Post Date :
Thu 18 Oct 2018 08:19 AM
First Derivatives in deal with South Korea's BISTel

 Financial technology firm First Derivatives has agreed a deal with BISTel, a provider of smart manufacturing solutions headquartered in South Korea.

The deal will see the South Korean firm use the Newry-based company's Kx for Sensors and kdb+ products in its product line. 

FD said that under the terms of the deal, many of BISTel's products will have "Kx Inside" within the next two years, with the first deployments expected in the first half of 2019.

BISTel supplies adaptive intelligence (AI) applications that combine embedded human knowledge and advanced engineering automation solutions to help factories to better detect, analyse, predict, and prescribe solutions to complex manufacturing problems in real-time.

"This is a further important contract win for Kx in the Industrial Internet of Things, reflecting our growing presence in this market and our technology lead," commented Brian Conlon, chief executive of FD. 

"Kx provides higher performance, greater scalability and lower total cost of ownership than competing solutions and we are engaged in multiple conversations across manufacturing, and other industries, with potential customers attracted by these benefits," he added.

Post Date :
Wed 17 Oct 2018 09:37 AM
Claire’s accessories in Craigavon and Newry facing uncertain future

Fashion accessories retailer Claire’s is facing the threat of insolvency – placing the future of two local stores in Craigavon and Newry under threat.

The two stores – in Rushmere Shopping Centre and The Quays in Newry – are just two of 14 sites across Northern Ireland facing an uncertain future.

The Press Association (PA) said the High Street chain was talking to restructuring firms about “a number of options”.

However, Claire’s chief executive Ron Marshall told PA it had no plans for either a CVA or major store closures in the UK “in the foreseeable future”.

“Any stores we do close or open in the UK would be as part of our normal course of business,” he added.

The news comes just days after the chain’s US parent company announced that it had emerged from Chapter 11 protection after filing for bankruptcy earlier this year.

Post Date :
Mon 15 Oct 2018 12:45 PM
Evelyn Halliday's grief as husband and daughter killed in Newry crash

A pensioner who lost her husband and daughter in a road crash on the A1 dual carriageway at the weekend has spoken of her devastation.

Newry woman Evelyn Halliday (83) will bury her late partner Raymond and daughter Anna Dodds in separate funeral services tomorrow.

Mr Halliday (87) and 47-year-old Ms Dodds had been travelling in a Skoda Fabia when it was involved in a collision with a lorry and a Ford Focus at the Moneymore Road junction outside the city on Friday at around 2.45pm.

Mr Halliday had been taking his stepdaughter - Mrs Halliday's daughter from her first marriage - to Banbridge, where she had been due to catch a bus with friends to attend a country music concert in Belfast.

Mr Halliday died at the scene while Ms Dodds, who was single, passed away a short time later in hospital. Two other people were injured.

One, who was taken to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, was reported to be in a stable condition on Saturday, while no update has been given on the condition of the other person, who was receiving treatment in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.

Floral tributes for the two have since been left where the collision took place. They are the latest people to lose their lives on the main Belfast to Dublin route in recent years.

Mrs Halliday said yesterday that she was still struggling to take in the shocking news of her loved-ones' deaths.

"It still hasn't hit me," she said, describing her late husband of 25 years as a "true gentleman".

The great-grandmother said her daughter, who lived in Bessbrook, Co Armagh, was "completely devoted" to her nieces and nephews, having already bought them their Christmas presents.

"Anna was going to the Farmers' Bash at the SSE Arena. She loved country and western music. She lived for her family," she said.

"Raymond was a gentleman. He was a brilliant husband. He would make me breakfast in bed every day.

"He was a great storyteller, he could tell hundreds of jokes. Raymond loved fishing and watching football."

Mrs Halliday said that her husband would have done anything for her daughter, and vice versa. "Anna loved treating him with clothes and Raymond would have taken her anywhere she needed to go," she explained.

While the circumstances of the collision have yet to be established, it occurred at one of the A1's gap junctions, where vehicles can turn right across the central reservation.

Mrs Halliday urged the authorities to take action to make safety improvements on the A1 amid fresh concerns at the number of fatal collisions on the route since 2014.

In May Co Down man Karl Heaney (27) died in a two-vehicle collision between Banbridge and Dromore, while in 2015 three young male friends were killed while travelling to Newry.

The previous year two nuns, Sisters Marie Duddy and Frances Forde, were killed in a collision involving an unmarked police vehicle.

Upper Bann MLA Carla Lockhart said that in light of the latest crash, capital funding should be made available in order to close off the remaining gaps in junctions.

"Discussions have been taking place on how we can close (these off without) inconveniencing local residents and frequent users," she explained.

Ms Dodds and Mr Halliday will be laid to rest in graveyards at Ryans Presbyterian Church, Newry, and St Luke's Parish Church, Mullaglass, respectively tomorrow.

Post Date :
Thu 11 Oct 2018 08:15 AM
Men raided Tesco and took more than £15,000 worth of items, High Court told

 THREE men took more than £15,000 worth of alcohol and other products in a series of raids on Tesco stores across Northern Ireland, the High Court heard today.

Brothers Cosmin Barbu (34) and Dumitru Barbu (29) were joined by their cousin Adrian Olteanu (34) in loading trolleys full of drink, covering them with towels and walking out without paying, a judge was told.

Tesco outlets in Lisburn, Newry and Banbridge were targeted between September 23 to 28.

A Crown lawyer revealed the total value of goods is expected to rise above £15,000 once final stock checks are completed.

"These three appear to have gone on a complete shoplifting spree over a period of six days," he said.

The three accused, all Romanian nationals, were said to have admitted their involvement in the thieving operation.

The men, all with an address at Mount Rochford Drive, Balbriggan, face charges of theft, attempted theft and handling stolen goods.

Further allegations of going equipped for theft are denied, with the defendants claiming the towels used to cover up the trolley-loads were taken from the stores.

According to the prosecution they stacked up on bottles of alcohol, left the stores and either loaded a nearby car or abandoned the trolleys if they were being watched.

The trio then returned to steal again during the spate of raids, it was claimed.

They were arrested after police stopped an Audi A4 car on the A1 near Lisburn. Large quantities of alcohol with security tags still attached was discovered in the boot.

"At this particular time, with much of the stocktaking having been carried out, I understand the total value of thefts from Testo is £15,097," the prosecutor added.

Defence counsel contended that it had not been a sophisticated operation.

"They simply used a towel to cover it and blatantly walked out of the stores," he said.

"It would seem that then they got away with it the first time they simply kept doing the same thing."

All three defendants were refused bail due to concerns they may flee or re-offend.

Post Date :
Wed 10 Oct 2018 08:36 AM

Shelbourne Motors has partnered with Renault to bring the French car manufacturer to its new £5m multi-franchise complex in Newry.

Renault is the second manufacturer to be confirmed for the facility as building work commences on the 50,000 sq ft development. Kia was the first brand to be confirmed for the site.

The deal bolsters the family-owned vehicle retailer's relationship with Renault having operated a franchise of the brand at its Portadown headquarters since 2003.

Caroline Willis, financial director of Shelbourne Motors, said: "Our long-term relationship with Renault made the manufacturer an obvious fit for this new development and it demonstrates their confidence in our business to incorporate a brand-new dealership into our Newry expansion."

Newry-based O’Hare & McGovern has been appointed as the contractor and work has commenced on building the complex.

The facility will create 60 new jobs.

Shelbourne Motors was founded by the Ward Family in 1973 and currently employs over 130 staff at its nine-acre Portadown headquarters.

Post Date :
Mon 08 Oct 2018 08:31 AM
Newry Mitchels GAA club could lose pitch to make way for road

A NEWRY GAA club is set to lose its pitch to make way for "one of the most challenging ever" roads to be built in Northern Ireland.

The creation of a new proposed route linking the main Belfast to Dublin road with the Warrenpoint dual carriageway could see the road slice through the home of Newry Mitchels at Gerry Brown Park.

It is among a number of significant challenges facing road planners in the building of the new Newry southern relief road, which could also impact some people living in the Fathom area of the city.

SDLP councillor Michael Savage said concerns of residents and members of Newry Mitchels "must be addressed as the project progresses".

The preferred route was announced by the Department for Infrastructure last week after it was selected from a list of five proposals.

Linking the A1 Belfast to Dublin road with the Warrenpoint dual carriageway, it would allow traffic to travel to and from Warrenpoint Port without having to drive through central Newry.

The preferred route would stretch from the Greenbank Industrial Estate to Ellisholding Junction approaching the Republic's M1.

Described by roads enthusiast Wesley Johnston as "one of the most challenging ever conceived here", among the challenges facing planners is that the route is expected to pass close to the quarry at Drumalane as well as an ancient woodland.

A two-lane bridge over Newry canal and a climbing lane up Fathom Mountain will also have to be built.

The proposal, which is subject an Environmental Impact Assessment, a public consultation and funding approval, comes just five years after plans to build the nearby cross-border Narrow Water Bridge, across the Newry River linking counties Down and Louth, were shelved.

While a detailed design of the new road is not expected to be completed until late 2019, there are already concerns from local people about the impact it will have.

It is believed Newry Mitchels will face significant change if the road is given the final go-ahead, as it will go directly through its land.

Founded in 1956, the club has won four Down senior titles in the 1960s and boasts the likes of Sean O’Neill, Kevin O’Neill and Val Kane in their ranks down the years.

Just last year the club called on the community to rally as they try to fend off the threat of folding amid a struggle for numbers.

Newry SDLP councillor Michael Savage, who has been liaising with residents and Newry Mitchels said their concerns have to be considered by planners going forward.

"Back in April I was approached by residents of Fathom area of Newry who will be impacted greatly by the construction of the southern relief road and held several meetings with them and facilitated engagement at a full consultation and one to one discussion with DFI officials leading this scheme back in May," he said.

"Newry, Mourne and Down council fully supports this vital infrastructure project which will help sustain and grow our economy in the city and district and assist in the development of Warrenpoint Harbour.

"I fully support the need for this scheme and agree with the business case for it but also believe that the needs and concerns of the residents of Fathom and the members of Mitchels GAC impacted by the new road must be addressed and their voices heard.

"I have received a commitment from DFI officials that they will take the time to engage fully with residents and work through the issues over the coming months and I will hold them to that.

"I want to see this road scheme completed to boost our economy and ease traffic congestion and reduce high levels of pollution in Newry but I also want to see it completed with the support of residents impacted by it.

"This is a very difficult road scheme to engineer and it is important that the time is taken to deal with the environmental, maritime and heritage challenges and ensure that the families who own the nine properties impacted by the scheme, some of whom have lived there for generations are treated fairly by DFI."

Mr Savage said that a "full consultation is planned with Newry Mitchels GAC members who will lose their pitch in the proposed scheme".

"I have raised the issue of Newry Mitchels losing its pitch as part of this scheme with those leading the project," he said.

"I welcome the engagement that is planned between DfI officials to discuss compensating the club and working with council to find a new home for Mitchels when the road progresses.

"Like the residents of Fathom the members of Mitchels need to have their needs met and a new pitch must be identified and developed before construction.

"This new road is a significant boost for Newry and I welcome it, however, the success of the scheme will be judged on the level of partnership reached with the residents and the club that are in its path."

The proposed route will also pass close to the busy Greenbank Industrial Estate. While businesses in the estate may not be impacted by the road as a flyover is anticipated to be built over it, there are fears about the impact the ongoing work will have on the area.

Jim O'Keefe, managing director of Corn Dolly Foods, said he wanted to be "consulted" on the scheme.

"We know nothing about it at all," he said.

"We didn't even know there was due to be an announcement about it the other day. Greenbank Industrial Estate is hard enough to get in and out of at the best of times, there is only one road in and one road out.

"I would imagine the traffic disruption will get even worse if this work begins, so I feel it is important that local businesses are consulted to see what impact the new road may have on us."

Roads enthusiast Wesley Johnston said the proposed route will be a massive project for road planners.

"In terms of the road, it's one of the most challenging ever conceived here - combining steep gradients, a former quarry, bridging a navigable river, proximity to an area of special scientific interest and limited space," he said.

"DfI think it can be done, and this route is both the cheapest option considered, and the one that offers the most benefits. It's close enough to the city to double as a partial southern 'ring road' for the town."

However, the preferred route has been welcomed as a "key step forward for the major infrastructure project".

Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard said it would "provide a road link from the A2 Warrenpoint Carriageway to the A1/NI Dublin Belfast corridor - a route that is increasingly seen as one of the most strategic transport links in Ireland".

"This is great news for local commuters and the wider Newry and south Down business community who have been campaigning for an end to the congestion in Newry city," he said.

"Not only will the delivery of this key infrastructure project improve journey times and accessibility to both Newry City and Warrenpoint Port, but it will also significantly improve road safety and traffic congestion within the local area."

Clare Guinness, CEO of Warrenpoint Port said it was "vital this project moves promptly onto stage three and delivery".

"This crucial piece of infrastructure has the potential to significantly improve the economic prosperity of the region by improving access to the Port thereby supporting trade growth," she said.

"It will also open up the eastern side of Newry for potential commercial development."

Post Date :
Thu 04 Oct 2018 08:30 AM
Welcome for preferred proposed route for Newry southern relief road

 HAULIERS have welcomed the announcement of the preferred proposed route for the Newry southern relief road.

The Department for Infrastructure said five routes had been considered and the preferred choice would provide a "strategic transport link from the A1 Belfast-Dublin transport corridor to the A2 Warrenpoint dual carriageway".

The proposed route links the A2 Warrenpoint Road to the Ellisholding junction on the A1 and starts on the A2 Warrenpoint Road along the frontage of Greenbank Industrial Estate.

It crosses the Newry River and Canal just to the south of Drumalane Quarry and then heads in a westerly direction towards the A1.

The new road is expected to significantly improve journey times and traffic congestion within Newry city centre.

Southern divisional roads manager Simon Richardson said: "This is another key step in the delivery of the Newry Southern Relief Road which if constructed will be an important link road between the key strategic corridor of the A1/N1 Belfast to Dublin route with the A2 and Northern Ireland's second largest port at Warrenpoint Harbour.

"The route will improve journey times and journey time reliability for strategic traffic between the A2 Warrenpoint Road and the A1/N1.

"It will also significantly improve road safety and traffic congestion within Newry City centre by providing an alternative route for strategic traffic.

"The proposed scheme will improve accessibility to both Newry City and Warrenpoint Harbour and support and maintain sustainable economic growth and employment within the area."

Roads enthusiast Wesley Johnston said the route would be "hugely beneficial to both the city and traffic for Warrenpoint and south Down".

"Much of the traffic destined for south Down has to go through Newry - it doesn't want to be there, and Newry residents don't want it to be there either," he said.

He said the road could be "one of the most challenging ever conceived here", which would combine steep gradients and a former quarry among the issues to be considered.

"DfI think it can be done and this route is both the cheapest option considered and the one that offers the most benefits," he said.

"It's close enough to the city to double as a partial southern 'ring road' for the town."

Seamus Leheny from the Freight Transport Association said it was "welcome news for Newry and especially freight traffic using Warrenpoint Port" adding that it was the "preferred option FTA supported during consultation".

Warrenpoint Port said it was "delighted with this progress to date".

DfI said the next stage of the project will be to develop the design of the road and prepare the draft statutory orders along with an environmental impact assessment, for public consultation, and if necessary, public inquiry.

Post Date :
Wed 03 Oct 2018 08:06 AM
PKF-FPM secures hat-trick of victories at UK Accountancy Awards

 NEWRY-headquartered independent accountancy practice PKF-FPM has scored an unique hat-trick at the British Accountancy Awards in London.

It was short-listed in three categories - Mid-Tier Firm of the Year, Tax Team of the Year and Partner of the Year (for managing partner Feargal McCormack) - and scooped the lot.

It prompted the judges to comment: "Never before have three categories been awarded to one firm, especially when the surge and calibre of entries in has been our most hotly contested year so far, and this year's short-list is the strongest it has ever been."

PKF-FPM director Teresa Campbell said: "Our success in winning these three awards reflects the collective passion of Team PKF-FPM, and accomplishments like this have further energised the team for continuous improvement to exceed client expectations, delivering excellence in our industry."

The awards ceremony, hosted by Mock the Week star Josh Widdicombe, attracted upwards of 1,000 guests, including high profile leaders from the UK business and accountancy sectors.

Consistently recognised as best in class by its peers in both Britain and Ireland, 2018 has been a phenomenal year for PKF-FPM, which was awarded Tax Team of the Year at the Irish Accountancy Awards and was listed on the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work for UK Wide.

PKF-FPM was represented at the awards by a cross section of team members including Feargal McCormack, Paddy Harty, Teresa Campbell, Malachy McLernon, Caroline Preston and Lauren Quinn.

Post Date :
Mon 01 Oct 2018 04:02 PM
Adult Open Audition

Open Auditions:  Newry Adults from 15-80

We’re looking for men & women of all ages, shapes, sizes & ethnicities (Irish with N.I. accents, African, Asian, Eastern European) for significant parts.

No acting experience necessary.  Saturday Oct. 6th: 10am to 6pm St. John Bosco Youth Centre, Chequer Hill, Newry

Auditions are for speaking parts and extras in a Newry-set Feature Film Wildfire from writer/director Cathy Brady shooting from October 22nd.

Please e-mail or ring Casting Director Nick McGinley for an appointment or call in on the day. Mobile: +353 86-8239035

Post Date :
Fri 28 Sep 2018 07:54 AM
First Derivatives announces 1,000 post recruitment plan

 Newry-based First Derivatives has announced that it is to recruit 1,000 people over the next three as part of its latest expansion plans. The firm, a leading global provider of products and consulting services to some of the world’s largest finance, technology and energy institutions, says the new recruits will facilitate the continued rapid growth of the business and will be across graduate, experienced and senior levels.

This employee expansion builds on sustained growth at FD, with annual growth averaging 31% over the past three years. FD currently employs more than 2,400 staff and recruits locally and internationally to service markets across the world, with a heavy focus on STEM backgrounds.

The new jobs will be across the company’s operations, including FinTech, where FD works with many of the world’s leading financial institutions, and a range of other industries, including manufacturing, digital marketing, retail, gaming, telecoms, automotive and space. FD’s Kx technology addresses Big Data challenges across all these industries and has experienced impressive growth since it was founded in 1996 by chief executive Brian Conlon.

“This is an exciting time for FD and this expansion reflects the strong growth and development of the company,” he said. “We have a highly skilled and accomplished team, and we look forward to bringing on more talent.” FD now has more than 20 years of experience working with some of the world’s largest finance, technology, retail, pharma, manufacturing and energy institutions. The group operates from 14 offices across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, including Newry which remain the firm’s headquarters.