Don’t miss The Sunday Times Wine Guide this weekend

  • Over 100 wines featured, to suit all palates and budgets, selected from thousands tasted
  • Learn the science of matching drinks with food, discover new trends in the ever-changing world of wine and find out how to taste like a pro

The Sunday Times Wine Guide will be published this Sunday, May 3rd, and will offer a wealth of tips, advice and information for wine lovers of all ages and stages.

This year’s list has been curated by master of wine, Martin Moran, and features over 100 recommendations to suit all palates and budgets including bargain buys, classic reds, zesty whites, sparkling / frizzante, rosé wines, fortified wines and low / non-alcoholic wines.

The Sunday Times Wine Guide will feature a range of insights for those interested in learning more about wine, including:

  • How to buy wine
  • Pairing wine with food
  • Tasting like a professional
  • Lesser known grapes and regions
  • Low or no-sulphur wines
  • The future of wine including Orange and Skin Contact wines

Martin Moran, Master of Wine and curator of The Sunday Times Wine Guide, says:Wine is something that appeals to all age groups. What’s always been important to me in compiling this guide is that it features something to suit all tastes, from labels costing under €10 to those featuring lesser known grapes, all the way up to full bodied classics. There are recommendations for Champagne lovers as well as non-alcoholic options and I hope readers will enjoy learning a little about what informs their own tastes, as well as the new trends emerging in the ever-evolving world of wine.”

www.thetimes.ie

@SunTimesIreland

1,858 complaints received by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) in 2019 and 105 advertisements found to be in breach of ASAI Code

2019 ASAI Annual Report shows significant majority (65%) of complaints were made

on the basis that an advertisement was perceived to be ‘misleading

A total of 1,858 written complaints concerning 1,360 advertisements were received by the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) last year, according to the organisation’s 2019 Annual Report which was released today. This represents a 10% increase on the number of complaints received in 2018, while the number of advertisements complained about were 15% higher than in 2018.

The ‘Health & Beauty’ sector attracted the greatest number of complaints (229), followed by ‘Leisure’ (172), and ‘Travel / Holidays, while ‘Digital Media’ gave rise to the highest number of complaints by media. The ASAI, which is the independent self-regulatory body committed, in the public interest, to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications, found that 105 advertisements were in breach of the ASAI’s Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications.

The ASAI Annual Report outlines that 65% of the complaints made in 2019 were on the basis that an advertisement was misleading, while 7% were made on the basis that an advertisement was offensive. There were also a wide range of other issues covered by the ASAI Code that were raised by members of the public, including concerns about alcohol advertising, children, food and non-alcoholic beverages, gambling and environmental claims and distance selling and employment advertising.

The ASAI was established in 1981 and the objective of the ASAI Code is to ensure that all commercial marketing communications are ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’. The ASAI 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.

The ASAI offers advertisers, agencies, media and promoters a copy advice service on whether a proposed marketing communication or sales promotion conforms to the Code. Copy advice is communicated confidentially, is non-binding and is given free of charge. In total, 139 requests from advertisers, advertising agencies and media for copy advice were received in 2019, 10% higher than received in 2018. The ASAI copyadvice@asai.ie service serves as an authoritative opinion, given by the Executive but does not bind the ASAI Complaints Committee.

Complaints by sector are as follows, with comparative figures for 2018 and 2017:

SECTOR                                                        2019                2018                2017   

HEALTH & BEAUTY                                         229                 166                128

LEISURE                                                          172                 222                130

NON-COMMERCIAL                                          170                 158                448

TRAVEL/HOLIDAYS                                         169                 102                79

MOTORING                                                      161                 100                87

TELECOMMUNICATIONS                                 139                 192                189

FOOD & BEVERAGES                                     137                 289                115

FINANCIAL                                                       108                 76                  101

HOUSEHOLD                                                   104                 100                96

CLOTHING/FOOTWEAR                                   101                 79                  33

EDUCATION                                                     48                  11                  12

PUBLISHING                                                    44                  12                  16

ALCOHOL                                                        30                  26                  24

PROPERTY                                                      27                  17                  30

BUSINESS                                                       26                  37                  36

COMPUTERS                                                   15                  18                  19

TV/AUDIO/VIDEO                                             8                    20                  17

EMPLOYMENT/BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES   6                    9                    10

AGRICULTURE                                                 3                    9                    8

MISCELLANEOUS                                            203                 103                228

                                                                        1,900              1,746              1,806

In 2019, digital media gave rise to the largest block of complaints, with 976 registered. In 2010, it represented 22% of all complaints, compared to 48% in 2019. Complaints relating to broadcast media (TV and radio combined) totalled 552, while outdoor media attracted 226 complaints.

Complaints by Media are as follows, with comparative figures for 2018 and 2017:

Complaints by Media

MEDIA                                      2019               2018             2017

Digital Media 976 948 1141
Broadcast 552 516 479
Outdoor 226 350 219
Print 80 91 79
Brochures/Leaflets 63 58 61
Direct Marketing 61 50 12
Cinema 4 12 15
Other 59 95 102
       
2 2021 2120
   
Broadcast 552 516 479
Radio 178 159 125
Television 374 357 354

The ASAI conducts ongoing monitoring of advertising across all media including monitoring compliance with the adjudications of the Independent Complaints Committee.

Orla Twomey, CEO of the ASAI, said:

“The ASAI is committed to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications in Ireland and our 2019 Annual Report is testament to this statement, conveying the sheer breadth of advertisements adjudicated on by the ASAI’s independent Complaints Committee.

“The engagement with the ASAI and compliance with the adjudication of the independent Complaints Committee, demonstrates that advertisers in Ireland are completely on board with the ASAI in our bid to protect consumers and ensure the highest standards of advertising and marketing communications.”

“2019 saw the ASAI continue to deeply engage in all our service offerings. In particular, there was a valuable increase with both our influence and strong contributions in the area of policy and Code: food advertising and concerns about obesity and children; non-alcohol beverages related to safety; mobile and broadband advertising and transparency; influencer marketing and recognisability. The requirement for ASAI contributions in these areas, all of national importance, are indicative of the place we hold as an acknowledged expert on setting standards for advertising.”

Sean O’Meara, Chairman of the ASAI, added:

“During 2019, the ASAI continued its outreach to practitioners in the advertising industry to build awareness of the ASAI and our Code. Furthermore, the Authority continued its endeavours to ensure that those involved in the creation and production of advertising see and recognise the ASAI as a trusted advisor in the creation of Code-compliant advertising, rather than solely as a complaints resolution organisation.”

“As the advertising ecosystem continues to evolve, it is imperative that the ASAI’s aim of providing consumer protection is properly funded. While the ASAI has strong support from all traditional media in Ireland, we urge digital organisations to engage both from a compliance and funding point of view to ensure we can continue serving the industry and most importantly, protecting consumers across all advertising and marketing communication.”

“Our common aim must be safeguarding the long-term protection offered by the ASAI Code to Irish consumers and the advertising industry but to do this, it’s essential that the ASAI and advertisers across all media platforms work in tandem to further advance the service to the industry.”

The ASAI accepts complaints from any person or body who considers that a marketing communication may be in breach of the ASAI Code

Check out www.asai for more details and to also access a

copy of the 2019 ASAI Annual Report

To keep up to date on ASAI activity, follow the organisation on Twitter @THE_ASAI

A third of UK SMEs to run out of cash by July indicating significant knock-on effects for Irish SMEs according to research from Bibby Financial Services

A third of UK SMEs will be unable to cover their costs by the end of July despite an unprecedented £330bn package of loans and guarantees from the Government, and this will cause significant implications and knock-on effects for Irish SMEs, according to the latest research from Bibby Financial Services (BFS). The new study of SMEs shows this number rising to more than half should the UK lockdown continue into the third quarter.

Despite the announcement of €1bn in liquidity measures for Irish SMEs affected by Covid-19 earlier this month, and similar measures introduced in the UK, the research reveals how businesses are already struggling due to the effects of the pandemic.

Almost two-fifths (39%) of UK SMEs have paused their operations entirely to minimise costs, and a further 38% have closed parts of their operations.

Bad debts are a common cashflow challenge for SMEs on both side of the Irish Sea, but the research indicates a quarter of UK SMEs have written off an average of £35k in bad debt since the beginning of February.

Even businesses without bad debt are facing significant cashflow problems, with the impact of Covid-19 trickling through the supply chain to SMEs. More than three-quarters (77%) have seen orders decline since the outbreak began, and almost a fifth (17%) have been forced to renegotiate contracts with customers and suppliers.

In an indication of the profound effect the virus has had on working practices, 47% of UK SMEs are now working entirely remotely. An additional 39% have a mix of employees working remotely and on business premises.

On a positive note, however, almost a third of UK SMEs (32%) believe they will start to grow again after lockdown measures are lifted or reduced.

Commenting on the research, Mark O’Rourke, Managing Director of Bibby Financial Services Ireland, said: “The UK and Irish SME sectors are closely linked, with many SMEs in both countries trading directly with one another. What happens in the UK has significant knock-on effects for Irish SMEs, and the research gives a stark warning that, in the midst of the current crisis, our small and medium-sized businesses are more exposed than ever to the damaging effects of bad debt and a lack of cashflow.

“Despite the severe challenges facing our society and economy at present, we’re continuing to do all we can to help SMEs cope with cashflow, working capital and currency issues to ensure businesses can get the support they require and continue to operate.”

For more information about Bibby Financial Services Ireland, please visit: www.bibbyfinancialservices.ie

Find us on LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter @BibbyFinanceIE

The Irish Sun to honour frontline heroes by dedicating entire edition to showcase their tireless efforts to save lives and keep us all safe

  • Special edition will highlight the work of nurses, doctors, gardai, the Defence Forces, delivery drivers, shop staff, farmers, food producers and many, many more
  • ’Frontline Edition’ of The Irish Sun will be on shelves across Ireland this Wednesday – 29th April

The Irish Sun, Ireland’s bestselling daily tabloid newspaper, will this Wednesday – 29th April – pay tribute to our frontline heroes by dedicating the entire edition of the newspaper to highlight their incredible efforts to keep Ireland safe.

To help against the coronavirus fight, The Irish Sun will provide a ‘Frontline edition’ which will feature interviews with our everyday heroes in a bid to find out how they are coping with the situation they find themselves in and how they have overcome adversity. The edition will also feature special tributes to frontline staff from all walks of life – young and old, heart-warming and funny.

Kieran McDaid, Editor of The Irish Sun, says: “The fight against Covid-19 has prompted an incredible national effort – nurses, doctors, Gardaí and the Defence Forces are working tirelessly to save lives as well as delivery drivers, shops staff, farmers and food producers who are ensuring that everyone in Ireland continues to receive fresh food and essential goods.”

“To express our appreciation and gratitude to these everyday heroes, we’ll be dedicating one whole edition of the newspaper, showcasing their work as well as their stories. It’s the perfect time to offer praise to those who deserve it most!”

The Irish Sun is Ireland’s bestselling daily tabloid newspaper, with the latest local and global news, fashion, entertainment and sport.

Check out www.thesun.ie or follow us on @IrishSunOnline

The Sunday Times creates 12-page educational supplement called ‘The Children’s Times’ to provide range of activities and exercises for primary school children

  • Latest edition partners with Barnardos and is aimed at supporting parents during Covid-19 lockdown


During these unprecedented times, The Sunday Times has created an educational supplement to support parents during the COVID-19 lockdown. Entitled ‘The Children’s Times’, the weekly 12-page supplement is available in both print and online, and aims to keep children learning and entertained while at home.

Each edition contains numerous activities and exercises and illustrations for primary school children, along with notes from principals and teachers for parents. This week sees the news brand partner with Barnardos on a special spring edition, while previous charity partnerships included the ISPCC and Niall ‘Bressie’ Breslin’s charity ‘A Lust for Life’ which focuses on mental wellness.

The theme this week for the Barnardo’s edition is ‘Growing and Changing’ and looks at the arrival of spring, nature and wildlife. The teachers have curated a range of related activities and exercises such as plant and germination tasks, counting in nature and creative writing. Many of the activities are aimed at helping children to bring the outside in during lockdown, and look to marvel at the changing of the season. The edition will also feature information on Barnardo’s parent line which is aimed at supporting parents during this difficult time.

The Children’s Times, which has been created internally for the Sunday Times by the STUDIO team, will run until mid-May.

Frank Fitzgibbon, Ireland Editor of the Sunday Times said:While our primary responsibility is reporting and analysing the historic events we are now witnessing, we are also conscious that life for our readers has changed considerably particularly for those with children who are now working from home. The creation of The Children’s Times is designed to put both fun and structure around home learning and the reaction from readers indicates that this is greatly appreciated.”

Karen Price, Group Creative Director at News Ireland, added: “At a time when parents are fretting about trying to juggle work and their children’s education, The Sunday Times wanted to help ease the pressure by creating The Children’s Times. Each week focuses on a different theme, such as mental wellness, and is designed to have longevity beyond Sunday with ideas to keep children busy all week.”

Suzanne Connolly, Barnardos CEO, commented: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Sunday Times on the special spring edition of ‘The Children’s Times’. Barnardos have shared some wonderful Mind, Body and Heart exercises for children that will not only keep them entertained, but will also calm any nerves or worries they may be feeling during lockdown. At Barnardos we believe that childhood lasts a lifetime, and know that while things are feeling uncertain at the moment it’s the fun activities and time spent with family that children should remember about the Covid-19 pandemic.”

www.thetimes.ie

@SunTimesIreland

70% of people in Ireland believe the Covid-19 outbreak will last beyond September and into 2021 – Core Research

  • 62% of people are optimistic that Ireland will overcome the outbreak of Covid-19
  • Level of public concern about the outbreak has dropped from 75% to 68% in the past four weeks
  • 69% of people approve of how citizens are handling the outbreak

70% of Irish people believe that the Covid-19 outbreak will last beyond September and into Spring 2021. This is according to research from Core, Ireland’s largest marketing communications company, about the crisis. The survey results are based on the views of 1,000 participants, interviewed online and representative of the adult population.

The results of the research comes four weeks since the closure of schools across the country, and offers insight into how people are coping with life during the ongoing public health emergency and their thoughts on how the crisis has been handled to date.

The research also revealed that after weeks of staying at home, people have adapted to their new way of life, as 62% said they were optimistic that Ireland will overcome the outbreak of Covid-19, while only 51% were optimistic that the rest of the world would recover.

This level of positive optimism is revealing a ‘Pragmatic Population,’ with the study showing how Irish people have remained hopeful, resilient and realistic about the pandemic. 66% say they are currently enjoying the simple, everyday pleasures of life, while four in ten said relationships with family have stayed the same in recent weeks. Almost fifty percent (47%) said their relationships had improved.

The research also revealed that the level of concern about the Covid-19 outbreak had declined slightly in the past four weeks from 75% to 68% as the nation was told to stay at home to flatten the curve. While the population have experienced increased levels of stress and anxiety, overall, the many have taken a pragmatic approach to the pandemic. This is further evidenced in the public’s approval of the collective handling of the situation, with 80% public approval of local businesses, 61% of large companies, 75% of the Government and significantly, 69% of people approve of how other citizens are handling the crisis.

Finian Murphy, Marketing Director at Core, says the results indicate that people are being very pragmatic about the situation they find themselves in: “Overall, the research reveals that the majority of Irish people are hopeful for the future, post COVID-19 and have taken a pragmatic approach to the pandemic.”

Furthermore, this public perspective reflects the growing understanding about the timelines on vaccine development, on how “flattening the curve” leads to long term use of physical distancing and the various responses across the globe. Despite the public looking up to a year ahead, they are optimistic, and in many ways positive about managing their day to day life.

Core Research is part of Core. 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.

To view the full findings of the Core Research report please visit www.onecore.ie/covid

@Core_IRL

Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland and Bibby Financial Services Ireland provide €32m funding to manufacturing, wholesale and transport SMEs

  • Alternative sources of funding a vital resource for SMEs during Covid-19 crisis
  • Manufacturing, wholesale and transport sectors account for almost 50% of funding utilised to date

20 April 2020 – Manufacturing, wholesale and transport SMEs have together utilised almost half (47%) of the total €70m funding made available from the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) to Bibby Financial Services Ireland. Businesses operating in these three sectors have together accessed €32m in funding to date, with more financing expected to be provided as SMEs look to maintain cashflow during the Covid-19 crisis.

Since 2016, the SBCI has partnered with Bibby Financial Services Ireland to make €70m in funding available to Irish SMEs. With the major banks currently reporting overwhelming increases in credit applications, this funding can provide an immediate cash injection to SMEs, as well as the ongoing working capital required to grow and expand the business.

Of the funding provided since 2016, 19% has been provided to businesses operating in the manufacturing sector, 18% by wholesalers, and 10% by transport SMEs. A further 9% was utilised by food and beverage businesses, and 8% by those in the recruitment sector. Additional sectors that have drawn on the funding include healthcare, construction subcontractors, and a wide range of small businesses such as facilities management, security, telecoms and media companies.

While Bibby Financial Services Ireland offers a range of different financing options, this particular funding facility offers SMEs a discount of up to 1.5% on existing invoice finance services. Last year Bibby Financial Services Ireland and the SBCI launched a new Trade Finance product, which allows businesses to buy essential equipment during the current crisis before needing to pay for them.

Commenting on the figures, Mark O’Rourke, Managing Director at Bibby Financial Services Ireland, said: “Fast access to finance can make an enormous difference for small and medium-sized businesses looking to manage their cashflow, and it’s more important than ever in these difficult times. With many banks now facing a backlog of applications for working capital loans from SMEs, these figures show how alternative providers can help meet that demand.

“We know that SMEs are facing a range of urgent and pressing challenges, and I’d therefore urge all SMEs to consider the benefits of our range of funding services for their own business.

“As with every aspect of the fight against Covid-19, it is going to take a communal effort to come through this, and we look forward to supporting and championing the wider efforts of the Government, banks and non-bank lenders. We are all in this together.”

Nick Ashmore, CEO at SBCI, said: “We’re committed to providing greater choice to Irish businesses when it comes to their lending options, and are delighted to see such strong demand for this funding. No matter the obstacles faced by a business – be they threats to the supply chain caused by Covid-19, Brexit, or a struggle to drive growth – SBCI funding can be a valuable aid in overcoming them.”

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 independent financial services partner to over 12,000 businesses worldwide. With 40 years’ experience, the business has a funding capability that exceeds €1 billion and an annual collective client turnover of €11 billion.

For more information about Bibby Financial Services Ireland, please visit: www.bibbyfinancialservices.ie

Find us on LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter @BibbyFinanceIE

The Irish Sun donating all advertising space to charities this Easter Monday

  • Free ad space across the newspaper will showcase the work of the charity sector
  • The issue will be on shelves across Ireland this Bank Holiday Monday – 13th April

The Irish Sun, Ireland’s bestselling daily tabloid newspaper, is donating all its advertising space to charities this Easter Monday – 13th April.

As Covid-19 continues to impact every industry, many charities have been dealt a devasting blow at a time when their support is needed most. Fundraising events which provide the financial lifeblood for many of them have been cancelled and many have also seen a drop in donations. To help against the coronavirus fight, all advertising space in The Irish Sun will feature charity organisations this Easter Monday. The move will offer charities an opportunity to connect with the public during this difficult time, while accompanying editorial will tell their stories.

Kieran McDaid, Editor of The Irish Sun, says: “Many people have been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, but volunteers and charities are still doing great work to help those most in need so this is our chance to help them. We’ll be offering free ad space, showcasing the work of our charitable sector in stories and providing all the details to help readers donate to worthy causes. It’s the perfect time for some good news.”

The Irish Sun is Ireland’s bestselling daily tabloid newspaper, with the latest local and global news, fashion, entertainment and sport.

Check out www.thesun.ie or follow us on @IrishSunOnline

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland issues reminder to advertisers not to make unsubstantiated or misleading claims about Covid-19

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI), the independent self-regulatory body committed to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications in Ireland, is reminding advertisers that any claims being made for products and services referring to Covid-19 should be adequately substantiated.

The ASAI is issuing the reminder due to the fact that it has received complaints about a number of advertisements for products and services relating to Covid-19 on the grounds that they are misleading. While the number of complaints is not significant, the ASAI considers that it is absolutely necessary to remind all advertisers of the need to advertise responsibly and to avoid claims that undermine public health advice or exploit people’s anxieties.

Advertisers are required to adhere to the ASAI’s Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications in Ireland, which applies to all commercial marketing communications. As stated in the ASAI Code, a marketing communication should not mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise.

As a result, the advertiser must be in a position substantiate all claims, expressed or implied that the ad conveys to reasonable consumers.

In the context of substantiation, the importance of protecting the consumer from false or misleading advertising is particularly reflected in Section 4.9 of the Code, as follows:

A marketing communication should not contain claims – whether direct or indirect, expressed or implied – which a consumer would be likely to regard as being objectively true unless the objective truth of the claims can be substantiated.

Further substantiation requirements specific to health claims are contained in Section 11.1 as follows:

Claims about health and beauty products and treatments should be backed by substantiation. Where relevant, this should include the results of robust and reputable trials on human subjects, of sufficient rigour, design and execution as to warrant general acceptance of the results.

Non-adherence to the Code may ultimately result in the ASAI upholding a breach under the Code and which may be published in the general media.

The organisation, which is financed by the advertising industry, also offers free confidential and non-binding copy advice on the compliance of proposed advertising.

Orla Twomey, Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland, says:

“In these unprecedented times, no advert should be irresponsible or exploit consumer fears regarding the current crisis. Advertisers are therefore advised to think twice before making any claims about how to prevent or cure Covid-19 unless the claims can be supported by robust evidence.”

“As the independent self-regulatory body committed, in the public interest, to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications in Ireland, the ASAI aims to lead the way in ensuring all marketing communications are legal, decent, honest and truthful.”

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  www.asai.ie

Follow the ASAI on Twitter @THE_ASAI

65% of overseas students living in Ireland fear having insufficient funds to live on – Covid-19 survey from SEDA College

  • 78% of English language students here say they are very stressed and worried about the current situation
  • 49% say they are happy to stay in Ireland and have no plans currently to return home, while 26% say they are planning to go home, if possible, should the situation continue to get worse in Ireland
  • 16,600 students from other colleges all over Ireland and the world have now signed up to SEDA College’s online classes which were set up to help those whose courses have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis

Students from abroad who came to Ireland to study English are particularly vulnerable during the Covid-19 crisis, with a large proportion, 65%, worried about how they will be able to continue to pay their rent and food costs. That’s according to a recent survey conducted by SEDA College, a Dublin-based educational institution which offers English language courses to 1,200 Dublin based students from 40 different countries.

For the purposes of the survey, 193 overseas students were asked a series of questions about their accommodation, employment, family and educational concerns.

Over half of the students surveyed took up employment when they arrived in Ireland. 13% have retained their jobs. 19% have lost their jobs, but are entitled to receive the Government’s Covid-19 assistance payment, while another 17% also lost their jobs, but are not entitled to receive any additional state supports. As a consequence of this, just over two thirds of students, 78%, say they are stressed and very worried about the current situation. 30%, meanwhile, say they can’t pay their rent and are anxious about being evicted. 56% say their accommodation situation is ok for the moment.

Despite being away from their native countries and families during the Covid-19 global pandemic, just under 50% still say that they are happy to stay in Ireland and have no plans to return home, while 7% say they want to return home as soon as possible. 26% say they will stay in Ireland for the short-term would prefer to go home quite soon, if possible

How students can continue to learn English is also a cause for anxiety. The findings from this survey has informed the basis for SEDA College’s continual online support service for students.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and preventative measures announced by the Irish Government, SEDA College closed on 12 March, and has continued to make online resources available to their 1,200 Dublin based students who are from 40 different countries.

However, many other English language colleges in Ireland and further afield have closed abruptly due to Covid-19, offering no alternative arrangements to students. As a result, SEDA College has now stepped up to make access to its broadcasted online classes available to all foreign students attending any English language college in Ireland or abroad – not just those at SEDA College in Dublin.

Already 16,600 students from other schools across Ireland and the world have taken up the offer. This figure is expected to rise substantially in the coming days.

The survey shows that just over a quarter of students, 26%, are frustrated with having to learn online, as they feel they learn English better by attending classes in person. However, the majority, 51%, are happy to continue with SEDA College’s online classes until the Government takes a decision to re-open schools and colleges.

Tiago Mascarenhas, CEO of SEDA College, said: “Many schools across Ireland and beyond have shut without offering a plan B to language students, but it’s more important than ever that students are able to continue studying and improving their English. We already have a very comprehensive online platform in place and this can be accessed remotely and while on-the-go. We currently have 200,000 students from around the world registered on this platform, and we’re delighted to be in a position to open it to others who need our help at this challenging time. The service will be made freely available to all students, no matter where they have previously been studying.”

“We are also assisting our students as much as possible to ensure that they are staying safe and well in these difficult times.”

The free broadcast classes are held throughout the day and can be accessed here.

www.sedacollege.com