young people had been targeted through the use of media, images, colours language (You & Your Mates) and the prize on offer which was either tickets to Leisureplex or Jumpzone. They stated that this was irresponsible and in breach of the Code by encouraging people to consume a product to take advantage of a promotion.   Complaint Not Upheld.   Link:  
  Magnet Networks   Misleading /Comparisons   Virgin Media objected to the claim “Ireland’s largest connectivity network”, which they considered to be untrue and misleading. The complainants stated that the advertisers sold a majority of their services using other network providers and as such the claim was misleading and potentially damaging to the advertisers’ competitors.   Complaint Not Upheld.   Link:  

The ASAI conducts ongoing monitoring of advertising across all media and since 2007, has examined over 27,000 advertisements, with an overall compliance rate of 98 per cent. The ASAI Monitoring Service monitors compliance with the Complaints Committee’s adjudications.

Media members are reminded that advertisements found to be in breach of the Code cannot be accepted for publication.

Or follow the ASAI on Twitter @THE_ASAI

For further information, please contact:

Breda Brown / Clodagh Foley

Unique Media

Tel: 01 5225200 / 085 865 8019 (CF)

Editorial Notes:

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland is financed by the advertising industry and committed, in the public interest, to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications that is advertising, promotional marketing and direct marketing. The objective is to ensure that all commercial marketing communications are ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’.

Members of the ASAI are required to abide by the Code and not to publish an advertisement or conduct a promotion which contravenes Code rules. The Code covers commercial marketing communications and sales promotions in all media in Ireland including digital (online banners, websites and social platforms), print, outdoor, radio, TV, leaflets/brochures, and direct marketing.

Further information on advertising self-regulation, the ASAI and the operation

of the system is available at


Christmas FM returns to the airwaves on 28th November with Cadbury, Coca-Cola and An Post as main sponsors

  • Generous sponsorship means 100% of donations raised by Christmas FM will go to Barretstown

It’s that time of year again…Christmas FM, the hugely popular radio station which raises hundreds of thousands of euro for deserving charities every year, will return to the airwaves on Thursday, 28th November 2019 at 1pm! 

This year, Christmas FM’s premier FM sponsors are Cadbury, Coca-Cola and An Post. As the running of the radio station is funded by sponsorship, this means that 100% of donations raised by Christmas FM will be passed to the chosen charity. 

In 2019, Christmas FM wants to “press play” on over 850 days of life changing programmes at Barretstown, rebuilding the lives of seriously ill children. 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 seriously ill children to experience the magic of Barretstown each year. 

Christmas FM will be celebrating its 12th year on air this year and, since it began broadcasting, has raised just under €2 million a range of charities including Temple Street, Sightsavers, ISPCC, Barnardos, Simon, Age Action, Aware, Make-A-Wish and Focus Ireland.

Christmas FM will broadcast from the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin, who has kindly given the studio space for free. Tune in on Thursday, 28th November from 1pm to hear a host of familiar radio voices who will be volunteering their time to bring you round-the-clock Christmas tunes and festive updates, as well as sharing their special Christmas memories and favourite holiday experiences. The station will be broadcasting live on FM, including online at and on Virgin Media Channel 900. Find out all the ways to listen at 

Garvan Rigby, co-founder of Christmas FM, says: We are delighted to bring Christmas FM back on-air for our twelfth year. We are beyond delighted to have reached this mark and want to thank each and every one of our listeners who have supported us and in turn, supported each of our chosen charities. We would like to thank Cadbury, Coca-Cola and An Post who have come on board as the 2019 premier FM sponsors and for Barretstown, who have been chosen as the year’s charity. We’re excited to get on air and begin our fundraising, so we can help press play on over 850 days of life changing programmes at Barretstown, rebuilding the lives of seriously ill children.”

Ria Rianti, Brand Manager at Cadbury, says: “Cadbury and Christmas go hand in hand and we are delighted to be working with Christmas FM again this year to celebrate the generous instinct that Irish people are so well known for. We hope listeners enjoy being part of the Cadbury Secret Santa on-air giveaways and celebrate the joy of giving, just because this Christmas. The countdown to Christmas would not be the same without Christmas FM and we at Cadbury can’t wait to tune in next week!”

Garrett Bridgeman, Managing Director, An Post Mails & Parcels says: “We’re all about Sending Love through cards and parcels to family and friends at home and abroad this Christmas.  Supporting Christmas FM is a very special part of our countdown to Christmas and we’re delighted to be working with their wonderful team to Send Love near and far again this year”

Petre Sandru, Country Manager of Coca-Cola Ireland said: “Coca-Cola is a brand so synonymous with Christmas and we can’t wait to start spreading the Christmas spirit across the island of Ireland. Coca-Cola are delighted to be supporting Christmas FM again this year as a part of our Holidays Are Coming campaign, bringing you the magic of Christmas through the airwaves all December long”.

You can follow the station on social at


Christmas FM – Bringing You The Magic Of Christmas

Core Sponsorship appointed to develop exciting new strategic direction for Tallaght Stadium

Core Sponsorship will devise a comprehensive advertising and marketing strategy for South Dublin County Council as it works to increase stadium capacity beyond 10,000

Core Sponsorship, part of Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications company, has won a competitive tender to bring South Dublin County Council’s exciting plans for Tallaght Stadium to life.

Core Sponsorship will lead a wide-ranging commercial review of the facility, specifically focusing on advertising, branding and sponsorship opportunities, in light of new plans to extend the seating capacity of Tallaght Stadium to 10,000, with potential to increase to 20,000 for music, entertainment and community events. As well as the construction of a new ‘North Stand’ area, a new VIP area will also be incorporated.

Core Sponsorship works with sponsors at every stage of the sponsorship journey, from deciding on what sponsorships are the best fit for a brand, to maximising the value in contracts, to measuring sponsorship impact. They also work with rights holders to grow sponsorship revenue through brand-centric solutions. Using data-led intelligence and cutting-edge research tools, Core Sponsorship understands the value of sponsorship, how to unlock that value and how to measure that value with precision.

As well as utilising the expertise of Core Sponsorship, the Tallaght Stadium project will also incorporate input from other key practices in Core, including Strategy, Research and Investment. The entire Core team will work closely with the architects of the new facility to ensure all opportunities are maximised.

The review, which will essentially inform the future positioning and marketing plans for Tallaght Stadium, is expected to be completed in early 2020.

Jill Downey, Managing Director of Core Sponsorship, says she looks forward to bringing the expertise of Core to the Tallaght Stadium project:This is an extremely exciting time for Tallaght Stadium and we, at Core, are delighted to be in a position to offer the best strategic solutions through our unique combination of services. It is important that organisations take the time to do this kind of thorough review and upfront analysis, which undoubtedly pays dividends in capitalising on future opportunities. We look forward to playing our role in this important new chapter for not just Tallaght Stadium, but for Tallaght itself.”

Core employs a team of 310 people and consists of nine practices – Creative, Data, Investment, Learning, Media (comprising of Mediaworks, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith), Recruitment, Research, Sponsorship and Strategy. Core has been voted Agency Network of the Year for the last six years at the Media Awards and the company was also recently voted one of the top workplaces in Ireland by the Great Place to Work Institute for the tenth year running.

For further details, please check out


Irish writer Colm Tóibín to be honoured with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award at the An Post Irish Book Awards 2019

  • Tóibín’s literary career spans three decades and has delivered nine novels, two short story collections and 20 books of travel, criticism, essays and anthologies
  • Tóibín will be honoured at major literary event on 20 November which will celebrate Irish writing across 16 categories

The An Post Irish Book Awards is delighted to announce that Irish writer Colm Toibin is the recipient of this year’s ‘Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award’. The award will be announced at the annual Awards dinner in Dublin on 20th November in the presence of the Irish literary industry.

Colm Toibin will join a host of other distinguished recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award including Thomas Kinsella, John McGahern, John Montague, J.P. Donleavy, Paul Durcan, John Banville, Seamus Heaney, Maeve Binchy, Edna O’Brien, Jennifer Johnston, William Trevor and Eavan Boland, all of whom have previously received the ‘Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award.’

Colm Tóibín has occupied a central position in the cultural life of Ireland for over three decades. From the pioneering journalism of Magill in the 1980s, to his steady ascent to the pinnacle of Irish literature, and on through his distinguished career in US academia, he has remained a quintessentially Irish writer greatly beloved in his own country for his work, his intellect, his wit and his warm disposition.

In a literary career that has delivered nine novels, two short story collections and going on twenty books of travel, criticism, essays and anthologies, Tóibín has been in the van of Ireland’s contemporary literary renaissance and Irish booksellers owe as much to Colm Tóibín as to any other writer.

Maria Dickenson, Chairperson of the An Post Irish Book Awards, says: “Booksellers, like readers and critics, have favourite writers. Any book sold keeps Yeats’s “greasy till” chiming but there are certain writers whose work booksellers actively enjoy hand-selling to their customers. Booksellers warm to authors who fulfil the peripheral demands of public profile and trade interaction with good grace. It is those good friends of the book trade that our Lifetime Achievement Award is designed to honour and no writer has been a greater friend to Irish booksellers thanColm.”

The An Post Irish Book Awards are dedicated to honouring Irish writers across the entire publishing spectrum. This year’s shortlist features a diverse mix of exceptional writing from new and established writers across sixteen categories, including Novel of the Year, Children’s, Cookery, Crime Fiction, Popular Fiction, Nonfiction, Sports, Short Story, Poetry, Teen and Young Adult and Irish Language.

The categories include:

  • Eason Novel of the Year
  • National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year
  • Bookselling Ireland Non-Fiction Book of the Year
  • Ireland AM Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year
  • Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year
  • Best Irish Published Book of the Year
  • Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year
  • Avoca Cookbook of the Year
  • Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year
  • RTÉ Radio One Listeners’ Choice Award
  • Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)
  • Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)
  • Dept 51@Eason Teen / Young Adult Book of the Year
  • Listowel Writers’ Week Poem of the Year
  • Short Story of the Year
  • The Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year

RTÉ Television will be broadcasting highlights of the An Post Irish Book Awards on RTÉ One on Saturday 23 November, immediately after the Ray D’Arcy Show. The show will be presented by Miriam O’Callaghan. This programme will showcase one of the biggest celebrations of Irish writing, with many of Ireland’s most celebrated and loved authors in attendance.

For further information, please log on to the An Post Irish Book Awards website or social media channels:

Facebook: @AnPostIBAS

Instagram: @anpost_irishbookawards

Twitter: @AnPostIBAS



Arnotts welcomes United Colors of Benetton concession just in time for the festive shopping season

  • Dublin’s premier department store now features Benetton’s colourful new A/W collection designed by renowned creative Jean-Charles de Catelbajac
  • By 2025, Benetton will be using 100% sustainable cotton – organic, recycled or sourced from Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) farmers

This Autumn/Winter Arnotts has welcomed the iconic United Colors of Benetton brand in-store, one of the newest additions to the ever expanding womenswear department. The new location for the well-known fashion brand features a handpicked selection of United Colors of Benetton’s latest collections, set against a specially designed interior in the heart of Arnotts, which welcomes over 10 million visitors each year.

The new concession showcases United Colors of Benetton’s latest Autumn/Winter collection, which draws on the brand’s ultra-bright colour palette and features appearances from well-known cartoon characters including Snoopy and Mickey Mouse.

Designed by the renowned creative Jean-Charles de Catelbajac, who has had a distinguished career working with the likes of Andy Warhol, Miguel Barcelo, Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, M.I.A and Lady Gaga, the collection remixes the original brand features that fans love – such as the Benetton logo, strong colour palette, and easy chic attitude –– to produce an ultra-modern pop vibe that screams creativity.

Catherine McDonagh, District Manager Ireland at Benetton Group, said: “Arnotts is Dublin’s most famous, historic and well-regarded department store – and we’re delighted to launch this concession and continue to build our presence across the country. Customers can look forward to the full United Colors of Benetton fashion experience in one of the best shopping destinations in Dublin city centre.”

Audrey Owens, Business Development Director at Arnotts said: The womenswear offering at Arnotts aims to meet the demands of the modern Irish woman of every age and we will continue to do this with the newest addition of United Colors of Benetton. The eco-friendly ethos of the brand is an element we very much welcome, with their journey towards 100% sustainability by 2025 being something we will support.”

To highlight respect for the environment, Benetton says it is working towards offering customers the same unique vibe but in a more sustainable way. By 2025 the group aims to make all its clothing from 100% sustainable cotton – made by recycled or organic products. As a member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) since 2017, Benetton will also be using cotton from BCI farmers who are trained to reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides, use water and soil sustainably as well as treat their workers equally.

Benetton has 11 stores in The Republic of Ireland in the following locations:

St. Stephens Green SC

Grafton Street

Arnotts Department Store

Liffey Valley SC

Kelly’s Waterford



Anthony Ryan’s Galway

Goods Kilkenny



For more information visit:

Website:  or





Ireland’s first ever age-friendly smart tablet device for older people is launched

  • New ‘ACORN’ device, created by an Irish company, makes digital engagement easier and more accessible for older people
  • Unique design makes access to common features more intuitive than standard platforms, including larger buttons, simple language, larger fonts, optimised screen size and easy zooming for those with diminished eyesight
  • ACORN’S companion app allows family and carers to stay connected to their loved ones

A new smart tablet created specifically for older people by an Irish company has launched on the Irish market.

‘ACORN’ is Ireland’s first age-friendly tablet device and promises to make going online more accessible and beneficial for new users of digital technology. The tablet is easy to navigate and uses clear, uncluttered displays to make online access simple and rewarding for even the most inexperienced user.

ACORN’S special features include an intuitive design, optimised for those who may have limited experience with technology and may require some additional accessibility support. ACORN uses clear colour-coding, larger fonts and simple non-technical language. It also has a unique two-way camera layout that makes it easier to take steady photos. ACORN also supports an integrated mobile date SIM, enabling access to the internet while on the go, as well as instant video/audio calls and messaging and email for all users.

In addition, the tablet features a customisable news feed, which can be tailored to include updates from local, national and international media. ACORN also has its own dedicated help section with over 30 tutorial videos, allowing users to familiarise themselves with all of the tablet’s features and learn at their own speed as well as dedicated support for users.

Family, friends and carers can also stay connected to ACORN by downloading the companion app on their own mobile devices, meaning they can always stay in touch with and support their loved ones.

ACORN has been trialled and tested through a pilot study which was carried out among 95 participants living in rural and urban areas nationwide. The study was led by Age Friendly Ireland in collaboration with the tablet’s creator and three local authority partners. The study showed significant increases in the utilisation of the smart tablet, with daily usage becoming commonplace for 70% of participants. An independent review of this study was subsequently carried out by National University of Ireland, Maynooth, and it found a significant decrease in computer anxiety among Acorn users, and highlighted the key role the Acorn tablet can play in supporting the engagement of older people with services, the local community and society.

Philip Hogan, CEO and creator of ACORN, says: “Smart devices have fundamentally changed how people interact and communicate. They help us build and maintain social networks, access news, and shop online. But these products are often not designed with older people in mind, making it difficult for them to access this wealth of information, and also increasing the risk of social exclusion and loneliness.

“ACORN is an age-friendly tablet that has been proven to increase confidence and engagement with digital media among older people. It will significantly impact positively on the health and well-being of older adults living in urban and rural communities, allowing them to fully participate in our increasingly digital society.”

Twitter: @acorn_nation

Christmas FM is on the lookout for the next Christmas hit…….so get those vocal cords warmed up!

  • Enter your festive song to be in with the chance of being crowned the official ‘Christmas FM Song Contest Winner 2019′
  • Closing date is 1 December 2019

Singer, songwriter or shower performer – if you think you have written a festive song ready to knock the classics off the top of the Christmas tree then Christmas FM want to hear from you!

Christmas FM, the hugely popular radio station that raises hundreds of thousands of euro for deserving organisations every year, will make its eagerly anticipated return to the airwaves in late November however, if you can’t wait (like us!) the station is now looking for entries for their unique Christmas FM Song Contest!

The competition is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring singers or songwriters to be heard by Christmas FM’s national and international audience. Simply write and record your very own Christmas song or cover version and fill out the online entry form at and you could be hearing your song played across the airwaves this Christmas! You can find all the information you need here,

Closing date for entries is 1pm on Sunday, 1st December 2019.

Finalists will be announced on air in early December and public voting will take place on the website from December 7th until 8pm on 8th December.

The winning entry will be announced on the breakfast show on Monday, 9th December and named the Official Christmas FM Song Contest Winner 2019.

Christmas FM will be celebrating its 12th year on air this year and, since it began broadcasting, has raised almost €2 million for a range of charities. The stations charity partner for 2019 is Barretstown and Christmas FM wants to “press play” on over 850 days of life changing programmes at Barretstown, rebuilding the lives of seriously ill children. The costs of running the festive station are covered by various sponsors, ensuring that all on-air fundraising and donations will go directly to Barretstown.

Barretstown was founded by Hollywood actor and philanthropist Paul Newman in 1994 and is modelled on his renowned Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut, USA. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Barretstown has served over 50,000 campers since it opened its doors to the Irish public.

Through its free, specially-designed camps and programmes, Barretstown brings back the fun of childhood – its services help children affected by serious illness to ‘press play’ on childhood again. To mark its 25th anniversary, the organisation unveiled a nationwide Press Play campaign, with the aim of achieving its vision that by 2024, every child with a serious illness in Ireland will have the opportunity to avail of one of Barretstown’s therapeutic programmes.

This year, Christmas FM is generously supported by the premier FM sponsors Cadbury, Coca Cola and An Post. The radio station will be broadcasting from the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin who have kindly given the studio space for free.

Christmas FM is run each year by more than 100 volunteers on-air, devoting hundreds of hours of their time.

Christmas FM is available online at and you can follow the station on Facebook at

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Christmas FM – Bringing You The Magic Of Christmas






Trinity College Dublin tops the third level rankings in the new edition of The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020, a free 16-page supplement published today in The Sunday Times (November 3). It provides the definitive rankings for Irish universities and the most comprehensive overview of higher education in the country. A fully-searchable website containing exclusive tables and extended profiles of 20 of Ireland’s leading third-level destinations is published at for subscribers to The Sunday Times and The Times.

The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 includes profiles of this year’s University and Institute of Technology of the Year, and assesses all 20 higher education institutions on eight criteria. For the first time, the new Technological University of Dublin is included in the tables.

Irish Third Level Rankings 2020

This year’s national rank Last year’s national rank Name Student satisfaction (%) Graduate unemployment (%) Progression rate (%)
1 1 Trinity College Dublin 47.8 3 92
2= 3 University College Dublin 50.6 3 92
2= 2 University College Cork 48.6 3 93
4 5 NUI Galway 50.3 2 89
5 4 University of Limerick 49.1 2 89
6 6 Dublin City University 49.8 3 92
7 9 Athlone Institute of Technology 51.5 8 87
8 7 Waterford Institute of Technology 47.3 5 85
9 8 Cork Institute of Technology 47.1 4 88
10 10 IT Tralee 47.9 9 87
11 15 IT Sligo 46.8 8 86
12 12 Maynooth University 49.5 4 90
13= 13 Dundalk Institute of Technology 49.5 5 84
13= 14 Limerick Institute of Technology 49.5 5 84
15 n/a Technological University Dublin 47.7 5 85
16 16 Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology 51.0 7 81
17 17 Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire 50.3 8 89
18 18= Letterkenny Institute of Technology 50.1 13 84
19 18= IT Carlow 49.5 6 85

For the 18th successive year, Trinity tops The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 third-level league table. It has the highest spend on facilities and services of any Irish third-level institution and attracts by far the best qualified students, who enter the university with 520 Leaving Certificate points on average. Its dominance of the research ratings, with by far the highest research income per member of academic staff of any institution, makes it particularly hard to dislodge Trinity from top spot.

Student satisfaction plays a critical role in influencing this year’s Sunday Times rankings for third-level institutions. Introduced into The Sunday Times Good University Guide rankings last year, it has been given the heaviest weighting; ensuring students have a significant input into where their institution ranks.

The extra four points University College Dublin, The Sunday Times Good University Guide’s Irish University of the Year, scores for student satisfaction, measured by the annual Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE), compared with University College Cork (UCC) helps it finish level with UCC in second place this year. Both institutions significantly outscore Trinity College Dublin in this measure helping to close the gap on Ireland’s number one.

Athlone, The Sunday Times Good University Guide Institute of Technology of the Year, returns the best scores for student satisfaction of all institutions. It also has by far the highest participation rate in the survey. The extra 11 points Athlone scores compared with Waterford IT under our analysis of the outcomes of the 2018 ISSE, ensured it finished ahead of WIT in our rankings making it the leading institute of technology in The Sunday Times Good University Guide leaguetable.

This year The Sunday Times Good University Guide provides the first opportunity to assess the standing of the new Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin). It is ranked 15th on debut, although much of the data used to rank it is derived from its three predecessor institutions, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and the ITs of Blanchardstown and Tallaght. The latter two occupied the bottom two places in last year’s Sunday Times Good University Guide, therefore, it’s not surprising that the outcome represents a fall on the 11th place occupied by DIT last year. It will be at least two years before TU Dublin can be ranked on data generated since the three former ITs were brought together.

The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 published today provides students and their parents with an invaluable first reference point on the path to finding a university place. It contains full profiles of all universities and institutes of technology, assessing them on student satisfaction levels, Leaving Certificate points achieved by incoming students, research income, employment prospects for graduates, student to staff ratio, progression rate, expenditure on facilities and the academic achievement of their students.

A fully searchable website and extended institutional profiles are available at for subscribers to The Times and The Sunday Times.

Irish SMEs innovate ahead of Brexit according to new research from Bibby Financial Services Ireland

  • 38% of SMEs say they have established new supply sources for goods, while 32% negotiate new agreements with buyers and suppliers
  • One third of SMEs have applied for business funding in the last six months
  • Average planned investment falls more than 40% when compared to same period last year

Irish SMEs have increasingly been innovating and adopting new measures to help cope with the fallout of Brexit by establishing new supply sources for goods and negotiating new agreements with buyers and suppliers, according to the SME Ireland Confidence Tracker for Q3 of 2019, published by Bibby Financial Services Ireland, a leading provider of financial support and funding solutions to Irish SMEs.

The research shows that 38% of SMEs say they have established new supply sources, while 32% have negotiated new agreements with buyers and suppliers. One third say they have applied for some form of business funding in the past six months.

The proportion of SMEs exporting and importing has increased in line with this, by 8% and 6% respectively, compared to Q1 of this year. However, the survey also revealed that, while almost two-thirds (64%) of Irish SMEs believe Brexit will have a negative impact no their business, a third of businesses have not prepared for it in any way.

The report’s findings also indicate that there has also been a dramatic drop in confidence in the Irish SME sector over the past 12 months, with the average planned investment of €80,000 for the next three months representing a 40% drop when compared with Q3 of 2018. In addition, less than half of all SMEs surveyed expected sales to increase over the next three months.

Half of all SMEs not intending to invest cited the uncertainty arising from the UK’s exit from the EU, while 45% also pointed to an uncertain economic environment within Ireland. For those that are investing, a need to reduce operating costs and increase efficiencies was cited as the primary reason by 30% of businesses, followed by a need to stay ahead of competitors.

The SME Confidence Tracker, produced by Bibby Financial Services Ireland, is a national survey of over 200 small and medium sized enterprises across the Republic of Ireland, conducted on a bi-annual basis. The full report is available here:

The survey also found that over a third of SMEs (35%) suffered a bad debt over the previous 12 months, with the construction and transport sectors most likely to be affected.

SMEs were asked if they had applied for business funding over the past. Of the third that had done so, most had applied either to a bank or for a government grant.

Mark O’Rourke, Managing Director at Bibby Financial Services Ireland, said: “It’s clear that Irish SMEs are cutting their cloth to suit their needs and attempting to insulate themselves as much as possible from the fallout of Brexit. Even with a withdrawal agreement in place, Brexit is set to hugely disrupt existing business and export practices and add further costs and red tape to businesses importing and exporting to the UK.

“While it’s certainly encouraging to see SMEs diversifying their approach, it’s crucial that more businesses begin to look beyond the UK and shift more of their imports and exports to other markets.”

Bibby Financial Services Ireland is a leading provider of financial support and funding solutions to Irish SMEs. The company helps businesses to thrive and grow in domestic and international markets by providing tailored and flexible funding solutions for a range of scenarios including cashflow funding, new equipment purchase, growth and expansion, management buy-ins and buy-outs, refinancing, corporate restructuring and mergers and acquisitions.

Bibby Financial Services Ireland’s funding portfolio includes confidential invoice, trade and export finance, foreign exchange services, bad debt protection and specialist funding for a range of sectors. With a 95% client satisfaction rating, our clients have confidence that we support their business.

Bibby Financial Services Ireland is part of Bibby Financial Services Group, a leading global financial services partner operating in 40 locations across 14 countries. With 40 years’ experience, the business has a funding capability that exceeds £1 billion and an annual collective client turnover of £10.1 billion.

For more information about Bibby Financial Services Ireland, please visit:

Find us on LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter @BibbyFinanceIE







Ireland’s biggest university, University College Dublin has been named The Sunday Times University of the Year and NUI Galway is the runner-up in The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020. The special 16-page supplement will be published free with The Sunday Times this Sunday, November 3, with a fully searchable website and extended institutional profiles at for subscribers to The Times and The Sunday Times.

Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) is The Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year for the second time in the past three years after coming top of the Institute of Technology rankings once again, just ahead of Waterford Institute of Technology, runner-up for the national award.

The guide contains Ireland’s only league table that measures the performance of all 19 multi-faculty third-level institutions. The full rankings will be revealed on Sunday.

University College Dublin is the University of the Year for the third time since the guide was first published in 2002, having won the award previously in 2006 and 2012. Founded in 1854, UCD has a head count of around 30,000 students and in the 2018 Irish Survey of Student Engagement, it ranked above all other universities in Ireland, according to a Sunday Times analysis of the nine sections of the ISSE. (Only Athlone and Galway-Mayo in the IoT sector scored higher in the newspaper’s analysis of student satisfaction). Student satisfaction is one of eight areas of third level performance included in The Sunday Times Good University Guide’s academic ranking.

UCD’s high levels of student satisfaction are explained in part by a peer mentoring programme which eases the transition to third level for new undergraduates, with UCD’s on-campus accommodation team running events such as cookery classes and yoga sessions for free. Furthermore, all students have access to online cognitive behavioural therapy should they need to deal with issues such as stress, anxiety or depression.

UCD’s student-centric approach is evidenced by strength in other key measures of third level performance, too: it has a graduate unemployment rate of just 3%; the second best student-staff ratio in the university sector; and three-quarters of all graduates leave with a 2:1 or a first-class degree.

The university anticipates that over the next decade its student population will grow by around 25%, adding a further 6,600 full-time equivalent students. Consequently, an ambitious drive to increase academic staff numbers by 500, an uplift of 42% on current levels, is under way. Part of a five-year development plan, the UCD Ad Astra Fellows scheme is casting its net for talent globally resulting in about 100 new hires so far.

University for ALL (Access and Lifelong Learning) captures UCD’s outreach and support activities for underrepresented groups, and more than one in four UCD undergraduates are access students. Most undergraduates belong to at least one society and there is a wide range of scholarships to attract elite athletes.

Alastair McCall, Editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said: “University College Dublin makes a compelling case to third level applicants with its relentless focus on the student experience. Heavy investment in facilities such as the newly-opened Moore Centre for Business and the soon-to-open student village catch the eye, but it is the work behind the scenes to improve student life – particularly pastoral care – that is just as important in such a large university.

“UCD now has a significant lead over Trinity College Dublin in the key areas of student satisfaction, degree outcomes and staffing levels, and goes toe-to-toe with its great rival on graduate job prospects and progression rates to record its strongest performance in our third level ranking for many years. UCD says it wants to expand significantly: it should have no trouble finding the students to bring that about,” said McCall.

Professor Andrew Deeks, President of University College Dublin, expressed his delight in winning the University of the Year title. We are very happy to be University of the Year because it comes after a period of hard work. It’s a great honour and it’s a credit to everyone at UCD.”

“It is a confirmation of what we’ve seen through our strategic planning process, in terms of the progress that the university has made over the last five years, and a validation of that,” said Deeks.

NUI Galway is the runner-up for the University of the Year award in the new edition of The Sunday Times Good University Guide. A three-time winner of the main award over the past 18 editions, NUI Galway impressed the judges this year with a strong research performance, allied to significant support for student entrepreneurship and business start-ups.

Five Galway academics are among the top 1% of researchers whose work was most cited in the world in 2018, and grants have been secured for pioneering work on the treatment of diabetes and multiple sclerosis. The university attracted more than €77m last year in non-capital expenditure research income.

The opening of the new 429-bed Goldcrest student village in February further enhanced student facilities at NUI Galway, which should help build on a strong performance in the annual Irish Survey of Student Engagement in future years.

For the second time, The Sunday Times Good University Guide has given Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) the Institute of Technology of the Year award. It is set to become Ireland’s next Technological University, in partnership with Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) following the announcement of a €2m fund last month for an AIT/LIT consortium.

Mary Mitchell O’Connor, minister for higher education, said the merging of AIT and LIT’s strengths would be “transformative for the Midlands and Mid-West regions, for their communities and regional economies”. Athlone’s plans for a new €25m Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) building reflect its confidence in the future. It will provide additional capacity for up to 1,000 students to meet an increased demand for programmes such as pharma, biopharma and microbiology. More than €130m has been invested in the modernisation and development of AIT’s campus since 2008.

More than two-thirds of students took part in the Irish Survey of Student Engagement – double the national average and more than any other institution. Analysis of the outcomes, used in The Sunday Times Good University Guide’s third-level rankings, shows students at AIT are more satisfied with their courses and student experience than any other third-level institution in Ireland.

Alastair McCall said: “It seems highly likely that AIT will form Ireland’s second Technological University in the coming months, testimony to the critical role it already plays in the regional economy and its ambitions to be a national and international player.

“A twin focus on the needs of regional business and a growing student body has paid handsome dividends. Twice the national average number of students responds to the annual survey of student satisfaction, making AIT’s sector-leading results all the more remarkable. Students here know they are on to a good thing – and they want to tell as many people as possible about it.”

Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, President of AIT said: “We are delighted to be named The Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year – the second time in three years. This award marks a pivotal moment in our near 50-year history as we stand on the cusp of becoming a technological university. Our multi-award-winning institute is an educational powerhouse, one that consistently punches above its weight and defies expectations on a regional, national and global scale.

“We pride ourselves on providing an exceptional, student-centred educational experience with a strong focus on applied learning and academic excellence. The student experience is at the heart of everything we do here at Athlone Institute of Technology. Despite our growing student body – more than 6,000 students call us their “home away from home”- our students are names, not numbers and they enjoy one-to-one learner/lecturer interactivity.

“Our people are the core of our institute and this award recognises their boundless passion, creativity and expertise. Our staff, individually and collectively, made a vital contribution to the enhancement of our educational provision through their attention to students’ experiences as learners.”

Waterford Institute of Technology came within a whisker of winning the Institute of Technology of the Year award. Two of Waterford’s strongest suits are a good graduate jobs record – with 95% of students in work or further study within nine months of completing their course – allied with the second highest level of spending on facilities per student in Irish third level.

The Sunday Times Good University Guide is now in its 18th year of publication. It provides the definitive rankings for Irish third-level institutions, together with profiles of each institution and a view from students of what it is like to study there. It also contains the first full listing of 2020 degree courses and the first-round entry points needed to access these courses from the recently-completed 2019 admissions cycle.

There is a tablet edition, plus extended online coverage, at, which features fully searchable tables on each of the eight measures on which institutions are ranked, together with extended profiles of each. It also contains full access to the newspaper’s UK university guide published on September 22.