Sing Ireland unveils new initiatives to encourage all generations to continue hitting the high notes during lockdown

  • Singing offers range of physical and mental health benefits and helps improves sense of well-being and happiness

Sing Ireland, the organisation that develops, supports and promotes all forms of group singing across the island of Ireland, has unveiled a number of new initiatives to encourage all generations to continue singing and rehearsing safely during Covid-19 and beyond.

As face-to-face group singing is currently restricted during lockdown, Sing Ireland is encouraging all those interested in singing, regardless of their age or ability, to get involved in the new initiatives as studies[1] show that singing – even virtually – provides a wide range of health benefits such as improving breathing, posture and muscle tension as well as lessening stress and anxiety. Singing has also been shown to improve our sense of well-being and happiness, all of which are now more important than ever due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

In partnership with Creative Aging International and supported by the Creative Ireland Programme, the new ‘Ageing Voices’ initiative aims to encourage older singing enthusiasts to continue their musical passion during lockdown. Offering a range of tools and networking opportunities, participants have access to high quality training and events, as well as specialist advice on how to maintain and sustain their voice. Ageing Voices sees the creation of training aids and resource materials for older people, community choirs and care givers. This aims to remove barriers so that more singing can take place in care settings. Alongside this, the project offers training with highly respected musicians who are working in care or community settings with all sorts of singing group. The project reduces isolation by bringing the power of singing to the lives of those who may be cocooning during 2020.

Younger singers, meanwhile, can engage in the ‘YouthSing Ireland’ initiative which is focused on encouraging younger people interested in singing to connect with other singers. The programme aims to, over the coming years, provide group singing tuition and experience to every child and young person in Ireland. ‘YouthSing Ireland’ also seeks to contribute to the delivery of music education in schools as well as connecting to other school subjects, with a particular focus on the Irish language. Newly commissioned resources in the Irish language and of Irish cultural heritage have been commissioned. Sing Ireland is partnering with the National Children’s Choir as well as Folens Publishers in this work.

‘YouthSing Ireland’ has also created, the SingSpace – a space outside of formal education that can bring singers from various schools together with singers in youth choirs and conductors / composers / animateurs. Operating online during 2020, it is hoped, all going well, that the first face to face iterations will take place in 2021. The YouthSing Ireland programme is supported by the Creative Ireland programme.

Sing Ireland is based in the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick and leads a range of activities for singing groups across the country. As well as providing singers with the opportunity to meet other like-minded people, Sing Ireland also provides information and advice to members, organises singing days and workshops, and manages a library lending scheme of 14,000 pieces of Irish and other music. Sing Ireland is the parent organisation of the national Irish Youth Choirs. During the lockdown, Sing Ireland has also run a series of online events that support the group singing sector and which regularly saw hundreds of attendees. They also offer a range of training and support services to primary and secondary school teachers, as well as mentoring and masterclass opportunities to conductors and musicians.

Dermot O’Callaghan, CEO of Sing Ireland, says: “Singing is fun, therapeutic, social, and stimulating. What has become very clear during this pandemic is that singing is more important than ever to help keep spirits raised during this difficult time. So, while singing in groups is not allowed, there is no reason why people can’t access our on-line facilities and continue singing at home – or with others via virtual means.

“At Sing Ireland, we’re committed to working to find as many ways as possible to encourage more people to get involved and experience the positive impact singing can have on their health, wellbeing and overall creativity. That’s the reason we have developed these great new initiatives – and we look forward to as many people as possible getting involved to ensure that singing continues during Covid-19 and beyond.”

Sing Ireland’s website – www.singireland.ie – has more details about the initiatives and also lists singing groups across the country. Members include children’s choirs, workplace choirs, youth choirs, hospital and care home choirs, choir clubs, university choirs, church and cathedral choirs, choral societies, and choirs for those in older age or active retirement. Whether it’s singing popular hits, classical, jazz, Gregorian chant, hip-hop, gospel or folk – there is a group to suit everyone!

Sing Ireland was founded in 1980 and is a registered charity. The organisation is supported by The Arts Council of Ireland.

www.singireland.ie


[1] http://www.ox.ac.uk/research/choir-singing-improves-health-happiness-%E2%80%93-and-perfect-icebreaker#

Christmas FM is back on the airwaves this Saturday meaning it’s officially Christmas!

Well, to be frank – it has been a difficult year for everyone and some cheer and good news is badly needed……. which is why you will be delighted to hear that Christmas FM is returning to the airwaves this weekend! The hugely popular Christmas themed radio station will switch on Christmas in Ireland with its annual FM broadcast starting Middaythis Saturday, 28th November 2020 to help lift the spirits of the entire nation.

Turn on Christmas FM to hear all of your festive music favourites, played by a host of familiar voices! The presenters, who are volunteering their time to bring a smile to everyone’s faces, will be broadcasting around the clock to keep the population smiling. So, whether it’s Mariah Carey you want to belt out or Shakin’ Stevens you’re dancing to, Christmas FM will bring the magic of Christmas to your home for you and your loved ones!

Christmas FM wants to “Give the Gift of Home” this year by raising over €200,000 which will go directly to ALONE, the Christmas FM charity partner for 2020. This year Christmas FM aims to raise funds to enable ALONE to provide over 20,000 hours of vital support to older people in Ireland enabling them to live happily and independently in their own homes and communities, as there is no place like home – especially at Christmas time.

Christmas FM will be celebrating its 13th year on air this year and, since it began broadcasting, has raised almost €2.5 million for a range of charities. The costs of running Christmas FM are covered by various sponsors, ensuring that all on-air fundraising and listener donations will go directly to ALONE. Cadbury, Coca Cola and An Post are premier FM sponsors for 2020 and the radio station will broadcast from the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin, who have kindly given the studio space for free.

The station will be broadcasting live on FM, on smart speakers, the Christmas FM app and online at www.christmasfm.com

Christmas FM also has a number of sister stations which are available globally, helping to sprinkle Christmas cheer right across the globe!

  • Christmas FM Classical plays ‘Classical and Carols’. The station brings you the best in Classical Christmas music mixed with a wide range of festive carols
  • Christmas FM Classics plays ‘Classics and Crooners’. It’s a mix of classic, pre-1970s Christmas songs from Bing to Frank and Nat to Eartha

Garvan Rigby, co-founder of Christmas FM, says:

“We are delighted to bring Christmas FM back on-air for our thirteenth 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 premier FM sponsors for 2020. We’re excited to switch on Christmas in Ireland and begin our fundraising for our charity partner Alone, so we can reach our aim of providing over 20,000 hours of vital support to older people in Ireland.”

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE says:

“Christmas FM has been such an incredible journey for our organisation so far as we have finally arrived at launch day. We’ve reflected on our work through storytelling and conversation with our older people, volunteers and staff. As we work alongside Christmas FM to ‘Give the Gift of Home’ this Christmas, we encourage the Country to listen in as we come together to make this the most meaningful Christmas yet.”

The main radio frequencies for Christmas FM are Dublin City and County 105.2FM, Cork City, part County 106.7FM, Cavan 99.4FM, Galway City, part County 87.7FM, Kildare 88.1FM, Kilkenny City 104.3, Letterkenny 105.7, Limerick City 105.5FM, Midlands North 101.6FM, Sligo 95FM, South East 103.8FM, Tralee / Killarney 105FM, Waterford City 105.9FM, Wicklow North 99.5FM, Wicklow South 106.6FM, and Ennis/Clare 105.2FM.

Christmas FM will also broadcast on Virgin Media Channel 900. Find out all the ways to listen at https://christmasfm.com/listenin/

Christmas FM is also available online at

www.christmasfm.com

You can follow the station on social at

@christmasfm

Cadbury, Coca-Cola and An Post sign up as main sponsors of Christmas FM for 2020

  • Donations will help ALONE provide 20,000 hours of vital support to enable older people in Ireland to live independently in their own homes and communities

Christmas FM is back……and Cadbury, Coca-Cola and An Post have signed up for another year as premier sponsors of the festive radio station. The hugely popular radio station, which raises hundreds of thousands of euro for deserving charities every year, will return to the airwaves on Saturday, 28th November 2020 at 12pm! 

As the running of the radio station is funded by sponsorship, this means that the donations raised from Christmas FM will be given to this year’s chosen charity – ALONE.

Donations to Christmas FM will help support ALONE’s mission to provide support coordination, befriending, and access to all of ALONE’s services to thousands of older people who are homeless, socially isolated, living in deprivation or in a crisis. Donations from listeners will enable ALONE to provide over 20,000 hours of vital support to older people in Ireland enabling them to live happily and independently in their own homes and communities, as there is no place like home – especially at Christmas time.

Christmas FM will be celebrating its 13th year on air this year and, since it began broadcasting, has raised almost €2.5 million for a range of charities including Barretstown, Temple Street, Sightsavers, ISPCC, Barnardos, Simon, Age Action, Aware, Make-A-Wish and Focus Ireland. The costs of running Christmas FM are covered by various sponsors, ensuring that, this year, all on-air fundraising and donations by listeners will go directly to ALONE.

Christmas FM will broadcast from the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin, who has kindly given the studio space for free. Tune in on Saturday, 28th November from 12pm 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, on smart speakers, the Christmas FM app and online at www.christmasfm.com. Find out all the ways to listen at https://christmasfm.com/listenin/ 

Garvan Rigby, co-founder of Christmas FM, says:

“We are delighted to bring Christmas FM back on-air for our thirteenth year. We are extremely proud 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 2020 premier FM sponsors and for ALONE, who have been chosen as the year’s charity. We’re excited to get on air and begin our fundraising, so we can help ALONE carry out 20,000 hours of vital support which is needed now more than ever.”

Petre Sandru, Country Manager of Coca-Cola Ireland says:

“Although Christmas may look a little different this year, 2020 marks 100 years of Coca-Cola and Christmas. We can’t wait to start spreading some uplifting Christmas sparkle across the island of Ireland and are delighted to be supporting both ALONE and Christmas FM as a part of our Christmas activity, bringing you the magic of festive season through the airwaves all December long.”

Julie Gill, Marketing Director, An Post Mails & Parcels at An Post, says:

“We are heading into a very different Christmas, when staying connected with family and friends near and far will be more important than ever. An Post is committed to supporting personal and business customers through our Community Focus activities. Our support of Christmas FM is an important part of this. We are delighted to be working with the wonderful Christmas FM team again this year, I know I will be listening as I work from home to bring some Christmas cheer to the weeks ahead.”  

You can follow the station on social at

@christmasfm

www.christmasfm.com

Christmas FM – Bringing You The Magic Of Christmas

Maxol Group partners with AirSpeed Telecom to deliver enhanced cloud connectivity service to support Microsoft applications

  • AirSpeed Telecom’s ‘Cloud Connectivity’ solution has resulted in faster connection and greater data security and privacy for Maxol Group’s 237 service stations around Ireland
  • New services contribute to ongoing business transformation of Maxol Group, which is 100 years in business this year

Dublin, 24 November 2020; AirSpeed Telecom, a leading provider of high-performance telecommunications products and services to enterprise, public sector and small to medium sized businesses, has delivered a range of enhanced internet solutions to help support the ongoing business transformation of the Maxol Group.

With 237 service stations throughout the island of Ireland, the Maxol Group is Ireland’s leading family-owned forecourt and convenience retailer. The business is celebrating its 100-year anniversary this year.

AirSpeed Telecom’s has worked with the Maxol Group for the past four years providing a diverse range of services to the business. Most recently, AirSpeed Telecom has delivered enhanced services by providing an ExpressRoute service to Microsoft Azure, through their new Cloud Connectivity service.

This has resulted in a reliable and faster connection with superior data privacy and security. The Maxol Group is also experiencing improved performance, security and user experience for employees and retailers when using Microsoft applications.

Stephen McCormack, Head of IT, The Maxol Group, said:

“AirSpeed Telecom has provided Maxol with WAN and internet services since 2016. It is critical for us to ensure our core services and applications are always available to our retailers and staff. The diverse connectivity solutions installed by AirSpeed Telecom has given us a robust system with excellent reliability. We are moving more of our applications and services off premises to the cloud and we have chosen AirSpeed Telecom once again to support us on this migration, using their Cloud Connectivity service to peer directly into Azure. This has made a huge difference in terms of how we run our business.’’

AirSpeed Telecom, Managing Director, Charles O’Reilly, says:

“We’re delighted to continue our work with the Maxol Group to offer our services and applications in support of their business transformation. Like many of our customers, the Maxol Group has placed huge importance on Cloud connectivity as a means of ensuring seamless connectivity with partners, suppliers and customers. Our high bandwidth and diverse connectivity ensures excellent performance and uptime for the Maxol Group’s services and applications. Our Cloud Connectivity solution has given the Maxol Group the tools to privately interconnect into Microsoft Azure, which, in turn, provides them with consistent access to their cloud services.”

Delivering bespoke solutions over fibre, wireless and copper infrastructure, AirSpeed Telecom works with businesses on the island of Ireland across a range of sectors, including financial services, retail, construction, food and beverage and hospitality. Among the clients that AirSpeed Telecom is proud to work with are Chill, Keeling’s, Manor Farm and Kilsaran.

About AirSpeed Telecom:

AirSpeed Telecom is a leading provider of high-performance telecommunications products and bandwidth services to enterprise, medium to large sized businesses and public sector clients.

Founded in 2003, AirSpeed Telecom provides customers with fast, uncontended and symmetrical connectivity which allows businesses perform to their full potential. To reinforce this vision of always-on connectivity, AirSpeed Telecom offers premium level Service Level Agreements (SLAs) as standard.

The full-suite of communication solutions includes dedicated connectivity, voice and security as well as cloud services. Delivering bespoke solutions over fibre, wireless and copper infrastructure, AirSpeed Telecom works with businesses on the island of Ireland and internationally across a range of sectors, including financial services, construction, food and beverage and hospitality. Among the clients that AirSpeed Telecom is proud to work with are Chill, Keelings, Manor Farm and Kilsaran, among others.

All customers have access to first line technical support from the company’s Network Operation Centre. All network elements are monitored proactively with service support provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.

AirSpeed Telecom is 100% owned by the Irish Infrastructure Fund (IIF), which controls over €500 million of investments across energy, telecoms, tourism and healthcare in Ireland.

AirSpeed launched their Cloud Connect service in 2019 offering private peering to over 140 major cloud providers.

www.airspeed.ie

Boann Distillery offers whiskey-lovers and investors everywhere the opportunity to own their own cask of premium Irish whiskey

Boann Distillery, one of Ireland’s family-owned-and-operated whiskey distilleries, has launched the ‘Boann Distillery Cask Offer’ – offering whiskey-lovers everywhere the opportunity to own their own cask of premium Irish Pot Still Whiskey.

Investment opportunities in whiskey casks have long been few and far between. However, as the global appetite for Irish whiskey continues to grow, the Boann Distillery Cask Offer provides a unique opportunity for buyers to invest in, develop and refine a cask of Irish whiskey to their preferred taste and finish.

Boann Distillery’s three copper pot stills are the only whiskey stills in the world that utilise nano-technology in their design, offering unrivalled control over the whiskey flavour, long before it ever finds a cask. Whether you are looking to lay down a cask for a special event, or a milestone birthday, Boann Distillery offers a wide range of casks to suit every occasion.

Casks on offer include Bourbon, Sherry ( Fino and Oloroso butts and hogsheads and Pedro Ximinez), Port, Rum, Madeira , Moscatel, Marsala and NEOC barrels.

All whiskey spirit will be laid down to mature for 5 years, in premium, grade 1 barrels, with maturation duration extensions possible with warehouse owners upon request.

Every drop of distillate at Boann Distillery is overseen by one of Ireland’s finest award-winning Head Distillers, Michael Walsh. He has been expertly crafting pot still distillate of unique provenance since the start, utilising only the finest grown Irish barley and Boyne Valley water.

Pat Cooney, Founder of Boann Distillery, said: “With Irish whiskey retaining the title of the “World’s Fastest Growing Spirit Category” for almost two decades, there has never been a better time to lay down your own casks of Ireland’s national spirit. At Boann, we pride ourselves on being among the most innovative whiskey distilleries in Ireland.”

“We use only locally grown barley in our whiskeys and utilise the most technologically advanced copper pot stills to craft our spirit. We have access to the best casks to mature our spirit, which will ensure that we produce unique whiskeys with provenance and that every cask will tell a story – the story of our land, our people and our family.”

Each cask will be laid down under a government bond, under the buyer’s own name, offering full control and security, with prices starting from €3200.

For further information on the Boann Distillery Cask Offer email caskoffer@boanndistillery.ie or visit www.boanndistillery.ie

Critical Healthcare and the National Ambulance Service renew three-year contract worth up to €15m

The National Ambulance Service operates from over 100 ambulance stations located across Ireland and Critical Healthcare will now be the managed service provider for all medical consumables to the service on a national basis. The National Ambulance Service has been working with and utilising Critical Healthcare for the purchase and supply of emergency medical supplies and patient consumable products throughout the HSE since 2014.

The company will supply the National Ambulance Service with a wide range of medical consumable products required by ambulance staff within the service in the delivery of every aspect of patient care and comfort which include; Personal Protective Equipment, resuscitation equipment, dressings, bandages, surgical masks, oxygen masks, temperature and blood pressure monitors, syringes and needles, disposable linen, stretcher sheets and fleece blankets.

The move follows the news that the company recently invested over €500,000 in a new 30,000 sq. ft headquarters facility in Tullamore, County Offaly. In addition to expanding its physical location, Critical Healthcare has also increased its workforce to over 30 employees.

Critical Healthcare will continue to utilise its bespoke and innovative on-line procurement software, Medlogistix, to fulfil its contract with the National Ambulance Service. This pre-authorised system allows its customers to order products on a 24/7/365 basis and can be accessed remotely via a secure web portal, allowing for a seamless and standardised supply chain which is essential in a demand driven, pressurised emergency service environment.

A number of the consumable products supplied to the National Ambulance Service will come from the MediLinen and Duramedic range, a top-quality line of products that have been developed in-house by Critical Healthcare.

Dr. Anne Cusack, CEO of Critical Healthcare, says:

‘We’re delighted that The National Ambulance Service is renewing its agreement with us. This contract represents an important endorsement for Critical Healthcare’s Medlogistix software, which is recommended by the UK’s ‘Lord Carter Review’ as Best Practice and the positive impact our solution continues to have on the National Ambulance Services network.’

‘The HSE defines patient care consumable products and any other products as the medical, surgical, janitorial and any other consumables that are required by the day to day operation of Ambulance stations and vehicles. The managed solutions will require Critical Healthcare to purchase, warehouse and deliver on a consolidates basis the range of Consumable Products required for the National Ambulance Service throughout the HSE.’ 

Martin Dunne, Director of the National Ambulance Service says:

We are delighted to be continuing to work with Critical Healthcare as we continue our journey in developing and delivering our services. Critical Healthcare’s Medlogistix system has been an invaluable asset to the service, particularly in this Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring timely and seamless delivery of essential equipment. The management solution will add even greater value to the services in managing the process in this dynamic environment.’

Established in 2000, Critical Healthcare boasts a diversity of customers that covers emergency services, armed forces, and local authorities across eight European countries, with expansion into more planned. An approved HSE and NHS supplier, Critical Healthcare works with emergency service providers across Ireland, UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, France, Spain and Poland, ensuring that healthcare professionals have all of the essential medical products they require to diagnose, resuscitate and rehabilitate a patient.

www.criticalhealthcare.com

Or follow Critical Healthcare on Twitter @CriticalHealthc

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland CEO Orla Twomey is appointed SRO Vice Chair of the European Advertising Standards of Alliance (EASA)

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI), the independent self-regulatory body committed to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications in Ireland, is delighted to announce that its CEO, Orla Twomey, has been appointed the self-regulation organisation (SRO) Vice Chair of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), of which ASAI is a member.

The ASAI is a founding member of EASA, a non-profit organisation based in Brussels which brings together 28 European advertising self-regulatory organisations (SROs) and 13 organisations representing the advertising industry in Europe – advertisers, agencies and various forms of media, including television, radio, press and outdoor poster advertising.

Orla brings extensive experience of advertising self-regulation both in Ireland and to Europe, and has played an active role in EASA for a number of years sitting on both the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee. She will carry out her role as SRO Vice Chair in conjunction with her existing role as CEO of the ASAI. In her new role, Orla will work with her fellow Officers in promoting and supporting advertising self-regulation in Europe, with a focus on advertising technological and digital developments, particularly in the areas of minors’ protection, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, transparency and privacy.

Orla Twomey, Chief Executive of the ASAI, commented on her new appointment:

“I am delighted to have been appointed SRO Vice Chair of EASA. Having been involved with the organisation in various ways over many years, I have gained a strong insight into the European self-regulation framework and I look forward to continuing to support consumers and society through the promotion of responsible advertising with meaningful self-regulatory solutions.”

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

Everyone is invited to the An Post Irish Book Awards 2020!

For the first time ever, everyone can watch the An Post Irish Book Awards

as it happens – tune into rte.ie/culture on 25th November at 7.30pm

Great news! The An Post Irish Book Awards ceremony is online this year, meaning that everyone can tune in to watch!

RTE’s Evelyn O’Rourke will announce the winners of each of the 16 categories, including Novel of the Year, Children’s (Junior and Senior), Cookery, Crime Fiction, Popular Fiction, Nonfiction, Sports, Short Story, Poetry, Teen, Young Adult and Irish Language.

The 2020 shortlist is bursting with lots of big names and newcomers and includes the likes of Graham Norton, Marian Keyes, Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Rob Kearney, Mary McAleese, Bernard Brogan, Catherine Ryan Howard, Seán O’Brien, Ray D’Arcy, Maggie O’Farrell, Emily Hourican, Roddy Doyle, Dara Ó Briain and many more. You will find the full shortlist here: https://www.irishbookawards.irish/2020-an-post-irish-book-awards-shortlist/

Tune in to watch online at rte.ie/culture on 25th November at 7.30pm and feel free to share the link with all the book lovers in your life that might be interested!

In addition, we are also looking forward to something new this year! RTÉ One will be broadcasting a special programme – the An Post Irish Book of the Year TV Show – on 10th December. This will be hosted by Miriam O’Callaghan and is set to feature interviews with some of the winning authors and the announcement of the overall An Post Irish Book of the Year 2020!

The An Post Irish Book Awards celebrate and promote Irish writing to the widest range of readers possible. Each year it brings together a vast community passionate about books – readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and librarians – to recognise the very best of Irish writing talent and 2020 is no different.

An Post is also continuing with their hugely successful #ReadersWanted campaign, celebrating the value and joy of reading and encouraging everyone to pick up more books, more often. Simply search for the hashtag online to get involved.

anpostirishbookawards.ie

Facebook: @AnPostIBAS

Instagram: @anpost_irishbookawards

Twitter: @AnPostIBAS

#APIBAS

#ReadersWanted

Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland releases latest Complaints Bulletin

  • 8 advertisements found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds relating to Recognisability, Misleading/Substantiation, Availability, and Principles/ /Prices

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest Complaints Bulletin, which contains 8 case reports on complaints recently investigated by the organisation.

All 8 of the advertisements were found to have been in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to Recognisability, Misleading/Substantiation, Availability and Principles/Prices. The advertisements complained of related to the Internet and Social Media. One of those which was partly upheld related to intra industry / interested party 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 – http://www.asai.ie/about-us/complaints-committee

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 online platforms, in particular social media, and demonstrates how we ensure that ads in Ireland stick to the advertising rules. The main role of advertising self-regulatory organisations (SROs), such as the ASAI, is to ensure that ads and other marketing communications are legal, truthful, decent and honest, prepared with a sense of social responsibility to the consumer and society and with proper respect for the principles of fair competition.”

“The ASAI is committed to protecting society in relation to advertising across all mediums. Self-regulatory ad standards provide an additional layer of consumer protection which complements legislative controls and offers an easily accessible means of resolving disputes.”

“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, through its adjudications, 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/OrganisationComplaint CategoryFurther Details
  Women’s Best    Recognisability    The complainant objected to the advertising as it had not been declared as commercial content.   In breach of sections 3.32 and 3.32 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/clothing-health-beauty/
    Pretty Little Thing / Emma Kehoe     Recognisability    The complainant considered that the posts indicated a commercial relationship between the influencer and the brand which was not disclosed so therefore felt the posts were misleading.   In breach of section 4.1, 4.4, 3.31 and 3.32 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/clothing-8/  
  Imagine  Principles / Misleading / Substantiation  The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading. While the online availability checker indicated the service was available according to results for the complainant’s Eircode, the complainant was advised by the advertisers on a number of occasions that the service was not yet available at their address.   In breach of sections 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, and 4.10 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/telecommunications-81/  
  Shaw Academy  Misleading/Substantiation  The complainant considered the advertisement not to be offering free access but a free trial of a paid subscription service, which was difficult to cancel during a free trial period. She considered that the free trial did not give unlimited access, as indicated in the advertisement, and only allowed students to complete one module of a course.   The complainant considered the photograph of a diploma to be misleading as it was not possible to gain a diploma in four weeks. She also said the essential course materials cost extra and were not included in the free trial.   In breach of section 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/education-12/  
  Apple  Misleading / Substantiation / Availability  The complainant considered the delivery dates for the advertised product to be misleading. Having ordered the product, she initially received an email confirming delivery between the two dates. However, four days later she received a subsequent email stating that the product would be delivered between 18th and 22nd May. On checking she was told that there were more orders than anticipated.   In breach of section 4.1 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/computers/  
  Classic Hits  Misleading / Substantiation  The complainant considered the image of the Old City (of Jerusalem), specifically the Walls of the Armenian Quarter, when taken alongside the text “Fly to Israel for as little as €319, from May 2020. Enjoy a sunset on Tel Aviv beach, tour the historic city of Jerusalem or float in the dead sea.” was clearly intended to convey that Jerusalem’s Old City was part of Israel and not “occupied and illegally colonised area.” He said this was universally recognised as such in International Law, and by the UN Security Council, by the UN General Assembly, by the European Union, by the Irish Government, and by all major human rights organisations.   In breach of sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/holiday-competition/    
  Optilase  Principles / Misleading / Substantiation / Prices  The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading. She said that she was quoted a price without any discount applied. She was then told that the price included the 15% discount which was available to all customers. She felt that there was no additional discount available to members with health insurance policies.   In breach of sections 3.10, 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 4.22.   Complaint Upheld.   Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/health-beauty-52/

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

Company/OrganisationComplaint CategoryFurther Details
  Virgin Media   Misleading /Substantiation  Two complaints were received regarding the advertising, one from Sky Ireland while the other was submitted by an individual consumer complainant.   Issue 1: Sky Ireland considered that the advertising was misleading, inaccurate and exaggerated the performance of the service, which they believed was detrimental to consumers and prevented them from making an informed choice about their broadband service. They did not believe that the claim could be substantiated by Virgin Media and they believed that the test results had been misused.   Issue 2: In regard to the “Learn about broadband” webpage, Sky Ireland considered that this webpage was making further claims about Virgin Media being “Officially the fastest Broadband network in Ireland” and had compared their 360Mbps product with Sky’s 100Mbps product. They considered that this was inaccurate and misleading and was not a fair comparison, particularly as Sky were selling a fibre to the home product with speeds of up to 1Gbps.   Issue 3: The complainant considered that the claim to be “Ireland’s fastest broadband network” was untruthful, particularly as two other operators were offering broadband that was almost three times the speed of Virgin Media’s 1000Mbps versus 360Mbps.   Complaint Upheld in Part. Link: https://www.asai.ie/complaint/telecommunications-82/  

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.

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Enet and HEAnet partner to deliver 200Mbps connectivity to schools across Ireland

Enet sponsors the 20th Annual HEAnet National Conference

Enet, Ireland’s largest open-access network operator, and HEAnet, Ireland’s national education and research network, are partnering to deliver 200Mbps connectivity to schools across Ireland. Enet has a long-standing relationship with HEAnet and has previously delivered connectivity to over 600 post-primary schools as part of the ‘100Mbps’ initiative, a project run by HEAnet on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.

More than 600 primary and post-primary schools across Ireland now use the Enet network to access high-speed connections to allow them to utilise valuable and engaging online educational resources. Enet is now working with HEAnet to deliver bandwidth upgrades ensuring that schools all over the country will have access to the bandwidth they need in the coming months, having speeds of up to 500Mbps.

Enet will once again be the main sponsor of the HEAnet National Conference, which takes place on Thursday 19th November.

The HEAnet National Conference, now in its twentieth year, is an annual event which brings together delegates from across the education and research sector, as well as industry and technology specialists. Due to Covid-19, this year the conference will be a one-day virtual event.

Kerrie Power, HEAnet’s CEO said: “This is the 20th year of the HEAnet National Conference and as we all continue to follow the Government advice in relation to the Covid-19 restrictions we have moved the conference online for 2020. Enet has been a reliable partner of HEAnet for many years and we are excited to have them on board for our virtual event.”

Commenting on the partnerships with HEAnet, Enet’s CEO, Peter McCarthy, said: “Enet has had an excellent working relationship with HEAnet for many years, connecting Irish schools to superfast broadband and creating the capacity to significantly enrich and enhance the educational experience for tens of thousands of students. Our latest collaboration will ensure that schools from Bantry to Buncranna will have minimum connection speeds of 100 to 200Mbps, while others will have speeds of 300, 400 or even 500Mbps.

“This is extremely important as e-learning has become a vital component of our children’s educational experience. We are delighted to once again support the annual HEAnet National Conference and congratulate the team for enabling this virtual event.”

Enet is headquartered in Limerick and has recently unveiled a state-of-the-art Network Operations Centre as part of our new €1m headquarters facility in a new standalone 14,000 sq ft location in the National Technological Park, Plassey.