Football statistics experts WhoScored.com take a look at a superstar talent linked with a move to Arsenal. For more Arsenal stats, check out WhoScored.com…Arsenal are seemingly always one piece short of completing the puzzle. Every time the Gunners look as though they can mount a serious title challenge, they falter in one way or another, leaving supporters to ponder ‘what if?’ The opening weekend defeat to West Ham ran the risk of doing just that, but Arsenal quickly righted their wrongs, securing a commendable 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Sunday.Arsene Wenger’s side must now build on the victory at Selhurst Park in their quest to re-announce themselves as England’s finest. The club have been linked with a host of players to strengthen in their bid to secure domestic glory, though have signed only goalkeeper Petr Cech this summer. Karim Benzema has been strongly linked with a move to the Emirates, but with reports that any potential move is dead in the water, the latest to be mooted with a potential switch to north London is Bayern Munich’s Mario Götze. Despite a supposedly underwhelming campaign last season, the German still gained a commendable WhoScored.com rating of 7.20 for the Bavarian giants.While that was a considerable drop from his debut campaign with Bayern (7.72), it was still a notable return for the 23-year-old, who is yet to really hit the heights of his Borussia Dortmund displays following his switch to the Allianz Arena two years ago. Manager Pep Guardiola is insistent that Götze will not be leaving the Bundesliga champions this summer, but the arrivals of Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal suggest that the attackers days at Bayern could well be numbered. Juventus had been credited with an interest in the youngster, though it’s Arsenal who now seem to be most keen on securing his services.However, it’s questionable whether Arsenal need Götze. Yes, when a player of the German’s ilk becomes available, one does not simply turn down the opportunity to sign him, but given the attacking options at Wenger’s disposal, he should be investing elsewhere in the squad. Granted, Götze is capable of playing as a centre forward, but has started in the role just four times in the last two Bundesliga seasons, netting just the one goal. He is better suited in one of the offensive roles behind the frontman, though Wenger has numerous options in these positions.If Arsenal indeed pursue their interest in Götze, chances are he would compete with compatriot Mesut Özil for the central spot in the starting XI behind the striker. The duo have built their respective reputations on playing in the number 10 role throughout their career, though it’s fair to say the former Real Madrid star is more accustomed to the position than the current Bayern ace. Given his creative qualities and vision in the final third, Özil is unlikely to be dropped in favour of Götze, especially with the former beginning to rediscover his best form in North London this season.Indeed, injury limited Özil’s impact last term, but even then he was directly involved in 9 league goals following his return to action. Götze may have been directly involved in more goals (11) for Bayern last season, but having made notably more appearances – 32 to Özil’s 22 – it does not make for good reading for the young attacker.Granted, Götze would be a great signing for any team given his ability to both find the back of the net and create for teammates, but he is not what Arsenal need right now. Wenger would be better suited using the funds available to him to either strengthen the midfield or bring in another striker to ease the burden on Olivier Giroud before the close of the transfer window.For more stats on reported Arsenal target Mario Götze, click here to view his WhoScored.com player page Mario Gotze has been linked with a transfer to Arsenal 1
Danny Murphy and Daley Thompson joined Colin Murray for today’s show to discuss the munity at Manchester United and the doping allegations surrounding Paula Radcliffe.
1 Getty FIFA’s crisis has caused a serious financial blow for the organisation which has suffered a £67million financial loss in 2015, it can be revealed.A drop in income after sponsors – and huge legal bills following the corruption scandal – has seen the world governing body hit hard in the pocket. FIFA’s executive committee members were told on Wednesday the losses for the year totalled 103m Swiss francs, according to insiders. It is the first time the body has reported a loss since 2001.FIFA has so far been unable to replace top tier partners Emirates and Sony – plus second tier sponsors Castrol, Continental, Johnson & Johnson – due to its toxic brand.The revelation of the deficit will put pressure on FIFA’s ExCo members to vote for proposed reforms at its meeting on Thursday in order to attract new sponsors. The organisation has already made significant savings to reduce the level of the deficit.FIFA’s income always drops in the year after World Cups but it has always previously managed to make a surplus – in 2011 it made a £24million profit which was added to its reserves which currently total around £1billion.The legal bills are also significant – suspended president Sepp Blatter brought in a team of American lawyers after the US justice department announced its indictments of 18 officials on football-related corruption charges in May. Blatter and other senior FIFA executives are also believed to be under investigation by the FBI.FIFA’s last annual deficit came in 2001 when the bankruptcy of its marketing partner ISL saw the world governing body end the year in the red and forced to take out a £118million bridging loan.The proposed reforms to be voted on at FIFA’s ExCo meeting on Thursday include 12-year term limits for the president and ExCo members, financial transparency including the salary paid to the president and senior officials, plus some independent members sitting on the ruling committee.Michel D’Hooghe, the Belgian who is the FIFA ExCo’s longest-serving member, said that the future of the organisation depended on the reforms being passed.D’Hooghe said: “Don’t think that FIFA is dead. I have the assurance that if FIFA and the Congress can accept the reforms then FIFA has a good future. But we must know that this is a deep crisis, we must accept that and approach that with great humility.“This is a difficult moment financially but the expectations are good I’m sure in the longer term FIFA will overcome that.”
1 Hull were gifted an injury-time winner as the Tigers ran out 2-1 victors over struggling Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.The home side, still without injured top scorer Charlie Austin and still without a win under manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, seemed to have rescued a point when Sebastian Polter headed in an 86th-minute equaliser to cancel out Abel Hernandez’s second-half opener.However, a mix-up between Rangers defender Grant Hall and goalkeeper Rob Green helped prove the difference, as the pair collided in attempting to clear Sam Clucas’ cross and the ball rebounded off substitute Adama Diomande and into the net.Beaten Rangers find themselves 15th in the Championship table, six matches into Hasselbaink’s reign, while Hull moved into third place after Brighton were beaten by Wolves earlier on Friday evening.In a game low on quality, Polter had a decent chance and Alejandro Faurlin went close for them during a turgid first half.After Hull’s Jake Livermore had given the ball away, striker Polter hesitated and his shot was blocked by Harry Maguire.Polter was given a starting place by Hasselbaink along with Tjaronn Chery, who sent an early effort over the bar.Alejandro Faurlin had a firm strike tipped over by Allan McGregor, and at the other end Mo Diame and Ahmed Elmohamady steered shots wide of the target.QPR struggled to create chances but did go close to taking the lead three minutes before half-time, when Chery’s corner was nudged over the bar by Faurlin from close range.Rangers, whose reliance on Austin was underlined once again, were just as uninspiring after the interval and Hernandez put Hull ahead with a sublime finish on 61 minutes.Diame found space on the left and picked out the Uruguayan striker, who steered a calm first-time shot beyond Green for his 10th league goal of the season.The best Rangers could muster was Paul Konchesky’s left-footed shot into the side-netting, before the 78th-minute introduction of Jamie Mackie at least raised the home fans’ spirits.Mackie, back in action after more than three months out with a hamstring injury, gave them some much needed impetus up front.German striker Polter had struggled to make an impact up front before netting his second goal in as many matches to haul the hosts level.Matt Phillips delivered a perfect cross from the left and McGregor got a hand to Polter’s header but could not keep it out of the net.The game looked to be heading towards a draw before Clucas’ cross from the left wing caused trouble for the QPR defence, with Diomande the happy recipient of an unexpected rebound. Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Rob Green
11 11 11. Roberto Firmino (forward) – click the arrow above, right, to see the possible Liverpool line-up against Stoke in squad number order 17. Mamadou Sakho (centre-back) – click the arrow above, right, to see the possible Liverpool line-up against Stoke in squad number order 7. James Milner (attacking midfield) – click the arrow above, right, to see the possible Liverpool line-up against Stoke in squad number order 4. Kolo Toure (centre-back) – click the arrow above, right, to see the possible Liverpool line-up against Stoke in squad number order 11 22. Simon Mignolet (goalkeeper) – click the arrow above, right, to see the possible Liverpool line-up against Stoke in squad number order 23. Emre Can (midfield) – click the arrow above, right, to see the possible Liverpool line-up against Stoke in squad number order 11 18. Alberto Moreno (left-back) – click the arrow above, right, to see the possible Liverpool line-up against Stoke in squad number order 11 14. Jordan Henderson (midfield) – click the arrow above, right, to see the possible Liverpool line-up against Stoke in squad number order 24. Joe Allen (midfield) – click the arrow above, right, to see the possible Liverpool line-up against Stoke in squad number order 11 38. Jon Flanagan (right-back) Liverpool host Stoke this evening, hoping to book their place at Wembley for next month’s League Cup final. The Reds take a 1-0 advantage into the semi-final second leg at Anfield, thanks to Jordon Ibe’s first-half strike at the Britannia last time out. Jurgen Klopp will be hoping to guide his side to silverware in his first season on Merseyside and, if they go through, they will face local rivals Everton or Manchester City, who play tomorrow. Liverpool will be buoyed after their victory in the Premier League at the weekend, which saw them come from 3-1 down at Norwich to score in the 95th-minute to emerge 5-4 winners. In terms of team news, Nathaniel Clyne, who has been an ever-present in defence this season, is a doubt (knee), which could see Jon Flanagan start his first match since returning from an 18-month lay-off. Dejan Lovren is not expected to start as he regains match fitness, while on-loan defender Steven Caulker is cup-tied. The match is live on talkSPORT – take a look at our predicted Liverpoool line up by clicking the yellow arrow above, right.CLICK HERE to see Stoke City team news: Predicted Potters XI to face Liverpool in the League Cup 11 11 11 33. Jordon Ibe (attacking midfield) – click the arrow above, right, to see the possible Liverpool line-up against Stoke in squad number order 11 11
Uwe Rosler has praised the job Manuel Pellegrini has done at Manchester City.Pellegrini has had to contend with speculation over his future for much of his reign at the Premier League club and has often been accused of failing to get the best out of his expensively assembled squad.But Rosler believes the Chilean can be proud of his time at the Etihad as he prepares to make way for Pep Guardiola in the summer, and is hopeful he can bow out with some major silverware.City are still in the hunt for the title and will contest the League Cup final on Sunday, while they also have one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals.“Manuel is an absolute gentleman and he was the right manager at the right time to come to the football club,” said club legend Rosler, speaking on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.“He has been successful and how has handled expectations, how he has handled a big-name squad, and how he has put up with all the speculation has been very, very impressive.“I wish everyone now gives him the time to finish the season strongly and win titles because that is definitely possible.”City were impressive against Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday night as they claimed a 3-1 win in the first leg of their last 16 tie in Ukraine.They are outsiders to win the competition, but Rosler believes they could go all the way if the draw is kind.“The squad is very, very good,” said the German, who scored 64 goals in 177 appearances for City.“The squad has been stretched this season, key players have been out all the time, and yesterday was the first time most of the key players have been on the pitch together, although [Kevin] De Brune and [Samir] Nasri are still missing.“But the quality is there and hopefully City can finish it off at the Etihad and that will be a new milestone because City have never reached that stage before. “You need to have a good draw in the next round and anything can happen.”
“It’s a huge stretch to suggest an implied conflict of interest,” Kennard said. She emphasized that talks with URS about a board appointment did not begin until after she resigned as Los Angeles World Airports’ executive director in late January. Kennard served two stints as LAWA’s executive director: from August 1999 to November 2003; and again from October 2005 through January. Kennard said the international company was careful to keep a “firewall” between her and any jobs it was doing in Los Angeles. She said the multibillion-dollar company, with 30,000 employees around the world, hired an outside counsel who reviewed the issue and concluded there was no conflict. Kennard said once the decision was made to drop out of the contract, there was no point in disclosing to the city the private decision-making information about her board appointment. Kennard was awarded the city consulting contract March5, and she had been paid about $53,000 with an additional $9,000 pending when she suspended it July31, according to LAWA records. She gave up the consulting contract July31, one day before being appointed to the URS board. In a July 31 letter announcing her decision to airport executives, Kennard said she was suspending her contract with LAWA “in an abundance of caution.” “Even though there is no apparent legal conflict with dual roles; I would never want there to be any perception of a conflict of interest in either role,” Kennard wrote. In the letter, she said she had sought advice from the city’s Ethics Commission and URS attorneys. The incident is the latest involving URS, which at one time was a primary contractor overseeing the LAX Master Plan with contracts worth at least $22.4million. URS no longer is involved in that contract. In late 2003, URS was at the center of controversy amid possible “pay to play” allegations when the District Attorney’s Office opened an inquiry into possible wrongdoing by Airport Commission members, including President Ted Stein, in the awarding of contracts for then-Mayor James Hahn’s $9.1billion LAX modernization. The inquiry arose after a Los Angeles Business Journal report that claimed Stein sought political contributions from contractors, in one case tying the contract to a contribution to Hahn’s campaign against San Fernando Valley secession efforts. Stein ultimately stepped down from the commission, denying any wrongdoing. While the District Attorney’s Office conducted a preliminary inquiry, no charges were ever brought. Kennard said that despite believing there was no conflict of interest, URS decided to drop the LAX project to avoid any potential negative publicity. “They don’t like their names in the paper in a negative way,” she said. “This is so ironic. The discussion was whether or not they should continue to fight the matter, and it wasn’t worth (it) to their reputation over not a lot of money. “It’s not worth the aggravation.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Kennard said nothing improper was done and that the conflict-of-interest questions raised by the City Attorney’s Office were disputed by the company. A URS spokesman said the company withdrew as a subcontractor on the LAX project “at the request of the primary contractor,” but he insisted there was no conflict. “URS continues to believe there is absolutely no conflict of interest, that the law supports our view and the company has complied with all applicable statutes and guidelines.” The spokesman said the company is continuing to pursue a number of other contracts in the region, including a Palmdale airport project. The LA/Palmdale Regional Airport is run by Los Angeles World Airports, which also operates LAX. Kennard said she became a consultant for the city in early March and as such no longer was a public official. She also said she was not involved in any discussions about URS contracts or bidding. A San Francisco company bidding for work on a planned LAX parking facility has withdrawn amid questions of a potential conflict of interest between the firm and former airports Executive Director Lydia Kennard, the Daily News has learned. Kennard was still a city consultant to Los Angeles International Airport when URS Corp. was talking with her about joining its board – which she did one day after leaving LAX. Rather than answer questions about that relationship, the global engineering design firm pulled its bid as a subcontractor. “Questions were raised about a potential conflict of interest, and URS was asked to provide information on their dealings with Ms. Kennard. They chose to walk rather than resolve those questions,” a city official said. Sources said officials questioned whether Kennard – as a city consultant working on airport business – was in a position to enrich the company as a member of its board of directors. Kennard was a city airports consultant from early March to July31. On Aug.1, she was appointed to the board of URS.
Speaking in the Dail today during the inaugural debate on the outcomes of this week’s 44thplenary of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly in Seanad Eireann, the Co-Chairman of the Assembly, Joe McHugh TD, announced a series of practical measures that would be implemented as a result of the two day meeting.These practical measures initiating discussions with Governments on an annual British Irish trade mission; expanding co-operation between North and South on healthcare co-operation; and supporting the showcasing of Irish food at local level.Deputy McHugh said that it is incumbent on all members of the Assembly to demonstrate to the public the value that these plenary meetings bring, and that having a specific Dail debate on these outcomes and progressing these key issues was an important example of this. Deputy McHugh commented: “The British Irish Parliamentary Assembly was first established in 1990 and played an important role in developing the positive relationships between our two countries that helped achieve peace, and ultimately cumulated in last year’s historic visit by Queen Elizabeth II to Ireland.“In the present context of economic downturn and deep recession, it is vital that the Assembly is used to identify positive measures in a range of areas that will benefit the people its members represent. For that reason, this plenary’s theme of ‘Making business easier between Britain and Ireland’ was focused on practical solutions.“Among the measures we have identified is the proposal to hold an annual British Irish trade mission, alternating between our two countries that my co-Chair, Laurence Robertson MP, and I will now bring to our Governments. This idea was first proposed by one of our guest speakers, Sean O’Driscoll of Glen Dimplex, and the Assembly fully supported it.“Another practical measure was proposed by Darina Allen of Ballymaloe Cookery School who suggested that in order to boost local food, members of the Assembly should ensure to promote local producers to the greatest extent possible during their work. “These are examples of actions at national Government level combined with simple and achievable steps by local representatives that demonstrate the value that an institution such as the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly can achieve. I look forward to continuing this work and demonstrating the value that we can bring over the coming years.” MCHUGH: BRITISH-IRISH TALKS HAVE POSITIVE OUTCOMES was last modified: May 17th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:MCHUGH: BRITISH-IRISH TALKS HAVE POSITIVE OUTCOMES
Ten Donegal companies are hoping for ultimate success next week after they succeeded in being shortlisted for the final of the Enterprising Donegal Business Awards.Michael Tunney of Donegal Enterprise BoardThe awards, organised by Donegal County Enterprise Board, are the most prestigious business awards in the county.And no doubt there will be some anxious moments as the short-listed finalists await the results at the gala black-tie affair at the Villa Rose Hotel Ballybofey on Friday, March 22nd next. The ten short-listed companies this year are: Castlefin Partnership Initiative; Letterkenny Community Childcare Ltd; Efficient Heating & Plumbing, from Cockhill in Buncrana; Stateside American Restaurant, Letterkenny; Boyce Chartered Physiotherapist, Letterkenny; Lough Derg, Pettigo; Gibson & Associate Solicitors, Letterkenny; Roadteam Ltd, Pettigo; Lone Star State Ltd, Letterkenny and Inishowen Tourism Society Ltd.Donegal County Enterprise Board CEO, Michael Tunney, praised all of the finalists for demonstrating the type of commitment to succeed necessary to run a really successful business.“As usual the adjudicators had a difficult job in finalising a short-list for the awards finals, but the ten businesses represented there have shown the kind of passion and desire that was spoken of so often during the recent Enterprising Donegal Business Week events,” he said.As well as the category awards for Community Business Award, Emerging Business Award and Business Achievement Award, one business will walk away with the coveted overall Business of the Year award and will go on to represent Donegal at the National Enterprise Awards in Dublin. Previous winners of the overall award include Inishowen Country Kitchen, The Swilly Group, Gartan Technologies and DS Environmental Services.Tickets for the black tie gala are €25 and are available by contacting the Donegal Enterprise Board Office on 074 9160735 or by e.mail: [email protected] and City Enterprise Boards are funded by the Irish Government and co-funded by the European Union under the EU Structural Funds 2007 – 2013.The Ten FinalistsInishowen Tourism Society Ltd Inishowen Tourism has been in existence for over 20 years and is made up of a team of six full-time employees, with the capacity to manage strategic digital tourism development and marketing and fully exploit potential of tourism growth in the Inishowen region.With a 200% increase in trade membership in the past 3 years and affiliated partnerships with Failte Ireland, Donegal County Council, Derry City Council and Derry Visitors Convention Bureau, the organisation is a hub of activity for tourism product development, marketing, digital, trade liaison and support and visitor services.Its key aim is to improve the visitor experience and maximise the potential of tourism for the region.According to Marketing Manager, Kathleen Gill, with trade membership increasing year on year, Inishowen Tourism is representative of the key stakeholders within the local tourism industry and therefore can measure, monitor and review the impact of national tourism strategies and developments has at local level. And she says they are keen to build on the key projects and developments they have already undertaken and they are currently implementing a €150,000 national digital and marketing campaign called “My Inishowen” www.myinishowen.com which will showcase Inishowen’s unique visitor experiences.“We have designed and developed a new destination website visitinishowen.com and over the coming months we expect to add an online arts and craft shop, a mobile ready site with GPS, automatic linking of events and entertainment to other regional portals and quality photography and video content.”Indeed photography has already paid huge dividends for Inishowen Tourism with national and international coverage of the Northern Lights and Inishowen Killer Whales in the past year.In addition, Inishowen Tourism has made huge strides in developing their social media strategy and growing an online community with Facebook and Twitter while their new comprehensive Visitor Guide is regarded as one of the most popular publications within the Failte Ireland Tourist Office Network.Significant work has also been done on facilitating the development of a wide range of local tourism projects and events including Amazing Grace Park and Viewing Point, Arts & Crafts Trail, Inishowen Walking Guide and Feile An Grianan.Kathleen also explains the benefits of Inishowen Tourism having a dedicated City of Culture Officer who is interfacing between Inishowen and Derry during this unprecedented year.”We will be looking beyond the 2013 Derry City of Culture event to build on the momentum that a collaborative approach has had towards promoting the region. As a unique two-centre destination, we can offer visitors the contrasting experience of the vibrancy of a historic walled city and the escapism of a stunningly beautiful peninsula”.For more information click on www.visitinishowen.com or find them on facebook or twitter.Efficient Heating and PlumbingEfficient Heating & Plumbing were established in 2010 and offers a full range of heating and plumbing services including solid fuel boilers, wood boilers and geothermal heat pumps to domestic and business clients in Donegal and the surrounding counties.The business has also acquired the distribution and installation rights for the Energie Thermodynamic Solar Panel System, a latest generation system that is capable of collecting solar energy all year round regardless of the weather. This leads to greatly reduced energy bills.Christopher Lynch of Efficient Heating and Plumbing (EHP) explained that following in-depth research and analysis the company has teamed up with LVP Renewables (http://lvprenewables.ie) to offer, what he described as “the most efficient and cost saving thermodynamic solar panel system for the Irish climate.”He added: “As the exclusive distributors, EHP are responsible for installing the Energie Solar Panel systems in both new and existing homes throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland.”Meanwhile EHP’s Jonathan Doherty says the Energie Thermodynamic Solar Panels can provide 100% of domestic hot water needs, 365 days a year.“The solar panel system does not require any back-up from gas or oil to provide domestic hot water needs and therefore offers tremendous savings,” he said.Christopher added that the Efficient Heating and Plumbing team has over 15 years experience in the renewable energy industry installing solid fuel boilers, wood boilers and geothermal heat pumps for both domestic and commercial buildings.“All our work is completed to the highest quality and only use the best products available,” he concluded.Lone Star State LtdLone Star State Ltd is a Publisher of Transmedia Content, based in Donegal, specialising in creating original Multi-Platform Graphic Novels.The company who have their headquarters at the CoLab at Letterkenny IT produce and publish original graphic novels in print and digital format.In addition they also produce animated series, and smart phone Apps for viewing across all digital platforms for delivery, across the entire digital media space.According to Peter Campbell the core ethos of Lone Star State is simply to tell great stories, using the entire gamut of digital platforms to do so.“We have centred our operations on producing original graphic novels, which will be printed and distributed using traditional methods, and using Digital Delivery methods (Digital Publishing),” Peter explained.With a number of projects ongoing, Peter says that the the company will launch its Graphic Novel series in print and as a series of Digital Publications and Native Branded Apps.“As part of our overall business strategy, Lone Star State Ltd will be using “Transmedia” technologies to deliver the content through Digital Devices and platforms.”He added that Lone Star State Ltd is also developing an Animated Series based on an adaptation of the original Graphic Novels stories it has produced, and according to Peter, they too will utilize Transmedia storytelling to tell one large epic storyline across a suite of Apps, or “Appisodes.”Already Lone Star State has completed its first wave of products, a range of original digital graphic novels that were put on initial market release in Dec 2012.“That range was comprised of two books/graphic novels (titled Lone Star Soul), that are the first in a planned series,” said Peter.They have, he said, been distributed digitally and are available as a Digital eBook on all devices such as the iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook, Kobo Reader and all Android Devices.Lone Star Soul is a western with elements of sci-fi and is also available for sale and purchase on all major storefront vendors such as Amazon.com, Amazon UK, Apple iBookstore, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books and Graphicly.“It was a good start for us and there was a terrific interest. Indeed, upon release, ‘Lone Star Soul’ achieved a ranking in the Top 30 Sci-Fi Graphic Novels Category on Amazon,” said Peter.Explaining that these products comprise of the first wave of books that will be followed by further releases, Peter has urged anyone with an interest in graphic novels and comics to keep an eye out for even further developments in the near future.“Our website will be “opening for business” on the 18th of March at www.lonestarsoul.com and as well as having their Digital Distribution strategy, and route to market established, the company also will have exclusive Printed Editions of the Books / Graphic Novels (as well as a host of other products and merchandise) available on this website,” Peter concluded.Lough Derg St. Patrick’s Purgatory, or Lough Derg, as it is more commonly known is situated on a remote little island in County Donegal. It began possibly in the sixth century and certainly by the twelfth century it was well on its way to becoming one of the most renowned places of pilgrimage in Christian world. It has attracted pilgrims from all over Europe, survived puritan persecution and remains today as Ireland’s most ancient place of pilgrimage, still vibrant and continuing to attract pilgrims from all over the world.At a time when church attendance in Ireland is slumping, Lough Derg is growing.It currently attracts in excess of 20,000 visitors annually, employing 10 full time employees and up to 60 seasonally.In the last twelve years, the site has developed from being perceived as a devout catholic place of pilgrimage to expanding its programme so that in 2013 visitors are served by a diverse range of programmes which includes the traditional pilgrimage, to interchurch services, family days, mother and daughter retreats, art workshops, youth music events, school retreats, as well as international tour groups.It has attracted much media attention in recent years due its tenacity to survive in difficult times for the Church, with US History Channel, French and German television, BBC and Nationwide just some of the media coverage enjoyed in 2012.The Island facilities can also be used for private hire for conference/meetings.Group heritage and cultural tours of the lake and Island are also offered primarily to international visitors, although there is increasing interest in this option locally.The Prior, Monsignor Richard Mohan has been Prior since 1992, overseeing a host of changes to make the site more accessible and welcoming to as wide a population as possible.Recognising the need for assistance to expand its appeal and widen its audience, he employed a Manager in Spring of 2001 (the first ever in Lough Derg’s ancient history).This was a brave and bold step considering the person appointed – Deborah Maxwell – was a Presbyterian and female in what had typically been a patriarchal organisation.Deborah now oversees all operational aspects of the Island from operations to marketing to programme development and she says efforts at creating a diverse and far-reaching menu of programmes and events will be the indication that Lough Derg is proactive and dynamic, and is trying to address the needs of today’s pilgrims.“We need to be sure to carefully employ staff who can share the message of hope strongly with pilgrims, so those that come, go away renewed and refreshed and with a more optimistic message and positive feeling,” she concluded.Gibson & AssociatesGibson & Associates is a firm of Solicitors established in Letterkenny in July 2009, having developed from the firm of Gibson & Kelly.The firm has developed at an exceptional rate, with its most recent expansion including the acquisition of Colgan & Co Solicitors, an established Dublin based firm.With a highly skilled team of Solicitors specialising in a number of areas of law, the local firm has branches based in Donegal, Dublin and London, allowing them to provide services locally, nationally and internationally.Daireann Gibson, has, in a three year period, grown the business from employing two people to one now employing 14, noting that he had spotted a gap in the market for a high end legal service at a reasonable price when he established the firm of Gibson & Kelly Solicitors in 2007.That partnership evolved into Gibson & Associates Solicitors, growing hugely in the process over a three-year period, partly he suggests due to the highly-skilled team now at their disposal.“We have a highly skilled team of Solicitors offering advice in a number of areas of law, in particular, Insurance/Arbitration, Insolvency, Immigration and Commercial Litigation. A testament to the quality of legal advice and excellent standard of care provided in these areas is the number of clients that have engaged and are continuing to engage with the firm since 2009. The firm not only has an established client base within this Province but has developed a national and international client base of over 4000.”With investment in staff training and a high degree of focus on ensuring transparency in terms of fees, he adds that the firm places a huge emphasis on communication with their clients.“We believe that client communication is paramount and ensure to keep our clients up to date on all aspects of their case. We adopt a policy of copying our clients on correspondence relating to their case and returning calls within the day, so that that client is fully up to date with their case, as and when required. We are dedicated to understanding the business of our clients and the issues that they face, which consequently allows us to build a relationship with them and quickly work towards a successful and practical solution.”Having already successfully identified a number of different market niches the firm is confident that they can continue to identify emerging areas that do not at present exist, and develop these as a first to the market, for the benefit of both its new and existing clients.The Donegal firms maintain a strong local and community ethos as well and the firm has provided free legal advice to several local sports clubs and charities, but they are ambitious too and future plans see them aim to develop the brand of Gibson & Associates, so that it is instantly recognisable and a market leader both regionally and nationally.“Our ambition is to become one of the top 30 Law firms in Ireland within 3 years and top 25 within 5 years,” Daireann concluded.Boyce Chartered PhysiotherapistSince November 2012, Lorraine Boyce has provided Physiotherapy services at the central location of O’ Boyce’s Corner, Letterkenny.Lorraine graduated with a BSc (Physio) degree from University College Dublin in 2007, and despite graduating third in her class with a first class honors degree, she was faced with limited job prospects in Ireland as fewer basic grade physiotherapists were being recruited in the lead up to the recession. When an employment opportunity arose within a busy Physiotherapy practice in New Zealand, Lorraine seized the opportunity to work in her chosen field and gain experience.“With intensive mentoring, I gained valuable skills in treating a wide range of injuries and disorders, including spinal injuries, sports injuries, overuse and repetitive strain injuries, postural dysfunction and nerve injuries,” she explained.Her stay in New Zealand also saw her act as Physiotherapist for Paraparaumu Rugby Football Club, and she furthered her interest in Pilates by training as a Pilates Instructor.Since returning home from New Zealand, she accepted the role as Honorary Secretary of the North West Branch of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists for two years and has undertaken a Graduate Diploma course in Acupuncture with University College Dublin, balancing a busy clinical schedule with weekend lectures.With post-graduate training in Spinal Manual Concepts, Biomechanics and general Musculoskeletal Therapy, Lorraine believes in provision of quality care that is evidence-based. ‘I believe that it’s very important to not just treat the symptoms of an injury, but to consider what contributed to its development in the first place and what can be done to prevent its recurrence in the future’, she said.Lorraine offers Pilates classes ranging from beginner to advanced level at Letterkenny Community Centre and Optimal Fitness. As a Chartered Physiotherapist, Lorraine’s attention to detail when it comes to instructing participants in technique and control, is one reason why her provision of this service has expanded substantially, with the introduction recently of men’s Pilates classes and Pilates for teenagers.Lorraine is readily able to address any core conditioning issues someone may be experiencing. “Weakness of the Core Muscles can arise in various situations, whether it be in relation to sport, pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy or chronic low back pain to name but a few,” she said. “For the injured sports person, Pilates core stability exercises can be a key factor in their rehabilitation that allows them to return to sport with confidence” she added.Many new opportunities are on the horizon for Lorraine Boyce Chartered Physiotherapist, as she looks forward to providing post-surgical rehabilitation to clients within the orthopaedic department of a private hospital in the coming months.Despite challenging economic times, Lorraine has shown that there is great potential for young entrepreneurs and small local businesses. “Establishing a new business is a daunting prospect, but I appreciate the network of support that is available through the Donegal County Enterprise Board, the Chamber of Commerce and the Women in Business Network, and the positivity there has been in general from fellow health care professionals and local businesses,” she concluded.Stateside RestaurantWith a strap-line of “A real Taste of America,” Stateside American Restaurant aims to offer customers, not just American-style food, but also excellent service, fun themed décor and buzzing atmosphere.Owned by Patricia Hill and her husband Tommy, the popular Letterkenny restaurant employs 28 people, including six full-time staff and projects that to increase even further this year.Patricia moved into the restaurant business after a career in banking, but says she always wanted to run her own business and after several visits to America believed an American-style restaurant would work in Letterkenny.“I have travelled to America on a number of occasions and each time I ate in the States, I always asked myself “why don’t we have this in Letterkenny?” Patricia said.She realised that goal in 2011 when Stateside was opened, and since then they have grown in popularity to such an extent they even received a Tripadvisor Excellence Award in 2012.Part of the popularity of Stateside, Patricia puts down to the terrific range on offer on their menu.“We provide a safe, family friendly, good value experience for the people of Letterkenny and indeed the rest of Donegal and surrounding area. The food that we supply includes wings, ribs, steaks, burgers, chicken, salads and a Mexican style food from our “South of the Border” section. We cook fresh to order and have a fantastic kids menu.”But it’s more than just the menu that brings people back, she believes and another key factor in helping the business develop over the past few years has been the fantastic team built up at Stateside.“We have a great team within the Restaurant with Ricky McElwaine, a native of Convoy, being our Head Chef. Ricky worked along with me prior to opening and he is a priceless asset to the company. Ricky and myself worked together to build a fantastic team who all see the same vision as we do. We share an ethos for excellence and everyone works extremely well together to make things happen. We provide what the people of Donegal need in a family dining experience.”Looking to the future the Stateside owner says she is already planning new ways to diversify and possibly even expand and a new healthy options range is already in the pipeline.“We are keen to move into educating our customers as to what the Healthy Options are. This is a very exciting move as many people feel that American Food is unhealthy but all food at Stateside is fresh and cooked to order. It is produced from raw products and not re-constituted products and we will be working on re-educating our customer base and others in the locality,” she concluded.RoadteamRoadteam Ltd is a Pettigo-based road recycling company that restores road surfaces to original conditions reusing the existing road materials.Established in 2008 as a road maintenance alternative for the public and private sectors, their goal is to provide a cost effective solution for road repairs.Adrian Britton of Roadteam suggests that from an economic stance their service should see a cost reduction of up to 60% over traditional methods.He explained that, employing state of the art equipment, the road surface is broken up, crushed, graded and made ready for resurfacing.“Recycling road materials has moved steadily up the construction agenda and with increasing pressure to reduce the environmental impact of road construction, Roadteam Ltd have sourced the most efficient machinery for road regeneration,” he added.And, he maintained, the advantages to the road maintenance bodies of using recycled materials are substantial and can directly reduce costs.Among the added benefits right across a project would include reduced costs and CO2 emissions, reduced need for imported materials, reduced project time and energy use and the reduced amount of heavy hevicle movements over existing roads“The process of reusing existing road materials definitely helps Roadteam offer a hugely superior service to traditional road repair methods in terms of cost, project duration and environmental friendliness,” says Adrian.The business, which employs 8 people, was awarded ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 in December 2012.Castlefin Partnership InitiativeCastlefin Partnership Initiative (CPI) was established in 1999. Since its inception the Partnership has successfully completed all phases of an extensive development project.The first seeds were sown at a meeting in October 1999 when a meeting of representatives of the various community groups active in the Castlefinn area was held.The outcome of this meeting was the establishment of an umbrella organisation representing various interest groups in the community, to be known as Castlefinn Partnership Initiative Limited (C.P.I. Ltd.)The group undertook a community needs survey to identify the needs and desires of the community. The results of the survey were analysed. From the findings C.P.I. Ltd. was established and the aims and objectives of the company were clarified.The group set about to promote and encourage the social, cultural, educational, training and sporting needs of the community and the economic development, through job creation, in Castlefinn and its environs.In addition it aimed to provide or arrange for the provision of a range of services including commercial floor space, health services and childcare facilities, which would benefit the economic and general welfare of the community.They also aimed to provide for the members of their community, a neutral venue not under the control or influence of any organisation, political or other.Today the group boasts a range of first class services and facilities including health services, childcare and training facilities, a multipurpose hall, outdoor children’s play area and the development of outdoor recreational areas. The Partnership also hosts the nationally acclaimed Northwest Garden Show and is currently developing the Whitehouse Garden, which will be officially opened on 28th June.Letterkenny Community Childcare LimitedNow open for 51 weeks of the year, Letterkenny Community Childcare Centre Limited was originally a sessional preschool founded in 1983 by a group of volunteers anxious to meet Community needs.Catering for children aged 6 weeks to 10 years, the centre has grown enormously from its early days and is now recognized as an all-Ireland centre of excellence.In November 2003 the company opened its purpose built full day-care Childcare Centre at a Donegal County Enterprise site, catering for 28 children on a full, part-time and sessional basis and employing eight people.Since then it has expanded enormously and currently 90 families and 112 children avail of the centre’s services, while there are now 18 people employed there.In addition it provides training and development for 2 Community Employment Scheme workers and 1 TUS worker.The increased staffing levels followed expansion of services that saw a second service opened in 2012 to provide sessional pre-school under the Department of Children Early Childhood Care and Education scheme, creating three full time positions in the process.Coordinator Geraldine Burke who worked as a volunteer in the organisation for around 10 years prior to becoming the first official employee, explained some of the reasons behind the centre’s success.“The Centre is open to all sections of the Community on a first come first served basis and works closely with the HSE and local charities by supporting families caring for children with special needs and families experiencing difficulties,” she explained.Adding that the organisation has been recognised as a Centre of Excellence in Ireland since 2008, Geraldine said she had taken the post with Letterkenny Community Childcare Ltd because she felt she could make a difference to the early sector, based on her knowledge and experience with young children.A real driving force in terms of development, Geraldine was instrumental in forming a limited company and gaining charitable status when she recognised that the organisation needed to expand to meet fully the community needs.“In 2001 the Government announced the ‘Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme’ (EOCP) funded by Europe under the National Development Plan. The aim of this initiative was to get women back into the workforce. I then project managed a grant application for EOCP to build, equip, and staff a full day-care Community Childcare Centre, working with Donegal County Enterprise Fund (DCEF) on the design of the building which was erected on their land.”The full day service opened in 2003 and the organisation is now a Company Limited by Guarantee, governed by a Voluntary Board of Directors of which Geraldine is the Company Secretary as well as Coordinator of the Childcare Centre with day to day responsibility for management of the service.Operating under the principles of Siolta the National Standards for Pre-school services and Aistear the pre-school curriculum, the Centre now has five distinct areas, babies, toddlers, pre-school full day, pre-school sessional and afterschool. Facilities also include two safety surfaced outdoor areas, a garden and an indoor physical area.TEN COMPANIES FIGHT IT OUT FOR TOP PRIZE AT ENTERPRISING DONEGAL BUSINESS AWARDS was last modified: March 12th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Business WeekDonegal Enterprise BoardMichael Tunney