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Lidl’s new €100m Newbridge distribution hub to open in November 2019
Lidl expects to open a new €100 million distribution centre and regional headquarters in Newbridge, Co. Kildare in just over a year.
The German discount supermarket chain has this month started construction on the new facility, which will create 100 new jobs and is the group’s largest single capital investment in the Irish market to date.
Lidl already employs 250 staff at a distribution centre in Newbridge, but the new build on a nearby site will extend its capacity significantly. The supermarket chain said it expects the new facility to be open by November 2019.
The new warehouse and distribution hub will service Lidl’s stores in the wider Leinster area. John Paul Construction has been retained to build the facility - three times the size of Aviva stadium - and Lidl says it is currently one of the largest building sites in the State.
“As we continue to expand our operations to meet the growing demand of our customers we are making our single biggest annual investment since 2000,” said Alan Barry, director of property and central services at Lidl Ireland.
“The larger distribution centre will also allow Lidl to handle greater volumes of produce from the 200 strong network of Irish suppliers from whom Lidl already sources over €700 million worth of Irish food and drink products.”
Published inIndustry News
ESRI doubles 2018 growth forecast for Irish economy
The ESRI has doubled its growth forecast for the Irish economy for this year to almost 9 per cent, with growth being propelled by the twin engines of stronger-than-expected consumer spending on the domestic front, and a more favourable trade balance due to a decline in imports on the multinational side.
This will position the State as the fastest-growing economy in the euro zone this year. However, despite the upgrade, the ESRI also cautioned against an inflationary budget, and warned that its forecasts are based on an assumption that a Brexit deal will be struck by March 2019.
In its latest quarterly economic commentary, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has forecast GDP growth of 8.9 per cent for 2018, followed by growth of 4.5 per cent for 2019. This compares with a GDP growth forecast of 4.7 per cent for 2018 and 3.9 per cent for 2019 given by the ESRI in June. Unemployment will fall to 5.7 per cent this year, and to 5.1 per cent in 2019, the ESRI has also said, slightly higher figures than its June forecasts (5.6 per cent and 5 per cent respectively).
The influential think tank said it had upgraded its GDP forecasts due to two main factors: firstly, consumer spending, on the back of falling unemployment and increasing disposable incomes, and modified investment, such as that in the construction space, have grown at a faster pace through the first half of 2018 than was previously expected.
Secondly, a decline in imports of research and technology-related services from the multinational sector has led to a sizeable improvement in the trade balance.
Published inIndustry News
Kellogg's to relocate European HQ to Dublin Airport Central
Dublin Airport Central, a major new office development in the heart of the airport campus, has landed a high-profile anchor tenant for the first of two headquarter-style buildings now under construction.
US multinational food company Kellogg's is to relocate its 220 Irish and European office staff to Three Dublin Airport Central, where the six-storey block will be located close to Terminal 2.
Kellogg's will take 3,600sq m (38,750sq ft) of the 8,500sq m (91,494sq ft) in the first block at a rent of €363 per sq m (€33.75/sq ft). Car parking spaces will cost an additional €1,750 per space.
Kellogg's is currently based at Airside Business Park on the outskirts of Swords and expects to begin the fit-out of its new headquarters by the second quarter of 2019. The company will have the use of 2½ floors and around 65 car-parking spaces in the block, which is being built to international standards.
Construction is also well advanced on a second block, Two Dublin Airport Central, which will extend to about 11,500sq m (123,786sq ft).
The Dublin Airport Authority has planning permission for four corporate buildings, with 41,700sq m (448,854sq ft) of offices and associated facilities. DAA chief executive Dalton Philips said he was delighted to have secured Kellogg as the first tenant.
“We can’t wait to welcome Kellogg and its employees to their new home. Ireland is well recognised as a world-class location for business and Dublin Airport Central can accommodate the requirements of major multinationals such as Kellogg and also Irish firms seeking a modern, flexible location with unmatched connectivity.”
The two office buildings under way are the first newly constructed blocks at the airport and follow the redevelopment of the 1960s former Aer Lingus headquarters, which is now known as One Dublin Airport Central and accommodates about 500 ESB international staff.
With construction of the two new office building well under way there has been “very strong interest in Dublin Airport Central from a range of potential tenants,” according to Brian Coppinger, head of Dublin Airport Central.
He said the business park appealed to internationally-focused firms due to its unrivalled location, the high quality of the buildings, the amenities available on site and the flexibility for future growth.
The Dublin Airport campus is home to more than 200 businesses, which together employ more than 19,000 people. It has more than 30 restaurants and cafes, a range of retail outlets, and leisure facilities including a gym and swimming pool.
Last year Dublin Airport handled 30 million passengers and so far this year the numbers are 6 per cent higher.
Handling the letting along with agent Bannon is BNP Paribas Real Estate. Cushman & Wakefield acted for Kellogg's.
Published inIndustry News
How Ireland Is Fast Becoming The AI Island
Ireland is brimming with tech talent, which is evident in the quality of the many tech startups that continue to emerge from the Emerald Isle, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
Its capital Dublin is also home to the European headquarters of tech giants that include Facebook, Google and Microsoft, while Brexit could be the catalyst for even more international brands to relocate their European HQ from London to Dublin, providing an additional boost for Ireland’s Irish thriving tech startup ecosystem.
Here are five of the most exciting and potentially influential Irish AI startups.

Founded in 2015 by Romanian entrepreneurs Andreea Wade and Adrian Mihai, Opening is an AI-powered engine that is disrupting the talent acquisition space by enabling recruiters and HR professionals to ensure that the vital CVs are not overlooked.
Opening creates shortlists of suitable candidates for each job, ranking the most relevant, predicting salaries, and providing other valuable insights and data. The technology can analyse thousands of pieces of content about potential candidates, matching them to their ideal jobs, and it can do it in mere seconds. According to Opening's website, the hiring time for candidates is reduced by as much as 40%, a bonus for time-pressed recruiters who need to fill positions with top talent as quickly as possible. The technology is particularly helpful to large organisations that receive thousands of CVs for a single job vacancy.
Last year the company secured an investment of €30,000 from the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC).
Exponential growth in the use of images on social media is behind the growing demand for image recognition technology, including that offered by LogoGrab. Technically a Swiss import founded by Italian entrepreneurs, Luca Boschin and Alessandro Prest, the Dublin-based company’s product has been designed to scan millions of images and videos on social media and identify the specific brand logo images that users want to find.
Companies are notified when their image appears somewhere and provided with additional information on how well their digital marketing strategies are working.
LogoGrab, which took first prize in the 2017 Google Adopt a Startup Spring programme, has worked with major brands such as McDonald’s, Heineken, eBay and Nestlé.
Soapbox Labs
One of Ireland’s leading AI companies Soapbox Lab is using smart voice recognition technologies to help children learn to read. Its technology can spot any mistakes they make as they work their way through the pages of a book. As children read out loud, devices and apps that are enabled by the SoapBox technology provide real-time feedback that helps to improve reading skills while tracking overall progress.
Founded in 2013 by former IBM and Bell Labs expert Dr Patricia Scanlon, who has 20 years’ experience in the area of speech recognition technologies, Soapbox Labs can also assess young readers' fluency with the help of training from more than 600,000 audio samples from 15,000 kids in over 100 countries.
The company secured a €1.5 million EU grant, in addition to  €600,000 from existing backers, bringing its total investment just over €3 million. The cash injection is helping the latest SoapBox platform to developing French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, and Italian recognition capabilities.
Founded in 2014 by Dr Nora Khaldi, Nuritas uses AI, machine learning and DNA analysis to quickly predict, and then provide access to, some of the potentially beneficial components hidden within food called peptides.
Since its launch, Nuritas has carried out research into ways of preventing diabetes through nutrition and made a major breakthrough when it discovered a peptide that has the capacity to destroy MRSA, a type of bacteria  resistant to several widely used antibiotics. The results could lead to the discovery of new food components to help prevent, manage and even cure deadly diseases.
Last December the Dublin-based biotech company secured a €16 million Series A funding led by Chicago-based investment firm Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, bringing its total investment to date to approximately €25 million. This has included funding from a number of familiar, household names including Bono, The Edge from U2, while Salesforce’s billionaire founder Marc Benioff has also backed the company.
Earlier this year collaboration on AI-based discovery of food-derived bioactive peptides was announced between Nuritas and Swiss food and beverage giant Nestlé.

Popertee is an AI platform that connects brands with vacant spaces for short-term retail and marketing campaigns.
The business was founded in 2016 by entrepreneur Lucinda Kelly after she had spotted a gap in the short-term rentals market and come up with the idea of creating spaces where brands could launch pop-ups and connect more effectively with their target audience.
The software combines behavioural and social media data to enable companies to identify the best location for their pop-ups or marketing campaigns. Locations scores range from zero to 100 based on the success of the match to the demographics and interests of companies’ target markets. Brands that have used Popertee include Virgin Media Volvo and Coca Cola. The platform also has the capability to measure the impact of campaigns for brands looking for deeper insights on performance, event planning, agencies and venues.
In June 2017 Popertee raised its €500,000 seed round with Growing Capital, European Investment Fund and Enterprise Ireland.
Published inIndustry News
A Handheld Probe can Now Image Photoreceptors in Young Babies’ Eyes

Researchers have worked hard to try and develop a probe that is able to image the photoreceptors of the eyes in infants. This is a new development and it could actually help to identify any brain problems in younger children. It is based on adaptive optics and this new technology is really expected to make it much easier for both scientists and even doctors to observe the cells better than ever before. Those who work in industrial jobs or even in engineering jobs will know more than anyone what a fantastic advancement this is. The photoreceptors are actually specialised neurons and they comprise the light-sensing cells of the retina. The retina then sends signals back to the brain and all of this is done via the optic nerve. Studies have shown that diseases such as Alzheimer's and even Parkinson's have the ability to alter the retina and this is an incredible advancement to say the least.

Researchers often have to use adaptive optics to try and scan AOSLO and this is a non-invasive tool. It also helps to provide a much higher resolution of image when compared to an MRI and it even helps people to target the individual photoreceptor cells. When you look at big systems however you will soon see that they can be expensive and patients have to sit upright for several minutes. They also have to fix their eyes for several minutes as well and this is understandably hard for those who are of a younger age. There are hopes that this new technology is going to change all of that and it is well and truly incredible to say the least. Of course, if you want to find out more about this story then you can find any updates right here, as they happen.

Published inIndustry News
Experts have Reacted to the No-Deal Notice

Dominic Raab is very keen to at least try and reassure the British public that BLT sandwiches are still going to be available. Some details that were found in the document however were much less comforting. It is noted that pharmaceutical companies are being advised to try and stockpile six weeks of additional medicine. It should also be noted that companies have also been advised that organic food retailers could see their produce being blocked to EU buyers for up to 9 months. Of course, there is no telling when this is going to end but some people have been advised to try and seek advice from the Irish government. They are going to try and help people to understand what preparations are required. Those who are in the UK have even been warned that they may lose their access to UK banking services as well and this could cause major problems in the future.

Those who work in engineering jobs or even in industrial jobs will know this more than anyone. A Brexit with no deal would be very bad for science. The question is of course, how bad. It is nice to see that the Secretary of State is going to reassure people about their sandwiches but it is not clear whether or not the UK is going to be a world-leading power in terms of their science potential. At the end of the day, collaboration requires a lot of different people and if the UK is limited in terms of the people who they can work with then this can only mean bad news. Of course, only time will tell whether advancements like this are going to keep happening in the future but for now, it is safe to say that things are not good.

Published inIndustry News
The Race to Build the £300m Tower for Mitsubishi is Down to Three

If you work in engineering jobs or if you work in industrial jobs then you will know how important it is to try and get solid contracts from reliable providers. Of course, when you look at the bigger picture you will soon see that this is certainly the case for the Mitsubishi tower. It is able to provide security and that is why so many people are trying to offer their services so that they can facilitate its construction. CN understands that Sir Robert McAlpine, Mace and LendLease are the 3 firms that are left over and they are all trying to battle it out over the contract. They are going to try and build the 50-storey tower and this is going to be a huge build. The tower is going to be located at Bishopsgate and the new tower is being built by the company known as being the Mitsubishi Estate. They are in a partnership with another company known as Stanhope.

Mitsubishi Estate is one of the biggest developers in Japan and they are also responsible for making some of the biggest and tallest buildings in the world. This includes the Marunouchi Skyscraper. They have been working on the plans to try and build the biggest buildings in Japan and this is going to be a 390m tower. This is located near to the Tokyo main station. They have revised the plans and they have also secured permission so that they can have an additional 10 storeys as well. This is going to take place in October but there is no telling what else they have in the works. Of course, everything looks to be going ahead just fine and there is only a set period of time until a winner is announced.

Published inIndustry News
Ireland- Is it Really the Land of Opportunity?

The Irish construction industry has halved in size and this happened when the global recession took hold nearly 10 years ago. The sector is somewhat recovering and those who work in industrial jobs and even engineering jobs will know this more than anyone. The output of the sector is standing at around 38 billion Euros and this is a staggering amount to say the least. The figures were described as being very bleak when you look at the annual report and they also found that the Irish economy really suffered as a result. When you look at the year 2012, you will soon find that the Irish market bottomed out and that the construction activity reached an all time low as well. The sector's annual output has lost 75% of its value in the last 5 years and this is not good news to say the least.

There is however a new project in the works and it is being brought about by Project Ireland. They have a 20-year pipeline and they also have hundreds and billions of Euros and this includes 116bn of investment infrastructures for 550,000 homes. They also have 2 billion Euros which is going to be put towards regenerating the five major cities and they are even planning a second runway for the major airports in Dublin. This is amazing news to say the least and you would be surprised at how much this can make a difference to the economy. That being said, this is planned for years ahead and right now the sector is recovering nicely. If things carry on going the way that they are then there is no telling what other progress can be made and this could mean that Ireland really is the land of opportunity.

Published inIndustry News
Facebook’s €300m Irish data centre site is 100pc powered by renewable energy
Every detail for the Facebook data centre in Clonee has been considered, even a plan for saving the bees.
Facebook’s new €300m data centre park in Clonee, Co Meath, is powered 100pc by renewable energy and boasts the most advanced and energy-efficient data centres in the world, the company said.
It worked with Brookfield Renewables to tap into its wind energy assets in Ireland to not only power the three data centres on the site but also its international headquarters in Dublin.
The social network employs 3,000 people in Ireland. Facebook last month revealed it is one of the most active purchasers of renewable energy in the world today and by 2020, it aims to be supported 100pc by clean and renewable energy.
Since its first wind contract in 2013, Facebook said it has contracted more than three gigawatts of solar and wind energy.
One of the largest construction projects in Ireland
Facebook broke ground on the Clonee data centre in 2016 and, during construction, averaged 1,150 people on site per day, peaking at 1,550 per day. This has made it one of the largest construction projects in Ireland for prolonged periods, with 7.2m hours of construction logged.
Facebook has now completed the first two data centre buildings in Clonee and commenced building on the third phase last October. In December, it started serving Facebook applications and services to people all over the world from Clonee.
The total site area is 250 acres, equal to about four Dublin Zoos, and each of the three data centres on the site is 377 metres in length. 58,000 cubic metres of concrete were used, enough to fill 23.6 Olympic swimming pools, while 11,800 tonnes of primary structural steel were used, enough to construct nearly two Eiffel Towers.
In keeping with the environmental theme, the data centre park is accredited as a supporter of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. Bees from the facility fly up to 5km from its apiary to benefit local gardens as well as farmer crop yields by up to 30pc due to increased pollination.
“A third of Ireland’s bee species are threatened with extinction because we have drastically reduced the amount of food (flowers) and safe nesting sites in our landscapes,” Facebook stated. “To offset this, we have added a wider variety of native plants, shrubs and trees on site to provide food for the bees.”
An episode of CSR Clonee
As part of its community outreach – which has seen Facebook invest €2.5m in local projects in regions where it has facilities – the social network is inviting grant applications for projects in Meath aimed at strengthening the local community.
These are projects that address community needs by putting the power of technology to use for community benefit, connecting people online or off, improving local STEM education, or are related to either technology or culture. Examples include investments in tablet computers for local schools and supporting local makerspaces to interest young people in STEM. Prominent projects elsewhere include putting VR stations at a public library in Altoona in Iowa and an initiative to improve literacy levels in Texas.
Further information on the Community Action Grants Programme can be found on the Clonee data centre Facebook page.
Published inIndustry News
New State agency to free up land for ‘150,000 homes over 20 years’
About 30 zones in Dublin city centre, and 10 in Cork city, are to be designated as special regeneration areas within which State lands will be released for housing, under a new agency to be announced on Thursday.
The areas to be identified by the Land Development Agency are a mix of previously announced schemes and new zones. The Government says the agency will pave the way for the construction of 150,000 homes over 20 years.
Among the areas in the capital to be designated “regeneration areas” is the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, which is earmarked for the construction of 1,500 homes. In Cork, the regeneration of the docks would provide a further 15,000 homes, it is claimed.
It is also understood that areas to the west of Dublin city centre, along the Naas Road, will also be earmarked for development.
The new agency, which will have compulsory purchase powers, will build land banks by both releasing State lands for development and acquiring private land holdings nearby.
A memo brought to Cabinet on the issue yesterday said it would highlight “key privately held, underutilised lands with strategic development potential, such as those subject to the vacant site levy and the holdings of religious orders”.
Consistent flow
The agency, to be announced by Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy, will have €1.25 billion in funding and will seek to further assemble land banks into the future to ensure a consistent flow of house building.
Initially, some 30 zones in Dublin will be identified for “significant regeneration opportunities”. The Cabinet heard a “consolidated approach provides the opportunity to drive the regeneration of urban quarters in the city”.
Among the Dublin city centre zones are Grangegorman; Broadstone; O’Devaney Gardens; St Bricin’s Hospital; Infirmary Road; holdings by CIÉ, such as the rail works in Inchicore; St Teresa’s Gardens; Newmarket Square; Meath Hospital; Dublin Institute of Technology sites; Cathal Brugha Barracks; Harold’s Cross Greyhound Stadium and Portobello GAA pitch; the Irish Glass Bottle site; Bridgefoot Street; Arbour Hill prison; Collins Barracks; Boland’s Mills; the North Dock of Dublin Port; East Wall and St James’s Gate.
The sites in Cork city are the Tivoli Docks; Páirc Uí Chaoimh; the “old Ford site and centre park road”; a site formerly used by the National Oil Reserves Agency; an ESB site at the Cork marina; two holdings around Kent Station; Campfield and Marina Park.
Drive down cost
It is claimed the agency will seek to remove land speculation and drive down the cost of land, which it is hoped will lead to cheaper house prices and increased availability. It will “smooth the peaks and troughs of Ireland’s land and housing market”, the Cabinet was told.
The agency will, however, demand that almost a third of homes built on its sites must be affordable houses.
The price of an affordable home – or the income of those who would qualify to purchase such a property – is yet to be defined by the Government.
Sources pointed to other State housing schemes that roughly allowed a single person on up to €50,000 a year or a couple with a joint income of up to €75,000 a year to qualify for affordable housing.
Published inIndustry News

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